.....The end credits for the inaugural season of The Transformers are among the most memorable in all of animation. Draped with the classic end theme music (which was slightly re-edited and re-used for the next season), the credits showed a number of memorable transformation sequences from "More Than Meets the Eye", with a decided nod towards the first and third parts. However, there are two versions of the credits, and the differences are quite interesting.
.....The first section of the credits features Optimus Prime transforming, from the third part of "More Than Meets the Eye". For the initial miniseries, this spot is dedicated to the Supervising Director, John Gibbs, and his assistants, the Sequence Directors. Once the first season began in earnest, however, the writing staff received first credit, which is notable given how, in most other Sunbow series, the writer generally receives credit at the beginning of the episode, not in the end credits.
.....In both versions, you can see that Voice Director Wally Burr and Voice Actors Michael Bell (Sideswipe, Swoop, Scrapper), Chris Latta (Starscream, Wheeljack, Sparkplug, Reflector), Corey Burton (Shockwave, Spike, Brawn), Don Messick (Ratchet, Gears, Scavenger), Peter Cullen (Optimus Prime, Ironhide), Ken Sansom (Hound), Dan Gilvezan (Bumblebee), Scatman Crothers (Jazz), Casey Kasem (Cliffjumper, Teletraan 1, Dr. Arkeville) and John Stephenson (Thundercracker, Huffer) are given credit, but Victor Caroli and the credits for the Voice Processing are not present on this card in the regular season version.
.....While technically a part of the preceding shot of Megatron, the regular season credits appear as Skywarp is onscreen (although the quickened pace has the new credits appearing just before this shot, as is the case with most of the following shots), and include the Voice Processing credits, Victor Caroli, and add newcomers Hal Rayle, Gregg Berger, Michael Horton, Neil Ross, Mona Marshall, and Arthur Burghardt-all of whom did not provide their talents to "More Than Meets the Eye". In addition, Frank Welker's name is rightfully added to the group, which is much needed, given how blatantly Mr. Welker's contributions would go over the (then) four voice session limit for each and every first season episode.
.....The next card focuses on the Storyboard and Design teams in "More Than Meets the Eye", while the regular version features the directing credits. Oddly enough, John Walker and John Gibbs flip-flopped jobs and the directing team shrunk quite a bit. The possibility of multiple teams exists, but I only have evidence of this team, as most of my copies of the Season 1 end credits come from the old FHE releases, and they had a chronic problem with using one end credit sequence over multiple episodes, regardless of whether or not the credits applied to the episode at hand.
.....The next card has a listing of the various sound editors for "More Than Meets the Eye", while the first season credits show the Storyboard credits, and adds the presence of Storyboard Supervisor Don Goodman to the mix. Naturally, there are more people working on the storyboard in the regular season.
.....Next, listing of the executive production staff (a vital link between the people in charge of the show and Marvel and Sunbow's higher execs) is listed of the scene of Jazz transforming, from the next to last scene of "More Than Meets the Eye" Part III. The regular credits still had to finish up the design credits, though.
.....The credit for distribution (by Claster, which continued to do the same thing for Hasbro until the toymaker consolidated all of its television distribution efforts in 2000) is shown next, although it's replaced by the almost unchanged sound editing credits in the season version.
.....The credit that Peggy Charen and Ed Markey (among others) love to hate appears in the "More Than Meets the Eye" version, as the Hasbro logo is shown on their copyright card, just like all of Sunbow's 1984 cartoons. This is different from other years, which just displayed the Hasbro name in a font that was likely from their corporate letterhead or something. The first season credits show the executive production credits, minus Sunbow story God Jay Bacal's (whose name is the source of the codename Lady Jaye, of Hasbro's G.I. Joe line) Creative Director credit.
.....Toei gets credit for their animation services, under the name Toei Doga, and the studio's mascot, Pero (from Toei's classic film Puss in Boots), is shown. At the bottom of the screen, a relatively small font is used to let us all know that Sunbow owns the copyright for "More Than Meets the Eye", which means that Marvel Productions gets absolutely shit in the long term for the miniseries. Hasbro gets more than shit, but only because they own the characters contained. Otherwise, total control is officially deigned to Sunbow. The regular season credits give Jay Bacal a much larger credit, and groups it with the program copyright information, which is slightly bigger this time.
.....The music composition credits are given in the miniseries version, but are replaced with the Claster credit in the regular season version, which means that the first season version's staff credits are about over, and the executive credits are on their way.
.....The Hasbro credit is smushed in after Claster's credit in the first season version. Other than placing, it is exactly like the previous version's card, and the card used by other 1984 Sunbow productions.
.....The late Lee Gunther (one of the only holdover from Marvel Productions' days as DePatie-Freleng Enterprises) receives a font almost equal to that of Jay Bacal in his credit as Executive in Charge of Production (which is similar to being the Godfather of all Marvel Productions series, if you ask me). Johnny Douglas gets a font upgrade from his "More Than Meets the Eye" credit, which is definitely deserved given just how much great work he provided for Marvel and Sunbow from 1981-1984. Note that Ford Kinder and Anne Bryant receive no credit for the series' theme song-the only time this error occurs in a Marvel/Sunbow cartoon (save those Marvel cartoons where Johnny Douglas and/or Rob Walsh provided all music, of course) Interestingly enough, this error was corrected after "Divide And Conquer" (the only episode released on video by FHE to carry this erroneous credit). This is also the point at which the season credits properly synch up with the scenes.
.....Lee Gunther's credit is bumped forward by one card in the regular season version, and is otherwise exactly the same. In the previous version, George Arthur Bloom's writing credit was pushed towards the back of the credits-again like other Sunbow productions of the time (both G.I. Joe miniseries stuck Ron Friedman's writing credit near the tail end of the credits as well). And, depending on the episode, the FHE release miscredited Bloom, which happened with "Transport to Oblivion", the first regular episode of Transformers (which was truly written by story editors Dick Robbins and Bryce Malek), and "Roll For It", an episode whose writer is, like most of the episodes in Season 1, currently unknown.
.....The last two cards (and, of course, the Sunbow Productions and Marvel Productions Ltd. logos) are precisely the same in the two versions that have titles. This should come as no surprise, given that these production credits stayed unchanged from 1984-1987, when Marvel and Sunbow parted ways. Of course, in 1986, the Marvel/Sunbow logo sequence would change, due to the nicer starfield logo from the three Hasbro-related feature films of that year, as well as Marvel's sale to New World Productions, which caused the "A Cadence Company" tag to disappear when the "traditional" logo sequence returned.
.....Furthermore, the release of the first season DVD set revealed a host of variations as Rhino sort of stumbled through certain aspects of the series (with the various recaps, the bumpers, and the end credits being the least noticed of these various oddities). As the Malofilm Rhino VHS releases in the '90s revealed, most episodes of the first two seasons only had "raw" credits sequences, without any credits whatsoever (as seen above in the right row of screen grabs). The "raw" credits were held for non-English-speaking territories (Quebec, Mexico, parts of Central America, and Japan, primarily, at least for these NTSC versions) in case Sunbow needed to create alternative credits. (Many episodes of Sunbow's shows, in fact, were also missing their title cards when released to home video in the '90s, much like had happened to G.I. Joe during the initial VHS releases by FHE in 1984 and 1985.) These credits were added by Sunbow in post-production, and for the first two seasons have a primitive-looking quality to them that was eliminated when the distributor credit in second season episodes where the Claster credit was replaced with a plain-looking "Sunbow Productions International" tagline for worldwide distribution. (FHE's 12th volume of Transformers episodes implies that the credit was initially revised by inserting the international distribution card from the Season 3 end credits.)
.....For whatever reason, the only Season 1 credits confirmed to still exist are the final version regular season credits with the corrected music credits, which popped up in Rhino's VHS and DVD release of The Ultimate Doom, at the end of the first episode. As such, Rhino recreated the credits for "More Than Meets The Eye" with a near-perfect level of accuracy (same, albeit slightly chunkier, font, but a slightly smaller typeface with too much black shadow to the characters, and Norm McCabe's name was incorrectly rendered as "NOR M McCABE". Other episodes, however, featured a rather odd pair of credit recreations: some episodes featured the Season 1 end credits recreated, and others received the Season 2 credits recreated over the Season 1 end credits animation and music. What's really odd, however, is that the font on both versions is the same as the recreated MTMTE credits (sans black shadow, which causes the credits to lose any semblance of the primitive appearance that the originals had), with multiple minor layout errors (and for the Season 2 credits, text for the Claster credit, instead of their distinctive logo like in the real Season 2 credits). Neither of these sequences have any basis in reality, as the Season 1 episodes likely retained their original end credits when reran during future seasons.
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