STATEMENT THAT APPEARS AT THE BEGINNING OF ALL A-Z 2016 PAGES:
Welcome to the A-Z Classic TV Shows Theme Songs and Intros! Last year I did an A-Z Musical Tour of My Life and featured tons of classic rock music. I had so much fun with it that this year I decided to present classic television shows theme songs and intros. These are shows that I remember from my youth during the 60s and 70s…with an occasional 80s show thrown in. Each show is introduced with information (gathered primarily from my favorite go-to for info, Wikipedia) or associated memories, followed by a video of the TV show’s theme song intro. At first glance, the posts may seem long because of the number of videos included but it’s really laid out in a way that will enable you to scroll through and read, watch or hear just what you want and then either move on to the next A-Zer or linger and go back in time with all the fun theme song intros you’ll find here. Please leave a comment and share your favorite classic TV shows. By all means, bookmark my blog so you can come back! I hope you enjoy my collection. Now, let’s get started with…
D is for the Dick Van Dyke Show:
Who doesn’t love The Dick Van Dyke Show? They don’t make comedy like that anymore…
The Dick Van Dyke Show is an American television sitcom that initially aired on CBS from October 3, 1961, until June 1, 1966. The show was created by Carl Reiner and starred Dick Van Dyke, Rose Marie, Morey Amsterdam, Larry Mathews, and Mary Tyler Moore. It centered on the work and home life of television comedy writer Rob Petrie (Van Dyke). The show was produced by Reiner with Bill Persky and Sam Denoff. The music for the show’s theme song was written by Earle Hagen.
The series won 15 Emmy Awards. In 2002, it was ranked at 13 on TV Guide’s 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time.
The show’s premise: The two main settings show the work and home life of Rob Petrie (Dick Van Dyke), the head writer of a comedy/variety show produced in Manhattan. Viewers are given an “inside look” at how a television show (the fictitious The Alan Brady Show) was written and produced. Many scenes deal with Rob and his co-writers, Buddy Sorrell (Morey Amsterdam) and Sally Rogers (Rose Marie). Mel Cooley (Richard Deacon), a balding straight man and recipient of numerous insulting one-liners from Buddy, was the show’s producer and the brother-in-law of the show’s star, Alan Brady (Carl Reiner). As Rob, Buddy, and Sally write for a comedy show, the premise provides a built-in forum for them to be making jokes constantly. Other scenes focus on the home life of Rob, his wife Laura (Mary Tyler Moore), and son Richie (Larry Mathews), who live at 148 Bonnie Meadow Road in suburban New Rochelle, New York. Also often seen are their next-door neighbors and best friends, Jerry Helper (Jerry Paris), a dentist, and his wife Millie (Ann Morgan Guilbert).
D is for Dragnet:
This is probably where my addiction to cop shows started:
Dragnet is an American television series (1951-1959), enacting the cases of a dedicated Los Angeles police Detective, Sergeant Joe Friday (played by Jack Webb), and his partner Bill Gannon (played by Harry Morgan). The series is a spin off from the radio play of the same name. Both shows take their names from the police term “dragnet”, meaning a system of coordinated measures for apprehending criminals or suspects.
The ominous, four-note introduction to the brass and tympani theme music (titled “Danger Ahead”) is instantly recognizable (though its origins date to Miklós Rózsa’s score for the 1946 film version of The Killers).
After its success on radio Dragnet was popular enough to move to television. More important was that it brought continuity between the television and radio series.
Just before the show took its final commercial break, the show’s announcer would inform the audience of something related to the case, usually the opening date on which the perpetrator’s trial would take place in the Los Angeles County Superior Court (this would be accompanied by an onscreen card so the viewer could read along). After the break the camera faded in for what was presumably the perpetrator’s mug shot, consisting of him/her standing uncomfortably against the wall, while the results of the trial were announced. The perpetrator’s name and fate were then superimposed over the screen, specifically regarding what prison he/she was incarcerated in (or, in the case of perpetrators deemed unfit to stand trial, what state facility he/she was committed to).
D is for The Dating Game:
The Dating Game is an ABC television show. It first aired on December 20, 1965 and was the first of many shows created and packaged by Chuck Barris from the 1960s through the 1980s. ABC dropped the show on July 6, 1973, but it continued in syndication for another year (1973–1974) as The New Dating Game. The program was revived three additional times in syndication afterwards. The first revival premiered in 1978 and ran until 1980, the second ran from 1986 until 1989, and the last ran from 1996 until 1999 with a season of reruns following.
Jim Lange hosted The Dating Game for its entire ABC network run and the 1973 and 1978 syndicated editions. The 1986 revival was hosted by Elaine Joyce for its first season and Jeff MacGregor for its remaining two seasons. When the show was revived with a different format in 1996, Brad Sherwood was named as its host. Chuck Woolery took over in 1997 when the original format was reinstated and hosted for the last two seasons.
Beginning in 1966, The Dating Game was often paired with The Newlywed Game. This was especially true when the two shows entered syndication; in fact, in 1996 the revivals of both The Dating Game and The Newlywed Game were sold as a package called “The Dating-Newlywed Hour”.
The program was originally broadcast in black-and-white, but when a prime-time version began in October 1966, both it and the daytime version were broadcast in color; the daytime version thus became the first ABC daytime series to be broadcast in color on a regular basis.
The Format: Typically, a bachelorette would question three bachelors, who were hidden from her view; at the end of the questioning period, she would choose one to go out with on a date paid for by the show. Occasionally, the roles would be reversed with a man questioning three ladies; other times, a celebrity would question three players for a date for themselves or for a co-worker or a relative of theirs.
Before becoming famous, Farrah Fawcett, Suzanne Somers, Yvonne Craig, Lindsay Wagner, Tom Selleck and Lee Majors appeared as contestants on the show in the 1960s and early 1970s. Other contestants who appeared before becoming famous included The Carpenters, Jackson Bostwick, Joanna Cameron, Andy Kaufman (who went under the pseudonym Baji Kimran), Steve Martin, Burt Reynolds, John Ritter, Phil Hartman, Jennifer Granholm (Governor of Michigan from 2003–2010), Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Alex Kozinski. Serial killer Rodney Alcala’s episodes were shown during his murder spree and after he had been convicted of rape in California.
Here is serial killer Rodney Alcala’s appearance on the Dating Game. He is sometimes labeled the “Dating Game Killer” because of his 1978 appearance on the television show in the midst of his murder spree. (Rodney Alcala is a convicted rapist and serial killer. He was sentenced to death in California in 2010 for five murders committed in that state between 1977 and 1979. In 2013 he received an additional sentence of 25 years to life after pleading guilty to two homicides in New York in 1971 and 1977. His true victim total remains unknown, and could be much higher. Prosecutors say that Alcala “toyed” with his victims, strangling them until they lost consciousness, then waiting until they revived, sometimes repeating this process several times before finally killing them).
Here he is, appearing on this show, in the middle of all his kills. Freaky! And can you believe it: he was chosen as the winnner. That girl is just darn lucky that she wasn’t one of his victims.
Other contestants appeared even after they were fairly well known, including a young Michael Jackson, Ron Howard, Maureen McCormick, Barry Williams, Sally Field, Richard Dawson, Jay North, and Paul Lynde.
One standard trademark was that at the end of each episode, the host and winning contestants would blow a kiss to the viewers.
Here’s just the theme song, that great Tijuana Brass opening that you should remember. I couldn’t find an intro from the 60s or 70s:
What other classic TV shows that start with the letter D should be here? What are your favorite TV shows, past and present?