The Show is Gone; Its Theme Song Lives On

In my semi-retirement, I’ve been watching the “oldies” channel around lunch time.  And one thing I’ve noticed about these old TV shows (pre-70) is that their theme songs tend to be much better than current ones.  In fact, many current TV shows have little in the way of theme songs.

One of my favorite current TV shows is “NCIS.”  But I could not remember what the theme song sounded like without tracking it down.  Another popular show is “Modern Family” but it’s theme song is pathetic.  About the only current show I watch that I think has a good theme song is “The Big Bang Theory.”

So I’ve assembled the theme songs from some of my favorite oldies shows and invite you to think about what current shows can provide some competition to these oldies.

For me, the theme that’s stood the test of time (40 years?) is “Hawaii 5-0.” Lucky for me, it comes on at noon and I can watch it while I have lunch when I’m home.  With it’s danceable beat and fast cut shots of Oahu, it’s a very memorable theme.

Although it’s a fairly “simple” theme, it’s hard not to get drawn into “Mission: Impossible.

Westerns were very popular in the ’60’s. Two themes from that genre have stayed with me all these years.  One of them is “Bonanza.”

The other one is “Bat Masterson.”

Comedies were another popular genre.  My two favorites were based on “unusual” situations.  One was “The Beverly Hillbillies.”

The other was “The Addams Family” which has come back as a Broadway production.

Maybe it was just my infatuation with Dianna Rig, but I had to watch “The Avengers” each week.  Its theme song is certainly one of the more “complex” ones.

And who can forget the theme to “The Monkees”?

Finally, do you remember what western TV theme song was sung by country music icon Johnny Cash? If you said “The Rebel” then you’re correct!

I admit that I don’t watch many current TV shows.  If you think there are some theme songs you’ll enjoy 40 years from now, put a link to them in the comments.


9 responses to “The Show is Gone; Its Theme Song Lives On

  1. Overall I will agree and I can remember all of the theme songs you highlighted without playing the video. That part of major TV networks has apparently succomed to budget issues. and is certainly less creative.

    But if you expand your repertoire you will find that other networks like HBO and AMC still have some pretty cool stuff going on.
    I didn’t want the credits for Sopranos to end each week cause Woke Up This Morning got me rocking.

    And Mad Men opening credit theme is very Hitchcockian and suspenseful.

    And since the show has been an evolving 60’s theme each episode closes with an appropriate and historically accurate hit from the 60’s which, while not original is still quite creative and sometimes expensive. i.e. buying the first ever rights to a Beatles song for a weekly TV show.

    • Well PT, if my stock buys now that the Dow is down big time turn out to bring in some nice profits when the market comes back, I may be able to afford more than “basic” cable with a handful of channels. LOL!

      I like that Mad Men ends with a 60’s song!

  2. That was fun! I don’t watch enough TV to know any theme songs, but here’s one (my favorite) from the past for you.

    • Don’t recall if we got “Rawhide” when I was in Manila. All these “American” shows were on one channel owned by an American, until the government said, some years after I left, that foreigners could not own TV channels. Or land. Or any business, unless there was a “Filipino” partner. If I get a Philippine passport and retire there, I could become a silent partner in some foreign business,as some of my school friends are. Nice income for doing nothing besides technically waving the Philippine flag.

  3. I don’t know why it won’t put up the YouTube “box” like yours do..

  4. I remember most of these and you’re right. TV theme songs used to be memorable. I also don’t watch a lot of current TV shows, but a few theme songs came to mind as I read this.

    Two and a Half Men:

    That Seventies Show:

    Saving Grace:

  5. Since you don’t watch Mad Men this can hardly be a spoiler. Sunday night’s season ending show finished with Joni Mitchell Both Sides Now, which absolutely nails the anti hero Don Draper, who has struggled with extraordinary personal conflicts for six seasons. One more season coming and then no more Don. We will miss him so……………he is such a talented, lovable little boy fugitive. He just keeps fucking up everyone he’s involved with, even when he tries to do the mature thing. The complete antithesis of Richard Kimble, a real fugitive who made everyone’s life better every week.

    But when he’s good, he’s very very good, and when he’s bad he’s very very bad.

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