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TV should give movies' credits their due

July 04, 2006|Chris Kaltenbach | Baltimore Sun

A movie's end credits offer all sorts of wonderful opportunities: to sit quietly and think about what you've just seen, to read the names of those men and women responsible for it, to catch the name of that very cool song that was playing in the background about halfway through the film.

Apparently the geniuses who program our TV stations disagree, however. To them, a movie's credits are something to be raced through as quickly as possible, something to be shoved to the side so we can see a teaser for what is coming on next, a chance to maybe earn a few more advertising dollars.

It's bad enough that TV has to break up movies with commercials; I understand it's the nature of the TV beast that money is made off ads and I recognize that commercials are the price we pay to see some movies (although I haven't been able to watch AMC much since that once-indispensable cable network started jamming commercials into its movies).

But why can't stations run end credits as they are supposed to be run? Why do they have to speed up the credits so that our eyes have no chance to make out what they're saying? Why do they have to squeeze the credits into one tiny corner of the TV frame, making them impossibly small and useless? Why can't they stick to running commercials (and that includes voice-overs) before and after the credits, instead of during?

Even the premium channels have taken to sometimes squeezing the credits, usually to promote what's coming on next, or to offer additional factoids about the film we've just seen. Grrrrr.

Thank goodness for Turner Classic Movies, a station that loves its movies as much as any fan and lets them play out in their entirety, complete to the final copyright notice.

Why is it too much to ask that the rest of the TV industry follow suit?

Chris Kaltenbach is a movie critic at the Baltimore Sun, a Tribune company.

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