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Author Topic: How do they credit TV and Movie stars on Screem  (Read 760 times)

roadman65

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How do they credit TV and Movie stars on Screem
« on: July 04, 2022, 08:55:52 AM »

I was on another thread talking about the sit com Perfect Strangers aired over 30 years ago.  The show was about two men who were roomies with opposite personalities who had issues but overall got along with each other.

One thing I noticed is how the credited Bronson Pinchot first and Mark Linn Baker second.  Of course it wasn’t done alphabetical like many shows do with two leads or alternate places in sequence like Norman Fell and Audra Lindley done on The Ropers.  Even The Waltons done so between Ralph Waite and Michael Learned after Richard Thomas departed.

Then you have Gunsmoke who credited James Arness last even though he was main star of the show, though did have an announcer state his name only in the show’s prologue until the final season eliminated the prologue from the show.  However it was known in the opening sequence that Arness was the lead despite being last in the credits.


In Lost In Space you had actor Jonathan Harris get credited as a Special Guest Star despite not being one as he appeared in every episode and eventually being the focal character in the series.  However that was due to Harris being a late comer to the show as his character was not intended to be on the show.  The last spot in the credits were given already to Angela Cartwright, who was a well known child star of the time, so Irwin Allen made him a permanent special guest star.

Still it’s amazing that each producer does things differently. Sort of like a signature is, however many still leave questions of what we’re they thinking.

Richard Thomas, in The Waltons, was given top billing, instead of how family shows usually give top spot to the family head.  Usually the prominent child would credited last as a typical special star “ Also Starring” credit, which really he should have been given.

In it’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World, Spencer Tracey was given top billing, and the rest in alphabetical order, despite Tracey being far from lead actor. He was indeed supporting the rest of the cast and not the other way around.

How do they come up with the actual way of crediting  for many?
« Last Edit: July 04, 2022, 10:15:00 AM by roadman65 »
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Re: How do they credit stars
« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2022, 09:00:58 AM »

I believe you get credited with 2 stars for every 1 dollar spent.

[note: thread title changed later; see the title of this post for what I responded to]
« Last Edit: July 04, 2022, 12:44:21 PM by 1 »
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Re: How do they credit stars
« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2022, 09:14:17 AM »

I believe you get credited with 2 stars for every 1 dollar spent.

LOL, Starbucks' star program was the first thing I thought of too!
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Re: How do they credit stars
« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2022, 09:28:19 AM »

I assumed it was going to have something to do with some sort of forum software assigning rank badges or similar.
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: How do they credit stars
« Reply #4 on: July 04, 2022, 09:30:24 AM »

You have to search around Peach’s Castle for them, there is actually 120 in total.  If you find them all you can talk to Yoshi and get a worthless spin jump.
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Re: How do they credit TV and Movie stars on Screem
« Reply #5 on: July 04, 2022, 11:00:19 AM »

I was on another thread talking about the sit com Perfect Strangers aired over 30 years ago.  The show was about two men who were roomies with opposite personalities who had issues but overall got along with each other.

One thing I noticed is how the credited Bronson Pinchot first and Mark Linn Baker second.  Of course it wasn’t done alphabetical like many shows do with two leads or alternate places in sequence like Norman Fell and Audra Lindley done on The Ropers.  Even The Waltons done so between Ralph Waite and Michael Learned after Richard Thomas departed.

Then you have Gunsmoke who credited James Arness last even though he was main star of the show, though did have an announcer state his name only in the show’s prologue until the final season eliminated the prologue from the show.  However it was known in the opening sequence that Arness was the lead despite being last in the credits.


In Lost In Space you had actor Jonathan Harris get credited as a Special Guest Star despite not being one as he appeared in every episode and eventually being the focal character in the series.  However that was due to Harris being a late comer to the show as his character was not intended to be on the show.  The last spot in the credits were given already to Angela Cartwright, who was a well known child star of the time, so Irwin Allen made him a permanent special guest star.

Still it’s amazing that each producer does things differently. Sort of like a signature is, however many still leave questions of what we’re they thinking.

Richard Thomas, in The Waltons, was given top billing, instead of how family shows usually give top spot to the family head.  Usually the prominent child would credited last as a typical special star “ Also Starring” credit, which really he should have been given.

In it’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World, Spencer Tracey was given top billing, and the rest in alphabetical order, despite Tracey being far from lead actor. He was indeed supporting the rest of the cast and not the other way around.

How do they come up with the actual way of crediting  for many?

It is very simple. They work it out in the contracts with the actors. What is "top billing? Lower to the left? Top on the right? In a straight line, it is obvious. In one current show, one of the "half-way down" actor credits ALWAYS happens with her appearing in the action reel that the credits roll over. Not so for the others. The reel changes week to week, but she is alway on the reel at the time when  her credit appears. That is not the case for anyone else on the cast.

All of this down to minute details is negotiated. It is that the actor believes they are a bigger deal not that the producers of the show think so. The producers may have used it to either convince an actor to sign on but it still is part of the negotiation process.

Some times, the lead actor MIGHT be first on the matinee (or credits) to capture audiences due to their popularity and in this case it MAY actually cost the producers extra.

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Re: How do they credit TV and Movie stars on Screem
« Reply #6 on: July 04, 2022, 12:34:17 PM »

Either first or LAST.

The ones first are the ones usually being main characters.  However, you can have some of those credited using "featuring", "with", and of course, "and"

You could also have "Special Guest Star" which usually is a fake ;)

The over-the-top method is what some actors use to draw attention to themselves by putting themselves in big bold letters on a poster or DVD case - such as Tom Cruise. :popcorn:
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Re: How do they credit TV and Movie stars on Screem
« Reply #7 on: July 04, 2022, 12:35:51 PM »

One of Jack Nicholson’s conditions for appearing in Batman was top billing, even though he was the Joker.

Despite playing the titular character, Christopher Reeve fell all the way to 3rd in Superman behind Brando and Gene Hackman.
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Re: How do they credit TV and Movie stars on Screem
« Reply #8 on: July 04, 2022, 12:49:18 PM »

Either first or LAST.

The ones first are the ones usually being main characters.  However, you can have some of those credited using "featuring", "with", and of course, "and"

You could also have "Special Guest Star" which usually is a fake ;)

The over-the-top method is what some actors use to draw attention to themselves by putting themselves in big bold letters on a poster or DVD case - such as Tom Cruise. :popcorn:

That's also a marketing draw, as some people will see a Tom Cruise movie regardless of what it's about.
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Re: How do they credit TV and Movie stars on Screem
« Reply #9 on: July 04, 2022, 12:52:44 PM »

Either first or LAST.

The ones first are the ones usually being main characters.  However, you can have some of those credited using "featuring", "with", and of course, "and"

You could also have "Special Guest Star" which usually is a fake ;)

The over-the-top method is what some actors use to draw attention to themselves by putting themselves in big bold letters on a poster or DVD case - such as Tom Cruise. :popcorn:

That's also a marketing draw, as some people will see a Tom Cruise movie regardless of what it's about.

Example, my wife. 
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Re: How do they credit TV and Movie stars on Screem
« Reply #10 on: July 04, 2022, 12:53:57 PM »

In sitcoms that focus on married and/or dating couples, I've noticed that the male lead is usually named first. In Mike & Molly, the first two credits you see are for Billy Gardell and Melissa McCarthy, who played the titular couple.

However, the female lead is sometimes credited first, especially if she also doubles as the offscreen narrator during the series. The Middle is a great example of this, as Patricia Heaton pulls double-duty there. In the credits, she is followed by Neil Flynn, her husband on the show.
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Re: How do they credit TV and Movie stars on Screen
« Reply #11 on: July 04, 2022, 01:29:04 PM »

"Featuring," "starring," "introducing," etc. are worked out between the production and the actor's agent.  Of course, the bigger a draw the producers think an actor is, the better the chances the actor gets the unique billing he/she wants.

Sometimes the headline star actually goes to bat for the others.  A notable example is with Gilligan's Island, where Russel Johnson and Dawn Wells were originally omitted from the opening title sequence.  Bob Denver eventually threatened to demand that his name be moved to the end of the credits unless the opening title was revised.  It was, to include "the Professor and Mary Ann."

A tricky situation is when two starts want equal billing.  One way of doing this is putting the names side-by-side but with the name on the right higher on the screen, so there's an equal chance of the viewer seeing either name first.  This was done for Steve McQueen and Paul Newman in The Towering Inferno, and for Ted Danson and Shelley Long on Cheers (Kirstie Alley wasn't lucky enough to get the same treatment when she replaced Shelley Long).
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Re: How do they credit TV and Movie stars on Screem
« Reply #12 on: July 04, 2022, 04:31:59 PM »

I believe it was The Towering Inferno that had one of the more complicated contractural messes in this regard.  Top four stars all argued over it, so their names appear in a weird mishmash line or configuration on the poster.

(And yes, a panorama from Towering Inferno was used in Star Trek III...)
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Re: How do they credit TV and Movie stars on Screem
« Reply #13 on: July 04, 2022, 04:36:37 PM »

I believe it was The Towering Inferno that had one of the more complicated contractural messes in this regard.  Top four stars all argued over it, so their names appear in a weird mishmash line or configuration on the poster.

(And yes, a panorama from Towering Inferno was used in Star Trek III...)

As an aside, for whatever reason The Towering Inferno scared the shit out of me when I was 5.  I probably bothered my dad for about a year asking if the wiring in our house was up to code.  I even hid the portable window fire escape ladder under my bed.
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Re: How do they credit TV and Movie stars on Screem
« Reply #14 on: July 04, 2022, 05:47:17 PM »

Fun little non-obvious fact about credits: if you see "Screenplay by H.B. Elkins & Kyle Hoger", that means they collaborated on it at the same time, working as a team. If it says "Screenplay by H.B. Elkins and Kyle Hoger", it means that they worked on it separately—perhaps H.B. started it by himself and got stuck/left the project/whatever and Kyle finished it.
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Re: How do they credit TV and Movie stars on Screem
« Reply #15 on: July 04, 2022, 07:31:00 PM »

^^ Or in Cheers where there is an "&" and an "and" (1:00 mark)
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Re: How do they credit TV and Movie stars on Screem
« Reply #16 on: July 05, 2022, 07:35:11 AM »

Fun little non-obvious fact about credits: if you see "Screenplay by H.B. Elkins & Kyle Hoger", that means they collaborated on it at the same time, working as a team. If it says "Screenplay by H.B. Elkins and Kyle Hoger", it means that they worked on it separately—perhaps H.B. started it by himself and got stuck/left the project/whatever and Kyle finished it.

I thought it meant they misspelled "H. Belkins."

:bigass:
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Re: How do they credit TV and Movie stars on Screen
« Reply #17 on: July 05, 2022, 07:58:24 AM »

In the Jefferson’s Isabell Sanford was credited before Sherman Helmsley.  Good Times Esther Rolle was given first slot over John Amos.

In fact in the latter, Jimmie Walker was credited equal with Bernadette Stanis and Ralph Carter in the first season, but given his own special billing the rest of the five remaining seasons. That most likely had to do with the character of JJ Evans taking a turn to become more prominent in the show, which ironically annoyed John Amos who was at odds with brass over the show being more centered around Walker than the family as a whole and moving in another direction.  Amos was let go at the end of Season 3 whether it was voluntary or mandated is unclear, but Amos was unhappy about the show and was vocal about it.

In Leave It To Beaver you had Barbara Billingsley over Hugh Beaumont in lead credit, but in reality her and Beaumont were actually supporting cast as both Jerry Mathers and Tony Dow were the front characters of the show and most scenes focused on the characters of The Beaver and Wally and their misadventures.


And it’s not unusual for child actors to be billed first, hence Dennis the Mennace and Silver Sppons.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2022, 11:51:39 AM by roadman65 »
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Re: How do they credit TV and Movie stars on Screem
« Reply #18 on: July 05, 2022, 01:25:31 PM »

Also of note: When Charlie Sheen was on Two and a Half Men, he always got top billing over Jon Cryer, but when Ashton Kutcher came along, he and Cryer were displayed at the same time. I wonder why that is? Probably because everyone knew who Charlie was through his family of actors (with his father being Martin Sheen and his brother Emilio Estevez), while his replacement's only work of note at the time was That 70s Show, although more projects were to come.
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Re: How do they credit TV and Movie stars on Screem
« Reply #19 on: July 05, 2022, 05:17:44 PM »

Quote
In the Jefferson’s Isabell Sanford was credited before Sherman Helmsley.  Good Times Esther Rolle was given first slot over John Amos
If I had to guess, in the case of the former it’s because Louise appeared in All In The Family before George, and in the case of the latter, Esther’s character was the one spun off from AITF.
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Re: How do they credit TV and Movie stars on Screem
« Reply #20 on: July 05, 2022, 05:36:46 PM »

Lassie was credited last despite being the titular character and star.  To make matters worse, the name of the dog wasn't said; the dog was just referred to as Lassie, even though off camera the dog had a different name.  Of course it was voiceover and not through credits.

I have thought about the advantages of some credits.  For Seinfeld, Michael Richards always got "as Kramer" added to his name, and he was far from the only one to get that treatment.  Does the actor think his roll will be forgotten if he/she doesn't tell the audience who they are playing?  As the series went on and Kramer was one of the top draws to the show, you would think they could have dropped the "as Kramer", but they didn't. 
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Re: How do they credit TV and Movie stars on Screem
« Reply #21 on: July 05, 2022, 06:46:17 PM »

Lassie was credited last despite being the titular character and star.  To make matters worse, the name of the dog wasn't said; the dog was just referred to as Lassie, even though off camera the dog had a different name.  Of course it was voiceover and not through credits.

I can’t speak for Lassie but in many shows with animals, the on-screen animal is played by several different real life ones which probably makes crediting such a headache. Data’s cat, Spot, on Star Trek TNG and two of its films was portrayed by somewhere around 6 or 7 different cats, sometimes using more than one in a single production. 
« Last Edit: July 05, 2022, 06:48:52 PM by TheHighwayMan394 »
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Re: How do they credit TV and Movie stars on Screem
« Reply #22 on: July 05, 2022, 08:31:19 PM »

Lassie was credited last despite being the titular character and star.  To make matters worse, the name of the dog wasn't said; the dog was just referred to as Lassie, even though off camera the dog had a different name.  Of course it was voiceover and not through credits.

I have thought about the advantages of some credits.  For Seinfeld, Michael Richards always got "as Kramer" added to his name, and he was far from the only one to get that treatment.  Does the actor think his roll will be forgotten if he/she doesn't tell the audience who they are playing?  As the series went on and Kramer was one of the top draws to the show, you would think they could have dropped the "as Kramer", but they didn't. 

You mean Jason Alexander as George.
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roadman65

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Re: How do they credit TV and Movie stars on Screem
« Reply #23 on: July 05, 2022, 08:35:21 PM »

Quote
In the Jefferson’s Isabell Sanford was credited before Sherman Helmsley.  Good Times Esther Rolle was given first slot over John Amos
If I had to guess, in the case of the former it’s because Louise appeared in All In The Family before George, and in the case of the latter, Esther’s character was the one spun off from AITF.

Yes. Helmsley replaced Mel Stewart when he left AITF.  She was first, but actually Mike Evans was from the beginning. Ironically Michael Evans on Good Times was named after him as Evans was co creator of Good Times, hence the family sur name.
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Re: How do they credit TV and Movie stars on Screem
« Reply #24 on: July 06, 2022, 10:27:50 AM »

Lassie was credited last despite being the titular character and star.  To make matters worse, the name of the dog wasn't said; the dog was just referred to as Lassie, even though off camera the dog had a different name.  Of course it was voiceover and not through credits.

I have thought about the advantages of some credits.  For Seinfeld, Michael Richards always got "as Kramer" added to his name, and he was far from the only one to get that treatment.  Does the actor think his roll will be forgotten if he/she doesn't tell the audience who they are playing?  As the series went on and Kramer was one of the top draws to the show, you would think they could have dropped the "as Kramer", but they didn't. 

You mean Jason Alexander as George.

Yeah, that's it, but still the same thing I said applies. 
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