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In Case You Forgot Who Wrote It

Many Films, works of literature and other works are referred to not just by title but by author/ director/ etc., i.e. "William Shakespeare's Hamlet." There are seven main variations:

  1. Original Author's X — Putting the author of the original work before the title of the adaptation in order to differentiate it from other adaptations and add a stamp of authenticity. If the writer is still alive then this is intended to suggest the author did more than just sign the rights away and be done with it; if not, it's intended to suggest the creators are trying to be true to (their understanding of) the original work (especially if it's out-of-copyright — anyone can make a Dracula film).
  2. Celebrity Sponsor's X — Attaching the name of a popular (living or dead) author or celebrity onto a game into which he probably had little input, in order to improve the branding and attract passing trade. This is similar to the George Foreman Grill, in that nobody is under the illusion that John Madden sat down and coded an entire video game in his spare time.
  3. Executive's X — Putting the name of a producer or other executive with big-name power on the posters for much the same reason as (2), but this is worse because these people are usually directors or writers themselves. There's an implicit suggestion that the named person had something to do with it creatively when he most likely just gave it some money (or, at most, came up with a plot outline and a few characters). Sometimes rendered as Steven Spielberg Presents: Animaniacs. Many people still labour under the impression that Tim Burton directed The Nightmare Before Christmas (it was really Henry Selick; Tim Burton came up with the original story, but didn't write the screenplay).
  4. New Interpreter's X — A variation on #1 used to show that this adaptation is a bold new vision distinct from the original author's version. A relatively honest variation, in that the name at the front of the title actually does belong to the person who created the work.
  5. Actual Creator's X — where the creator actually did create the work, no qualifiers needed.
  6. Company's X — A variation on any of types 2 through 5 with the company instead of a single person. Often this is done for trademark reasons, especially when the simple name X can't be reliably trademarked.
  7. Star's or Host's X or Bert's Family Feud — Another variation on #5 with the star or host instead of the creator.

Not to be confused with Author Catchphrase or Signature Style. Compare Self-Titled Album.


TV Tropes' Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Original Author's X 

    Celebrity Sponsor's X 
  • Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine This one started out somewhere between Case 2 and Case 3, since Asimov actually did write the editorials (and provide responses for the Letters column) for the first decade and a half or so. Of course, when Asimov died, it became pure Case 2.
    • Also the sister publication, Asimov's Science Fiction Adventure Magazine (this one didn't do as well and folded after a couple of years of quarterly publication).
  • Clive Barker:
  • Despite the below-mentioned parody, Clive Barker's Jericho is actually a case of this... to a degree. Clive Barker didn't actually write the code or anything, but he collaborated on development and is listed as "creator" in the credits.
  • Clive Barker's Undying. Clive Barker was brought in partway through development for a rewrite of the story, and he also ended up doing a character's voice. His name was attached to it because Electronic Arts thought it would sell. Unfortunately, despite being a very good game, it didn't — due in no small part to the sum total of EA's marketing campaign for the game being slapping "Clive Barker's" in front of the title.
  • Tom Clancy lent his name to various series of books and games, but his involvement is limited to laying out the general concept for the respective series, while others do the actual writing. The Video Game publisher Ubisoft currently owns the intellectual property rights to Clancy's name for their games (Rainbow Six, Ghost Recon, H.A.W.X., End War, and others) and any related works.
    • Clancy actually did write the stories for the early Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six games. Later ones are Celebrity Sponsor's X (above).
  • Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious World, a documentary series; Clarke introduced each episode, but was otherwise uninvolved (even the narration for the bulk of each episode was done by somebody else)
    • Arthur C. Clarke's Venus Prime is another example. While the novels are all based on short stories by Clarke (and in fact include those short stories in the text), most of the writing was actually done by Paul Preuss.
  • Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine
    • Also a number of anthologies of short stories for children (one centered on spies, one on horror, one on mysteries, etc.) were published as Alfred Hitchcock's X. The Three Investigators series was also "presented" and introduced by Hitchcock. Hitchcock had nothing to do with any of these, other than licensing his name out to them.
  • Madden NFL
    • Somewhat misleading, as Madden did much more than to lend his name and sponsorship to the game. The game was not initially conceived as a realistic football simulation, but Madden refused to put his name on it unless it were one. The game as it exists is very much his concept instead of the developers', so it's fitting that it's named after him.
  • The Jon Pertwee Book of Monsters and Peter Davison's Book of Alien Monsters, short story anthologies trading on the stars of Doctor Who. Apparently, Davison actually chose the stories in "his" book, while Pertwee only provided introductions to stories selected by another; this may explain why only Davison gets the 's.
  • The Forgotten Realms series R. A. Salvatore's War of the Spider Queen. Each book in the series was written by a different author, and while Salvatore did oversee the project and write a prologue for each book, his name is basically a selling point for these novels by lesser known authors.
  • The Adventure Island games are titled Takahashi-Meijin no Bouken Jima (Master Takahashi's Adventure Island) in Japan, after Hudson Soft's spokesman who is barely recognizable as his in-game likeness. The first game was actually titled Hudson's Adventure Island outside Japan, though it was originally Wonder Boy and not a Hudson Soft game at all.
  • Quentin Tarantino presents The Protector and Quentin Tarantino presents Hostel. Interestingly, this is done by Tarantino himself to promote films that would otherwise be ignored, not by the studios.
    • In the case of Yimou Zhang's Hero, at least, this was the only way the Weinsteins agreed to distribute it without editing or dubbing.
  • Tekno Comics, a short-lived comics company in the Nineties had all their titles like this: Neil Gaiman's Lady Justice, Isaac Asimov's I-Bots, Gene Roddenberry's Lost Universe, Mickey Spillaine's Mike Danger (although since Danger is a Mike Hammer Expy, that might count as a type 1), Leonard Nimoy's Primortals, Tad Williams' Mirrorworld and so on.
  • Both Flesh For Frankenstein and Blood For Dracula had alternate titles: Andy Warhold's Frankenstein and Andy Warhol's Dracula. Paul Morrissey wrote and directed the movies and was a frequent collaborator with Andy Warhol, as was the two films' star, Joe Dellesandro. Because of this, they asked Warhol if they could use his name as a producer for publicity purposes. Morrissey did not expect the alternate titles and was angered when people believed the movies were made by Warhol.
  • Common in video games, usually including the likenesses (and sometimes voices) of the athlete named:
    • Tony Hawk's Pro Skater
    • Brian Lara Cricket
    • Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX
    • Kelly Slater's Pro Surfer
    • Ivan 'Ironman' Stewart's Super Off Road
    • Danny Sullivan's Indy Heat
    • Lee Trevino's Fighting Golf
    • Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! (though in that game, Mike Tyson was the final opponent)
    • Shaun White Snowboarding and Shaun White Skateboarding
    • Tiger Woods PGA Tour
    • Early in the lifespan of the Sega Genesis, Sega's American division sought to cash in on recent championships for their sports games with Tommy Lasorda Baseball and Arnold Palmer Tournament Golf in 1989 (along with the Sega Master System-exclusive Walter Payton Football), James "Buster" Douglas Knockout Boxing, Joe Montana Football and Pat Riley Basketball in 1990, Mario Lemieux Hockey in 1991 and Ayrton Senna's Super Monaco GP II in 1992.
      • Evander Holyfield's "Real Deal" Boxing, developed by ACME Interactive for the Sega Genesis as a successor to the Buster Douglas game, would receive a bit of a marketing blow when Holyfield lost the title to Riddick Bowe just one month after the game was released. ACME (renamed Malibu Interactive) ported the game to the Super NES as Riddick Bowe Boxing, but they weren't able to release the game before Bowe lost the title back to Holyfield.
      • The Sega Genesis port of Pigskin: 621 AD was retitled Jerry Glanville's Pigskin Footbrawl, despite the game featuring a fictional Blood Sport that makes no pretense of following the rules of American Football.
    • Earl Weaver Basketball
    • Emlyn Hughes International Soccer
    • Jimmy White's Whirlwind Snooker

    Executive's X 
  • Wes Craven Presents: They, in addition to being a terrible film, is an example of #3.
    • Also Wes Craven's Wishmaster, Wes Craven presents Dracula 2000, ...
    • The "Wes Craven Presents" series was an attempt to give experience and an opportunity to some up-and-coming young directors. It was hoped that attaching Craven's name would make the films more appealing to distributors and renters. The whole effort has probably done more harm to Craven's name than it has good for anyone else's.
  • Berry Gordy's The Last Dragon, of which Motown head Berry Gordy was executive producer.
  • Alfred Hitchcock Presents, an anthology television show featuring horror / mystery / crime stories, for which Alfred Hitchcock served as executive producer and host. He also directed some (but not all, or even most) of the episodes.
  • Are We There Yet?. the TV show from executive producer Ice Cube (who does do the promos for it).
  • Peter Jackson's King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie (if it isn't obvious, The Movie is the one film that was directed by Jackson)
  • Jenna Jameson's Shadow Hunter. Many readers felt shortchanged by this comic, since it was fairly light on Fanservice despite being backed by a porn star.
  • Marvel Comics always included a "Stan Lee Presents" before the title of each comic issue for decades. This has led to Lee's reputation getting rather severely inflated among people unfamiliar with comic books.
    • Now Boom! Studios is doing the same thing with a trio of titles that Lee is involved in (but not as an actual writer or artist).
  • Billy Rose's ...
  • Steven Spielberg:
    • All the Warner Bros. TV cartoons that were co-produced with Amblin Entertainment were fully titled Steven Spielberg presents [show title].
    • The miniseries Steven Spielberg's Taken. Spielberg neither wrote nor directed any episodes (all ten episodes were directed by different people, and while they were all written by the same man it wasn't Spielberg).
    • Although Spielberg has "Story By" credit on 15 episodes of Amazing Stories (including the two he directed) and wrote another one, his name isn't part of the title except in British listings guides (which insisted on calling it Steven Spielberg's Amazing Stories).
  • Oprah Winfrey Presents The Color Purple, the musical adaptation of the 1985 film adaptation of the 1982 novel by Alice Walker.
    • See also the made-for-TV movies among others Oprah Winfrey Presents David And Lisa, Oprah Winfrey Presents The Wedding, and Oprah Winfrey Presents Mitch Albom's For One More Day.
  • Walt Disney's movies almost always had "Walt Disney presents..." written in the opening credits, even those originally distributed through RKO Radio Pictures instead of Disney's own distributing company. The posters and home video covers also often read, "Walt Disney's", "Walt Disney Presents...", "Walt Disney's Classic...", or "Walt Disney's Masterpiece..." above the title.
    • Titles used for Walt Disney's anthology show include Walt Disney's Disneyland, Walt Disney Presents, and Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color.

    New Interpreter's X 

    Actual Creator's X 
  • Older Than Steam: This device was not unknown in the 17th century. One of the compositions of Johann Kaspar Kerll bears the title La batal ą Casparo Ceerl.
  • Writers who are popular enough tend to have their names as large or larger than the title on the covers of their books. Sometimes this reaches ridiculous levels.
  • Gerry Anderson's later series featured this, specifically Terrahawks, the unbroadcast pilot GFI, Space Precinct, Lavender Castle, New Captain Scarlet (which could also be seen as 'Just in Case You Forgot it was a Remake'), and the upcoming post-humorous book series Gemini Force 1.
  • Rainbow: Richie Blackmore's Rainbow
  • Tim Burton's Corpse Bride
  • Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas
    • A (probably intentional) effect of this is that many people by extension think that he directed Coraline as trailers advertised it as "from the director of The Nightmare Before Christmas" and make no effort to tell you that means Henry Selick.
    • Maybe not on the TV spots, but the theatrical trailer included Henry Selick's name.
    • DirecTv's listings took this a step further. "Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas: The Pumpkin King gives the yuletide season a touch of Halloween in an animated tale from the mind of Tim Burton. Animated. From a Tim Burton story."
    • Few also remember that this was, technically, a Disney film; aside from placing it under their Touchstone logo, Disney didn't want anyone to initially know it was from or associated with them, so adding Burton's name was one more degree away in their eyes.
      • They're happy enough to claim it now, and even redo the Haunted Mansion at the amusement parks part of the year (roughly, between Halloween and Christmas) with a Jack Skellington theme.
  • Kurt Busiek's Astro City. Put in by the author because his editor thought simply Astro City sounded too hokey. His name tends to be in rather smaller print. Then again, Astro City's largest TV station is "KBAC", just in case.
  • James Cameron's Avatar, in order to distinguish it from the other Avatar; Cameron did write and direct it.
  • John Carpenter is particularly notorious for adding his name to all of his films' titles (such as Halloween (1978), Body Bags, John Carpenter's Vampires, Escape from New York, and Escape from L.A.). Even TV episodes he directs, such as the Masters Of Horror episode "John Carpenter's Cigarette Burns".
  • Kira Is Justice was formerly called C0's Death Note, because it was a Working Title. It was changed.
  • Michael Cimino's Heaven's Gate
  • In the 1960s kids' cartoon "Beany and Cecil" (also called "Matty's Funnies with Beany and Cecil"), creator Bob Clampett shoehorned his name in every episode about six times, including in the opening theme song, which also features a cartoon rendering of him. Every half-hour episode consists of three cartoon shorts, and in the beginning of every one of them, the main characters sang "so here are Beany and Cecil in—a whole half-hour—Bob Clampett cartoo—oon!" The Other Wiki reports that he was known as "a shameless self-promoter." Well...yeah.
  • Wes Craven's New Nightmare: Wes Craven attached his name to the title to announce his return to the franchise.
  • Lee Daniels' The Butler, Daniel's name is legally obligated to appear in the title because Warner Bros. also made a movie called The Butler in 1919.
  • The Inferno by Dante Aligheri, is almost always referred to as Dante's Inferno.
  • Blake Edwards did this with several of his films' onscreen credits from The Great Race onwards, as he often served as director, writer, and producer. He also named his 1980s production company Blake Edwards Entertainment.
  • Lampshaded in a Credits Gag for one episode of John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme; "I myself wrote and starred in the programme, but modesty precludes me from ever telling you my name, save for one cryptic clue hidden deep within the title..."
  • Jim Henson's The Storyteller. Fraggle Rock, originally merely credited as "with Jim Henson's Muppets", was re-billed as ''Jim Henson's Fraggle Rock" after the sale of the Muppet trademarks to Disney.
  • Movies that Alfred Hitchcock directed in 1942 or later say, Alfred Hitchcock's [insert title here] in the opening credits and/or on the poster.
  • Michael Jackson's Moonwalker: "Game Concept and Design by Michael Jackson," at least according to the credits.
  • Hideo Kojima's Metal Gear Solid Snake Eater 3D: "The Naked Sample."
  • Archer Maclean's Mercury
  • Syd Mead's Terraforming
  • Sid Meier has gained sufficient acclaim for his work that Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri is the official title. And Sid Meier's Civilization. And Sid Meier's Railroad Tycoon. Sid Meier's been getting less involved in the games of late; although he remains Chief Creative Officer of Firaxis, he doesn't write much code anymore. He apparently does contribute a lot conceptually, though.
  • Like Sid Meier, Will Wright makes such good games that he deserves to have his name in the title, though nobody ever includes it in idle conversation. Supposedly, that's because Will Wright either doesn't want his name in the titles, or EA doesn't want his name in the titles. Depending on who you believe, Will Wright is either a humble guy, or EA is full of jerkass executives.
  • Paul McCartney's Liverpool Oratorio. This is somewhere between types 3 and 4, actually, since Paul McCartney is both author and executive. He was one of the creators of this work, but he did have a collaborator. Since Paul couldn't read the music he was writing, he was afraid that people would think this piece was ghostwritten if he didn't put his name on it. Carl Davis, his collaborator, did not appreciate this title.
  • Not a clean-cut example, considering the title uses Colon Cancer rather than the more classic possessive form. Nevertheless, the opening sequence for Chuck Norris: Karate Kommandos certainly drops a hint or two about who created it... taking this trope to drinking game levels.
  • Sometime's this is done as a fan reflex more than anything — several works by Katsuhiro Otomo have his name added by fans more than anything. Oddly, the only film that has this as an official alternate title is Memories which as an anthology, had numerous people working in the same capacity as Otomo did. Go figure.
  • Tyler Perry and anything he releases.
  • One Saturday Morning shows often have their creators' names written next to the title in the intro, but Recess also included the text "Created by Paul and Joe" on The Merch.
  • George A. Romero's Land of the Dead
  • John Romero's Daikatana
  • Chris Sawyer's Locomotion. A sequel to his earlier Transport Tycoon game, the only reason his name was included on this one was to play up on the popularity of the other game he made in between those two.
  • Budd Schulberg's A Face in the Crowd gave its screenwriter an unusually prominent credit, both because adapting one's own short story to the screen was still unusual for the time and the name of Elia Kazan would've otherwise overshadowed him. This is in accordance with what Kazan wrote in his introduction to the published screenplay: "A first-class writer won't do first-class work unless he feels that the picture is his."
  • The original edition of Shakespeare's sonnets is actually titled "Shakespeare's Sonnets", and repeats the words as a running title on every page. At that time this was a very unusual kind of title; one could almost believe that the editors foresaw the centuries of disputed authorship that were to follow.
  • Michael Turner's Fathom is still titled that, even though Turner himself passed away in 2008.
  • Gus Van Sant's Last Days, which despite its title is a fictionalized account of Kurt Cobain's last days.

    Company's X 

    Star's or Host's X 


References and parodies:

    Fan Fiction 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Parodied by the film Jane Austen's Mafia!, which has nothing at all to do with Jane Austen.
    • At the time, there were a lot of film and TV adaptations of Austen, the Bronte sisters and their contemporaries that were using the formula (e.g., Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice), so it was a topical parody.
  • In the Hot Fuzz writers' commentary, it is stated that the film's Romeo and Juliet parody was initially going to be referred to as Baz Luhrmann's William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet.
  • Parodied in Mr. Bean's Holiday: "CARSON CLAY PICTURES present -- CARSON CLAY -- in a CARSON CLAY production -- of a CARSON CLAY film" — PLAYBACK TIME
  • Precious: Based on the novel 'Push' by Sapphire, one can only guess that is title is for cases where you forgot, for cares to forget that the cinematic motion picture (feature length) is adapted from a long form narrative prose (fiction-American, written in English) work of a different name written by an author under a pseudonym.
    • The adaptation was originally called Push: Based on the Novel by Sapphire, but retitled to avoid confusion with the 2009 sci-fi film Push.
    • NBC's The Office parodies this trope when Michael, taking Erin out to lunch, pops in a book-on-tape "novelization" of Precious: Based On The Novel Push By Sapphire.

    Live-Action TV 

    Web Originals 

    Webcomics 
  • Lilformers had "Michael Bay presents: A Michael Bay Movie: Michael Bay's Transformers. (Directed by Michael Bay)". (The movie did have at least one mention of Michael Bay's name in its credits, but Lilformers is Lilformers.)
  • "Penny Arcade's award for Best Penny Arcade goes to... Penny Arcade!"

    Western Animation 
  • Family Guy parodied both types 3 & 4 with "Peter Griffin Presents The King and I, a Peter Griffin Production." His new interpretation might as well have been a new play entirely; it was set on the planet Siam and featured partial nudity, kung fu fighting, & Groin Attacks.
    • The marquee also refers to "A Peter Griffin Joint", a parody of Spike Lee's odd director credit (instead of "A Spike Lee Film").
  • Brak Presents The Brak Show Starring Brak
  • The title of the work is Mary Shelley's Frankenhole, but it was created by Dino Stamatopoulos. While the setting is Dr. Frankenstein's lab in Eastern Europe, the show is a parody of horror genres.
  • Garfield and Friends: In "The Cartoon Cat Conspiracy", Garfield created a Show Within a Show titled "Sam the Cat", which was actually a Self-Parody, Garfield overpromoted himself in the opening credits and apologized for not having space to give Odie due credit for animating the story. (Garfield got Odie to do it because he was cheaper than any Korean staff)

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