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…
Wowsa, M is a BIG letter!! Kick back because this is a long post. If you’re short on time, just scroll through: there are some really great shows here!
M is for The Mod Squad:
This was probably my favorite show at the time. The Mod Squad is an American crime drama series that ran on ABC from September 24, 1968 to August 23, 1973. It stars Michael Cole as Peter “Pete” Cochran, Peggy Lipton as Julie Barnes, Clarence Williams III as Lincoln “Linc” Hayes, and Tige Andrews as Captain Adam Greer. The executive producers of the series were Aaron Spelling and Danny Thomas.
The iconic counterculture police series earned six Emmy Award nominations, four Golden Globe nominations plus one win for Peggy Lipton, one Directors Guild of America Award, and four Logies.
They were The Mod Squad (“One black, one white, one blonde”), the hippest and first young undercover cops on TV. Each of these characters represented mainstream culture’s principal fears regarding youth in the era: Long-haired rebel Pete Cochran was evicted from his wealthy parents’ Beverly Hills home, then arrested and put on probation after he stole a car; Lincoln Hayes, who came from a family of 13 children, was arrested in the Watts riots, one of the longest and most violent actual riots in Los Angeles history; flower child Julie Barnes, the “canary with a broken wing,” was arrested for vagrancy after running away from her prostitute mother’s San Francisco home; and Captain Adam Greer was a tough but sympathetic mentor and father figure who convinced them to form the squad.
The concept was to take three rebellious, disaffected young social outcasts and convince them to work as unarmed undercover detectives as an alternative to being incarcerated themselves. Their youthful, hippie personas would enable them to get close to the criminals they investigated. “The times are changing,” said Captain Greer. “They can get into places we can’t.” Examples included infiltrations of a high school to solve a teacher’s murder, of an underground newspaper to find a bomber, and of an acting class to look for a strangler who was preying on blonde actresses.
More than a year before the release of the film Easy Rider, The Mod Squad was one of the earliest attempts to deal with the counterculture. Groundbreaking in the realm of socially relevant drama, it dealt with issues such as abortion, domestic violence, student protest, child neglect, illiteracy, slumlords, the anti-war movement, soldiers returning from Vietnam, racism, and the illegal drug trade. Spelling intended the show to be about the characters’s relationships and promised that the Squad “would never arrest kids…or carry a gun or use one.”
The show was loosely based on creator Bud “Buddy” Ruskin’s experiences in the late 1950s as a squad leader for young undercover narcotics cops, though it took almost 10 years after he wrote a script for the idea to be given the greenlight by ABC Television Studios
M is for Marcus Welby, M.D.
Marcus Welby, M.D. was an American medical drama television program that aired on ABC from September 23, 1969 to July 29, 1976. It starred Robert Young as a family practitioner with a kind bedside manner and James Brolin as the younger doctor he often worked with, and was produced by David Victor and David J. O’Connell. The pilot, A Matter of Humanities, had aired as an ABC Movie of the Week on March 26, 1969.
As with most medical dramas of the day, the plots often concerned a professional conflict between well-meaning physicians. Here, Dr. Welby’s unorthodox way of treating patients was pitted against the more strait-laced methods of Dr. Steven Kiley (James Brolin). The catch with this particular program was that the roles were reversed in that Dr. Kiley was much younger than Dr. Welby. In the similar series Medical Center, it is the older doctor who is more orthodox and the younger who is radical. The opening credits of “Welby” for each episode reminded viewers of the generation gap between the two doctors, Welby driving his long sedan and Kiley riding a motorcycle. Welby had served in the US Navy as a doctor during the war, and was a widower. He owned a sail boat and enjoyed the ocean.
The doctors worked alongside each other in their private practice in Santa Monica, California, regularly working in conjunction with the nearby Lang Memorial Hospital. (This was later revealed in exterior shots to be the real-life St. John’s Hospital and Health Center in Santa Monica, California now renamed simply as Saint John’s Health Center.) At the office, their loyal secretary-nurse and friend, and Welby’s hinted at secret lover was Consuelo Lopez (Elena Verdugo).
M is for the Mary Tyler Moore Show:
The Mary Tyler Moore Show (originally known simply by the name of the show’s star, Mary Tyler Moore) is an American television sitcom created by James L. Brooks and Allan Burns that aired on CBS from 1970 to 1977. The program was a television breakthrough, with the first never-married, independent career woman as the central character.
It is one of the most acclaimed television programs in US television history. It received high praise from critics, including Emmy Awards for Outstanding Comedy Series three years in a row (1975–77), and continued to be honored long after the final episode aired. In 2013, the Writers Guild of America ranked The Mary Tyler Moore Show No. 6 in its list of the 101 Best Written TV Series of All Time.
Mary Richards (Moore) is a single woman who, at age 30, moves to Minneapolis after being jilted by her boyfriend of two years. She applies for a secretarial job at TV station WJM, but that is already taken. She is instead offered the position of associate producer of the station’s “Six O’Clock News”. She befriends her tough but lovable boss Lou Grant (Ed Asner), news writer Murray Slaughter (Gavin MacLeod), and buffoonish anchorman Ted Baxter (Ted Knight). Mary later becomes producer of the show.
Mary rents a third floor studio apartment in a Victorian house from acquaintance and downstairs landlady, Phyllis Lindstrom (Cloris Leachman), and she and upstairs neighbor Rhoda Morgenstern (Valerie Harper) become best friends. Characters introduced later in the series are acerbic, man-hungry TV hostess Sue Ann Nivens (Betty White), and sweet-natured Georgette Franklin (Georgia Engel), as Ted Baxter’s girlfriend (and later, wife). At the beginning of season 6, after both Rhoda and Phyllis have moved away (providing a premise for two spinoffs), Mary relocates to a one bedroom high-rise apartment.
In the third season, issues such as equal pay for women, pre-marital sex, and homosexuality are woven into the show’s comedic plots. In the fourth season, such subjects as marital infidelity and divorce are explored with Phyllis and Lou, respectively. In the fifth season, Mary refuses to reveal a news source and is jailed for contempt of court. While in jail, she befriends a prostitute who seeks Mary’s help in a subsequent episode. In the final seasons, the show explores humor in death in the episode “Chuckles Bites the Dust” and juvenile delinquency; Ted deals with intimate marital problems, infertility, and adoption, and suffers a heart attack; and Mary overcomes an addiction to sleeping pills. Mary dates several men on and off over the years, two seriously, but remains single throughout the series.
Trivia: Kenwood Parkway house
In 1995, Entertainment Weekly said that “TV’s most famous bachelorette pad” was Mary’s apartment. The fictitious address was 119 North Weatherly, but the exterior establishing shots were of a real house in Minneapolis at 2104 Kenwood Parkway. In the real house, an unfinished attic occupied the space behind the window recreated on the interior studio set of Mary’s apartment.
Once fans of the series discovered where exterior shots had been taken, the house became a popular tourist destination. According to Moore, the woman who lived in the house “was overwhelmed by the people showing up and asking if Mary was around”. To discourage crews from filming additional footage of the house, the owners placed an “Impeach Nixon” sign beneath the window where Mary supposedly lived. The house continued to attract 30 tour buses a day more than a decade after production ended.
Allen Burns discusses the Mary Tyler Moore Show opening intro and theme song:
M is for My Three Sons:
My Three Sons is an American situation comedy. The series ran from 1960 to 1965 on ABC, and moved to CBS until its end on August 24, 1972. My Three Sons chronicles the life of widower and aeronautical engineer Steven Douglas (Fred MacMurray) as he raises his three sons.
The series originally featured William Frawley as the boys’ live-in maternal grandfather, Bub O’Casey. William Demarest, playing Bub’s brother, replaced Frawley in 1965 due to Frawley’s health issues.
In September 1965, eldest son Mike married and his character was written out of the show. To keep the emphasis on “three sons”, a new son named Ernie was adopted. In the program’s final years, Steven Douglas remarried and acquired a young stepdaughter named Dorothy (AKA “Dodie”).
The series was a cornerstone of the ABC and CBS lineups in the 1960s. With 380 episodes produced, it is second only to The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet as television’s longest running live-action sitcom. Disney producer Bill Walsh often mused on whether the concept of the show was inspired by the movie The Shaggy Dog, as in his view they shared “the same dog, the same kids, and Fred MacMurray.”
M is for M*A*S*H:
M*A*S*H is an American television series developed by Larry Gelbart, adapted from the 1970 feature film MASH (which was itself based on the 1968 novel MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors, by Richard Hooker). The series, which was produced in association with 20th Century Fox Television for CBS, follows a team of doctors and support staff stationed at the “4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital” in Uijeongbu, South Korea during the Korean War. The show’s title sequence features an instrumental version of “Suicide Is Painless”, the theme song from the original film. The show was created after an attempt to film the original book’s sequel, M*A*S*H Goes to Maine, failed. The television series is the most well-known version of the M*A*S*H works, and one of the highest-rated shows in U.S. television history.
The series premiered in the U.S. on September 17, 1972, and ended February 28, 1983, with the finale, “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen”, becoming the most-watched and highest-rated single television episode in U.S. television history at the time, with a record-breaking 125 million viewers (60.2 rating and 77 share), according to the New York Times. It had struggled in its first season and was at risk of being cancelled Season two of M*A*S*H placed it in a better time slot (airing after the popular All in the Family); the show became one of the top-ten programs of the year and stayed in the top-20 programs for the rest of its run. It is still broadcast in syndication on various television stations. The series, which depicted events occurring during a three-year military conflict, spanned 256 episodes and lasted 11 seasons.
Many of the stories in the early seasons are based on tales told by real MASH surgeons who were interviewed by the production team. Like the movie, the series was as much an allegory about the Vietnam War (still in progress when the show began) as it was about the Korean War.
In 2002, M*A*S*H was ranked number 25 on TV Guide’s 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time. In 2013, the Writers Guild of America ranked it as the fifth-best written TV series ever and TV Guide ranked it as the eighth-greatest show of all time.
M*A*S*H aired weekly on CBS, with most episodes being a half-hour in length. The series is usually categorized as a situation comedy, though it is sometimes also described as a “dark comedy” or a “dramedy” because of the dramatic subject material often presented. The show was an ensemble piece revolving around key personnel in a United States Army Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) in the Korean War (1950–1953). (The asterisks in the name are not part of military nomenclature and were creatively introduced in the novel and used in only the posters for the movie version, not the actual movie.) The “4077th MASH” was one of several surgical units in Korea. As the show developed, the writing took on more of a moralistic tone. Richard Hooker, who wrote the book on which the television and film versions were based, noted that Hawkeye’s character was far more liberal in the show than on the page (in one of the MASH books, Hawkeye makes reference to “kicking the bejesus out of lefties just to stay in shape”). While the show is traditionally viewed as a comedy, many episodes were of a more serious tone. Airing on network primetime while the Vietnam War was still going on, the show was forced to walk the fine line of commenting on that war while at the same time not seeming to protest against it. For this reason, the show’s discourse, under the cover of comedy, often questioned, mocked, and grappled with America’s role in the Cold War. Episodes were both plot- and character-driven, with several episodes being narrated by one of the show’s characters as the contents of a letter home. The show’s tone could move from silly to sobering from one episode to the next, with dramatic tension often occurring between the civilian draftees of 4077th — Hawkeye, Trapper John, and B.J. Hunnicutt, for example — who are forced to leave their homes to tend the wounded and dying of the war, and the “regular Army” characters, such as Margaret Houlihan and Colonel Potter, who tend to represent ideas of patriotism and duty (though Houlihan and Potter could represent the other perspective at times, as well). Other characters, such as Col. Blake, Maj. Winchester, and Cpl. Klinger, help demonstrate various American civilian attitudes toward army life, while guest characters played by such actors as Eldon Quick, Herb Voland, Mary Wickes, and Tim O’Connor also help further the show’s discussion of America’s place as Cold War warmaker and peacemaker.
M*A*S*H Theme: Suicide is Painless:
Here’s what you’re probably used to seeing as the TV show intro:
M is for Mister Ed:
I absolutely loved this show and watched it mostly in syndication. The horse always cracks me up with his dry wit and sarcastic commentary.
Mister Ed is an American television situation comedy produced by Filmways that first aired in syndication from January 5 to July 2, 1961, and then on CBS from October 1, 1961, to February 6, 1966. The show’s title character is a talking horse, originally appearing in short stories by Walter R. Brooks. Mister Ed is one of the few series to debut in syndication and be picked up by a major network for prime time.
The Mister Ed show concept was derived from a series of short stories by children’s author Walter R. Brooks, which began with The Talking Horse in the September 18, 1937, issue of Liberty magazine. Brooks is otherwise best known for the Freddy the Pig series of children’s novels, which likewise featured talking animals that interact with humans. Sonia Chernus, secretary to director Arthur Lubin, introduced Lubin to the Brooks stories and is credited with developing the concept for television.
The show’s concept resembles that of the Francis the Talking Mule movies in which an equine title character talks, but only to one person, thus causing a variety of opportunities and frustrations. The first six Francis films (1950–55) were also directed by Lubin.
Lubin wanted to make a Francis TV series but had been unable to secure the rights. However someone told him about Brooks’ series of stories. He optioned these for TV.
Comedian George Burns financed the original pilot for Mr. Ed which was shot at his McCadden Studio in Hollywood at a cost of $70,000. Scott McKay played Wilbur. Jack Benny was also involved behind the scenes.
However Lubin was unable to sell the show to a network. Lubin decided to sell the show into syndication first. He managed to get single sponsor identification for the program on over 100 stations. The show was recast with Alan Young in the lead. Production began in November 1960 although Lubin did not direct early episodes because he was working in Europe on a film. The first 26 episodes were well received enough for the show to be picked up by CBS.
The show in effect had two leads operating as a comedy team. The title role of Mister Ed, a talking palomino, was played by gelding Bamboo Harvester and voiced by former Western film actor Allan Lane. The role of Ed’s owner, a genial but somewhat klutzy architect named Wilbur Post, was played by Alan Young. Many of the program’s gags follow from Mister Ed’s tendency to talk only to Wilbur, his skills as a troublemaker, and his precociously human-like behavior that far exceeds anything those around Wilbur expect of a horse. A running gag is other characters hearing Wilbur talking to Ed and asking to whom he is talking. Another running gag centers on Wilbur being accident prone and inadvertently causing harm to himself and others. According to the show’s producer, Arthur Lubin, Young was chosen for the lead role because he “just seemed like the sort of guy a horse would talk to”.
Ed’s ability to talk was never explained, or ever contemplated much on the show. In the first episode, when Wilbur expresses an inability to understand the situation, Ed offers the show’s only remark on the subject: “Don’t try. It’s bigger than both of us!”
M is for Medical Center:
Medical Center is a medical drama series which aired on CBS from 1969 to 1976. It was produced by MGM Television.
The show starred James Daly as Dr. Paul Lochner and Chad Everett as Dr. Joe Gannon, surgeons working in an otherwise unnamed university hospital in Los Angeles. The show focused both on the lives of the doctors as well as the patients showcased each week. At the core of the series was the tension between youth and experience, as seen between Drs. Lochner and Gannon. Besides his work as a surgeon, Gannon, because of his age, also worked as the head of the Student Health Department at the University. Helping the doctors was the very efficient Nurse Eve Wilcox, played by Audrey Totter. She started out as a bit role but was eventually upgraded to co‑star status starting in 1972. Wilcox became a regular after two other similar nurses (Nurse Chambers, played by actress Jayne Meadows; and Nurse Murphy played by actress Jane Dulo) had basically served the same functions as Wilcox.
At the time the show was canceled, it tied with Marcus Welby, M.D. (which also ran from 1969 to 1976) as the longest-running medical drama on television at that point.
M is for Mannix:
During the first season of the series Joe Mannix worked for a large Los Angeles detective agency called Intertect, which was the planned original title of the show. His superior was Lew Wickersham, played by Joseph Campanella with the agency featuring the use of computers to help solve crimes. As opposed to the other employees who must wear dark suits and sit in rows of desks with only one piece of paper allowed to be on their desk at one time, Mannix belongs to the classic American detective archetype and thus usually ignores the computers’ solutions, disobeys his boss’s orders and sets out to do things his own way. He wears plaid sport coats and has his own office that he keeps sloppy between his assignments. Lew has cameras in all the rooms of Intertect monitoring the performance of his employees and providing instant feedback through intercoms in the room. Unlike the other Intertect operatives, Mannix attempts to block the camera with a coat rack and insults Lew, comparing him to Big Brother.
To improve the ratings of the show, Desilu head Lucille Ball and the producer Bruce Geller brought in some changes making the show similar to other private eye shows. Lucille Ball thought the computers were too high tech and beyond comprehension for the average viewer of the time and had them removed.
From the second season on, Mannix worked on his own with the assistance of his loyal secretary Peggy Fair, a police officer’s widow played by Gail Fisher – one of the first African-American actresses to have a regular series role. He also has assistance from the L.A. police department, the two most prominent officers being Lieutenant Art Malcolm (portrayed by Ward Wood) and Lieutenant Adam Tobias (portrayed by Robert Reed). Other police contacts were Lieutenant George Kramer (Larry Linville), who had been the partner of Peggy’s late husband, and Lieutenant Dan Ives (Jack Ging).
While Mannix was not generally known as a show that explored socially relevant topics, several episodes had topical themes, starting in Season Two. In Season Two alone, there were episodes featuring compulsive gambling, deaf and blind characters that were instrumental in solving cases in spite of their physical limitations, and episodes that focused on racism against blacks and Hispanics. Season Six had an episode focusing on the effects the Vietnam War had on returning veterans, including the effects of PTSD.
Mannix is notable for taking a lot of physical punishment. During the course of the series he is shot and wounded over a dozen separate times, or is knocked unconscious around 55 times. Mannix frequently took brutal beatings to the abdomen; some of these went on quite a long time, particularly by the television standards of the era. Whenever Mannix gets into one of his convertibles he can expect to be shot at from another car, run off the road by another car, or find his vehicle sabotaged. Nevertheless he keeps his cool and perseveres until his antagonists are brought down. While making the television pilot “The Name is Mannix”, Connors dislocated his shoulder running away from a From Russia With Love-type pursuit from a helicopter, and broke his left wrist punching a stuntman who happened to be wearing a steel plate on his back.
M is for Mission: Impossible
Mission: Impossible is an American television series that was created and initially produced by Bruce Geller. It chronicles the missions of a team of secret government agents known as the Impossible Missions Force (IMF). In the first season, the team is led by Dan Briggs, played by Steven Hill; Jim Phelps, played by Peter Graves, takes charge for the remaining seasons. A hallmark of the series shows Briggs or Phelps receiving his instructions on a recording that then self-destructs, followed by the theme music composed by Lalo Schifrin.
The series was filmed and financed by Desilu Productions, and aired on the CBS network from September 1966 to March 1973. The series was reprised in 1988 for two seasons on ABC, retaining only Graves in the cast. It also inspired a series of theatrical motion pictures starring Tom Cruise, beginning in 1996.
The series follows the exploits of the Impossible Missions Force (IMF), a small team of secret agents used for covert missions against dictators, evil organizations and (primarily in later episodes) crime lords. On occasion, the IMF also mounts unsanctioned, private missions on behalf of its members.
The identities of the higher echelons of the organization that oversees the IMF are never revealed. Only rare cryptic bits of information are ever provided during the life of the series, such as in the third season mission “Nicole”, where the IMF leader states that his instructions come from “Division Seven”. In the 1980s revival, it is suggested the IMF is an independent agency of the United States government.
I have always loved the Mission: Impossible theme song. The theme was written and composed by Lalo Schifrin and has since gone on to appear in several other works of the Mission: Impossible franchise, including the 1988 TV series, the film series and the video game series. The 1960s version has since been widely acknowledged as one of TV’s greatest theme tunes. Schifrin was awarded two Grammys at the 10th Grammy Awards for his work on the first series (Best Instrumental Theme and Best Original Score for a Motion Picture or TV Show). He was also nominated for two Emmys (for the first and third seasons):
M is for Miami Vice:
Miami Vice is an American television crime drama series created by Anthony Yerkovich and produced by Michael Mann for NBC. The series starred Don Johnson as James “Sonny” Crockett and Philip Michael Thomas as Ricardo “Rico” Tubbs, two Metro-Dade Police Department detectives working undercover in Miami. The series ran for five seasons on NBC from 1984 to 1989. The USA Network later began airing reruns the next year, in 1990, and broadcast an originally unaired episode during its syndication run of the series on January 25, 1990.
Unlike standard police procedurals, the show drew heavily upon 1980s New Wave culture and music. The show became noted for its integration of music and visual effects. It is recognized as one of the most influential television series of all time. People magazine stated that Miami Vice was the “first show to look really new and different since color TV was invented”.
In keeping with the show’s namesake, most episodes focused on combating drug trafficking and prostitution. Episodes often ended in an intense gun battle, claiming the lives of several criminals before they could be apprehended. An undercurrent of cynicism and futility underlies the entire series. The detectives repeatedly reference the “Whac-A-Mole” nature of drug interdiction, with its parade of drug cartels quickly replacing those that are apprehended. Co-executive producer Yerkovich explained:
“Even when I was on Hill Street Blues, I was collecting information on Miami, I thought of it as a sort of a modern-day American Casablanca. It seemed to be an interesting socio-economic tide pool: the incredible number of refugees from Central America and Cuba, the already extensive Cuban-American community, and on top of all that the drug trade. There is a fascinating amount of service industries that revolve around the drug trade–money laundering, bail bondsmen, attorneys who service drug smugglers. Miami has become a sort of Barbary Coast of free enterprise gone berserk.”
The choice of music and cinematography borrowed heavily from the emerging New Wave culture of the 1980s. As such, segments of Miami Vice would sometimes use music-based stanzas, a technique later featured in Baywatch. As Lee H. Katzin, one of the show’s directors, remarked, “The show is written for an MTV audience, which is more interested in images, emotions and energy than plot and character and words.” These elements made the series into an instant hit, and in its first season saw an unprecedented fifteen Emmy Award nominations. While the first few episodes contained elements of a standard police procedural, the producers soon abandoned them in favor of a more distinctive style. Influenced by an Art Deco revival, no “earth tones” were allowed to be used in the production. It was indeed a very colorful show!
M is for Maude:
I always loved this show and my favorite part was always being surprised by Maude’s wardrobe. I loved her long vests and caftans! Remember those?
Maude is an American sitcom that was originally broadcast on the CBS network from September 12, 1972 until April 23, 1978. Maude stars Bea Arthur as Maude Findlay, an outspoken, middle-aged, politically liberal woman living in suburban Tuckahoe, Westchester County, New York, with her fourth husband, household appliance store owner Walter Findlay (Bill Macy). Maude embraces the tenets of women’s liberation, always votes for Democratic Party candidates, strongly supports legal abortion, and advocates for civil rights and racial and gender equality. However, her overbearing and sometimes domineering personality often gets her into trouble when speaking out on these issues.
The program was a spin-off of All in the Family, on which Beatrice Arthur had made two appearances as the character of Maude, Edith Bunker’s cousin; like All in the Family, Maude was a sitcom with topical storylines created by producer Norman Lear.
Maude (played by Bea Arthur), first introduced as Edith Bunker’s cousin in a December 1971 episode of All in the Family, had been married three times before marrying her fourth and current husband. Her first husband, Barney, had died shortly after their marriage; she had divorced the next two, Albert and Chester. Albert was never portrayed on screen, but the episode “Poor Albert” revolved around his death, while former second husband Chester would appear on the show (played by Martin Balsam). Her current husband, Walter Findlay (played by Bill Macy), owned an appliance store called Findlay’s Friendly Appliances; he was said to be a Maytag dealer in the first episode. Maude and Walter met just before the 1968 presidential election. Maude sometimes got in the last word during their many arguments with her hallmark catchphrase, “God’ll getcha for that, Walter.” Maude’s (and subsequently Bea Arthur’s) deep, raspy voice was also an occasional comic foil whenever she answered the phone and said “No, this is not Mr. Findlay, this is Mrs. Findlay! Mr. Findlay has a much higher voice” as in the Season 1 episode Maude Meets Florida.
M is for McMillan and Wife:
McMillan and Wife (known simply as McMillan from 1976-77) was a lighthearted American police procedural that aired on NBC from September 17, 1971, to April 24, 1977. Starring Rock Hudson and Susan Saint James in the title roles, the series premiered in 90-minute episodes as part of Universal Television’s wheel series NBC Mystery Movie, in rotation with Columbo and McCloud. Initially airing on Wednesday night, the original lineup was shifted to Sundays in the second season, where it aired for the rest of its run. This was the first element to be created specially for the Mystery Movie strand.
McMillan & Wife revolved around a 40-ish San Francisco police commissioner, Stuart McMillan (Rock Hudson) and his attractive, bright and affable 20 something wife Sally (Susan Saint James). Often, the storylines featured Mac and Sally attending fashionable parties and charity benefits before solving robberies and murders. John Schuck appeared as Sgt. Charles Enright and Nancy Walker was Mildred, the couple’s sarcastic, hard-drinking maid, both characters serving as comic relief.
M is for McCloud:
McCloud is an American television police drama that aired on NBC from 1970 to 1977. The series starred former Gunsmoke regular Dennis Weaver, and for six of its seven years on the air it aired as part of the NBC Mystery Movie wheel series that was produced for the network by Universal Television.
The show was centered around Deputy Marshal Sam McCloud of Taos, New Mexico, who was on loan to the New York City Police Department as a special investigator.
This premise of “a cowboy in the big city” was more or less adapted from the 1968 Don Siegel film Coogan’s Bluff, starring Clint Eastwood. Herman Miller was responsible for the story of Coogan’s Bluff and co-wrote the screenplay with Dean Riesner and Howard A. Rodman. Indeed, Miller is credited as the creator of McCloud. Like Coogan, McCloud galloped the length and breadth of Manhattan (he was joined by a mounted unit in “The 42nd Street Cavalry”), and the sight of McCloud on horseback riding down the middle of a busy street (taken from an early episode) became one of the series’ most famous images.
NBC picked up the show for six 60-minute episodes in the fall of 1970, placing it in the rotation of its wheel series Four in One along with San Francisco International Airport, The Psychiatrist and Rod Serling’s Night Gallery. The following fall, the network commissioned a new wheel series and lengthened McCloud from sixty to ninety minutes. NBC ordered two new series, McMillan & Wife and Columbo, to fill the wheel and all three became part of the new NBC Mystery Movie series, which aired on Wednesday nights. The series became a hit, finishing at number 14 for Nielsen ratings for the 1971–1972 season. NBC then decided to try another competitive move and relocated McCloud, along with McMillan and Columbo, to Sunday nights for the following fall. The Mystery Movie series was an even bigger draw on Sundays, finishing at number 5 in the ratings for the season.
The Westerner in New York City: The most enduring theme of the show was the conflict between the good-natured, clear-eyed buoyancy of McCloud and the metropolitan cynicism of the residents of New York City, including his fellow officers. McCloud’s attire, typically consisting of a sheepskin coat or Western jacket, bolo tie and cowboy hat, allowed for implied comic relief in many encounters with New Yorkers. That New Yorkers might mistake him for a naïf because of his appearance occasionally worked to his advantage. He would often allay suspicion of his motives by insisting he was in New York “to observe and learn”. (McCloud was a Deputy Marshal operating out of the US Marshal’s office in Taos). Weaver’s grin and drawling twang represented McCloud as the embodiment of the American law officer who always sees the good in people but knows the real stakes and spares no pain to catch the bad guy. The character’s signature catchphrase was “There ya go!” often received with bemusement or puzzlement by the listener.
Dennis Weaver received Emmy nominations in 1974 and 1975 for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series.
M is for Magnum, P.I.
Magnum, P.I. is an American crime drama television series starring Tom Selleck as Thomas Magnum, a private investigator living on Oahu, Hawaii. The series ran from 1980 to 1988 in first-run broadcast on the CBS television network.
The show’s premise: Thomas Sullivan Magnum IV, a private investigator, played by Tom Selleck, resides in the guest house of a posh, 200-acre beachfront estate, known as Robin’s Nest, in Hawaii, at the invitation of its owner, Robin Masters, the celebrated-but-never-seen author of several dozen lurid novels. Ostensibly this is quid pro quo for Magnum’s services based upon Magnum’s expertise in security; the pilot and several early episodes suggest Magnum also did Masters a favor of some kind, possibly when Masters hired him for a case. The voice of Robin Masters, heard only a few times per season, was provided by Orson Welles (one last “appearance” was provided by a different actor, Reid Crandell).
With Magnum living a luxurious life on the estate and operating as a P.I. on cases that suit him, the only thorn in the side of this near-perfect lifestyle on the estate is Jonathan Quayle Higgins III, played by John Hillerman, an ex-British Army Sergeant Major, a (on the surface) stern, “by-the-book” ex-soldier, whose strict ways usually conflict with Magnum’s much more easy-going methods. He patrols Robin’s Nest with his two highly trained “lads”, Doberman Pinschers, Zeus and Apollo. Often as a humorous aside during various episodes of the series, Magnum must bargain with Higgins for use of estate amenities other than the guest house and the Ferrari 308 GTS (e.g., tennis courts, wine cellar, expensive cameras).
The relationship between Magnum and Higgins was initially cool but as the series progressed, an unspoken respect and fondness of sorts grew between the pair, and as such, many episodes dedicated more screen time to this “odd couple” pairing after the relationship proved popular with fans.
Aside from Higgins, Magnum’s two other main companions on the islands are Theodore “T.C.” Calvin (Roger E. Mosley), who runs a local helicopter charter service called Island Hoppers, and so often finds himself persuaded by Magnum to fly him during various cases, and Orville Wilbur Richard “Rick” Wright (Larry Manetti), who refuses to use his birth name Orville and who owns a local bar. In the pilot episode, this was “Rick’s Place” in town, inspired by Casablanca, with Rick appearing in suitable 1930s attire. However, after completion of the pilot, executives on the series felt that audiences would be unable to fully connect with this element, and instead Rick moved to running the plush beachside King Kamehameha Club, which has exclusive membership and Higgins on the board of directors, and yet Magnum often strolls around, using the facilities and running up an ever unpaid tab, further fueling the Magnum/Higgins feud. T.C. and Rick are both former Marines from VMO-2 with whom Magnum, who was a former Navy man, served in the Vietnam War. The series was one of the first to deal with Vietnam veterans as “human beings” and not as shell-shocked killers, and was praised by many ex-servicemen groups for doing so. Magnum often dupes, tricks or bribes T.C. and Rick into aiding him in various ways on the cases on which he works, much to their frustration, though the deep friendship between the group, including Higgins, proved to be one of the key elements of the series over its eight-season run.
Magnum lives a dream lifestyle: He comes and goes as he pleases, works only when he wants to, has the almost unlimited use of a Ferrari 308 GTS Quattrovalvole as well as many other of Robin Masters’ luxuries. He keeps a mini-fridge with a seemingly endless supply of beer (“Old Dusseldorf in a long neck”), wears his father’s treasured Rolex GMT Master wristwatch, is surrounded by countless beautiful women (who are often victims of crime, his clients, or connected in various other ways to the cases he solves). Other characteristics specific to Magnum are his thick mustache, a Detroit Tigers baseball cap, a rubber chicken, and a variety of colorful Aloha shirts. Nearly every episode is narrated, in voice-over, by Magnum at various points; and Magnum and Higgins often break the fourth wall by locking eyes with or, occasionally, directly addressing the audience; other characters also do this, although far less frequently.
According to the Nielsen ratings, Magnum, P.I. consistently ranked in the top twenty U.S. television programs during the first five years that the series was originally broadcast in the United States.
Did you watch any of these shows? What are your memories from these TV classics? What are your favorite TV shows, past and present?
So many great shows here! I think I saw most of them. You’d think I did nothing but watch tv, but that just simply isn’t true! I did my fair share of reading, too 😉 Just stopping by before heading out of town. Excellent post today.
#AtoZChallenge M is for Marilyn McCoo
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Thanks for being my first commenter today! Hope you’re going someplace fun. Be careful and safe travels…
There were many sensational M titled TV series and this post proves it. I watched all of these series except for Mannix and Magnum. Peggy Lipton became a favorite actress of mine on Mod Squad and further impressed me on Twin Peaks and as a pop singer. It’s hard to believe that the smiling, easy going Robert Young, star of Father Knows Best and Marcus Welby, suffered from depression and alcoholism. A high functioning alcoholic, Young was able to hold it together and keep a successful career going in spite of his addiction. I enjoyed listening to Allan Burns’ explain how the famous Mary Tyler Moore Show theme music and show open sequence were chosen. Many show opens of popular TV series from the late 60s to the 90s were long and elaborate. Nowadays it is rare to find such indulgence, although the modern series Sense 8 has an opening sequence that runs close to 90 seconds and presents a brilliant montage of people all over the world. In contrast, the short version of the show open for The Mindy Project lasts only about one second. On the MTM Show, Mary’ boss Lou Grant delivered one of the funniest lines in sitcom history when he aimed this famous barb at the perky, enthusiastic job applicant in the pilot episode: “You got spunk….. I HATE SPUNK!” Don Grady, who played Robbie Douglas on the family sitcom My Three Sons, started as one of the Mouseketeers and, in the late 60s, formed a music group called The Yellow Balloon and made sunshine pop recordings. Don died in 2012. My Three Sons cast member Meredith MacRae died of cancer at only 56 years of age. I loved the M*A*S*H* movie as well as the early years of the TV series when McLean Stevenson was on the show. I have always admired Alan Alda. He was excellent in the movie White Mile, on the TV series The West Wing, and in many other projects. Whenever I think about Medical Center’s Chad Everett, I play Six Degrees and connect him to my favorite actress Naomi Watts. Their brief “rehearsal scene” in Mulholland Dr. was hotter and more intense than the graphic love scenes found in many other movies. M.I., Miami Vice, McMillain & Wife and McCloud were all favorites of mine. I loved Peter Graves, Susan Saint James and Dennis Weaver.
Thank you, dear friend Michele, for an A to Z post that’s “Mmm Mmm Good!”
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Aw, thanks Shady! You mentioned Robbie (Don Grady): I had such a crush on him when that show was on! I didn’t know that he also made some pop songs! I’ve never seen or heard of Sense 8. I just went and watched the opening sequence and it’s fabulous! It went for almost 2 minutes! The music is fantastic. I see it’s a Netflix original so I’ll have to check it out. The Mindy Project I’ve never heard of either. I see it’s on Hulu now. I need to get Hulu, in addition to Netflix.
Chad Everett in a sexy scene: I’ll have to check that out! I also crushed on him… 🙂
That was sad about Robert Young battling depression and alcoholism. The two go hand in hand sometimes. You would’ve never guessed it, that’s for sure.
Thanks for enjoying my post and leaving such a meaty comment! Have a great Friday. I’m getting two dogs at noon today so just getting ready for them to arrive…
At least I have one that you didn’t highlight here. Can you believe I actually put together a BOTB, AtoZ for the weekend, being a minion AND going out of town this week? I must be crazy!!!!
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I believe it because you’re a superstar!! Hope you have fun this weekend!
So many shows today and I watched most of them. 🙂 Never got into Mr. Ed, although I saw a few episodes. McCloud and MacMillan and Wife (along with Columbo) were “must-sees”. Couldn’t get enough of MASH. Mary Tyler Moore and Maude were such wonderfully strong, independent women, but it always annoyed me that Mary called her boss Mr. Grant instead of Lou. Magnum was cool, including the car! Great memories here, Michele.
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Thanks Debbie. I loved Mary Tyler Moore. She did so much for helping women to realize their potential and to break free from the stereotypes of the times. But yeah, that bugged me too, her calling him Mr. Grant all the time. haha
MASH I remember the series finale: I was in college in Ohio and we girls in the dorm all gathered around in the TV room and I made a big batch of my famous popcorn and we watched — and cried — at the finale. That was a fond memory. I have an equally fond memory of the ending of Cheers: I was working for a radio station at the time and one of my clients, a big nightclub, decided to have a Cheers Last Call party: all the TVs were tuned to the show: it was so weird because it was as quiet as a mouse in that 8000 square foot club during the show, then the commercials would come on and the place would be roaring then all of the sudden it would get quiet again as everybody tuned into watch the last of the Cheers gang. Ah, memories!
Thanks for stopping by and sharing!
Wow – so many Ms 🙂 I love Mission Impossible! Sorry, just have to get that off my chest. I have the whole series (including the 88 and 89 seasons) and I watch it all the time. It is my go to feel good show. Watch enough and you think any problem can be solves by 5 people with a crazy plan :). Mutant X was a series I loved too – it was a shame they kind of lost the plot a bit in the final season.
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That’s a good reason to watch! I wish it were true that anything could be solved by a few people with a crazy plan!
I’m not familiar with Mutant X.
Thanks for stopping by today Tasha!
I absolutely loved MASH–so many excellent characters. I also like Magnum but that was just for visual candy. 🙂
Meet My Imaginary Friends
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MASH was such a good show. Such a long-running show too.
Magnum was definite eye candy back then. Today I have to laugh at the short shorts!
Thanks for stopping by today Kathleen.
Watched them all! Man you are bringing back memories! Had a crush on Chad Everett for sure. Happy Friday!
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Happy Friday Janet! Glad my post is bringing up some memories for you. Yep, I used to crush on Chad Everett too!
This was quite a list for M! I still pull up old Mash episodes just for a great laugh and some fond memories.
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MASH is a great show… Thanks so much for stopping by!
“Out Where the Buses Don’t Run” is a classic. From Miami Vice’s second season.
MASH was a better show over-all though.
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I’ll have to look that one up. Thanks for stopping by Brendan.
I was such a fan of Magnum PI – I even wrote to Tom Selleck when I was a young teenager as I thought he was the most gorgeous man I’d ever laid eyes on and I’m sure it had nothing to do with how tight he wore his jeans.
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Oh no, definitely wasn’t the jeans… 🙂
Today’s entry in Sarah’s “Here’s the one of these I sing all the time still” comment is Mr. Ed. It’s actually now stuck in my head, so I will likely regale my friends with some rendition of the song tonight.
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Lol. What’s that blog address? I want to go visit…
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It remains the “horrible voice so unless someone secretly videotapes it, you’re not seeing it” blog site!
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Lol. In all seriousness, do you have another blog besides the Choppy blog? If so, please provide the blog address so I can come pay you some visits. I didn’t see any links on Choppy’s site but something that you said(can’t remember what) made me think you had another blog. Just wondering…
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Nope – just this one. We just have Facebook and Twitter otherwise (and that’s mostly just posts from here on both of those). I was thinking of starting a couple more blogs, but nothing at the moment!
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I have been trying to play catch up! I have watched all of these shows and loved them. I still watch MASH daily. I loved Magnum PI and enjoyed the antics. Mary Tyler Moore was so funny and the Chuckles episode is gold! Robert Young was a major star when he took this role and the poor guy had to deal with depression and alcoholism. Great tributes to the shows
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Thanks for playing catch up with me Birgit! I appreciate your visits!
Great list of classic TV. Bringing back my childhood 1970s into 1980s.
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Thanks Maryann! I love going back in time. Sometimes I wish I were back there…
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I used to be so in love with Marcus Welby!! And Miami Vice was to die for. But my greatest love of all time was for Magnum PI. I still loved watching him every Friday night on Blue Bloods!!
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And he still looks good! I know it’s part of the role but It kills me that he hardly ever smiles in that show and when he does, it’s a nice surprise…
I’ve watched a few of these on occasion. Mr. Ed I watched all the time. Mod Squad i watched frequently.
A to Z Challenge Co-host
Tossing It Out
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Mod Squad was my all time fav…
Michele, Marvelous “M” shows! A good deal, if not all the stuff airing in the late 60s and 70s I watched. Magnum PI was my favorite 80s weekly program! Tom Selleck was excellent with his boyish charm and good looks. He’s a great actor. If you haven’t seen it, you might want to check out Her Alibi. This movie has some hilarious scenes in it! Good post!
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I love Tom Selleck. He was so hot back in the day…
I haven’t seen Her Alibi but I just watched the trailer on YouTube and it looks pretty funny! Hopefully I can get it on Netflix. Thanks for the recommendation!
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I didn’t watch Mod Squad, but I thought Peggy Lipton was beautiful and I liked her in Twin Peaks.
I LOVED the Mary Tyler Moore show. My favorite episode has to be the Chuckles the Clown funeral one.
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Oh Mod Squad was a great show. I wish it were on again. I looked for it on Netflix but it’s not there… yet.