Wednesday, October 2, 2019

The Late Great Wayne Fitzgerald

Short of Saul Bass, it is arguable that Wayne Fitzgerald was the greatest title designer of all time. In a long career, he created some of the best titles ever made for both television shows and movies, everything from the classic TV show Maverick to the classic movie Catch-22 (1970). What is more, he was not only great at title design, but he was also prolific. IMDB lists 369 credits for movies alone. Wayne Fitzgerald died died Monday, September 30 2019, at the age of 89.

Wayne Fitzgerald was born on March 19 1930 in Los Angeles, California. Growing up in Los Angeles, he was within walking distance of several movie theatres and developed a love for movies even as a child. He graduated from the Art Center College of Design in 1951. He went to work for Pacific Title & Art Studio. In the Fifties he designed the titles for such movies as Glory (1956), Silk Stockings (1957), The Three Faces of Eve (1957), Touch of Evil (1958), The Fly (1958), Auntie Mame (1958), The Diary of Anne Frank (1959), Pillow Talk (1959), Operation Petticoat (1959), Tall Story (1960), and Pepe (1960). In television he designed titles for Cheyenne, Maverick, and 77 Sunset Strip.

In the Sixties Mr. Fitzgerald designed the titles of such films as Homicidal (1961), Judgement at Nuremberg (1961), The Children's Hour (1961), The Music Man (1962), 4 for Texas (1963), Send Me No Flowers (1964), My Fair Lady (1964), Father Goose (1964), Cat Ballou (1965), The Silencers (1966), Harper (1966), Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966), Any Wednesday (1966), Murderer's Row (1966), Camelot (1967), Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967), and In the Heat of the Night (1967). It was during production of Bonnie and Clyde (1967) that Wayne Fitzgerald resigned from Pacific Title, and founded Wayne Fitzgerald FilmDesign. In the late Sixties he designed the titles of Who's Minding the Mint (1967), Wait Until Dark (1967), Cool Hand Luke (1967), The Graduate (1967), Where Angels Go, Trouble Follows! (1968), Rosemary's Baby (1968), The Wrecking Crew (1968), Alice's Restaurant (1969), On a Clear Day You Can See Forever (1970), Catch-22 (1970), The Owl and the Pussycat (1970), and Little Big Man (1970). He designed the titles for such TV shows as Mister Ed, The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Beverly Hillbillies, The Invaders, It Takes a Thief, and The Bold Ones.

In the Seventies he designed titles for such movies as A New Leaf (1971), Big Jake (1971), Cancel My Reservation (1972), The Train Robbers (1973), The Day of the Dolphin (1973), Chinatown (1974), Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974), Escape to Witch Mountain (1975), The Sunshine Boys (1975), One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975), The Seven-Per-Cent Solution (1976), The Goodbye Girl (1977), The Cheap Detective (1978), Up in Smoke (1978), The Deer Hunter (1978), Apocalypse Now (1979), The Muppet Movie (1979), Private Benjamin (1980), and 9 to 5 (1980). He designed the titles for such television shows as Sarge, Night Gallery, The NBC Mystery Movie, Get Christie Love!, Eight is Enough, Dallas, and Knot's Landing.

In the Eighties Wayne Fitzgerald designed titles for such films as Body Heat (1981), Pennies from Heaven (1981), The Outsiders (1983), The Dead Zone (1983), The Big Chill (1983), Footloose (1984), Splash (1984), Firestarter (1984), Johnny Dangerously (1985), Silverado (1985), Down and Out in Beverly Hills (1986), The Fly (1986), Black Widow (1987), K-9 (1989), Opportunity Knocks (1990), Dick Tracy (1990), and Ghost (1990). He designed the titles for such TV shows as Tucker's Witch, Masquerade, You Again?, The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd, Our House, Jake and the Fatman, Father Dowling Mysteries, and Matlock.

In the Nineties Mr. Fitzgerald designed titles for such movies as True Color (1991), What About Bob? (1991), Basic Instinct (1992), A River Runs Through It (1992), Groundhog Day (1993), Grumpy Old Men (1993), Wyatt Earp (1994), Judge Dredd (1997), and Guinevere (1999). He designed the titles for the TV showd NewsRadio and Sabrina the Teenage Witch. In the Naughts he designed the titles for the films Nobody's Baby (2001) and Hollywood Homicide (2003).

As I said earlier, aside from Saul Bass, Wayne Fitzgerald was possibly the greatest title designer of all time. Examples of his incredible work are numerous. On television he created some of the best and most memorable title sequences of all time, including Maverick, Mister Ed, The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Beverly Hillbillies, and Dallas.In film he also some of the best and most memorable titles of all time, including The Fly (1958), Pillow Talk (1959), The Music Man (1962), Bonnie and Clyde (1967), and many others. One thing that set Wayne Fitzgerald apart from other title designers was his versatility. While his contemporaries were often known for a specific style, Mr. Fitzgerald's titles could vary stylistically. If there is one thing that his titles had in common, it is that in many ways there were movies in and of themselves. His titles were closely-knit, but never cluttered, and in many cases told stories all their own. It was his talent at montage, at creating what were essentially "mini-movies" with his titles, that allowed him to be so prolific. In being able to create titles that were works of art in and of themselves, Wayne Fitzgerald guaranteed he would always be in demand.

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