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…
P is for the Patty Duke Show:
We just lost Patty Duke (whose real name was Anna Pearce) last month, on March 29th. Her cause of death was sepsis from a ruptured intestine. She was 69. Before discussing the Patty Duke Show, let me pay tribute to her by providing the ABC News Report of her death, highlighting her career:
According to the ABC report: “Patty Duke became a star as a teenage when she appeared on Broadway as Helen Keller in “The Miracle Worker” playing alongside Anne Bancroft. The play was later turned into a film and Patty won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar in 1963. She then was given her own series, The Patty Duke Show, which aired from 1963 to 1966 and earned her an Emmy nomination.
After the series ended, Patty wanted more adult roles. As ABC reports, “She appeared as Neely O’Hara in “Valley of the Dolls,” and in 1969, she starred in “Me, Natalie,” for which she won a Golden Globe. An Emmy followed the year after, when Duke starred as a pregnant teenager in a made-for-TV movie, “My Sweet Charlie.” (She also won Emmys in 1977 and 1980.) However, privately, Duke was battling bipolar disorder, for which she was diagnosed in 1982.
“It’s not a giant thrill to hear someone give you the label manic-depressive, but to me I was so relieved,” Duke told the Inquirer. “What I was suffering from had a name and could be treated.”
Duke became a staunch advocate for mental health, while continuing her acting career. Duke primarily worked in television, most recently appearing in shows including “Glee,” “Liv and Maddie” and “Hawaii Five-0.”
Duke is survived by her husband of 30 years, Michael Pearce, three children, Sean and Mackenzie Astin and Kevin Peace, and grandchildren.””
The Patty Duke Show is an American sitcom that ran on ABC from September 18, 1963, to April 27, 1966. The show was created as a vehicle for rising star Patty Duke. One hundred and five episodes were produced, 104 of them airing over three seasons, most written by either Sidney Sheldon or William Asher, who co-created the series.
Patricia “Patty” Lane (Duke) is a normal, chatty, rambunctious teenager living in the Brooklyn Heights section of New York City. Her father, Martin Lane (William Schallert), is the managing editor of the New York Daily Chronicle; Patty affectionately addresses him as “Poppo”. In the unaired pilot episode, her “identical cousin”, the sophisticated, brainy, and demure Catherine “Cathy” Margaret Rowan Lane (also played by Duke), whose father, Kenneth Lane (also played by Schallert), Martin’s twin brother, also works for the Chronicle, but as a foreign correspondent, arrives in the United States from Scotland to live with Patty’s family and attend Brooklyn Heights High School. Mark Miller played Martin Lane and Charles Herbert played Ross Lane in the unaired pilot episode, although parts of it were used in the last episode of the first season, “The Cousins”, with Schallert and Paul O’Keefe in their respective roles. In that episode, Patty tells Cathy the story of when Cathy first came to Brooklyn Heights to live with Patty’s family and attend school. While both girls are identical in physical appearance, their style, tastes, and attitudes are nearly opposite, which is responsible for most, if not all, of the comedic situations on the show. The remarkable physical resemblance that Patty and Cathy share is explained by the fact that their fathers are identical twins. While Patty speaks with a typical American accent, Cathy speaks with a slight Scottish accent; not surprisingly, however, both cousins are able to mimic each other’s voice. Patty and Cathy also have a Doppelgänger in a distant cousin, the Southern belle Betsy, who visits from Chattanooga, Tennessee and is also identical, as cousin Betsy is also played by Duke and is only seen in the season 2 episode, “The Perfect Hostess”, making that episode the only one in the series in which not only does Duke play a triple role, but she is also credited as “guest star” in the closing credits.
The show’s theme song, which has since been parodied many times over in pop culture, illustrates the two girls’ differences: “…where Cathy adores the minuet, the Ballet Russe and crêpes Suzette, our Patty loves to rock ‘n’ roll, a hot dog makes her lose control…” and was sung by a five-voice vocal ensemble called “The Skip-Jacks”, who also performed The Flintstones theme song.
P is for the Partridge Family:
The Partridge Family is an American musical television sitcom series starring Shirley Jones and featuring David Cassidy. Jones is a widowed mother, and Cassidy plays the oldest of her five children who embark on a music career. It ran from September 25, 1970, until March 23, 1974, on the ABC network as part of a Friday-night lineup, and had subsequent runs in syndication. The family was loosely based on the real-life musical family The Cowsills, a popular band in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
In the pilot episode, a group of musical siblings in the fictitious city of San Pueblo, California convinces their widowed mother and bank teller, Shirley Partridge, to help them out by singing as they record a pop song in their garage. Through the efforts of precocious ten-year-old Danny, they find a manager, Reuben Kincaid, who helps make the song a Top 40 hit. After more persuading, Shirley agrees that the family can go on tour. They acquire an old school bus, a 1957 Chevrolet Series 6800 Superior, for touring, paint it with Mondrian-inspired patterns, and depart to Las Vegas, Nevada for their first live gig at Caesars Palace.
Subsequent episodes usually feature the band performing in various venues or in their garage. The shows often contrast suburban life with the adventures of a show business family on the road. After the first season, more of the show’s action takes place in their home town rather than on tour.
P is for Perry Mason:
Perry Mason is an American legal drama series originally broadcast on CBS television from September 21, 1957, to May 22, 1966. The title character, portrayed by Raymond Burr, is a fictional Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer who originally appeared in detective fiction by Erle Stanley Gardner. Many episodes are based on stories written by Gardner.
Hollywood’s first weekly one-hour series filmed for television, Perry Mason is one of TV’s longest-running and most successful legal series. During its first season, it received a Primetime Emmy Award nomination as Best Dramatic Series, and it became one of the five most popular shows on television. Raymond Burr received two Emmy Awards for Outstanding Lead Actor, and Barbara Hale received an Emmy Award for her portrayal of Mason’s secretary Della Street. Perry Mason and Burr were honored as Favorite Series and Favorite Male Performer in the first two TV Guide Award readers polls. In 1960, the series received the first Silver Gavel Award presented for television drama by the American Bar Association.
Perry Mason has aired in syndication in the United States and internationally ever since its cancellation, and the complete series has been released on Region 1 DVD. A 2014 study found that Netflix users rate Raymond Burr as their favorite actor, with Barbara Hale number seven on the list.
The Plot: Perry Mason is a distinguished criminal defense lawyer practicing in Los Angeles, California. Perry Mason records his cases, most of which include a murder trial. Each episode typically follows a formula. The first half of the show introduces a prospective murder victim and a situation that presents a legal danger to someone Mason accepts as a client. The body is found, often through circumstance by Mason and private investigator Paul Drake, or with his secretary Della Street. Clues point to Mason’s client, who is charged with murder. In the second-half courtroom setting, Mason spars most often with his legal adversary Hamilton Burger, Los Angeles district attorney, and police homicide detective Lt. Arthur Tragg. Mason establishes his client’s innocence by dramatically demonstrating the guilt of another character. The murderer often breaks down and confesses to the crime in the courtroom. In the closing scene, the characters gather together to discuss how the case was solved.
In many episodes, the identity of the guilty party is uncovered without an actual trial being held. Instead, this occurs at the preliminary hearing stage, in which the district attorney is required to produce just enough evidence to convince the judge that the defendant should be bound over for trial.[b] During this stage, other malefactors — such as blackmailers, frauds, and forgers — are frequently forced into confessions by Mason’s relentless and clever questioning, and the killer is exposed.
P is for Police Woman:
Police Woman is an American television police drama starring Angie Dickinson that ran on NBC for four seasons, from September 13, 1974, to March 29, 1978.
Based on an original screenplay by Lincoln C. Hilburn, the show revolves around Sgt. “Pepper” Anderson (Angie Dickinson), an undercover police officer working for the Criminal Conspiracy Unit of the Los Angeles Police Department. Sergeant William “Bill” Crowley (Earl Holliman) was her immediate superior, and Pete Royster (Charles Dierkop) and Joe Styles (Ed Bernard) were the other half of the undercover team that investigated everything from murders to rape and drug crimes. In many episodes, Pepper went undercover (as a prostitute, nurse, teacher, flight attendant, prison inmate, dancer, waitress, etc.) in order to get close enough to the suspects to gain valuable information that would lead to their arrest.
Police Woman became the first successful hour-long drama series in American primetime television history to feature a woman in the starring role. This helped to make Dickinson a household name. Dickinson would win a Golden Globe award, and receive three Emmy nominations for the role.
Police Woman caused an avalanche of applications for employment from women to police departments around the United States. Sociologists who have in recent years examined the inspiration for long-term female law enforcement officials to adopt this vocation as their own have been surprised by how often “Police Woman” has been referenced.
Trivia: In February 1976, President Gerald Ford re-scheduled a Tuesday press conference so as not to delay an episode of Police Woman, reportedly his favorite show.
Intro with episode teaser (includes outro):
P is for Police Story:
Police Story is an anthology television crime drama that aired on NBC from 1973 through 1978. The show was the brainchild of author and former policeman Joseph Wambaugh and was described by The Complete Directory of Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows as “one of the more realistic police series to be seen on television.” It was produced by David Gerber and Mel Swope.
Although it was an anthology, there were certain things that all episodes had in common; for instance, the main character in each episode was, obviously, always a police officer. The setting was always Los Angeles and the characters always worked for some branch of the LAPD. Notwithstanding the anthology format, there were recurring characters. Scott Brady appeared in more than a dozen episodes as “Vinnie,” a former cop who, upon retirement, had opened a bar catering to police officers, and who acted as a sort of Greek chorus during the run of the series, commenting on the characters and plots. Tony Lo Bianco and Don Meredith made several appearances as Robbery-Homicide Division partners Tony Calabrese and Bert Jameson. Other recurring characters included surveillance specialist Joe LaFrieda, played by Vic Morrow, and vice officer turned homicide detective Charlie Czonka, played by James Farentino. Chuck Connors also starred in various episodes, as different characters on both sides of the law.
The anthology format allowed the series to depict a wider variety of police activities and experiences than was usual in police dramas. In addition to detectives investigating major crimes, or patrol officers patrolling high crime beats, the show depicted newly-hired cadets trying to make it through the academy, woman officers trying to fit into a male-dominated profession, traffic officers investigating accidents, officers dealing with marital difficulties or alcohol dependence, fingerprint techs trying to develop suspects from a single print, high ranking administrators dealing with the stresses of command in a major metropolitan police force, officers adjusting to permanent physical disabilities caused by on-duty injuries, and officers trying to juggle two different jobs to make enough money to support their families.
The anthology format also allowed the show to try out characters and settings for series development, and, during its broadcast run, Police Story generated three spin-offs. A first-season episode, “The Gamble,” starring Angie Dickinson, became the pilot for the successful Police Woman, which ran from 1974-1978. “The Return of Joe Forrester,” a second-season episode starring Lloyd Bridges, was developed into the weekly series Joe Forrester, which lasted a full season. Finally, “A Chance to Live,” a special episode from the fifth season starring David Cassidy, was spun off into the series Man Undercover. That series didn’t do as well, and lasted only ten episodes.
In later seasons, perhaps because of the expense of maintaining the anthology format on a weekly basis, Police Story became a series of irregularly scheduled TV movies.
In 1976, the show won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series.
Police Story was a precursor to later shows such as NBC’s Hill Street Blues (1981-1987), Law & Order (1990-2010), ABC’s NYPD Blue and NBC’s Homicide: Life on the Street (both latters started in 1993).
Here is the Police Story theme song with a montage of show shots:
P is for the Pink Panther Show:
The Pink Panther animated shorts were produced between December 18, 1964 to December 31, 1978 by DePatie-Freleng Enterprises (DFE Films) and MGM Animation. A total of 124 shorts were produced: Ninety-two shorts were released theatrically, and eventually appeared on Saturday mornings via The Pink Panther Show starting in 1969. All made-for-television entries (#93-#124) were also distributed to theaters after initially airing on The All New Pink Panther Show in 1978-1979.
The Pink Panther’s long-time foil, known simply as The Little Man, appeared in many entries.
The series was broadcast on two American television networks: from September 6, 1969 — September 2, 1978 on NBC; and from September 9, 1978 — September 1, 1980 on ABC (as The All New Pink Panther Show).
The famous Pink Panther theme: “The Pink Panther Theme” is an instrumental composition by Henry Mancini written as the theme for the 1963 film The Pink Panther and subsequently nominated for the 1964 Academy Award for Best Original Score. The eponymous cartoon character created for the film’s opening credits by David DePatie and Friz Freleng was animated in time to the tune. The tenor saxophone solo was played by Plas Johnson.
Here is the very first Pink Panther cartoon, The Pink Phink (December 1964). The plot: The Pink Panther and an unnamed painter (known as the “Little Man”) compete over whether a house should be painted blue or pink. Each time the painter attempts to paint something blue, the panther thwarts him in a new way. At the end, the painter inadvertently turns the house and everything around it pink and the panther moves in. But just before he moves in, he paints the white man completely pink. The painter gets upset and bangs his head against a mailbox. The Pink Panther then walks into the house as the sun sets.
The Pink Phink was the first Pink Panther animated short produced by DePatie-Freleng Enterprises and by winning the 1964 Academy Award for Animated Short Film, it marked the first time that a studio won an Academy Award with its very first animated short.
My brother and sister-in-law were visiting a few months ago and I was telling him about the A-Z that I was working on. We started watching some of these old theme song/intros and then we came to this Pink Panther short. We laughed so hard everybody thought we were stoned. (Truth be told, we had been drinking). But this is really funny — no weed necessary. 🙂
Did you used to watch any of these shows? What other P shows should be here? What are your favorite TV shows, past and present?