Friday, June 3, 2011

"Tipping A Cap To Literary Perfection"

Way back in the misty past of this blog’s history, I wrote a posting called “Those Thrilling Years”, in which I paid tribute to an iconic TV western of my youth called The Lone Ranger. As part of that posting, I deconstructed the show’s famous opening narration, paying adulatory homage to every word, phrase, hoof beat, and flourish.

I did that before I knew how to find things on YouTube and transfer them to my blog. (I hope I didn’t get too technical on you there, using words like “find” and “transfer.” Sometimes, I get carried away by the excitement of the progress I’ve made adapting myself to modern technology.)

Today, rather than mere description, I give you the material in action. I show, rather than tell, adhering to the adage that a picture is worth a thousand words. (And those are good words. In my case, it could be twelve-fifty.)

Today’s offering is not my favorite opening narration to a show. That would be the aforementioned The Lone Ranger.

A fiery horse with the speed of light

A cloud of dust

And a hearty, Hi-yo, Silver

And so forth.

It may not even be my second favorite narration. That’s probably

Here’s adventure

Here’s romance

Here’s O. Henry’s famous Robin Hood of the Old West

The Cisco Kid!

But it is definitely my third favorite. And the difference between them is negligible, a virtual three-way “Photo Finish.”

I am speaking in this instance of the well-known (to those who well know it, though considerably less so to those who don’t) opening narration to the 50’s television series,

The Adventures of Superman

All three of these narrations, among a handful of others, reflect a consummate skillfulness in their construction. No extra words, and every word, the right word. Listen to the Superman narration. Which words would you change? I wouldn’t change any of them. And I couldn’t say that about anything I have ever written.

The best introductions sent you racing to sit in front of your televisions. (If you weren’t there already. I was. I was hardly anywhere else.) Ready for fun, and primed for adventure.

To me, these efforts, in their own contexts, rank up there with Shakespearean sonnets, epic poetry, and reverberating Haikus, if there were less words and they were written in Japanese.

Am I overselling? Perhaps. But just listen. And tell me if you believe that I’ve seriously missed the mark.


PG said...

And while you're at it......

Have gun, will travel is the card of a man.
A knight without honour in a savage land.
A soldier of fortune is a man called....

Don't start me....

GRayR said...

Reading you and Ken's blog I get my daily dose of insider info. Thanks, it is the writing I really enjoy.

Hearing the opening music of this clip; I am a kid in front on a huge black and white TV with a decidedly small screen and eager to hear "this weeks exciting adventure." Big Smile

YEKIMI said...

What I'd like to know is who was the voiceover guy that did the intro, Boy, talk about selling a show! That took me back to my younger years when just hearing that intro got me all excited for the show.

Jim said...

It seems that all of your favorite television intros were originally radio intros.

Max Clarke said...

Nothing got me to the television faster than the William Tell Overture, so I'd have to vote for Lone Ranger.

However, I didn't know till now just how powerful that Superman introduction was. I can recite it decades later.

On a somewhat related note, I didn't know Superman wore his underwear on the outside. Guess that was the style on Krypton.

Tonto O'Reilly said...

He had to wear his undies out the outside, otherwise, we might still mistake him for Clark Kent.

Like Max, I'm a sucker for the William Tell Overture - and a hearty hi-ho Silver. The narration of Fred Foy, who just died last Dec.

Superman never did it for me, guess that was my clue that I'd never be a sci-fi follower, tho I did major in journalism.

Anonymous said...

It is "a knight without armor". Paladdin above all was a man of honour.

Zaraya said...

Did these die out with Star Trek?