Cartoon Intro Cavalcade: “Curious George”
One of my working theories of media (Marshall McLuhan, look out) is that having an awesome theme song is 90% of the work in getting an awesome opening credits sequence. Cowboy Bebop, Batman Beyond, and ThunderCats are a handy examples of this phenomenon at work, but the opening credits to the PBS Kids series Curious George is another (and there will be more on the way in this blog post series from the likes of Batman the Animated Series and Teen Titans, at least). By getting Dr. John, the Night Tripper himself, to do the theme song for a show about a mischievous, clever monkey with an impeccable literary pedigree, the producers have gotten most of the way there to convince me that this show is worth my time. Sadly, the theme song isn’t available as a legal download or on CD, but one can hope that PBS Kids, Universal, and Dr. John can come to some kind of arrangement to make that happen.
The animation of the opening credits also nicely matches the tempo and the dynamics of the theme song, like the way a jaunty crescendo mates nicely with George grabbing hold of what turns out to be a kite string, or the trumpet flourish when George falls out of his apartment building door into a pizza parlor. The intro also does a pretty good job at quickly introducing the many different supporting cast members on the show, and even how they relate to George, starting with the Man with the Yellow Hat (who apparently only goes by “Ted” in the movies) and progressing on to his many human and animal friends.
I could say more on how I love the way George peeks around or over corners that aren’t defined visually, or the aesthetic and historic importance of using that bright yellow background to conclude the opening credits sequence, but perhaps I should just take a page from George’s book and stay silent, letting the monkey’s antics do all the talking. They’re all you really need, anyway.