Apr 28, 2009
Ernie Barnes: Ain’t We Lucky We Had Him
I had never heard of Ernie Barnes until today. A former football star turned artist, Barnes died Monday night at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, according to wire service reports.
While Barnes was unfamiliar to me, one of his creations is instantly recognizable to fans of classic TV. It turns out Barnes painted “Sugar Shack,” a scene of African-American dancing and liberation that appeared in the closing credits for Norman Lear’s series “Good Times.”
Today, most opening credits sequences have been shrunk to a few seconds, and they usually consist of video montages. And closing credits sequences? They’re largely extinct, replaced by network promotions.
The Lear era of sitcoms, however, was marked by truly memorable themes and credit sequences, “Good Times” being one of his best.
You can see the “Sugar Shack” scene here.
I can’t find the “Good Times” credits with Barnes’ painting online. But here’s one version notable for something else: Note who plays “The Young Man.”