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…
J is for Julia:
Julia is an American sitcom notable for being one of the first weekly series to depict an African American woman in a non-stereotypical role. Previous television series featured African American lead characters, but the characters were usually servants. The show stars actress and singer Diahann Carroll, and ran for 86 episodes on NBC from September 17, 1968 to March 23, 1971. The series was produced by Savannah Productions, Inc., Hanncarr Productions, Inc., and 20th Century-Fox Television.
In Julia, Carroll played widowed single mother Julia Baker (her husband, Army Capt. Baker, an O-1 Bird Dog artillery spotter pilot had been shot down in Vietnam) who was a nurse in a doctor’s office. The doctor, Morton Chegley, was played by Lloyd Nolan, and Julia’s romantic interests by Paul Winfield and Fred Williamson. Julia’s son, Corey (Marc Copage) was approximately six to nine years old during the series run. He had barely known his father before he died. Corey’s best friend is Earl J. Waggedorn (called by that precise full name each and every time). The Waggedorns lived downstairs in the same apartment building, with Len (Hank Brandt), Marie (Betty Beaird), son Earl J. Waggedorn (Michael Link) and infant son.
J is for the Jeffersons:
The Jeffersons is an American sitcom that was broadcast on CBS from January 18, 1975, through July 2, 1985, lasting 11 seasons and a total of 253 episodes. The show was produced by the T.A.T. Communications Company from 1975 to 1982 and by Embassy Television from 1982 to 1985. The Jeffersons is one of the longest-running sitcoms in the history of American television.
The show focuses on George and Louise Jefferson, an affluent African-American couple living in New York City. The show was launched as the second spin-off of All in the Family, on which the Jeffersons had been the neighbors of Archie and Edith Bunker.
The show was the creation of prolific television producer Norman Lear. However, it was less sharply political in tone than some of his other shows. The Jeffersons eventually evolved into more of a traditional sitcom, relying more on the characters’ interactions with one another than on explicitly political dialogue or storylines. It did, however, tackle a few controversial topics, including racism, suicide, gun control and adult illiteracy.
J is for Jake & the Fatman:
This one is much later than most of my showcased programs but I thought I’d feature it anyway. Besides, it’s a legal drama and you know how I love cop and detective shows!
Jake and the Fatman is a television crime drama starring William Conrad as prosecutor J. L. (Jason Lochinvar) “Fatman” McCabe and Joe Penny as investigator Jake Styles. The series ran on CBS for five seasons from 1987 to 1992. Diagnosis: Murder was a spin-off of this series.
J. L. “Fatman” McCabe is a Hawaii-born, tough former HPD officer turned Los Angeles district attorney. He is teamed with a handsome, happy-go-lucky special investigator named Jake Styles. They often clash due to their different styles and personalities. “Fatman” hardly travels anywhere without his companion Max, his pet bulldog.
What does Matlock have to do with this show? It originated there! William Conrad guest starred as an aging prosecutor in a two-part episode of Matlock during its first season on NBC. Executive producers Fred Silverman and Dean Hargrove decided to use this character as a model for one of the main characters in a new show they were creating for CBS. Joe Penny also guest starred in these episodes, but his character was not on the same side as Conrad’s character in the storyline’s legal case. Interesting bit of trivia there!
J is for the Jetsons: I was always fascinated by the Jetsons and over the years have found it to be quite coincidental in how their far-fetched technology actually came to be. Foresight? Indeed!
The Jetsons is an American animated sitcom produced by Hanna-Barbera, originally airing in primetime from September 23, 1962, to March 17, 1963, then later in syndication, with new episodes in 1985 to 1987 as part of The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera block. It was Hanna-Barbera’s Space Age counterpart to The Flintstones.
While the Flintstones live in a world with machines powered by birds and dinosaurs, the Jetsons live in a futuristic utopia of elaborate robotic contraptions, aliens, holograms, and whimsical inventions; The original series comprised 24 episodes and aired on Sunday nights on ABC beginning September 23, 1962, with primetime reruns continuing through September 22, 1963. It debuted as the first program broadcast in color on ABC-TV. (Only a handful of ABC-TV stations were capable of broadcasting in color in the early 1960s.) In contrast, The Flintstones, while always produced in color, was broadcast in black-and-white for its first two seasons.
Following its primetime run, the show aired on Saturday mornings for decades, starting on ABC for the 1963–64 season and then on CBS and NBC. New episodes were produced for syndication from 1985 to 1987. No further specials or episodes of the show were produced after 1989 due to the deaths of stars George O’Hanlon and Mel Blanc. The 1990 film Jetsons: The Movie serves as the series finale to the television show.
The show premise: The Jetsons are a family residing in Orbit City. The city’s architecture is rendered in the Googie style, and all homes and businesses are raised high above the ground on adjustable columns. George Jetson lives with his family in the Skypad Apartments: his wife Jane is a homemaker, their teenage daughter Judy attends Orbit High School, and their early-childhood son Elroy attends Little Dipper School. Housekeeping is seen to by a robot maid, Rosie, which handles chores not otherwise rendered trivial by the home’s numerous push-button Space Age-envisioned conveniences. The family has a dog named Astro, that talks with an initial consonant mutation in which every word begins with an “R”, as if speaking with a growl.
George Jetson’s workweek is typical of his era: an hour a day, two days a week. His boss is Cosmo Spacely, the bombastic owner of Spacely Space Sprockets. Spacely has a competitor, Mr. Cogswell, owner of the rival company Cogswell Cogs (sometimes known as Cogswell’s Cosmic Cogs). Jetson commutes to work in an aerocar that resembles a flying saucer with a transparent bubble top. Daily life is leisurely, assisted by numerous labor-saving devices, which occasionally break down with humorous results. Despite this, everyone complains of exhausting hard labor and difficulties living with the remaining inconveniences.
George Jetson: age 40, is the main character and protagonist of the series. He is a loving family man who always seems to make the wrong decisions. He works at Spacely’s Sprockets turning the Referential Universal Digital Indexer (R.U.D.I.) on and off. He is married to Jane and together they have two kids, Judy and Elroy.
Jane Jetson: age 33, is George’s wife, mother of their two children, and a homemaker (although it is Rosie who does most of the work). Jane is obsessed with fashion and new gadgetry. Her favorite store is Mooning Dales. She is a dutiful wife who always tries to make life as pleasant as possible for her family. Outside of the home, she is a member of the Galaxy Women Historical Society and is a fan of Leonardo de Venus and Picasso Pia.
Judy Jetson: age 15, is the elder child in the Jetson family. A student at Orbit High School, she is a stereotypical teenage girl whose interests include clothes, hanging out with boys, and revealing secrets to her digital diary.
Elroy Jetson: age 6½, is the younger of the two children in the Jetson family. He is highly intelligent and an expert in all space sciences. A mild-mannered and good child, Elroy attends Little Dipper School, where he studies space history, astrophysics, and star geometry. Elroy loves his dog Astro and is always there to support him when George loses his patience with the family pet.
Rosie: Rosie is the Jetsons’ household robot. She’s an outdated model but the Jetsons love her and would never trade her for a newer model. Rosie does all the housework and some of the parenting. She is a strong authoritarian and occasionally dispenses pills to the family. Excluding a scene from the closing credits, Rosie appears in only two episodes of the original 1960s show, but makes many appearances on the 1980s show.
Astro: Astro is the Jetsons’ family dog. Prior to being a Jetson his name was Tralfaz and he belonged to the fabulously rich Mr. J.P. Gottrockets. Astro is one of George’s best friends (next to his work computer, R.U.D.I.) as well as Elroy’s best buddy. He is able to speak in a rough sounding English resembling dog barks and growls, a manner of speaking which voice actor Don Messick would later reuse for the role of Scooby-Doo.
Orbitty: is an alien with spring-like legs who was the second pet of the Jetson family. He has the ability to express his emotions by changing color. This character was introduced in the 1980s version of the series, but didn’t appear for the third season (except for one cameo) or any of the movies.
Mr. Spacely: is George’s boss and owner of Spacely Space Sprockets. His company was founded in Newfoundland in 1937, where it continued to prosper until massive surface pollution necessitated a move to the elevated platforms seen in the series. He is a small man with thinning black hair and a bad temper, and is the main antagonist of the series. Spacely always comes up with ideas to bring in more business, but they backfire. George, whom Spacely has known since childhood, gets blamed for most things that go wrong. A series’ running gag involves his kicking George out of his office shouting, “Jetson! You’re fired!”, however Spacely would later give George his job back in the end of the episode, and if he was very happy with George, promote him to vice-president of the company. Mr. Spacely is sometimes helped out by Uniblab, the company’s robot assistant.
Mr. Cogswell: is Spacely’s big competitor. He owns Cogswell Cogs company and causes a lot of trouble for Spacely and George. To a lesser extent Cogswell is another of the series’ antagonists. He and Spacely are always finding ways to bring each other’s businesses down. Cogswell has often tried to steal Spacely’s ideas and make them his own to gain an advantage (only for it to backfire on both bosses). He’s also not above firing his employees when any little thing goes wrong. Mr. Cogswell’s first name, “Spencer”, is revealed in the 1980s version of The Jetsons. Cogswell slightly resembles Mr. Slate of The Flintstones.
R.U.D.I.: is George’s work computer and one of his best friends, next to his dog, Astro. His name is an acronym for Referential Universal Differential Indexer. He has a human personality and is a member of the Society for Preventing Cruelty to Humans. [In the episode “Family Fallout” (originally aired September 22, 1985), the Jetsons win a TV game show after George Jetson correctly states what the initials “R.U.D.I.” stand for.]
Henry Orbit: is the Jetsons’ apartment’s building superintendent. He is always helpful and always in a good mood. He built a robot named Mac who has a crush on Rosie.
Have you watched any of these shows? Do you like cartoons? What are your favorite TV shows, past and present?