D is for the Dick Van Dyke Show, Dragnet and The Dating Game #atozchallenge



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?


50 thoughts on “D is for the Dick Van Dyke Show, Dragnet and The Dating Game #atozchallenge

  1. Hi, dear Michele!

    All three of these were must see TV for me beginning with Dragnet starring Jack Webb and Ben Alexander, a series that began its long run when I was two years of age. As a boy I was mesmerized by the sweaty arms appearing at the end of the show to hammer the Mark VII Production logo onto the wall. (Mark VII Limited was Jack Webb’s production company.) It became my favorite part of the show. 🙂 I never missed an episode of Dick Van Dyke. The chemistry between Dick and Mary was second to none and both possessed impeccable comedic timing as well. Richard Deacon was playing Lumpy’s father, Fred Rutherford, on Leave It To Beaver the same years that he was a regular on The Dick Van Dyke Show. Original Dating Game host Jim Lange died two years ago. It was chilling to watch that clip in which the serial killer charms the bachelorette into picking him for the date. Jim Lange instructed the young woman that she could ask the bachelors anything she wanted, but the titillating nature of her questions made it obvious that they were written by the staff and discussed with her in advance by the producers. I imagine that young lady still has nightmares about that date.

    Thank you, dear friend Michele!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s funny that your favorite part was the hammering of the Mark VII logo! I didn’t know that was Jack Webb’s production company. Great bit of trivia there. (You’re always so full of amazing trivia! What a mind you have Shady!)

      I never made the connection between Leave It to Beaver and the Dick Van Dyke show. (there you go: another piece of fascinating trivia!)

      And I agree: those girls on the Dating Game had to be coached: they always had the most bizarre questions…the only thing more bizarre were some of the answers! But that’s what made the show fun.
      I wonder if they interviewed that girl when they were investigating Alcala? I wonder if she picked up any kind of bad vibe? People can seem so normal and be such monsters. It’s scary.

      Thanks so much for popping by today Shady. Always a pleasure to see you!


    • Dour: a great word to describe Jack Webb. Wonder whether he was like that in real life or just his character??
      Thanks for stopping by Lee. I know you’re on the road so I appreciate the time you took to pop over…


    • I know, right?! That girl could’ve potentially sued the show for setting her up with a serial killer! I would imagine they didn’t exactly do background checks back in those days…
      Re: the Dick Van Dyke Show: if you get a chance to see it, by all means, do. It’s very funny. Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore have incredible chemistry together.
      Thanks for stopping by Tasha!


  2. I haven’t actually seen any of these but Dragnet was featured in one of the books I read recently. I can’t remember the title (I’m awful like that ) but it was about a guy with Asperger’s who was addicted to this series 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • All three were great shows. You can probably catch Dick Van Dyke and maybe Dragnet in reruns on some networks. Haven’t seen any classic Dating Game shows over the years. They were classic for sure.
      Thanks so much for stopping by!


    • Oh thanks Paula! I appreciate that! I hoped that what I put together would be pleasing to people. Thanks for saying that! ❤


  3. Michele, I loved watching The Dating Game from the 70s! That was fabulous fun. I remember the board game, too. Do you? I think my best gf got it one year for Christmas, which we played frequently. I was not much of Dragnet fan, but I did watch some of the Dick Van Dyke shows. Here’s another classic TV series, Dallas! The original 80s programming was excellent. Larry Hagman was a perfect villain and Dallas 2012 was equally good. I hated that it got cancelled. A prime example of poor judgement in good vs bad TV shows not making the cut.

    ~Curious as a Cathy
    All Things Vintage: Dear Diary #AprilA2Z

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I loved Dallas — the 2012 series. I didn’t watch the one from the 80s, but should try to find it. I was irritated that they cancelled the latest series. It was good!

      I am not familiar with the Dating Game Board Game. What was that about?? It must have been fun if you guys played it frequently…

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. All great shows. Dick Van Dyke especially. When I was younger, I didn’t care much for reruns of black and white TV, this was the exception. I was always excited to see it. If Van Dyke would trip at the beginning, I would pretend to trip. Boy, that annoyed my mother. She must have written into the network execs to have them stop that.
    As for he dating game, it was hit or miss for me. Wasn’t really a big draw. If my memory is correct, dates resulting from the show were chaperoned. At least in the beginning. Even not, this guy was probably aware that killing someone after he appeared on the show with her would point the finger directly at him.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lol! That’s funny that you continued to imitate Dick Van Dyke’s tripping. You drove your mother crazy, huh? Funny.

      I didn’t know if the Dating Game dates were chaperoned. Probably back in those days they were…

      Thanks for stopping by Jeffrey!


    • I don’t know about the chaperone thing with the dating shows. I forgot about Love Connection! I’m kinda drawing a blank: I don’t really remember it. What years was that show from?
      So glad you are liking my series! XOXO


  5. Creepy about Alcala being on the show right then… Ugh. She got lucky indeed. No, I never watched that show, but it sounds way more entertaining than the modern “reality TV” versions (Bachelorette et al). And I *loved* Dick van Dyke! No, never watched his show (not sure if we even had it in Mexico… probably didn’t translate well 😀 ), but I know him from movies—especially Mary Poppins. Still watch that movie any time I catch it on TV just to see him. He was brilliant. You’re right; they don’t make comedy like that anymore.

    Such great news about the rescuers spotting the missing / rogue greyhound! Please do keep me posted… In the meantime I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed for him/her 🙂
    Guilie @ Life In Dogs

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have to admit one of my guilty pleasures is the Bachelor and the Bachelorette. 🙂

      Dick Van Dyke was fantastic in Mary Poppins. He was soooo agile!

      re: the greyhound: apparently it’s a female and they had her cornered in a baseball court but she got away… 😦 I have hope they will eventually secure her. She isn’t starving and looks like she’s eating good so that’s a plus. One of the women took her Whippet out to try to lure her in and the Whippet and she sniffed each other but not long enough to get close to her. Fingers crossed! Will definitely keep you posted…


    • Love that my post elicited an Aha moment for you! I bet Dragnet got a lot of folks hooked on cop shows…
      Thanks for stopping by Mary.


    • I know! Many serial killers are charmers and blend right in with society. Scary. I think about it sometimes when I’m out with a bunch of strangers. I wonder if any of them might be serial killers or pedophiles or rapists. You just never know! Heck, we usually don’t know what goes on behind closed doors with our closest neighbors!

      Thanks for stopping by Dix…


    • Definitely 2 more good D shows. They both are a little out of the date range for the two decades that I’m focused on they would definitely be in my posts if I was featuring 80s shows. I always liked Doogie Howser…
      Thanks for the contribution Shady! XOXO


    • Thanks Brendan, for your contribution of other D shows. I’m not familiar with Dream On. When I think Dream On, I think Aerosmith… 🙂


  6. I didn’t know that about Alcala. Heck, I didn’t know about Alcala. But, I think serial killers often are charismatic. I’m completely freaked out right now.

    Yes, I did watch The Dating Game. My parents preferred that one over The Newlywed Game (as my mom thought it was a bit risque for lil ole me).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I loved the Newlywed Game! That show was so funny!! And yeah, it definitely was a little risque for sure…

      Thanks for stopping by Robin!


  7. I watched all these shows when I was a kid. I knew about the serial killer which is really eerie. I think, if I remember correctly, the girl, years later, said she got the creeps from him and left early but I could be wrong. I thought of Dallas, Dynasty, Due South(I love that show), Danny Thomas Show, Dean Martin show, Davey Crocket which went nuts with the kids who all had to own a coonskin hat. I also watched Donny & Marie Show. Oh and I forgot to mention the Carol Burnett show for C yesterday:)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, those are some good shows! I totally forgot about Carol Burnett show. And I watched that every single week. I’ll have to go back and add her in. She has to be part of my collection!
      I forgot about the Danny Thomas Show too. Not sure I ever watched Dean Martin (I’m sure my parents did).
      Dallas, Dynasty and Due South were all from the 80s — the “Me Generation”! (I’m focused on 60s and 70s, for the most part) — but those were some great Primetime Soaps. I did actually put Knots Landing in my K post but I didn’t watch it when it was in primetime, I watched it in reruns, but was absolutely hooked! I watched that show every single day!

      Donny & Marie Show: another good one! yep I watched that one too…
      Great contributions! Thanks Birgit!


  8. Those are all familiar shows and I loved Dick Van Dyke, especially. What a creepy story about the serial killer on the Dating Game. It must have made all the papers, but I didn’t remember it. That woman was very lucky! One letter “D” show that kept me enthralled was “Dallas”. Never missed an episode. 🙂 Another fabulous blast from the past. Michele! These posts are such fun.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I need to go back and try to find the original Dallas series. I never watched it when it was airing back then but I did get into the revived series that started in 2012. Unfortunately the show was cancelled…before it wrapped up. I do remember all the “Who shot J.R.?” craziness back in the day though.

      Glad you’re having fun with my series! That makes me so happy. XOXO

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Ooh, I hadn’t heard of a serial killer on The Dating Game! That is just too creepy. I may have to write a post about that once we’re over this A to Z thing.

    Thanks for inspiring me!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi Michele (angelsbark), I’ll bookmark this to do a catch up and listen to the clips (when A-Z is over )… I live in South Africa so these were not staples at the time – but WHO has not heard of the Dick van Dyke shows and Mary Tyler Moore .. I can’t wait to see the clips of the others as well! Thank you! They look all so excellent! And it will be good to get my brain cells going and see how these shows were contrived and their story line developed etc etc – a serial killer in The Dating Game? I am intrigued .. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Susan, thanks for stopping by! I’m glad you’ll be bookmarking me. Thanks for that! So interesting that Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore made it to South Africa. So glad you got to experience the comedic talent of those two. It was a match made in television heaven!

      You can probably find a lot to read on Rodney Alcala, the serial killer from the Dating Game. Just google “dating game killer” and you’ll get the whole story.

      I’m enjoying your Garden of Eden blog. See you there soon… 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I knew that a number of famous people were on The Dating Game, but I did’t know about the infamous serial killer. Nighttime is the best time? That’s scary. And the dirty old man? Horrors! I know all the theme songs. The one that makes me smile is The Dick Van Dyke Show. I can still watch that show and laugh. Mary Tyler Moore was a riot. Oooooo, Rob!


    Liked by 1 person

    • Mary Tyler Moore is absolutely brilliant! The two of them were magical together.

      I know, wasn’t that so creepy with Rodney Alcala? I wonder if we would’ve considered it as creepy if we didn’t know him to be a killer??

      Thanks for stopping by Janie! Appreciate your visit!


  12. Oh my, I loved all these shows and if I find reruns I’m watching them… Dick Van Dyke show – favorite, Jack Web… oh my gosh loved the way he talked hahaha so drab, but cool… and as far as I’m concerned the dating game was hysterical… hahahahaha Thanks for the memories!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lol. I’m so glad that my post is bringing back some good and funny memories for you. I love watching these old shows. They just transport me back to such an innocent time…

      Jack Web: way cool! 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by Dolly

      Liked by 1 person

  13. My best friend and I used to play along with The Dating Game when it came on tv (we were LITTLE).
    I love the Dick Van Dyke show! I re-enacted the scene where Laura got her toe caught in the bathtub faucet, and I probably get the most blog hits from people doing Google searches for “toe stuck in bathtub”!

    Dyanne from Backsies Is What There Is Not


    • haha. That’s funny that you guys used to play along with the Dating Game.
      And I LOVED that episode when Laura got her toe stuck in the faucet! Mary Tyler Moore was absolutely brilliant in that role!


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