Brothers (TV Series) - Production Notes - Opening Sequence and Presentation

Opening Sequence and Presentation

The Brothers title theme was a jazzy, synthesized piece written by Marcus Barone, Joe Diamond and Gloria Nissenson, with opening vocals performed by Barone.

As the title sequence opens, videotaped exterior scenes of Philadelphia are shown one at a time as the show's title is spelt out, one letter at a time, across the screen. The title formation is set on a half-circular curve. During this, lead singer Barone has a conversation with two other men in preparation for them to sing the theme song with him. Apparently, they are supposed to be posing as the Waters brothers, to give viewers the illusion that they, and not the hired singers, are the ones harmonizing the tune. Following this, a chorus of shoop-do-wahs serve as a bridge between the dialogue and the main part of the song.

The opening credits featured an artistic montage of actual photos from Walden, Regina, and Maggart's childhood and young adult years (although the first photo of young Lou in the sequence was actually that of Brandon Maggart's son, Garett Maggart, when he was a baby). Also featured was 16mm film footage of young Paul Regina, labeled on a film strip in the sequence as "Cliff, age 4 yrs". This montage segued into a group photo of the Waters brothers in the current day, which in turn displayed singular portraits of them one at a time as their credits were given on screen. All cast member photos were set against a blue background. A time-lapsed animation version of the group photo then lifts up to reveal multiple photos of the brothers in various scenes from the show's set. From the pilot episode through the end of season three, Robin Riker and Hallie Todd's names were listed at the bottom of this section, while the pictures floated against a sky background.

The final part of the opening sequence is a videotaped scene of the Waters brothers, finishing their lip-syncing of the show's theme song in front of a candy store named "Babe's". For the first two seasons, "and Philip Charles MacKenzie as Donald" appeared during this scene, followed by creator and producer credits before the sequence faded. During the entire third season, a computerized blue background with a digital cut-out of MacKenzie appeared with his credit before cutting to the "Babe's" scene. Starting with the fourth season premiere, the photos of Robin Riker (now credited as Robin Riker-Hasley) and Hallie Todd were featured for the first time over the floating pictures animation, flipping up one at a time, until the last photo is that of MacKenzie, who now appears in a proper portrait. The last three cast portraits were set in blue backgrounds to match those of Walden, Regina, and Maggart's. Also, from this point on, creator and producing credits no longer appeared in the opening's last scene.

For the eleven episodes of Season 4 that Riker-Hasley did not appear in, her photo and credit were removed from the intro, with only Todd and MacKenzie showing up in the latter half. This short-lived version of the intro had the dark blue backgrounds removed from Todd and MacKenzie, revealing the natural light-blue backgrounds of their photos instead. For S4, Ep. 26, which was Riker-Hasley's return to the show, as well as her last appearance, the intro that was used in S4, Eps. 1-14 returned. In season five, after Riker-Hasley's departure, Mary Ann Pascal's photo was added into the sequence, between Todd and MacKenzie. The latter three cast photos in general were all new (with Todd's and MacKenzie's updated from the S4 versions), and featured more natural backgrounds in gray/light blue/white tones. They filled the entire screen, as the floating pictures animation was completely eliminated.

Three different credit fonts were utilized on Brothers simultaneously. The opening sequence used orange-gold hued Collegiate font for the title and credits; a font famously associated with sports teams (as well as colleges and universities), it was used to represent the show's underlying image of masculinity—brotherhood, The Point After, sports and Joe's past NFL glory. First and final scene production credits were set in Cooper Black font, orange during the first 2.5 seasons, then in yellow from the middle of season three until the end (black shadowing was added at the start of season four). Closing credits all through the run appeared in thin yellow Helvetica, and were carded in groups over scenes from the current episode. An instrumental cut of the opening theme, dominated by saxophone, was used for the closing.

Upon the show's fall 1988 sale into syndication, the opening title sequence was truncated so that the only visuals featured in the first half were the title formation over the scenes of Philadelphia, the single photos of Walden, Regina and Maggart, and the time-lapsed group photo of the Waters brothers. For all episodes spanning seasons one through four, the latter half of the opening used in S4, Eps. 1-14 & 26 was used for Riker, Todd and MacKenzie's credits, when these three had photos featured in the blue background scheme. Riker's credit, with Hasley being added to her name in this version, provided an inconsistency with all episodes leading up to S4, as she did not add her married name on-screen until that point in 1987. The theme itself began from the "Gonna meet the family.." line, and ran up to "Where it counts, behind the scenes, we're brothers" line when the time-lapsed family photo was reached. During the last three cast photos and ending scene, the song picked up from the "Life is full of stress and strife.." line and ran through the end, unedited.

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