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Automobile Opening

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Among those TV shows that actually have an opening credits sequence, it's quite common for it to feature a car driving around whichever town the show is set in. This is probably because it's a visually dynamic way of introducing the setting, and isn't that expensive. Driving a Desk may be involved. There are variations with other vehicles such as skateboards and spaceships, but the common element is that the vehicle explores the setting of the show. An opening where the setting is the vehicle, as in many science fiction shows, is a different idea. Product Placement may or may not be involved.



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     Live-Action TV 

  • The Beverly Hillbillies shows the Clampett family going into Beverly Hills in their old-fashioned hillbilly truck.
  • Ed is shown driving through Westfield NJ, which is New Jersey Doubling for Stuckeyville OH.
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia features a car driving around the eponymous city with shots of local landmarks.
  • Police Squad!'s title sequence began with a shot of the flashing light on a police cruiser. In The Movie, The Naked Gun, this was expanded to show the police cruiser driving around downtown Los Angeles, driving off the roads, driving through buildings, driving into jungles, driving down waterslides, driving down the Death Star trench...
  • For its first 13 years, the opening title sequence of The Bill featured the area car (updated to a new one every few years or so) driving down a busy street in London.
  • The Sopranos features Tony driving from New York to his home in New Jersey. His route is deliberately inefficient to provide more interesting visuals: it runs through Newark and Kearney to get to Tony's house in North Caldwell, but any reasonable driver going from New York to North Caldwell would never get as far as Newark on the Turnpike but rather get off the Turnpike onto NJ Route 3 at Secaucus and get home from there. One supposes that perhaps Tony intends to visit Satriale's (fictively in Newark, with the actual building being in Kearney), but we don't see that in the intro.
  • Joey had the title character driving around Los Angeles.
  • Star Trek: Voyager had the ship travelling through different astronomical settings, making it fit this trope.
  • Taxi had, of course, a taxi driving around New York and over the Queensboro Bridge.
  • Newhart's Automobile Opening was locally infamous in Vermont for 1) showing the car cruising otherwise-empty backroads at the height of leaf-peeper season, and 2) featuring a 1972 Oldsmobile long after everything that age on the state's heavily-salted roads in Real Life had rusted to oblivion (unless the car belongs to an out of state vacationer looking for an inn).
  • Maude
  • One Day at a Time opens with a sweep over rush hour in downtown Indianapolis.
  • Showa era Kamen Rider series, do this with a motorcycle rather than a car. Kamen Rider V3 does it with a motorcycle and a BBC Quarry that explodes randomly and pointlessly. The one exception is Kamen Rider Amazon, justified since he was a Wild Child and thus a reluctant Badass Biker.
    • Especially Kamen Rider BLACK and Kamen Rider BLACK RX, whose opening consists of literally nothing but the hero riding his motorcycle(s) down a road.
    • Mostly dropped in the modern series, though they typically retain a token shot of the Rider on his bike. Both openings of Kamen Rider Agito, especially the second one, were around 80% motorcycle riding and 20% everything else.
  • The opening of Moonlight Mask's, the very first tokusatsu television show, mostly sees the eponymous hero riding on his bike much like a proto-Kamen Rider.
  • Subverted by L.A. Law, which starts with the trunk of a Mercedes-Benz being slammed, revealing "LA LAW" on the license platenote ...and then forgets all about the car, opting for a Fully Automatic Clip Show of the regulars Walking and Talking.
  • Another Steven Bochco series, Hill Street Blues had an opening montage showing police cars rolling out of the station-house.
  • Another Police Procedural, this one by Jack Webb, was Adam-12, which opened with a dispatcher calling the unit to investigate an armed mob, and showing it rolling off, lights and siren full blast.
  • Police, Camera, Action!, although that's pretty much obvious for a show which focuses mainly on motoring dangers.
  • That '70s Show features various cast members rotating into the car singing along with Cheap Trick's In the Street.
  • A big chunk of The Prisoner (1967) expository opening sequence has Patrick McGoohan driving around in the actor's own Lotus 7.
  • M*A*S*H did a flying version, showing the camp from overhead as choppers full of wounded are coming in for a landing, then switching to the ambulance and Jeeps carrying the wounded to the camp.
  • The Jeffersons has George and Louise in a cab following the moving truck.
  • The first season opening credits of The Mary Tyler Moore Show showed Mary driving herself into Minneapolis.
  • WKRP in Cincinnati has a driver tuning in to different radio stations while cruising by Cincinnati locations.
  • The title sequences of Starsky & Hutch changed over its run, but they always opened with a shot of Starsky's trademark Torino tearing around a corner, tires squealing.
  • Hawaii Five-O's rapid montage ends with a shot onboard a Honolulu Police Department motorcycle, racing through the streets with its light flashing. The new series' opening is a remake of the original.
  • Burke's Law started with Henry driving Capt. Burke from his mansion (or wherever he was at the start of the show) to the scene of that episode's murder.
  • One of the Better Call Saul title cards is a rear shot from the Breaking Bad episode "Full Measures" of Saul Goodman's 1999 Cadillac Sedan de Ville driving down an Albuquerque street, focusing in on his LWYRUP license plate.
  • Emergency! had its regular opening showing squad 51 speeding to a call with lights and sirens - before cutting to the opening credits. The syndication opening takes it up a few notches, by having both squad and engine 51 rolling out of the station to the tune of the station ringdown - but again, sort of averts it by having an epilepsy light show of rotolights with the title superimposed.

     Video Games 

  • Several Late to the Tragedy PC adventure games open with a driving scene of your character's journey to the game's location, often using Real Life highway footage rather than CGI. Examples include Barrow Hill, Rhiannon, Dire Grove, and Baron Wittard.

     Western Animation 

  • The Flintstones, particularly the once rarely-seen first opening sequence.
  • The Jetsons had George busing his family around on his flying car.
    • Back to the Future The Animated Series had a variant of this, with Doc Brown getting into his DeLorean and picking up Marty from 2015, Jules and Verne from the Stone Age, and Clara from 1885. His dog, Einstein, had the Time Train for the day.
  • The Simpsons cuts between the family members as they simultaneously drive, bike, or skateboard home.
  • Futurama showcases the Planet Express Ship as it flies through New New York and finally crashes into a large screen. There are even occasional in-show references to the crash actually happening every week (due to the pilot being a cyclops with a dangerous lack of depth perception).
  • Postman Pat features Pat driving around Greendale, picking up the mail from the post office and delivering it, while all the villagers wave as he goes past.
  • A large part of the opening of Make Way For Noddy features Noddy traveling through ToyTown in his car, making deliveries.
  • The Mr. Magoo made-for-TV cartoons opened with him blithely driving his jalopy on a railroad track, through a barn, mowing down a hydrant, into a construction site, a roller-coaster track, finally into an electric substation and a fire of sparks.
  • Bobby's World follows Bobby around the house on his tricycle (with detours through his imagination, where it becomes a spaceship and a submarine).
  • The Pink Panther Show featured a live action sequence of (intercut with segments of the Pink Panther cartoons and random stock footage) a pink, purpose-built show car known as the Panthermobile. At the end of the sequence the car drops off the Pink Panther and the Inspector at a cinema.
  • Family Guy's "PTV" combined the above sequences from The Naked Gun, Bobby's World, and The Simpsons into a single opening. We follow the top of Stewie's head as he rides his tricycle through still further pop culture references, including Star Wars footage, which culminate in him crashing into Homer in the garage.
    Peter: Hey Stewie! ...who the hell is that?
  • Wacky Races, full stop. A checkered flag opening gives way to a stylized race car heading straight at the camera before the racers are introduced.
  • Another airborne variant: Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines opens with the titular villains and their crew in flight.
  • The Funky Phantom opening title has Skip, Augie, April and Elmo in their car, the Looney Duney, in a thunderstorm.
  • Top Cat is seen in the opening of his show presumably being driven in a limousine. When the limousine turns around, we see T.C. riding on its rear fender.



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