“Roll ’em!”

March 16, 2009



I don’t understand why a television channel that exists solely to present movies – and presents each movie with some kind of historical context – does not let the credits run at the end of the film. I am referring to Turner Classic Movies. It’s frustrating. Last night,  for example, we watched “Talk of the Town,” a 1942 flick that starred Cary Grant, Ronald Coleman, and Jean Arthur. I was curious about the actor who played Coleman’s black valet, because the character was an elegant figure who exhibited a deep intellect and spoke with an almost Victorian propriety. No credits. I found out on IMDB that the actor was Rex Ingram, who was born on a riverboat in Mississippi and around 1916 became the first black man to earn a Phi Beta Kappa key at Northwestern University. Ingram – not to be confused with the white director of the same name – appeared in nearly 50 properties – most of them movies.



Anyone who goes to a movie with me knows enough not to get up before the screen goes dark for good, and I know I’m not the only one who likes to see the names of the best boy and the caterer and – especially important – the music credits. Frequently, too, there is a lot of care taken in choosing the music that plays over the credits. I would never turn off “Dominick and Eugene,” for instance, without watching the credits roll over “Goin’ Down to Rio.” But the least I expect is to read the names of the actors in case I want to find out more about them. But that’s me – never satisfied,


4 Responses to ““Roll ’em!””

  1. Shifty Says:

    I agree completely. There are many modern comedies where the producers take great care to make the credits clever or amusing in some way, and if they omit or speed them up, the audience can’t appreciate it. In /Ferris Bueller’s Day Off/ there is a whole scene AFTER the credits, which is not as funny if you haven’t just sat through them.

    I noticed on my rare forays into TV that they have started shrinking and speeding up the credits on reruns too. If they are going to make them impossible to read, I don’t understand why they bother showing them at all.

  2. Shifty Says:

    I agree… besides the fact that you might want to see who did what, sometimes there is something special or clever about the way the credits are presented. At the end of the credits for /Ferris Bueller’s Day Off/ there’s a quick but funny scene that is one of the highlights of the movie.

  3. Joshua Says:

    I think there are two reasons:

    1. As you implied yourself, these days most people can find the credits on IMDB.

    2. TV people are terrified of their viewers changing the channel, so they use the credit time to promo whatever is coming up. Anything to hold on to a little bit of audience.

  4. bart Says:

    I love watching the credits at the end. In fact one of my secret hobbies over the last dozen years or so has been watching Frank Kapra III move up from assistant best boy to assistant director over time.

    Whenever I see he has a new behind the camera job, I get a little excited.

    Given who is grandfather was, it’s sort of amazing and wonderful that he’s clearly working his way up the ladder.

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