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.
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?