All of the remakes, reboots, and re-envisioning that've been going on in Hollywood lately have been great blog fodder for The Sound and Fury, and with the collective ball kicking that I gave television last week in my post "The state of American television", I thought I'd start taking a look back to recognize the days when TV was still King. These posts will be a series or irregularly occurring features not unlike the recently added Retro-Reviews, but instead of film will focus on the television of yesteryear. This post will focus mainly on theme songs from the ghost of television past.
So, hearken back with me to the days of yore. Put on your rose colored glasses, and let's stroll merrily down the path of television nostalgia and see what we may find.
Who doesn't remember Welcome Back Kotter? If you don't feel a wave of warm, fuzzy nostalgic bliss wash over you when you hear this theme song, you are probably under the age of thirty. In which case, these posts will mean very little to you. For me, it recalls a time of shag carpets, of sitting on that green carpet in my Spiderman Underoos playing with my Legos while my mom and dad laughed at the Sweathog's antics on screen. And Welcome Back Kotter introduced the world to John Travolta. (Yeah, that guy!) According to Wikipedia, John Sebastian of Lovin' Spoonful wrote this theme song, and jacked up the lyrics while attempting to perform it on Saturday Night Live (speaking of television shows that have gone down the crapper).
I used to watch The Greatest American Hero when I was a kid, and while I liked the series the things that stuck with me about it were, 1. Connie Sellecca was hot. H-O-T, hot. 2. William Katt, the actor who portrayed the title character was one of those actors that you saw in everything in the 70's and 80's (coincidentally, John Travolta and William Katt appeared together in the screen adaptation of Steven King's Carrie, which was Travolta's first feature film), and 3. the theme song was really catchy. Really! It was so catchy that it went on to have a life of its own and spent 18 weeks on the Top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100. Co-writer Mike Post wrote several memorable TV theme songs including Hill Street Blues, L.A. Law, and NYPD Blue.
And what sort of post concerning TV theme songs would be complete without some mention of Cheers. Yes. We all remember Cheers, the show that made Ted Danson a household name, and gave back bars their good name. But what really stuck with me through the years was that theme song. The song was written by Judy Hart Angelo and Gary Portnoy, and has to be one of the awesomest, feel good theme songs ever written. An obscure bit of trivia: How many of you knew that John Ratzenberger (Cliff Clavin on the show) played a minor role as a rebel soldier on Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back? Ratzenberger also appeared in Hill Street Blues (mentioned earlier), which was created by Stephen J. Cannell, who also created The Greatest American Hero. A tangled web I've woven, eh?
I guess, looking back, these shows remind me of my childhood. And those were good times. Pat yourselves on the back, mom and dad. You must've done something right.
If you have some theme songs that you think should have been mentioned, give a shout out and let me know. Honestly, I think that this is only the tip of the ice berg.