Mailbag: Credits Are Due, Makeup Matters

By Rich Heldenfels
Beacon Journal popular culture writer

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Things are serious for D.B. Russell (Ted Danson) (center) and Captain Jim Brass (Paul Guifoyle) as they both interview a suspect, on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. (Sonja Flemming/CBS)

If it’s Thursday, this must be the mailbag.

Q: Onscreen credits that use “and” after so many stars are named seem unfair to those mentioned after the “and.” On “CSI” (the Las Vegas one) after everyone else is named we see “and” Paul Guifoyle. On “Law & Order: SVU” we see “and” Dann Florek. These people contribute greatly and the quality of the show would certainly suffer without them. Don’t you think these folks should be treated equally on the credits or is something else afoot?

A: Actually, that “and” is treating the actors better than regulars whose names are bunched together. The “and” sets the performers apart — not unlike the box you will see around some performers’ names in ads. Alec Baldwin, who was inarguably the second most-important player on 30 Rock (after Tina Fey), was listed after other regulars in the opening credits — but with that “and.” On Nashville, Powers Boothe, an Emmy winner and distinguished actor who plays Rayna’s father on Nashville, gets the “and” in that show’s credits.

To be sure, credits can be complicated, as you can tell by noting there are stars, featured players, guest stars, special guest stars and so on — as well as names placed strategically onscreen, or in different type sizes. For instance, on Two and a Half Men, the names of stars Jon Cryer and Ashton Kutcher are onscreen side-by-side; Cryer is on the left, so your eye catches his name first, but Kutcher’s is higher up in the frame.

Q: I would like to know if the show “Leverage” is coming back for another season. I think it has the best storylines and actors. Parker rocks!

A: Yes, Parker, played by Beth Riesgraf, did rock. But TNT decided not to continue the series. In fact, its future was uncertain enough that, like many shows, it designed a season finale that could also serve as a closing to the show if no more episodes were made. So that was indeed the series’ farewell.

Q: I watched a movie the other day, which I had seen some years ago, called “Enemy Mine.” I was very taken aback by the makeup on Louis Gossett Jr. My question is how long each day did it take to put it on?

A: In the 1985 film Gossett played an alien opposite Dennis Quaid’s earthling on a distant planet. Gossett’s makeup transformation was so considerable that the Los Angeles Times said that, except for Gossett’s height, “there is absolutely nothing recognizable about him.” According to the Chicago Tribune: “At the outset it was necessary for Gossett to spend seven hours in the makeup chair” although later that was reduced to three hours to get him made up (and a couple of more hours to remove everything at the end of the day). Still, said the Tribune, “Gossett`s face became raw and sore. The double set of contact lenses burned his eyes, causing his vision to blur.”

Making the film overall proved very complicated; it changed directors after production began, which led to a shift in shooting locations and a redesign of Gossett’s makeup — all adding up to months of delays. But Gossett and Quaid were paid the entire time and, according to a 1985 Times story, Gossett “had never made so much money on a project in his life.”

Q: I am a “Downton Abbey” junkie. I preordered the DVD of Season 3, which I stayed up to watch in total after it was delivered. I have been extremely depressed since! Please tell me there is a Season 4 with a happier ending!

A: I offer no specifics about the third season, since many people are still watching it unfold on TV. So no specifics will be offered here. And I have no inside information about a fourth season — except to say that, yes, there will be one.

Do you have a question or comment for the mailbag? Write to the Akron Beacon Journal, 44 E. Exchange St., Akron, OH 44309 or rheldenfels@thebeaconjournal.com. Please mark the email or envelope with “mailbag.” Letters may be edited for publication. Please do not phone in questions. Individual replies cannot be guaranteed.

Rich Heldenfels writes about popular culture for the Beacon Journal and in the HeldenFiles Online blog at www.ohio.com/blogs/heldenfiles. He is also on Twitter and Facebook.


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