P is for The Patty Duke Show, The Partridge Family, Perry Mason, Police Woman, Police Story and The Pink Panther Show #atozchallenge

P

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:

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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.””

R.I.P. Patty!

 

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.

 

“Patty Duke Show 1964” by ABC Television. Licensed under PD-Pre1978 via Wikipedia

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.

The_Partridge_Family_Cast_1972

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.

Academy Award

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?

O is for The Odd Couple, Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law, One Day at a Time and The Outer Limits #atozchallenge

O

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…

O is for the Odd Couple:

The Odd Couple, formally titled onscreen Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple, is an American television situation comedy broadcast from September 24, 1970, to March 7, 1975, on ABC. It stars Tony Randall as Felix Unger and Jack Klugman as Oscar Madison, and was the first of several developed by Garry Marshall for Paramount Television. The show is based on the play of the same name, which was written by Neil Simon.

Felix and Oscar are two divorced men. Felix is neat and tidy while Oscar is sloppy and casual. They share a Manhattan apartment, and their different lifestyles inevitably lead to conflicts and laughs.

Tony_Randall_Jack_Klugman_Odd_Couple_1972

The success of the 1968 film version of the stage play of The Odd Couple, which starred Jack Lemmon as Felix and Walter Matthau as Oscar, served as the catalyst to bringing the characters to television. The original casting considerations for the TV show included Mickey Rooney or Martin Balsam as Oscar and Dean Martin or Art Carney as Felix. (Carney had originated the role on Broadway.) Eventually, Tony Randall (as Felix) and Jack Klugman (as Oscar) were hired. Both had starred in different productions of the play.

Once the casting was in place, the show’s writers (Marshall, Jerry Belson, Jerry Paris, Harvey Miller, Bob Brunner, Mark Rothman and Lowell Ganz, among others) came up with a multitude of situations for Felix and Oscar to be in, while staying true to the soul of the play, which always reverted to the human tensions between the two that created the comic situations.

Trivia: The show struggled in the Nielsen ratings and was canceled at the end of every season. However, ABC renewed the show for each upcoming season because the ratings for the summer reruns were high.

 

 

O is for Owen Marshall, Counselor at Law:

Owen Marshall, Counselor at Law is an American legal drama, jointly created by David Victor and former law professor Jerry McNeely, that starred actor Arthur Hill. The series was broadcast on ABC from 1971 to 1974. A two-hour pilot movie had aired as a 1971 ABC Movie of the Week entry prior to the series run.

Hill starred as Owen Marshall, a compassionate defense attorney who defended various clients in Santa Barbara, California with the help of his young assistants. During the series run, several actors played the role of Marshall’s assistants, including Reni Santoni, David Soul (later of Starsky and Hutch) and Lee Majors, formerly of The Big Valley and The Men from Shiloh. Majors co-starred in the series prior to his appearance in The Six Million Dollar Man.

Trivia: Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law had two crossovers with another David Victor series – Marcus Welby, M.D.. In “Men Who Care”, Welby persuades Marshall to defend a man who’s accused of killing his daughter’s boyfriend, the daughter being one of Welby’s patients. In “I’ve Promised You a Father”, Marshall defends Welby’s colleague Dr. Steve Kiley in a paternity suit filed by a young nurse, who claims that Kiley is the father of her child.

More show trivia: The series marked one of director Steven Spielberg’s earliest television directing stints and boasted several guest stars.

 

O is for One Day at a Time:

One Day at a Time is an American situation comedy that aired on the CBS network from December 16, 1975, until May 28, 1984, starring Bonnie Franklin as a divorced mother raising her two teenage daughters, played by Mackenzie Phillips and Valerie Bertinelli, in Indianapolis. It also starred Pat Harrington.

The show was created by Whitney Blake and Allan Manings, a husband-and-wife writing duo who were both actors in the 1950s and 1960s. The show was based on Whitney Blake’s own life as a single mother, raising her child, future actress Meredith Baxter. The show was developed by Norman Lear and was produced by T.A.T. Communications Company (1975–82), Allwhit, Inc., and later Embassy Television (1982–84).

Like many shows developed by Lear, One Day at a Time was more of a comedy-drama, using its half hour to tackle serious issues in life and relationships, particularly those related to second wave feminism.

 

 

O is for The Outer Limits:

The Outer Limits is an American science fiction/horror television series that aired on ABC from 1963 to 1965. The series is often compared to The Twilight Zone, but with a greater emphasis on science fiction (rather than simply fantasy, bizarre, or supernatural) stories. The Outer Limits is an anthology of self-contained episodes, sometimes with a plot twist at the end.

The series was revived in 1995, airing on Showtime from 1995 to 1999, then on Sci-Fi Channel from 1999 until its cancellation in 2002.

Each show would begin with either a cold open or a preview clip, followed by a “Control Voice” narration that was mainly run over visuals of an oscilloscope. Using an Orwellian theme of taking over your television, the earliest version of the narration ran as follows:

“There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission. If we wish to make it louder, we will bring up the volume. If we wish to make it softer, we will tune it to a whisper. We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical. We can roll the image, make it flutter. We can change the focus to a soft blur or sharpen it to crystal clarity. For the next hour, sit quietly and we will control all that you see and hear. We repeat: there is nothing wrong with your television set. You are about to participate in a great adventure. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner mind to – The Outer Limits.”        

A similar but shorter monolog caps each episode: “We now return control of your television set to you. Until next week at the same time, when the control voice will take you to – The Outer Limits.”

Later episodes used one of two shortened versions of the introduction. The first few episodes began simply with the title screen followed by the narration and no cold open or preview clip. The Control Voice was performed by actor Vic Perrin.

The Outer Limits was originally broadcast on the American television network ABC from 1963 to 1965. In total, 49 episodes were produced. It was one of many series influenced by The Twilight Zone and Science Fiction Theatre, though it ultimately proved influential in its own right.

Comparison to The Twilight Zone: Like The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits had an opening and closing narration in almost every episode. Both shows were unusually philosophical for science-fiction anthology series, but differed in style. The Twilight Zone stories were often like parables, employing whimsy (such as the Buster Keaton time-travel episode “Once Upon a Time”) or irony, or extraordinary problem-solving situations (such as the episode “The Arrival”). The Outer Limits was usually a straight action-and-suspense show which often had the human spirit in confrontation with dark existential forces from within or without, such as in the alien abduction episode “A Feasibility Study” or the alien possession story “The Invisibles”. As well, The Outer Limits was known for its moody, textured look in many episodes (especially those directed by Byron Haskin or Gerd Oswald, or photographed by Conrad Hall) whereas The Twilight Zone tended to be shot more conventionally – although there are, of course, notable exceptions to these rules of thumb on both series.

Reception and Reputation: In the first year, the series earned a very loyal audience. So devoted, some were reported to take a TV set with them if they had to be away from home, so they would not miss an episode (home video recorders were many years in the future). However, the second season fared rather poorly in the Nielsen ratings after moving from Monday to Saturday night, going against Jackie Gleason. This was the main reason that producer Joseph Stefano chose to leave the show after the first year, he realized that competing against the more popular Gleason Show would kill his show (proven by its cancellation midway through the second season). However, the series retained a following for many years after its original broadcast. Many decades later, horror writer Stephen King called it “the best program of its type ever to run on network TV.”

Outer Limits intro from 1963:

 

Did you watch any of these shows? What are your favorite TV shows, past and present?

 

 

 

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?

 

 

 

M is for the Mod Squad, Marcus Welby, M.D., Mary Tyler Moore Show, My Three Sons, MASH, Mister Ed, Medical Center, Mannix, Mission: Impossible, Miami Vice, Maude, McMillan & Wife, McCloud and Magnum, P.I. #atozchallenge

M

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.

 "Mod Squad 1971" by ABC Television - Licensed under Public Domain via Commons

“Mod Squad 1971” by ABC Television – Licensed under Public Domain via Commons

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

Kenwood Parkway House

the 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.

1962_My_Three_Sons

 "1962 My Three Sons" This photo print belonged to ABC Television. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons "Don Grady William Demarest My Three Sons 1969" by CBS Television - Licensed under Public Domain via Commons

“1962 My Three Sons” This photo print belonged to ABC Television. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons “Don Grady William Demarest My Three Sons 1969” by CBS Television – Licensed under Public Domain via Commons

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.

The Synopsis:

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:

Mr Ed and Wilbur

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.

Synopsis

Mr.-Ed

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.[1] 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,[3] 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.

The Plot:

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?

 

 

 

L is for Love American Style, Leave It to Beaver, Laverne & Shirley, Lost in Space, Lassie, the Love Boat, Laugh-In, Little House on the Prairie and L.A. Law #atozchallenge

L

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…

L is for Love, American Style:

Love, American Style is a comedic television anthology, which was produced by Paramount Television and originally aired between 1969 and 1974. For the 1971 and 1972 seasons it was a part of an ABC Friday prime-time lineup that also included The Brady Bunch, The Partridge Family, Room 222, and The Odd Couple.

The show featured an ensemble cast that changed from week to week. Each week, Love American Style featured unrelated stories of romance, usually with a comedic spin. Episodes featured different characters, stories, and locations. The show often featured the same actors playing different characters in many episodes. In addition, a large, ornate brass bed was a recurring prop in many episodes. Charles Fox’s delicate yet hip music score, featuring flutes, harp, and flugelhorn set to a contemporary pop beat, provided the “love” ambiance which tied the stories together as a multifaceted romantic comedy each week. For its first season, the theme song was performed by The Cowsills. Beginning in the second season, the same theme song was sung by the Ron Hicklin Singers, featuring brothers John and Tom Bahler (billed as The Charles Fox Singers).

Here’s a neat bit of trivia: On February 25, 1972, the show aired an episode with a segment titled “Love and the Television Set”, a story about Richie Cunningham, his family and friends, which later served as the pilot for the popular series Happy Days. For syndication, the segment was retitled “Love and the Happy Days”.

 

 

L is for Leave It to Beaver:

Leave It to Beaver is an American television situation comedy about an inquisitive and often naïve boy named Theodore “The Beaver” Cleaver (portrayed by Jerry Mathers) and his adventures at home, in school, and around his suburban neighborhood. The show also starred Barbara Billingsley and Hugh Beaumont as Beaver’s parents, June and Ward Cleaver, and Tony Dow as Beaver’s brother Wally. The show has attained an iconic status in the US, with the Cleavers exemplifying the idealized suburban family of the mid-20th century.

 

"Cleaver family Leave it to Beaver 1960" by ABC Television - Licensed under Public Domain via Commons

“Cleaver family Leave it to Beaver 1960” by ABC Television – Licensed under Public Domain via Commons

The show was created by writers Joe Connelly and Bob Mosher. These veterans of radio and early television found inspiration for the show’s characters, plots and dialogue in the lives, experiences and conversations of their own children. Leave It to Beaver is one of the first primetime sitcom series written from a child’s point of view. Like several television dramas and sitcoms of the late 1950s and early 1960s (Lassie and My Three Sons), Leave It to Beaver is a glimpse at middle-class, American boyhood. In a typical episode Beaver got into some sort of trouble, then faced his parents for reprimand and correction. However, neither parent was omniscient; indeed, the series often showed the parents debating their approach to child rearing, and some episodes were built around parental gaffes.

Leave It to Beaver, which would ultimately run for six full 39-week seasons (234 episodes), had its debut on CBS on October 4, 1957. The following season, the show moved to ABC, where it stayed until completing its run on June 20, 1963. During the whole of the show’s run, the series was shot with a single camera on black-and-white 35mm film.

You may remember these characters from the show: Recurring characters included Eddie Haskell (played by Ken Osmond), Larry Mondello (Rusty Stevens), Hubert “Whitey” Whitney (Stanley Fafara), Gilbert Bates (Stephen Talbot), Judy Hensler (Jeri Weil), Clarence “Lumpy” Rutherford (Frank Bank), his younger sister Violet (Veronica Cartwright) and Mary Ellen Rogers (Pamela Beaird). Burt Mustin played elderly fireman Gus, Richard Deacon played Ward’s co-worker Fred Rutherford and Sue Randall played schoolteacher Miss Landers.

 

 

L is for Laverne & Shirley:

Laverne & Shirley (credited as Laverne De Fazio & Shirley Feeney in the first season) is an American sitcom that ran on ABC from January 27, 1976, to May 10, 1983. It starred Penny Marshall as Laverne De Fazio and Cindy Williams as Shirley Feeney, single roommates who worked as bottlecappers in a fictitious Milwaukee brewery called “Shotz Brewery”.

The show was a spin-off from Happy Days, as the two lead characters were originally introduced on that series as acquaintances of Fonzie. Set in roughly the same time period, the timeline started in approximately 1958, when the series began, through 1967, when the series ended. As with Happy Days, it was made by Paramount Television, created by Garry Marshall, and executive produced by Garry Marshall, Edward K. Milkis, and Thomas L. Miller.

 

 

 

L is for Lost in Space: This was probably my favorite show when I was a kid. And my favorite character was definitely the robot (“Danger Will Robinson, Danger!”).

Here are a few videos featuring the robot. The first is a tribute video:

Dick Tufeld was the famous voice of the Robot in the hit 1960s TV series Lost in Space. “Warning .. Warning .. Danger Will Robinson” and “that does not compute” were some of the familiar calls.  He was also an announcer for CBS TV for many many years. He passed away aged 85 on the 22nd of January 2012.

This video is just some shots of the robot with Dick Tufeld’s voiceover:

Here’s some background info on the show and the Lost in Space story:

Lost in Space is an American science fiction television series created and produced by Irwin Allen, filmed by 20th Century Fox Television, and broadcast on CBS. The show ran for three seasons, with 83 episodes airing between September 15, 1965, and March 6, 1968. The first television season was filmed in black and white, with the second and third seasons filmed in color.

Publicity photo (1967) for Lost in Space: shows cast members: Angela Cartwright, Mark Goddard, Marta Kristen, Bob May (Robot), Jonathan Harris, June Lockhart, Guy Williams & Billy Mumy.

Publicity photo (1967) for Lost in Space: shows cast members: Angela Cartwright, Mark Goddard, Marta Kristen, Bob May (Robot), Jonathan Harris, June Lockhart, Guy Williams & Billy Mumy.

 

The Plot:  In October 1997, 32 years into the future from the perspective of viewers in 1965, the United States is about to launch one of history’s great adventures: man’s colonization of deep space. The Jupiter 2, called Gemini 12 in the pilot episode, a futuristic saucer-shaped spaceship, stands on its launch pad undergoing final preparations. Its mission is to take a single family on a five-and-a-half-year journey – updated from 98 years in the pilot episode – to a planet orbiting the nearby star Alpha Centauri. The pilot episode had referred to the planet itself as Alpha Centauri, which space probes reveal possesses ideal conditions for human life. The Robinson family, allegedly selected from among two million volunteers for this mission, consisted of Professor John Robinson, played by Guy Williams, his wife, Maureen, played by June Lockhart, their children, Judy (Marta Kristen), Penny (Angela Cartwright), and Will (Billy Mumy). They are accompanied by their pilot, U.S. Space Corps Major Donald West (Mark Goddard), who is trained to fly the ship when the time comes for the eventual landing. Initially the Robinsons and West will be in freezing tubes for the voyage with the tubes set to open when the spacecraft approached its destination. Unless there was a problem with the ship’s navigation or guidance system during the voyage, West was only to take the controls during the final approach to and landing on the destination planet while the Robinsons were to strap themselves into contour couches on the lower deck for the landing.

Other nations are racing to colonize space, and they would stop at nothing, not even sabotage, to thwart the United States effort. It turns out that Dr. Zachary Smith (Jonathan Harris), Alpha Control’s doctor, and later supposedly a psychologist and environmental control expert, is moonlighting as a foreign secret agent for one of those competing nations. After killing a guard who catches him onboard after hours, Smith reprograms the Jupiter 2’s B-9 environmental control robot, voiced by Dick Tufeld, to destroy critical systems on the spaceship eight hours after launch. Smith, however, unintentionally traps himself aboard at launch and his extra weight throws the Jupiter 2 off course, causing it to encounter a meteor storm. This, plus the robot’s Smith-programmed rampage causing the ship to prematurely engage its hyperdrive, causes the expedition to become hopelessly lost in the infinite depths of outer space.

The Robinsons are often placed in danger by Smith, whose self-centered actions and laziness endanger the family on many occasions. After the first half of the first season Smith’s role assumes a less evil overtone although he continues to display many character defects. In “The Time Merchant” Smith shows he actually does care about the Robinsons after he travels back in time to the day of the Jupiter 2 launch with the hope of changing his fate by not boarding the ship and allowing the Robinsons start their mission as originally planned. However, once he learns that without his weight altering the ship’s course the Jupiter 2 would be destroyed by an uncharted asteroid, he sacrifices his chance to stay on his beloved Earth by electing to re-board the ship, thus saving the lives of those he really does care about and continuing his position amongst them as a reluctant stowaway.

The fate of the Robinsons, Don West and Dr Smith is never resolved as the series unexpected cancellation leaves the Jupiter 2 and her crew literally on the junk-pile at the end of season three. (Source: Wikipedia)

A shame. I hate when series end with no wrap up or conclusion. I feel that’s a real rip-off for the loyal viewing audience.

This is the Season 3 intro. I couldn’t find just the original Season 1 black and white intro, which is the one I remember the most.

 

Not sure if this will post but here is Episode 1 of Season 1, the very first Lost in Space episode. I’m posting this because it has the the intro that I remember; it’s the best one, in my opinion. It can be found at the 7:30 mark on the video:

 

 

L is for Love Boat:

The Love Boat was an American television series set on a cruise ship, which aired on the ABC Television Network from September 24, 1977, until February 27, 1987. The show revolves around the ship’s captain (played by Gavin MacLeod) and a handful of its crew, with several passengers – played by different guest actors for each episode – having romantic and humorous adventures. It was part of ABC’s popular Saturday night lineup that included Fantasy Island until that show ended in 1984.

The original 1976 made-for-TV movie on which the show was based (also titled The Love Boat) was itself based on the nonfiction book The Love Boats by Jeraldine Saunders, a real-life cruise director. Two more TV movies (titled The Love Boat II and The New Love Boat) would follow before the series began its run.

The executive producer for the series was Aaron Spelling, who produced several successful series for ABC from the 1960s into the 1980s.

Cast: Gavin MacLeod as Captain Merrill Stubing

Bernie Kopell as Dr. Adam “Doc” Bricker, ship’s doctor

Fred Grandy as Burl “Gopher” Smith, Yeoman Purser

Ted Lange as Isaac Washington, bartender

Lauren Tewes as Julie McCoy, Cruise Director (Seasons 1-7)

Jill Whelan as Vicki Stubing, the captain’s daughter (seasons 3–10)

Ted McGinley as Ashley “Ace” Covington Evans, ship’s photographer (seasons 7–10)

Pat Klous as Judy McCoy, Julie’s sister and successor as cruise director (seasons 8–9)

Gavin MacLeod, Bernie Kopell, and Ted Lange are the only cast members to appear in every episode of the series, including the last three made-for-TV movies.

 

 

L is for Lassie:

Lassie is an American television series that follows the adventures of a female Rough Collie dog named Lassie and her companions, both human and animal. The show was the creation of producer Robert Maxwell and animal trainer Rudd Weatherwax and was televised from September 12, 1954, to March 25, 1973. The fourth longest-running U.S. primetime television series after The Simpsons, Gunsmoke, and Law & Order, the show chalked up 17 seasons on CBS before entering first-run syndication for its final two seasons. Initially filmed in black and white, the show transitioned to color in 1965.

The show’s first 10 seasons follow Lassie’s adventures in a small farming community. Fictional eleven-year-old Jeff Miller, his mother, and his grandfather are Lassie’s first human companions until seven-year-old Timmy Martin and his adoptive parents take over in the fourth season. When Lassie’s exploits on the farm end in the eleventh season, she finds new adventures in the wilderness alongside United States Forest Service Rangers. After traveling on her own for a year, Lassie finally settles at a children’s home for her final two syndicated seasons.

Lassie received critical favor at its debut and won two Emmy Awards in its first years. Stars Jan Clayton and June Lockhart were nominated for Emmys. Merchandise produced during the show’s run included books, a Halloween costume, clothing, toys, and other items. Campbell’s Soup, the show’s lifelong sponsor, offered two premiums (a ring and a wallet), and distributed thousands to fans. A multi-part episode was edited into the feature film Lassie’s Great Adventure and released in August 1963. Selected episodes have been released to DVD.

 

 

L is for Laugh In:

Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In (often simply referred to as Laugh-In) is an American sketch comedy television program that ran for 140 episodes from January 22, 1968, to March 12, 1973, on the NBC television network. It was hosted by comedians Dan Rowan and Dick Martin and featured, at various times, Chelsea Brown, Johnny Brown, Ruth Buzzi, Judy Carne, Richard Dawson, Moosie Drier, Henry Gibson, Teresa Graves, Goldie Hawn, Arte Johnson, Larry Hovis, Sarah Kennedy, Jeremy Lloyd, Dave Madden, Pigmeat Markham, Gary Owens, Pamela Rodgers, Barbara Sharma, Jud Strunk, Alan Sues, Lily Tomlin and Jo Anne Worley.

Laugh-In originally aired as a one-time special on September 9, 1967 and was such a success that it was brought back as a series, replacing The Man from U.N.C.L.E. on Mondays at 8 pm (EST). The title of the show was a play on the “love-ins” or “be-ins” of the 1960s hippie culture, terms that were, in turn, derived from “sit-ins”, common in protests associated with civil rights and anti-war demonstrations of the time.

In 2002, Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In was ranked #42 on TV Guide’s 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time.

Each episode followed a somewhat similar format, often including recurring sketches. The show started with a short dialogue between Rowan and Martin. Shortly afterward, Rowan would intone: “C’mon Dick, let’s go to the party”. This live to tape segment comprised all cast members and occasional surprise celebrities dancing before a 1960s “Mod” party backdrop, delivering one- and two-line jokes interspersed with a few bars of dance music (later adopted on The Muppet Show, which had a recurring segment that was similar to “The Cocktail Party” with absurd moments from characters). The show then proceeded through rapid-fire comedy bits, pre-taped segments, and recurring sketches. The Cocktail Party was similar in format to the “Word Dance” segments of A Thurber Carnival.

At the end of every show, Dan Rowan turned to his co-host and said, “Say good night, Dick”, to which Martin replied, “Good night, Dick!”. The show then featured cast members opening panels in a psychedelically-painted “joke wall” and telling jokes. As the show drew to a close and the applause died, executive producer George Schlatter’s solitary clapping continued even as the screen turned blank and the production logo, network chimes, and NBC logo appeared.

The show often featured guest stars. Sometimes the guest had a prominent spot in the program, at other times the guest would pop up in short “quickies” (one- or two-liner jokes) interspersed throughout the show. While the guest was available, other bits were recorded, and would be added to other episodes of the series.

 

L is for Little House on the Prairie:

Little House on the Prairie is an American western drama television series, starring Michael Landon, Melissa Gilbert, and Karen Grassle, about a family living on a farm in Walnut Grove, Minnesota, in the 1870s and 1880s. The show is an adaptation of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s best-selling series of Little House books. Television producer and NBC executive Ed Friendly became aware of the story in the early 1970s. He asked Michael Landon to direct the pilot movie, who agreed on the condition that he could also play Charles Ingalls.

The regular series was preceded by the two-hour pilot movie, which first aired on March 30, 1974. The series premiered on the NBC network on September 11, 1974, and last aired on May 10, 1982. During the 1982–83 television season, with the departure of Landon and Grassle, the series was broadcast with the new title Little House: A New Beginning.

Although based on the biographical “Little House” stories, many of the characters and situations differ from the original books. The central characters are Charles Ingalls (farmer and mill worker), his wife Caroline, and their four daughters, Mary, Laura, Carrie, and Grace; in later seasons, they adopt three children, Albert, Cassandra, and James.

Other essential characters include the Oleson family: Nels, proprietor of the town’s general store, Oleson’s Mercantile; his malicious, gossiping wife, Harriet; and their two spoiled children, Nellie and Willie, and later, their adopted daughter, Nancy; Isaiah Edwards, Grace Snider Edwards and their three adopted children; the Garvey family, Jonathan, Alice, and Andy; Rev. Robert Alden; Lars Hanson, the town’s founder and proprietor of the town’s mill; and Dr. Hiram Baker, the town’s physician. In season five, Mary Ingalls meets teacher-turned-husband, Adam Kendall. In the season seven premiere, Laura marries Almanzo Wilder.

Little House explored many themes. Adoption, alcoholism, racism and blindness are portrayed. Some plots also include subjects such as drug addiction (i.e. morphine), leukemia, prejudice, and even rape. Although predominantly a drama, the program has some comedic moments as well.

Several of the episodes written by Michael Landon were recycled storylines from ones that he had written for Bonanza. Season two’s “A Matter of Faith” was based on the Bonanza episode “A Matter of Circumstance”; season five’s “Someone Please Love Me” was based on the Bonanza episode “A Dream To Dream”; season seven’s “The Silent Cry” was based on the Bonanza episode “The Sound of Sadness”; season eight’s “He Was Only Twelve” was based on the Bonanza episode “He Was Only Seven”; and season nine’s “Little Lou” was based on the Bonanza episode “It’s A Small World”.

 

L is for L.A. Law:

Another 80s show, L.A. Law is an American television legal drama series that ran for eight seasons on NBC from September 15, 1986 to May 19, 1994.

Created by Steven Bochco and Terry Louise Fisher, it contained many of Bochco’s trademark features including an ensemble cast, large number of parallel storylines, social drama, and off-the-wall humor. It reflected the social and cultural ideologies of the 1980s and early 1990s, and many of the cases featured on the show dealt with hot-topic issues such as capital punishment, abortion, racism, gay rights, homophobia, sexual harassment, AIDS, and domestic violence. The series often also reflected social tensions between the wealthy senior lawyer protagonists and their less well-paid junior staff.

In addition to its main cast, L.A. Law was also well-known for featuring then relatively unknown actors and actresses in guest starring roles, who later went on to greater success in film and television including: Don Cheadle, Jeffrey Tambor, David Schwimmer, James Avery, Gates McFadden, Bryan Cranston, C.C.H. Pounder, Kevin Spacey, Richard Schiff, Carrie-Anne Moss, William H. Macy, Stephen Root, Christian Slater, and Lucy Liu. Several episodes of the show also included celebrities such as Vanna White, Buddy Hackett and Mamie Van Doren appearing as themselves in cameo roles.

The show was popular with audiences and critics, and won 15 Emmy Awards throughout its run, four of which were for Outstanding Drama Series.

 

 

Have you ever watched any of these shows? What are your favorite TV shows, past and present?