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…
Q is for Quincy, M.E.
Quincy, M.E. (also called Quincy) is an American television series from Universal Studios that aired from October 3, 1976, to September 5, 1983, on NBC. It stars Jack Klugman in the title role, a Los Angeles County medical examiner.
Inspired by the book Where Death Delights by Marshall Houts, a former FBI agent, the show also resembled the earlier Canadian television series Wojeck, broadcast by CBC Television. John Vernon, who played the Wojeck title role, later guest starred in the third-season episode “Requiem For The Living”. Quincy’s character is loosely modelled on Los Angeles’ “Coroner to the Stars” Thomas Noguchi.
The first half of the first season of Quincy was broadcast as 90-minute telefilms as part of the NBC Sunday Mystery Movie rotation in the fall of 1976 alongside Columbo, McCloud, and McMillan (formerly McMillan & Wife). The series proved popular enough that midway through the 1976–1977 season, Quincy was spun off into its own weekly one-hour series. The Mystery Movie format was discontinued in the spring of 1977.
The series starred Jack Klugman as Dr. Quincy, a strong-willed, very principled Medical Examiner (forensic pathologist) for the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office, working to ascertain facts about and reasons for possible suspicious deaths.
While many detective series had depicted rudimentary physical evidence analysis such as fingerprints and bullet comparisons, Quincy M.E. was the first to regularly present the in-depth forensic investigations which would be the hallmark of later detective shows such as CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and its spin-offs, NCIS, Diagnosis Murder, Crossing Jordan, etc.
Q is for Quantum Leap:
Quantum Leap is an American science fiction television series that originally aired on NBC for five seasons, from March 1989 through May 1993. Created by Donald P. Bellisario, it starred Scott Bakula as Dr. Sam Beckett, a physicist who leaps through spacetime during an experiment in time travel, by temporarily taking the place of other people in order to correct historical mistakes. Dean Stockwell co-stars as Admiral Al Calavicci, Sam’s womanizing, cigar-smoking companion and best friend, who appears to him as a hologram.
The main premise for Quantum Leap was inspired by such movies as Heaven Can Wait, and Here Comes Mr. Jordan. Series creator Donald P. Bellisario saw its concept as a way of developing an original anthology series, as anthologies were unpopular with the networks.
The series features a mix of humor, drama, romance, social commentary, and science fiction, and was named one of TV Guide’s “Top Cult Shows Ever.”
Wikipedia provided a VERY detailed premise of the show, including the series finale, which is quite lengthy but will be helpful for anyone unfamiliar with the program or it will serve to remind you of various episodes:
Quantum Leap follows the narrative of Dr. Sam Beckett (Scott Bakula), a brilliant scientist that has become stuck in his past as a result of a failed time travel experiment gone wrong, and his attempts to return to his present, the late 20th century, by altering events in the past for the better, with the aid of a hologram of his friend Admiral Al Calavicci (Dean Stockwell), monitoring him from Sam’s present.
In the series premiere, Sam has theorized the ability to travel in one’s own lifetime, and is the lead of the government-funded Project Quantum Leap, operating from a secret laboratory in the southwestern United States; Al oversees the project for the government. When Al learns that funding for the project is threatened of being pulled because no demonstrable results have come from the project, Sam takes it upon himself to step into the Quantum Leap Accelerator to prove the project works, and is sent into the past. When Sam gains consciousnesses, he finds himself suffering from partial amnesia, and more surprised to find that his appearance to others, including what he sees in the mirror, is not his own face. He finds that Al has come to his aid, as a hologram that only Sam can see and hear as it is tuned to his brainwaves. Al, working with the Project’s supercomputer with the artificial intelligence Ziggy (voiced by Deborah Pratt), determines that Sam must alter an event in the current period he is in as to re-engage the Quantum Leap process and return home. Al helps Sam overcome some facets of his “swiss-cheese memory” and provides information on the history as it originally happened, and Sam is able to successfully change history. Sam leaps out, only to find himself in the life of someone else in a different period of time.
Episodes in the series subsequently follow Sam’s reaction to this leap (typically ending the cold open with him uttering “Oh, boy!” on discovering his situation), and then working with Al and Ziggy to figure out Sam’s identity, and who he is likely needs to help as to “set right what once went wrong” and to trigger the next leap, hoping that it will return him home. An episode typically ended showing the first few moments of Sam’s next leap that is repeated in the following episode’s cold open. Though initially Sam’s leaping is believed by Al and the others on the Quantum Leap team to be random, the characters come to believe in later seasons that someone or something is controlling Sam’s leaping, and this is a central focus of the show’s finale episode, “Mirror Image”.
When Sam leaps, his body is physically present in the past, though appears to others as the person he leaped into. In one case, after leaping into a Vietnam veteran that had lost both legs, Sam could still walk normally but appeared to others as if he was floating. Sam’s body and mind may become jumbled with those he has leaped into. In one situation, he leaped into a women near the end of her pregnancy and felt her birth pains, while in another episode he had leaped into the body of Lee Harvey Oswald and felt the intensity to assassinate John F. Kennedy despite knowing it was the wrong thing to do. Similarly, the person that Sam has leaped into is brought into the future, where they appear as Sam to the others; they are normally kept in an isolated Waiting Room to prevent them learning anything about the future, and they return to their own time when Sam leaps.
In most of Sam’s leaps, the changes he makes are small on the grand scale, such as saving the life of a person that might otherwise have died, or helping making someone’s life better. Selected episodes have shown more dramatic effects of his time travels. In one episode, Sam’s actions ultimately lead to Al’s death prior to the Project, and Sam finds himself suddenly aided by a new hologram, “Edward St. John V” (played by Roddy McDowall), and must work to prevent Al’s death. In another episode, where again the Project’s funding is threatened, Sam helps a young woman successfully pass the bar; this causes her in the future to become one of the Congress members that oversee the Project who immediately restores its funding. In the forementioned episode involving Lee Harvey Oswald, while Sam and Al are not able to prevent the assassination of Kennedy, Sam’s actions prevent Oswald from making a second shot that had killed Jacqueline Kennedy in that original fictional history.
Because of the time travel aspect, many episodes allude to famous people or incidents indirectly, such as Sam suggesting to young Donald Trump that New York real estate would be valuable in the future, suggesting the lyrics of “Peggy Sue” to a teenaged Buddy Holly, showing young Michael Jackson his signature moonwalk dance for the first time, giving Dr. Henry Heimlich the idea for his namesake maneuver by saving him from choking and setting in place actions that lead to the discovery of the Watergate scandal. Two notable episodes place Sam directly at the center of significant historical events, one being the forementioned leap into Oswald. In “Goodbye Norma Jean”, Sam appears as Marilyn Monroe’s bodyguard, who saves her life and convinces Marilyn to remain alive for her starring role in The Misfits. Other episodes explore the past of the main characters, like Sam saving his brother from being killed in the Vietnam War, and saving Al’s marriage to Beth.
In the final episode, “Mirror Image”, Sam leaps through spacetime as himself (without replacing another person), arriving at the exact time of his birth, where he meets a mysterious barkeep (Bruce McGill, who also appeared in the first episode in a different role), who is aware of Sam’s situation, and assures him that he himself controls the very nature and destinations of his leaps by his own choice (“to make the world a better place”), and that Sam is always able to return home at any time he truly wants to. In the final episode’s epilogue, Sam is shown to leap back again to visit Al’s wife Beth as himself again, assuring her that her husband (who was a prisoner of war at the time) will return home to her; this results in Al and Beth remaining happily married in the future, while Sam opts to continue leaping, never returning home.
Regarding the theme song: The theme for the series was written by Mike Post. It was later re-arranged for the fifth season, except for the series finale episode, which featured the original theme music. Scores for the episodes were composed by Post and Velton Ray Bunch. A soundtrack album was first released in 1993, titled “Music from the Television Series Quantum Leap”, dedicated to John Anderson, who played Pat Knight in “The Last Gunfighter.” It was released by GNP Crescendo on CD and cassette tape.
Did you ever watch Quincy or Quantum Leap? Are there any other Q shows? What are your favorite TV shows, past and present?