When I was growing up nothing pissed us off more than missing the theme song to our favorite show. The person who caused this massive blunder, whether deliberate or by an act of God, would be hated by the entire family until next weeks episode. The theme song was the beginning of happy time, and just as important as the show itself. In the 70's & 80's the theme to a show became an art form. It was a point in history when all three television stations understood that the opening music would make or break a show.
Here are 6 television themes that were some of the classics of my generation:
All In The Family with Carroll O'Connor & Jean Stapleton was a show that framed the looks and attitudes of the common man. The image of them sitting side by side at a piano, belting out badly sung lyrics, is etched in our memories. Lee Adams & Charles Strouse are credited with "Those Were The Days".
Good Times was a 1970's blockbuster hit. It summed up the feelings of many African American's living through this tough time of racial tension. Alan & Marilyn Bergman wrote this brilliant theme song. They also wrote the theme for Maude, from which Good Times is a spin-off.
Maude was the breakout show for one of my favorite actresses Beatrice Arthur. The theme song was a humorous empowerment for women in America. It burned a mark into history as it echoed the need for womens independence.
The Addams Family was a bizaar comedy of the creepy. There are few people over the age of thirty who don't know this theme song. Vic Mizzy wrote this song and the theme for Green Acres. Mizzy also wrote songs for Billie Holiday, Dean Martin, and Doris Day. He died a couple of years ago at the age of 93. Here is a bit of his life:
Cheers! If you don't know this theme song then you're still in middle school. Cheers was the best "feel good" theme of nearly any show. It was written by Gary Portnoy who had recently been fired from a major music publisher. This is considered one of the most memorable television themes in history.
Laverne and Shirley's theme song, "Making Our Dreams Come True" was penned by the dynamic duo Norman Gimbel and Charles Fox. They also wrote the theme for Happy Days, Angie, The Adventures of Wonder Woman and the very famous song, "Killing Me Softly". The first song they wrote for Laverne and Shirley, "Hoping Our Dreams Come True", was turned down because it did not personify the strength of the characters. The second attempt was brilliant.