Author Pat Kirkham discusses the opening titles for The Facts of Life, from her authoritative book Saul Bass: A Life in Film and Design.
This comedy about a romance between two middle-aged people (Bob Hope and Lucille Ball), each married to someone else, was an opportunity for Saul to create funny gags to the strains of Eydie Gorme and Steve Lawrence's upbeat title song, “The Facts of Life.” The rituals and accoutrements of courtship provide the raw material for a series of visual jokes.
“This title attempts to outline the ingredients of a 'boy-girl' situation, utilizing the typography of the cast names and the technical credits as active ingredients in the incidents. We begin with gifts of ﬂowers; with candy which reveals the names of actors in the bottom of the paper wrapper when the candy is removed; gifts, one of which is composed of credits. Eventually our two-some progress to a friendly drink, the ice cubes of which are credits; a typographically jeweled necklace is proffered; cigarettes are smoked leaving typographic ashes; telephone conversations ensue; a tryst is arranged; typographic coats are hung; soft music and lights follow — all employing the typography as intrinsic actors in the situation. Finally, as the typographic lampshade is dimmed for the second time, the ﬁlm begins.”
Pat Kirkham is Professor in the History of Design, Decorative Arts and Culture at the Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, Design & Culture, New York. She has written and edited a number of books, including Charles and Ray Eames (1998) and Women Designers in the USA 1900–2000 (2001).
©2011 Laurence King Publishing Ltd. Used with permission.
Titles Designed by: Saul Bass and Associates
“The Facts of Life”
Lyrics and Music by Johnny Mercer
Performed by Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gormé
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SAUL BASS: A LIFE IN FILM AND DESIGN
By Jennifer Bass and Pat Kirkham