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Monday, July 1, 2013

Top Ten TV Themes


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:
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. Raw Hide by Dimitri Tiomkin and Ned Washington. Who cares that the lyrics were repetitive – what a ride!
  1. 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.