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“And [X] As [Y]”


 

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In comments, Mike Tennant asks:

When did “And [Actor’s Name] as [Character’s Name]” for just the final cast member in the opening credits originate? “Get Smart” used it for Barbara Feldon alone in season one but retained it and added “Edward Platt as ‘Chief’” in later seasons (or maybe later in season one; I’m still working my way through that season on DVD). “The Brady Bunch” used it for Ann B. Davis. Can you think of any earlier examples? And what, exactly, is the purpose of that type of credit anyway? (To be honest, it’s always annoyed me for some reason, but that’s not why I’m asking.)

For the most part, the purpose is to give proper recognition to an actor who is more important than most of the other supporting actors, but not important enough to get top billing. If someone is billed second or third, he or she gets lost in the shuffle of names, and producers don’t want to convey the idea that actors are being billed in order of importance. If someone is billed last with no fanfare, it seems like that actor is less important than the others. So you put in the “and” and the character’s name to emphasize that this person is being singled out as a mark of respect: not as important as the star, but important enough to have different billing from everyone else, and to have the character name in the title sequence when nobody else does. Merely having the character’s name mentioned isn’t really important in and of itself; what matters is just that the actor gets a different credit, and different means important. One of the most famous examples of that, believe it or not, is from The Facts of Life. When Nancy McKeon was added to the cast as Jo, she was billed last, because she was the new kid and the others had seniority over her. Then she became the most popular person on the show, so her credit was changed to “And Nancy McKeon as Jo.”

As to when it started, I don’t know when it became prevalent on TV, though it certainly was very common by the mid-’70s. Most shows up through the ’60s didn’t have many names in the opening credits, so there wasn’t really an issue of somebody’s name getting lost among one or two other names. But the practice was common in theatre and to a lesser extent in movies. Broadway posters often have an “and” and larger billing for a supporting actor who, again, is not important enough to be billed above the title but is important enough to get special recognition. And the movie Psycho bills Anthony Perkins first but has a special credit for Janet Leigh:

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Not as important as Norman Bates, but more important than John Gavin; that’s what the “X as Y” billing means.

Update: As commenters point out, Tina Louise on Gilligan’s Island got exactly this kind of credit (“And Tina Louise as Ginger”) to make it clear that she was more important than the other supporting players.


 
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“And [X] As [Y]”

  1. While nobody’s names were on-screen, Mary Tyler Moore certainly got the “let’s bill them last to emphasize their importance” on The Dick Van Dyke Show: “…with Rose Marie, Morey Amsterdam, Larry Matthews and Mary Tyler Moore.”

    It is tough to think of the earliest example of actor+character name, but what springs to mind is Bewitched, which had “Agnes Moorehead as Endora” as the last credit in the opening sequence. I can’t remember at this second if there was an “and” in front of Agnes’ name, but I believe there was.

    • See, I always thought of this as simply being a listing of the actors (aside from the star) in alphabetical order. Rose Marie comes first by virtue of not using her last name, followed by Amsterdam, Matthews, and Moore.

      Thanks for answering my question, Jaime. I can’t believe I forgot either the “Gilligan’s Island” or “Bewitched” examples below–especially “Bewitched.” I still think, as you said, that it wasn’t exceptionally common on TV until the ’70s, but it did start earlier than I had originally thought.

  2. GILLIGAN’S ISLAND gave “and Tina Louise as Ginger” credit to that actress, the requirement that this come last denying main title billing to Russell Johnson and Dawn Wells during the show’s first season. They were relegated to the show’s closing credits. Dawn Wells says Bob Denver got the two of them added to the main titles during the show’s second and third seasons. Denver simply told producer Sherwood Schwartz that if Johnson and Wells didn’t get billing during the show’s opening credits, then he wanted his own credit removed.

    The earliest example of an “and [x] as [y]” credit that I know of on a television series is on the 1952-1955 situation comedy I MARRIED JOAN: “…and Jim Backus as Judge Bradley Stevens.”

  3. Tom Bosley also got the “and” treatment in the “Happy Days” credits, which made even more sense as the years went by and more and more names and faces were added to the opening … even if that did mean spending a couple of years following Scott Baio in the listings.

    (Also on “Bewitched”, David White finally got the same recognition in Season 6 along with Agnes Morehead. Of course, that was the start of the Dick Sergeant era, so I guess the feeling was Larry Tate had become so much a part of the show he deserved a spot in the opening credits with the new guy.)

    • I would guess that the David White credit also had to do with assuring the viewers of as much continuity as possible between the York and Sargent eras. Season six is when they started putting “Elizabeth Montgomery in” before the title, too, presumably for the same reason.

  4. The first time I noticed this was on Gilligan’s island…. I clearly remember “and _____ as ______” for one of the characters.

    And that pre-dates the earlier example given

  5. ooPS.. sorry, should have read comments before posting.

  6. CAPS, I’m pretty sure you can, but I’m also pretty sure that we were both saying the same things because they’re true.

    • Great minds think alike and fools seldom differ.

  7. How could I have forgotten, “…and Jerry Mathers as The Beaver.”

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