I'm Will Wright. In order to introduce the new blog, Junk Drawer, Headley's allowing me to post today with something I wrote a couple years ago for Bethlehem Writers Roundtable.
Top Ten TV Themes
Most of my friends had impressive vinyl collections when I was growing up. I didn’t purchase a single album until I was seventeen. I didn’t consider myself musically ignorant; after all, I watched plenty of television, and TV (particularly in the sixties and seventies) gave us many memorable theme songs.
Here’s my top ten:
- The Monkees Theme by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart. Like many theme songs, The Monkees Theme was catchy. I chose it over other catchy themes like The Ballad of Jed Clampett, or The Addams Family Theme, because you knew that in each episode of The Monkees, you would get a short music video at the end.
- Star Trek by Alexander Courage. Star Trek debuted when I was eight. The theme fit the show. It was exiting, adventurous, and a little bit scary (by eight-year-old standards.) It almost made those silly William Shatner monologues worthwhile.
- Suicide Is Painless (MASH) by Johnny Mandel (lyrics, which were not part of the TV show, were by Mike Altman, Robert Altman’s fourteen-year-old son.) Leaving out the lyrics was probably a good idea.
- Love Is All Around (Mary Tyler Moore Show) by Paul Williams, recorded by Sonny Curtis. Yes, it was sentimental, and I never would have admitted liking it when I was thirteen, but if you watched the corner of my eye carefully, you might have seen the beginnings (just the beginnings!) of a tear, when Mary threw her hat in the air.
- Where Everybody Knows Your Name (Cheers) by Gary Portnoy, and Judy Hart. Some songs have a way of transporting you. This song took you to a comfortable place. It had a lot to do with the success of the show.
- Mission Impossible Theme by Lalo Schifrin. Even you were just getting up to use the bathroom, you moved differently – smoothly, and with confidence, after hearing this theme. It made you feel like you could do anything.
- Hawaii Five-O Theme by Morton Stevens. It had a similar effect as did the Mission Impossible theme. I never liked the show, but I waited for that final chord before I changed the station.
- Raw Hide by Dimitri Tiomkin and Ned Washington. Who cares that the lyrics were repetitive – what a ride!
- Secret Agent Man (Danger Man) by Steve Barri and P. F. Sloan, performed by Johnny Rivers. I know Patrick McGoohan starred in the show, but I don’t remember anything else about the show – but I sure remember the song! (sorry, I couldn't find the credits on You Tube.)
1 The Theme from Peter Gunn by Henry Mancini. The show was a little before my time, but the theme was all around me growing up. I wasn’t the only teenager who drove a little too fast and took the corners a little too sharp, as Mancini’s pulsing beat pushed adrenaline from adolescent glands, up to my brain, and then down to the accelerator.