In 2014, Creative Babble interviewed titles animator Jon Forsman about the blur of images used in the opening credits of The Americans. He eloquently explained how his team had settled on the use of juxtaposition, supposed subliminal messaging techniques, and Cold War typographies and graphics, in order to recreate a sense of both the US-Soviet conflict and of the personal contradictions felt by ‘illegals’.
Some screencaps were used to illustrate his points but fell well short of the full gallery of shots used in the 22-second sequence. So here’s the lot:
- Emblem of the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF), the American aerial warfare service during World War Two and until 1947. Which looks a little like…
2. …the State Emblem of the Soviet Union, depicted here in a sculpture at the Tsarytsino Open-Air History and Architectural Museum in Moscow.
3. Map of the USSR seen through binoculars over a row of suburban US townhouses.
5. “The Worker and the Collective Farm Woman” raising the hammer and sickle; the Marine Corps War Memorial raising the Stars & Stripes.
6. Elizabeth’s passport and a segment of a Soviet literacy-promotion poster declaring “Books for all grow knowledge”.
7. Decadent, western, degenerative, capitalist past-time of “hula hoop”.
8. A Soviet boy learns to swing a scythe. An American boy learns to swing a baseball bat.
9. Phillip’s passport with a segment of a World War Two War Bonds poster.
10. Spy-on-Screen cliché: bloke in raincoat with a black case evades a car and an undercover assassin. Maybe.
11. Series of images and designs from the Space Race, with Page patting an American Eagle statue.
12. Map of Washington DC and the city’s name circled on a repeated list with Columbus and other cities.
13. Spy-on-Screen cliché: mini camera photographing documents.
14. Two bearded fellas, revered in very different ways.
15. Video game blowing things up in different colours.
16. Atomic weapons test blowing things up in different colours.
17. Spy-on-Screen cliché: documents passed in the street.
18. Decadent, western, degenerative, capitalist past-time of aerobics.
19. Authentic, enriching, worker-peasant, folk past-time of cossack dancing.
20. Spy-on-Screen cliché: secret police bundle an arrestee into a vehicle.
21. A newborn and versions of Soviet and US World War Two propaganda posters aimed at parents of babies or toddlers.
22. Elizabeth in the viewfinder of a camera and an all-American family snapshotted in front of the White House.
23. Spy-on-Screen cliché: captive about to be interrogated.
24. Sports car and model. Symbols of decadent, western, degenerative, capitalism.
25. Chairman of Council of People’s Commissars and State Emblem of the Soviet Union. Symbols of democratic, socialist civilisation.
26. “A built-in remedy, for Kruschev and Kennedy”.
27. Lenin and “narod” (“the people”) (HT @adrianmcmenamin). George Washington with a segment of the US Constitution’s “We the people” preamble. Then Lenin is replaced with the Statue of Liberty’s torch.
28. Jimmy Carter and Yuri Andropov (possibly when he was head of the KGB).
29. Carter and Leonid Brezhnev.
30. Brezhnev and Ronald Reagan.
31. United States Capitol.
32. St Basil’s Cathedral and Moscow State University.
33. The Jennings pasted on to another family’s photo.
34. Stars & Stripes and the Red Star.
35. Spy-on-Screen cliché: car explodes beneath a Soviet martial banner.
36. Enough already.
37. The Americans.
The Americans is on ITV 4 on Wednesdays at 10pm and available on catch-up here.