N is for Night Gallery, N.Y.P.D., Newhart and The Newlywed Game #atozchallenge

N

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…

N is for Night Gallery:

Night Gallery is an American anthology series that aired on NBC from 1970 to 1973, featuring stories of horror and the macabre. Rod Serling, who had gained fame from an earlier series, The Twilight Zone, served both as the on-air host of Night Gallery and as a major contributor of scripts, although he did not have the same control of content and tone as he had on The Twilight Zone. Serling viewed Night Gallery as a logical extension of The Twilight Zone, but while both series shared an interest in thought-provoking dark fantasy, the lion’s share of Zone‘s offerings were science fiction while Night Gallery focused on horror and the supernatural.

Serling appeared in an art gallery setting and introduced the macabre tales that made up each episode by unveiling paintings (by artist Thomas J. Wright) that depicted the stories. His intro usually was, “Good evening, and welcome to a private showing of three paintings, displayed here for the first time. Each is a collector’s item in its own way—not because of any special artistic quality, but because each captures on a canvas, suspends in time and space, a frozen moment of a nightmare.”

Night Gallery regularly presented adaptations of classic fantasy tales by authors such as H. P. Lovecraft, as well as original works, many of which were by Serling himself

The series was introduced with a pilot TV movie that aired on November 8, 1969, and featured the directorial debut of Steven Spielberg, as well as one of the last acting performances by Joan Crawford.

The series attracted criticism for its use of comedic blackout sketches between the longer story segments in some episodes, and for its splintered, multiple-story format, which contributed to its uneven tone. Another notable difference from the original Twilight Zone series was that there was no ending monologue by Serling summarizing the end of the story segment. Very often the camera would simply focus on the final chosen image (often for a chilling effect) for several seconds, then black out.

 

N is for N.Y.P.D.

Before NYPD Blue, there was N.Y.P.D., the short-lived series from the late 60s.  N.Y.P.D. is the title of a half-hour American television crime drama of the 1960s set in the context of the New York City Police Department. The program appeared on the ABC network during the 1967-68 and 1968-69 television seasons. In both seasons, the program appeared in the evening, 9:30 p.m. time slot. During the second season, N.Y.P.D was joined by The Mod Squad and It Takes a Thief to form a 2½ hour block of crime dramas.

The cast included Jack Warden as Lt. Mike Haines, Robert Hooks as Detective Jeff Ward, and Frank Converse as Detective Johnny Corso. Among the acting personalities who appeared in the series were Al Pacino, Jill Clayburgh, Jane Elliot, Ralph Waite, Harvey Keitel, James Earl Jones, Charles Durning, Gretchen Corbett, and Roy Scheider.

Even in its short run, N.Y.P.D. had a few impressive firsts:

In 1967, N.Y.P.D. was the first television series in America to air an episode with a gay theme (“Shakedown”). The police track down a man blackmailing gay men, prompting several suicides.

In N.Y.P.D. scripts, there were white cops and black cops, white suspects and black suspects, white witnesses and black witnesses, an unselfconscious racial blend that would not be seen for years to come on network television.

Here’s the opener to the show. Do you remember it?

 

N is for Newhart:

This show aired later than most of my other showcased programs but it was such a quirky little show that I wanted to include it. Newhart is an American television sitcom which aired on the CBS network from October 25, 1982, to May 21, 1990. The series starred comedian Bob Newhart and actress Mary Frann as an author and wife who owned and operated an inn located in a small, rural Vermont town that was home to many eccentric characters. TV Guide, TV Land, and A&E named its series finale as one of the most memorable in television history. Newhart was recorded on videotape for its first season, with the remaining seasons shot on film.

Bob Newhart plays Dick Loudon, an author of do-it-yourself books and travel books (including “Many Moods Of Minnesota” and “Captivating Kansas”.) He and his wife Joanna move from New York City to a small, unnamed town in rural Vermont (most likely Norwich) to operate the 200-year-old Stratford Inn. Dick is a sane, mild-mannered everyman surrounded by a community of oddballs in a town which exists in an illogical world run by rules that elude him.

Near the end of the second season, Newhart was re-tooled and Dick began hosting a low-rated talk show on the town’s local television station. As the series progressed, episodes focused increasingly on Dick’s TV career and the quirky townsfolk. As the years went by, some characters were dropped and others were added.

The cast of characters is what made this show. Here are the regular characters and a little of their story:

Of course, there are Bob Newhart as Dick Loudon and Mary Frann as Joanna Loudon, his wife. Other regular characters include:

Tom Poston as George Utley, the Stratford’s hard-working, but somewhat dim handyman

Jennifer Holmes as Leslie Vanderkellen (Season 1). A fabulously rich, world-class skier, with a foundation that underwrites Jacques-Yves Cousteau, Leslie takes the job of hotel maid “to find out what it’s like to be average.” Cheerful, industrious, and an honor student at nearby Dartmouth College, she is described by Dick as “perfect.” In the second season, she is replaced by her cousin, Stephanie.

Julia Duffy as Stephanie Vanderkellen. Seen in one first-season episode as Leslie’s visiting cousin, Stephanie is a spoiled rich girl cut off by her parents at the beginning of Season 2. Vain, shallow and completely unqualified for any sort of work, she grudgingly, and often incompetently, works in Leslie’s old job.

Steven Kampmann as Kirk Devane (Seasons 1–2). A chronic liar who owns the Minuteman Café across from the inn, and holds an unrequited infatuation for Leslie. Kirk eventually marries a woman named Cindy Parker and leaves town after two seasons.

Peter Scolari as Michael Harris (Seasons 3–8; recurring in Season 2). The hyperactive, manipulative producer of Dick’s TV show who eventually marries Stephanie; the couple later has a daughter. Exceptionally shallow and superficial, Michael and Stephanie represent the quintessence of the 1980s “yuppie” couple. The dry erase board in Michael’s apartment always lists “Take Over CBS” (the network which originally aired the series) among his otherwise ever-changing daily tasks. He often speaks in an annoyingly alliterative manner.

William Sanderson, Tony Papenfuss, and John Voldstad as brothers Larry, Darryl, and Darryl. The three, whose last name is never mentioned, are backwoodsmen who live in a shack. They are seen infrequently in the first season, a bit more in the second, but at the start of season three, they become regulars and take over the Minuteman Café from Kirk Devane. The two Darryls never speak until the final episode. Larry introduces the group the same way every time they make an appearance: “Hi, I’m Larry; this is my brother Darryl, and this is my other brother Darryl.” Larry often makes strange claims, though some of the most outrageous things he says turn out to be true, including a statement that Johnny Carson pays their gas bills. The trio also appeared in the final two episodes of the television series Coach (a series also created by Barry Kemp). They also appeared at the very end of The Bob Newhart Show reunion taped the next year.

 

N is for The Newlywed Game:

This show was so funny! Loved Bob Eubanks, the host. About the show:

The Newlywed Game is an American television game show that puts newly married couples against each other in a series of revealing question rounds to determine how well the spouses know or do not know each other. The program, originally created by Robert “Nick” Nicholson and E. Roger Muir (credited on-screen as Roger E. Muir) and produced by Chuck Barris, has appeared in many different versions since its 1966 debut. The show became famous for some of the arguments that couples had over incorrect answers in the form of mistaken predictions, and it even led to some divorces.

Many of The Newlywed Game’s questions dealt with “making whoopee,” the euphemism that producers used for sexual intercourse to circumvent network censorship. However, it became such a catchphrase of the show that its original host, Bob Eubanks, continued to use the phrase throughout the show’s many runs, even in the 1980s and 1990s episodes and beyond, when he could easily have said “make love” or “have sex” during these periods without censorship.

On December 20, 1974, The Newlywed Game concluded its run after nearly eight and a half years on the network. It was the longest running game show in ABC daytime history until 1985, when Family Feud surpassed it. In 2013, TV Guide ranked it #10 in its list of the 60 greatest game shows ever.

Urban Legend?

I never saw this particular episode but I sure do remember hearing about it! Here’s what Wikipedia says:

For many years, the show was the subject of an urban legend where the commonly asked question of “What’s the strangest place you’ve ever made whoopee?” was answered by a misunderstanding contestant with “That’d be the butt, Bob.” Many television viewers swore they saw this exchange occur, while others insisted that it never actually happened, including host Bob Eubanks himself, who repeatedly denied that any such exchange ever took place (and even offered a $10,000 reward to anyone who could prove it did).

Eventually, a rebroadcast of a 1977 episode came to light where Eubanks posed the question: “Where, specifically, is the weirdest place that you personally, girls, have ever gotten the urge to make whoopie?” to which contestant Olga Perez replied “In the ass”, with the profane word censored. Eubanks would go on to say that he thought the tale was just an urban legend because he’d simply forgotten about it.

Here are some 1970s highlights from the show, but unfortunately not THAT show:

As for the theme song, it’s a great instrumental of the vocal song “Summertime Guy” which was written by Chuck Barris. The theme music was performed by the Trumpets Olé in a style similar to Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass: (More details about how the theme song came to be can be found at Wikipedia).

 

Do you remember these shows? Did you watch any of them? What other classic N shows do you recall from the 60s & 70s?  What are your favorite TV shows, past and present?

 

 

 

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40 thoughts on “N is for Night Gallery, N.Y.P.D., Newhart and The Newlywed Game #atozchallenge

  1. I think Newhart had the best series ending of all time. I still remover how he got conked on the head with a golf ball and then woke up from a dream in bed with his wife from his original series played by Suzanne Pleshette

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    • That was absolutely one of the best endings ever. As if the whole series had been a dream. Brilliant! And I loved seeing Suzanne Pleshette there too. I adored her!
      Thanks for stopping by today Maryann…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi, Michele!

    I watched Night Gallery but found it disappointing for the most part. The writing and acting weren’t as brilliant as they had been on Serling’s earlier series The Twilight Zone. I admired actor Jack Warden and appreciated his fine performances in Shampoo, Heaven Can Wait and The Verdict starring Paul Newman, but I was not a regular viewer of his series N.Y.P.D. It’s nice to know that the series was ahead of its time in using a racially mixed cast and in dealing with important issues like hate crimes against gay people. I watched Newhart but, here again, I didn’t find it quite as sharp as Bob’s earlier series with Suzanne Pleshette. I loved actor Tom Poston ever since he became famous on The Steve Allen Show in the recurring “man on the street” sketch along with Don Knotts, Louis Nye, Pat Harrington, Jr. and Bill Dana. The Newhart series finale was indeed one of the wackiest and most memorable in TV history. I watched The Newlywed Game (along with The Dating Game) and wish now that I had all that wasted time back. The long running shows were extremely repetitive, with the writers and producers baiting contestants with the same kind of goofy, sex-charged questions show after show, season after season, and most of the answers were boring and predictable. I don’t remember that urban myth episode, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it happened, although it seems likely that the censors would have bleeped out the answer.

    Thank you very much, dear friend Michele, and have a great weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t think anything can compare to Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone, but I did enjoy Night Gallery just the same. And I agree with you that Newhart wasn’t near as funny as the Bob Newhart Show. It seemed more canned to me and that didn’t appeal to me.
      And, well, there’s just no way to get all that time back Shady…no matter how hard we wish it, huh?

      Happy Saturday. Enjoy your weekend! As always, thanks for coming by. I appreciate your loyalty!

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  3. Night Gallery was pretty good but didn’t quite live up to its predecessor, The Twilight Zone. I’m not familiar with NYPD (we were living in Europe then) but was a huge fan of the other one, NYPD Blue. Al Pacino was on TV? Sorry I missed that! The second Newhart show wasn’t as good as the first one IMO, but I loved the ending. So clever! 🙂 I used to watch The Newlywed Game all the time. Corny, but fun! I heard about the butt story as well and thought it was made up. How amusing that it’s actually true. We also watched Night Court. Interesting story that Harry Anderson, who played the judge had been a real-life con man. Another great selection, Michele. Have a good weekend. Thank goodness it’s Sunday tomorrow!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was just telling Shady the same thing: I didn’t like Newhart near as much as I liked the Bob Newhart Show. I loved Suzanne Pleshette and was thrilled to see her in the final episode. That was quite brilliant though, for sure.
      And yeah, Night Gallery wasn’t nearly as good as the Twilight Zone but I watched it nonetheless.
      I was going to write about Night Court but since I wasn’t into the show, I didn’t. I didn’t really care for that show at all.
      And me too: loved the Newlywed Game, much better than the Dating Game. I thought it was really funny. There were some real dingbats on there!

      A day off tomorrow — YES!!!! I’m ready. I’m starting to lose steam…

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  4. The Newlywed Game was such a hoot. And I did watch Bob Newhart. Otherwise these shows weren’t on my radar. Once when Richard and I were on a cruise, we won a newlywed game!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi! Thank you for stopping by my blog today. I don’t recall liking the Night Gallery…not sure why, but was a huge Twilight Zone fan. Newhart would seem dated today but it was fun at the time–all that comedic banter back and forth. Watched the Newlywed a few times but lost interest. Interesting read!

    Pioneer Women in Aviation A-Z

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    • Thanks Sharon. Yeah, Night Gallery sure wasn’t up to par with The Twilight Zone. They gave it a good try though. And since Twilight Zone wasn’t on anymore it was the only show close to it…
      Thanks for stopping by today! Your blog is interesting!

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  6. Night Gallery was good but I know Serling was angry about how the executroids got a hold of it. The Newlywed Game was excellent and there is another scene which is also famous and I can’t remember it at all now but Bob Eubanks did and talked about it. I just remember laughing so hard until I cried. We had a Canadian show called Night Heat which was good and I loved Night Court with Harry Anderson.

    Liked by 1 person

    • “executroids” — good one!! I have a real issue with network execs. They make some of the dumbest decisions sometimes!
      If you think about that funny scene from the Newlywed Game, let me know.
      I never heard of Night Heat…
      I was going to add Night Court but I wasn’t into the show so I didn’t add it…

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Like

  7. I was a bit Twilight Zone fan but not so much for Night Gallery. Frequently watched The Newlywed Game but I think it was a matter of timing–it seemed to be on at a time when I was home.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

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    • I remember the Newlywed Game being on during the day at some point, around the time of all the talk shows airing…
      Thanks for coming by Lee

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  8. I love Bob Newhart a lot. Probably a lot more than people would expect from somebody my age. I especially loved his classic one-sided phone call bit but he had great comic timing in whatever he did. Night Gallery was often way creepier than Twilight Zone and usually stuck with me far longer.

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    • Bob Newhart’s sarcasm was priceless. Night Gallery was creepy for sure, but I still liked Twilight Zone better…maybe because I’m fond of old black and white shows…
      Thanks for coming by today!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! Glad you like it! The Nanny was a good show. I think in order for something to be considered classic, it has to be at least 20 years old so some of the 90s can be classic at this point, I would assume…
      Thanks for stopping by!

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  9. “Captivating Kansas”… I’m crying 😀 😀 These were all new to me, Michele—to my everlasting regret 🙂 How very cool about N.Y.P.D.’s progressive script-writers!

    Thanks so much for all your visits over at Life In Dogs… Love all your comments, the snippets of stories you’ve shared—and I’m really looking forward to your guest post for W day!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Guilie, thanks for coming by today! I thought that was cool about N.Y.P.D.’s storylines too! Very ahead of the times, shows some daring writing, of which they must’ve been so proud.

      I’m looking forward to being a Guest at your blog too! I hope my story will be worthy of the great content that you’ve been providing us…

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  10. Night Gallery and Newhart are two I featured, glad to see I featured two additional ones you didn’t. I like to find those really odd ones.
    And ones, believe it or not, I’ve actually seen.
    PS – I’m back form vacation so I’m trying to catch up.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Michele, The Newhart Show was a great series! Bob Newhart’s deadpan comedy is priceless. The whole cast was great, but I thought it was hilarious when they introduced the brothers: Larry, Darryl, and Darryl to the show. That was great! I also loved watching The Newlywed Game when I was a kid. It was popular about the time The Dating Game was on the air. Boy, they had some good programing back in those days and everything wasn’t the same kind of stuff like it is today.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Isn’t that the truth?! Such good programming!
      The three brothers were a hilarious addition to the show, that’s for sure.
      I wish they’d come back with the Newlywed Game. I think they might have had a remake of the show some time ago, or even recently, I’m not sure… But even though, probably it wouldn’t be as good as the old one. Some of those old shows just can’t be redone…
      Thanks for coming by Cathy!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Night Gallery was really creepy.
    I loved Newhart, although I think I liked the Bob Newhart Show better.
    My next door neighbor and I used to watch The Newlywed Game together. I was a little kid, but I knew that most of the contestants were idiots. I do love seeing clips from old episodes and seeing those bouffant hairdos on the women!

    Liked by 1 person

    • the hairdos kill me! I love seeing that show for the fashion and hairstyles too!
      And I definitely agree: the Bob Newhart Show was much better for sure…
      I wish Night Gallery was still on!

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