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Title Card Tales: Mike Royce’s Snowpants Productions

09snowpants108 howie

End cards or “vanity cards” as they are known derisively/accurately, are those logos and nonsense that flash at the end of TV shows for two seconds.  To be accurate, this year it was cut from 2 seconds to 1 ½ seconds.  I don’t know why the studio needed that extra half second but I assume they sold it to Bud Light somehow.

Generally a vanity card is a perk afforded the creator(s) of the show and/or some of the executive producers.  Most of the time it’s the same logo over and over but some people change it up.  My old boss Phil Rosenthal’s “Where’s Lunch” featured a different meal at the end of every episode of Everybody Loves Raymond.  Chuck Lorre is well-known for squeezing entire short stories onto his.

I first got to have my own vanity card on HBO's Lucky Louie, AKA the show that Louis C.K. did before the one that won all the awards.  Around that time my dad digitized all his old Kodachrome slides, and I found a lot of the images hilarious and some of them made me cry.  I cry easily so that’s just sort of a side note.  Fuck you?  Anyway it made me decide to make my end card a different old photo each episode.  My friend Bill Rapp lovingly did the graphics. And here they all are for you Mike Royce completists out there AKA “Mike Royce.”

Sometimes the picture is tied thematically to the episode but not always.  The first four photos rotated through all of Lucky Louie and the first four episodes of Men of a Certain Age.  My production company name comes from the fact that “snowpants” is the punchline to the first joke I did onstage that ever got a laugh.  Some would say the only joke.

01snowpants100 mom

My mom walking me in the Syracuse snow -- sometime in 1967, I’m guessing. I’m not sure why everything’s kinda pink. It was the Winter of Love, man!

02snowpants101 jenn

This is my sister Jennifer sitting on the hood of a car, because in 1970, you were totally allowed to drive around like that.  Nowadays, of course, you have all the worrywart parents and their “car seats” and whatnot.  It’s a shame.

03snowpants103 katie

This is my sister Katie who we adopted from Korea just a few months before this picture. So behind that smile is a girl going, “What is this cold white shit and when can I go home?”

04snowpants104 mikedan

Me and my brother.  I’m on the left, displaying one of my many faces that ensured a career behind the camera.

05snowpants102 gramp

My grandfather, around Christmas 1965.  That’s a box of Old Spice in the background but I’m sure he’s wearing it IRONICALLY. (End card from Men of a Certain Age, "Powerless")

06snowpants106 hockey

Midstate Youth Hockey Association game circa 1972, and the classic end-of-game handshake.  My brother and I are on the red team, “Burdick's Sports Shop.”  The handshake is a hockey tradition that says “Sorry I just got done punching you forty times.” (MOACA, “Go with the Flow”)

07snowpants105 store

My other grandpa owned a clothing store for 50 years.  This never translated into me knowing how to dress. (MOACA, "Father's Fraternity")

08snowpants107 aggiegeorge

My Great Aunt Aggie and my Uncle George, late 1960s.  George was a bit of a wild child and so was Aggie.  She smoked three packs of cigarettes a day and her favorite drink was Coke “with a little something in it.”  She lived to be 94 and she is my hero. (MOACA, "You Gonna Do That the Rest of Your Life?")

09snowpants108 howie

My wife’s family on the Atlantic City boardwalk in the '60s.  My wife’s dad is the guy with the pipe and the weird leather jacket, her grandma is in the white fur and beehive and my wife is the girl with the lollypop.  I consider this possibly the greatest photo ever taken. (MOACA, "So You Want to Be an All-Star")

10snowpants109 slapshot

I love hockey.  I played ice hockey for my whole child/teenhood and I still play street hockey to this day.  I also was in musicals in high school.  This is why you see me on the left, about to unleash a monster slapshot while wearing my white Jesus pants from Godspell. (MOACA, "Back in the S#!t")

201 kickball

My brother and a bunch of neighborhood playing kickball in the street because it was 1978. (MOACA, "If I Could, I Surely Would")

202 jenny-poo

This cute little girl is my wife!  And now I feel creepy. (MOACA, "Same as the Old Boss")

203 mike_boat_smile

Me flanked by my cousins Danny and Brian, 1982 or so. This is about as cute as any of us ever got. (MOACA, "Cold Calls")

204 hair_brush

My wife's mom and grandmom sometime in the early '40s.  They came from Germany to Louisiana, which requires a term stronger than "culture shock." (MOACA, "The Bad Guy")

205 halloween

My brother, sister and I, Halloween.  I'm Robin Hood, ladies. (MOACA, "...And Then the Bill Comes")

206 sunglasses_and_utica_club

Classic Aunt Aggie. (MOACA, "Let the Sunshine In")

207 back_at_the_lake

This is my Aunt Agnes (not to be confused with Aggie).  Sometime in the late '70s she tried getting into meditation, so naturally everyone in our family made fun of her and somebody snuck this picture to goof on. Keep sending out those space signals, hippie! (MOACA, "The Great Escape")

208 happy_ladies

This is one of my favorites.  My grandmother in the middle, my Aunt Mary in back, great aunts around...  There's something about the overall disapproval vibe that makes me understand my Catholic upbringing. (MOACA, "The Pickup")

209 katie_batting

My sister Katie, BRINGING THE WIFFLE THUNDER. (MOACA, "A League of Their Owen")

210 johnny_and_dottie

My grandparents. These are the types of gifts you put on after a few beers. (MOACA, "Can't Let That Slide")

211 dog_painting

My other grandparents and their beloved dog Rusty.  Here come the waterworks!  Damn it I promised myself I wouldn't do this.  (MOACA season 2, "Whatever Gets You Thru the Night")

212 mia_will

Since this was possibly (and as it turned out, definitely) the last episode of Men of a Certain Age, I wanted look to the future somehow, so here are my kids essentially giving one of the great wonders of the world the finger. (MOACA, "Hold Your Finish")

This next batch is from 1600 Penn.  They're square because I share the screen with Josh Gad's card.

101 flowers

My daughter would rather YOU NOT TAKE HER PICTURE PLEASE. (1600 Penn, "The Skiplantic Ocean")

102 man_car

My dad with his actual '57 Chevy, looking cool. (1600 Penn, "So You Don't Want to Dance?")

104 hear_no_evil

My son back when I could still beat him at chess. (1600 Penn, "Meet the Parent")

103 rock_center_woman

My mom in front of 30 Rock, 1964! (1600 Penn, "Frosting/Nixon")

106 magician

I chose this because my son looks a lot like Josh Gad's character does at a certain point in this episode.  (1600 Penn, "Skip the Tour")

105 bruce_dog

Our dog Bruce, he's kind of big. (1600 Penn, "To the Ranch")

107 cliffhanger

My brother in York Beach, Maine with a 70's haircut 'cause it was the '70s. (1600 Penn, "Game Theory")

108 little_jen_park

My wife and her mom circa the '60s before there was color or sadness. (1600 Penn, "Live from the Lincoln Bedroom")

111 wet_girls

My sisters enjoyed being photographed with differing enthuasism (1600 Penn, "The Short Happy Life of Reba Cadbury.")

109 bocce

Beer!  Bocce! 1970s!  Shirtless grandpa! (1600 Penn, "Dinner, Bath, Puzzle")

110 princess

My daughter is a teenager now and you can imagine how much she enjoys this photo. (1600 Penn, "Bursting the Bubble")

112 wedding_dance_2

My wife and me, our wedding.  She still wears that dress every day.  (1600 Penn, "Marry Me, Baby)

UPDATED Jan. 10, 2014!

AND NOW TO BEGIN… the Enlisted portion of the obsessive/compulsive displaying of my past.  For Enlisted, creator Kevin Biegel and I wanted to use our end cards to give a shout-out to enlisted soldiers.  That turned out to be not possible, Army-permission-wise.  We hope that we can do it in the future.  Instead Kevin and I are giving shout-outs to our own family members who have served.

100 Uncle Mike

First up is my Uncle Mike, just back from Vietnam.  Thanks Uncle Mike!   (Enlisted, "Pilot")

105 Gramp Navy

This is my Grandpa John who served in the Navy during WWII.  Thanks Gramp!  (Enlisted, "Randy Get Your Gun.")

102 Martin

Tonight's episode is a pretty good one, I must say.  At the end you'll see my great uncle Martin.  He moved from frigid upstate NY to Florida for much of his latter life.  He was smart.  (Enlisted, "Pete's Airstream.")

I'll be updating every week.  And one more thing:  PLEASE WATCH ENLISTED!  I've worked on good and I've worked on shit, and this is the first one.  We've gotten some really nice reviews:

But we're on Fridays, which is not a high viewership night.  So set your DVRS or better yet throw away any semblence of social life and sit home and watch!

Mike Royce is executive producer and co-showrunner on FOX's ENLISTED, which airs Friday nights at 9:00 p.m.  (NEW TIME  SLOT!) Eastern/Pacific, 8:00 p.m. Central/Mountain, and other time zones when applicable.

(This post was originally published on Feb. 21, 2013)

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16 Comments

  1. Stephen Royce

    Of course I love this trip down memory lane that led to your current enterprise. There should be a title card of you doing standup.
    WOLLSWOYCE

    Reply
  2. Tilly

    Your picture captioned Atlantic City boardwalk is actually the Asbury Park boardwalk shooting North with Convention Hall in the background.

    Reply
  3. FTW vs. WTF: The TV Week in Review (February 24) - Cartoon Network Toys

    [...] creator and 1600 Penn showrunner has collected all his vanity cards (which are family photos) in one handy-dandy place, complete with revealing captions about their meanings. Take a look and be entertained. Or take the [...]

    Reply
  4. Monika Stapleton Dudley

    Is it safe to assume that the lake behind the pic of your sister playing wiffle ball is Oneida Lake? If so, so you know what area?

    Reply
  5. Title Card Tales: FOX’s “Enlisted” from Mike Royce, Kevin Biegel and Snowpants Productions | The Comic's Comic

    [...] Last year, TV showrunner/executive producer Mike Royce shared with The Comic's Comic the photo gallery of vanit.... [...]

    Reply
  6. Brian C Hall

    I just watched the pilot for "Enlisted" and somehow I ended up here. Great show though. Very funny. I think it's a great time for a new military comedy.

    I'm actually writing the pilot for a military comedy show based on my experiences in the Air Force and when I heard about "Enlisted" I was worried I had been beaten to the punch. But then I remembered that I'm not even in the industry yet and my pilot will likely never see a frame of film.

    After a good, manly sob 'n' wail I watched the pilot for "Enlisted" and was relieved that it was different enough in tone from mine that there would be no real overlap. (Coincidentally, "Men of a Certain Age" is one the shows influencing the tone of my script.)

    And then I remembered again that it'll be at least a decade or two before I'd possibly be in the position to make my show a reality and that that's the true reason for the lack of overlap. Ha ha sob.

    I have to get back to writing but I just wanted to say that I really enjoyed the pilot for "Enlisted" and as a former military member, I think you all are doing something with the show that most of us will love. Can't wait to see more episodes!

    Reply
    • Brian C Hall

      P.S. I love the end cards. Ever since "Buffy" and Joss Whedon's Mutant Enemy end card I've always had a strange interest in them. Don't ask moi. *shrug*

      Reply
    • Mike Royce

      Thanks Brian. We've had a great response from the military community. You may be interested in reading about some of the outreach and research that we did after a number of AR 670-1 screwups in the pilot:
      http://www.vftla.org/blog/musa-foxs-enlisted
      http://rhinoden.rangerup.com/hollywood-rights-a-wrong-wait-what/

      People seem to really be digging the show and I'm glad you did too! Good luck with everything!

      Reply
      • Brian C Hall

        Thanks for the links, I'm glad you guys are going to such lengths to get the little stuff right. Though, personally, I wouldn't call much of what I saw in the pilot a "screwup" per se. Little things here and there but, for the most part, in the military folks get away with all kinds of things because if no one says anything about it then you can do what you want. And in an organisation like the one you're portraying, I wouldn't be surprised if no one had said anything to them before. People slip through the cracks all the time and the military isn't the clean, always-in-regs, and well-oiled machine some might have you believe.

        Though, personally, I'd rather watch a show with too much right than not enough. It always hurts when I watch a show or movie that didn't even bother trying to get the military aspect right. I love that the characters will be saying "Sarn't Major". I worked with a bunch of Army cats the last few years in and they were very adamant that it wasn't pronounced "Sergeant Major". Great detail.

        Oh, and I'm glad to see Baron Vaughn on the cast. I've been a fan of his stand-up for a few years now and I'm happy to see him getting more exposure.

        Keep up the good work and I'm looking forward to many more seasons of the show.

        Reply
  7. Tom Muench

    Mike , we are so proud of you. I love the pictures, especially the one of Katie ! Our love to you. Tom and Mary lee Muench

    Reply
  8. Therese Hentz

    Mike;
    Hey there! Distant relative over here. The last time l saw u, l think u were 9.

    Saw the show, loved it, have no social life, and will continue to do so. Do you have any explanation as to why Fox has buried your great show in such a terrible time slot? Seems obvious to me that it should be paired with Brooklyn Nine-Nine on Tuesday nights.

    Reply
    • Mike Royce

      Hi Theresa! Well yes Friday 9:30 is a terrible time slot but Fox is having trouble finding room elsewhere. Hopefully they will figure out a way to at least get us exposure on other nights.

      Reply
  9. Zach

    Love these logos! I am a huge fan of your work, was heartbroken when Fox chose not to go forward with Little Brother, but I got to see your logo that year on the underrated 1600 Penn. Good show. I AM LOVING ENLISTED!

    Not a big fan of the Lucky Louie era font though. "Luckily" it improved.

    Reply
    • Mike Royce

      Thanks Zach. My graphic designer friend Bill Rapp took over the cards after Lucky Louie, he made them look good. : )

      Reply

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