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…
K is for Kojak: Love Telly Savalas!
Kojak is an American television series starring Telly Savalas as the title character, New York City Police Department Detective Lieutenant Theo Kojak. Taking the time slot of the popular Cannon series, it aired on CBS from October 24, 1973, to March 18, 1978. In 1999 TV Guide ranked Theo Kojak number 18 on its 50 Greatest TV Characters of All Time list.
The series was set in the New York City Police Department’s Eleventh Precinct (the building shown was actually Ninth Precinct), Manhattan South Patrol Borough. The show revolved around the efforts of the tough and incorruptible Lieutenant Theodore (“Theo”) Kojak (Telly Savalas), a bald, dapper, New York City policeman, who was fond of Tootsie Roll Pops and using the catchphrase, “Who loves ya, baby?” Kojak was stubborn and tenacious in his investigation of crimes—and also displayed a dark, cynical wit, along with a tendency to bend the rules if it brought a criminal to justice. Savalas described Kojak as a “basically honest character, tough but with feelings—the kind of guy who might kick a hooker in the tail if he had to, but they’d understand each other because maybe they grew up on the same kind of block.” Kojak’s Greek American heritage, shared by actor Savalas, was featured prominently in the series.
In the early episodes of the series, Kojak is often seen smoking cigarettes. Following the 1964 Surgeon General’s Report on smoking, cigarette commercials were banned from American television in 1971, and trying to quit smoking became common in the 1970s. To cut down on his own habit, Kojak began using lollipops as a substitute. The lollipop made its debut in the Season 1 episode “Dark Sunday”, broadcast on December 12, 1973; Kojak lights a cigarette as he begins questioning a witness, but thinks better of it and sticks a lollipop (specifically, a Tootsie Pop) in his mouth instead. Later in the episode, Kevin Dobson’s character Crocker asks about the lollipop and Kojak replies, “I’m looking to close the generation gap.” Lollipops became a trademark of the character.
His longtime supervisor was Capt. Frank McNeil (Dan Frazer). Later in the series, McNeil was promoted to Chief of Detectives in Manhattan. Kojak is the commander of the Manhattan South Precinct’s detective squad. His squad includes one of his favorite employees: young plainclothes officer, Det. Bobby Crocker (Kevin Dobson). Detective Stavros (played by Telly’s real-life brother George Savalas, who originally used the name “Demosthenes” as his screen credit; under his real name, Savalas also received a Production Associate credit during the early seasons), Detective Saperstein (Mark Russell), and Detective Rizzo (Vince Conti), all gave Kojak support. Roger Robinson appeared in 12 episodes as Detective Gil Weaver.
K is for Kolchak: The Night Stalker:
Originally airing as The Night Stalker, the show changed its title after the first five or six episodes to Kolchak: The Night Stalker. It is an American television series that aired on ABC during the 1974–1975 season. It featured a fictional Chicago newspaper reporter—Carl Kolchak, played by Darren McGavin—who investigated mysterious crimes with unlikely causes, particularly those that law enforcement authorities would not follow up. These often involved the supernatural or even science fiction, including fantastic creatures.
The main character originated in an unpublished novel, The Kolchak Papers, written by Jeff Rice (born 1944, Rhode Island). In it, a Las Vegas newspaper reporter named Carl Kolchak tracks down and defeats a serial killer who turns out to be a vampire named Janos Skorzeny.
The series was preceded by two television movies, The Night Stalker (1972) and The Night Strangler (1973). Although the series only lasted a single season, it remains popular in syndication. It is often cited as the inspiration for the popular series The X-Files.
In the series’ short run it managed to tackle most of the major monster myths, including classics such as vampires, werewolves, mummies and zombies. It also included stories about a doppelganger, witches, a succubus and a pact with Satan. Four episodes focused on monsters and spirits based in native folklore (two involving Native American legends, one Hindu and one Creole).
The series also dealt with creatures from science fiction, including a killer android, an invisible extraterrestrial, a prehistoric man thawed back to life and a lizard-creature protecting its eggs.
The series as well featured some more esoteric antagonists, including a headless motorcycle rider that hinted at the headless horseman myth, and an animated knight’s suit of armor possessed by a spirit. A story about Jack the Ripper was one of the few based on an actual historical figure, though the series provided a supernatural explanation. An episode about Helen of Troy dealt with immortality and aging.
K is for Knots Landing: was my favorite primetime soap:
Knots Landing is an American primetime television soap opera that aired from December 27, 1979, to May 13, 1993, on CBS. A spin-off of Dallas, it was set in a fictitious coastal suburb of Los Angeles, and centered on the lives of four married couples living in a cul-de-sac, Seaview Circle. By the time of its conclusion, Knots Landing had become one of the longest-running primetime dramas on U.S. television after Gunsmoke and Bonanza.
The series was largely inspired by a 1957 movie No Down Payment but also by the 1973 Ingmar Bergman television miniseries Scenes from a Marriage. Storylines included rape, murder, kidnapping, assassinations, drug smuggling, corporate intrigue and criminal investigations. Though initially not as popular as Dallas, Knots Landing eventually outlasted it and garnered much critical acclaim. The series peaked during the 1983–84 season.
Season 1 Intro:
Season 12 Intro:
K is for Knight Rider: Ah yes, the first talking smart car.
Knight Rider is an American television series created and produced by Glen A. Larson. The series was originally broadcast on NBC from 1982 to 1986. The show stars David Hasselhoff as Michael Knight, a high-tech modern crime fighter assisted by KITT, an advanced artificially intelligent, self-aware and nearly indestructible car. This was the last series Larson devised at Universal Television before he moved to 20th Century Fox.
The show’s premise: Self-made billionaire Wilton Knight rescues police Detective Lieutenant Michael Arthur Long after a near fatal shot to the face, giving him a new identity (via plastic surgery) and a new name: Michael Knight. Wilton selects Michael to be the primary field agent in the pilot program of his public justice organization, the Foundation for Law and Government (FLAG). The other half of this pilot program is the Knight Industries Two Thousand (KITT), a heavily modified, technologically advanced Pontiac Firebird Trans Am with numerous features including an extremely durable shell and frame, controlled by a computer with artificial intelligence. Michael and KITT are brought in during situations where “direct action might provide the only feasible solution”.
Heading FLAG is Devon Miles, who provides Michael with directives and guidance. Dr. Bonnie Barstow is the chief engineer in charge of KITT’s care, as well as technical assistant to Devon (April Curtis fills this role in Season 2).
Have you watched any of these shows? What are your favorite TV shows, past and present?