On 8/22 my friend wrote:
“To this day, the debate rages: which was the better “Harry O” opening credit sequence. What it this one…”
“…Or was it this one?”
The beautiful music for this 1973-1976 TV show was written by Billy Goldenberg who was also responsible for the theme song for Kojak and Rhoda (one of my favorite guilty pleasure theme songs). Of course, the answer to the great debate is neither. The best version is, of course, the first version:
The character Harry Orwell had a bad back and walked with a bit of a limp. I mention this because I like a character with a bit of a physical flaw. In fact, in all the stories I’ve written, I don’t think I’ve ever written a hero who didn’t have a physical flaw.
Harry Orwell is also a private detective and I love a good mystery. I have never written a mystery though. I tried once but gave up about three pages into the first chapter because I convinced myself that, since I already knew the ending, it would be obvious to everyone else who read it too.
Farrah Fawcett played Harry’s love interest in the show which is a coincidence because she’s also been the love interest in every story I’ve ever written too! Okay that part is a lie. I’m really just trying to sit here and type long enough to give our annual bat visitor time to wake up and get the hell out of my bedroom! I’m hoping three paragraphs will do it. If not, I may just have to dust off that mystery novel and give it a whirl. I’m sure I was over reacting when I thought the answer was obvious. Nobody will ever guess that the butler did it anyway… D’oh!
Room 222 was a comedy-drama series which ran on ABC from 1969 to 1974. It earned three Emmy Awards during its run. Jerry Goldsmith wrote the beautiful theme song. It’s one of my favorites plus it’s a TV theme song with numbers in it, two things which viewers of my blog seem to like.
I used to think the instrument here was a flute but now I’m pretty sure it’s a recorder. It could be an ocarina or something else altogether but I’ve conveniently decided ignore that fact. I have also decided that I NEED to learn to play this song! I’ve ordered my ten dollar “How To Play The Recorder” kit so, if all goes well (and what could possibly go wrong), I’m just a few weeks from fulfilling my dream! If I manage to figure it out (and that’s a really big IF), I’ll upload a video of myself playing the tune and write a blog post about it. I can just envision the opening blurb now… “Beautiful Mind was only 43 when she started to learn to play the recorder. Her career was cut tragically short by her crippling lack of attention span…” It’ll be better than MTV’s “Behind The Music” if you ask me! (It’s probably good that no one ever asks me…)
Brief show runs require brief summaries: seventeen One Season Wonder sitcoms summarized in 5 words or less.
- Our Man Higgins (1962-1963) -Proto “Mr Belvidere”
- I’m Dickens. He’s Fenster (1962-1963)- “Odd Couple” with construction workers.
- The Baileys Of Balboa (1964-1965) – CBS answer to “Gilligan’s Island”
- Mickey (1964-1965) – Cancelled by Samee Tong’s suicide.
- No Time For Sergents (1964-1965) – Based on the movie
- Wendy And Me (1964-1965) – George Burns riffs a housewife.
- Karen (1964-1965) – Girl “Leave It To Beaver”
- Tammy (1965-1966) – Loosely based on the movies
- Gidget (1965-1966) – Sally Field: Surfer girl
- My Mother The Car (1965-1966) – Freudian nightmare number 146
- Captain Nice (1967) – Proto Greatest American Hero.
- The Pruitts Of Southampton (1966-1967) – Riches to rags
- The Ugliest Girl In Town (1968-1969) – Cross dressing love story.
- Occasional Wife (1966-1967) – It featured a fire escape!
- Love On A Rooftop (1968-1969) – Newlywed wackiness
- He & She (1967-1968)- Writer, actor, & wife make comedy!
- Good Morning World (1967-1968)- Proto WKRP
You can see full episodes of a lot of these on You Tube and all 30 episodes of “My Mother The Car” can be watched on Hulu. TV Guide voted it the second worst show ever made so every self respecting MSTie should tune in!
On a personal note, even though these are almost all before my time, I actually watched and liked both “Captain Nice” and “Gidget” in reruns. Also, I was watching the theme song video on my phone at work and two friends popped into the break room while it was playing. We formed a theme song singing lounge act that would put the Mandrell sisters to shame! Twas nice to finally check “shaming Mandrells” off my bucket list!
The themes in this video are, in order:
- Johnny Staccato (1959-1960)
- Mr. Broadway (1964) – Music by Dave Brubeck
- 87th Precinct (1961-1962) – Look for Norman “Mr Roper” Fell
- Checkmate (1960-1962) – Look for Sebastian “Mr. French” Cabot
- Suspense Theater (1963-1965)
- Amos Burke: Secret Agent (1963-1966) – Also called Burke’s Law?
- Hawk (1966) – Look for young Burt Reynolds
- T.H.E Cat (1966-1967)
- The Baron (1966-1967)
- Man In A Suitcase (1967-1968)
Like many latch key kids of my generation, TV raised me. I’m sure I lost my fair share of IQ points logging so many hours in front of the idiot box but it did make me something of a TV theme song savant. The TV shows in this video are all before my time but I know my fair share of obscure ones too. Anyone remember the theme from Mel Brooks sitcom “When Things Were Rotten?” I do! How about the “Mary Tyler Moore Show” spin-off “Phyllis?” Yup, I can sing that one too. Can anyone else hum the disco-rific theme song for the Desi Arnaz Jr. stinker “Automan?’ No? Uh… yeah… me neither.
Here’s Bill Evans with the theme some for the movie “The Americanizaiton Of Emily”
“The Americanization of Emily” is a Julie Andrews movie that I’ve never seen! I’ve probably mentioned it like 8000 times but it bears repeating. I LOVE Julie Andrews! I found the movie streaming online so I’ll definitely be watching it this week.
I love the Bill Evans version of this song. Johnny Mercer, who I also love, wrote beautiful lyrics for it so I also really like the Tony Bennett version. Sinatra also sang the song but I think Bennett sounds more besotted and this is definitely a song that requires a bit of moony eyed passion.
I love the trivia I pick up writing in this blog. I thought it was interesting that this clip was from 1970 but it was in black and white. It turns out most of Europe didn’t get color TV until the mid-seventies. The mid seventies was also when we traded our old black and white set for a new (to us) color set. I always thought we were just sorta broke because my mom was young and just starting out. But it turns out we were just “continental!”
This video is from a West German TV show filmed on November 24, 1961 in the Sudwestfunk TV studio. The DVD for this one is out of print too but it looks like Amazon has a DVD which includes some of this concert along with footage from the 1965 Antibes Jazz Festival and footage from a San Fransisco concert. I’ll probably get that one because I haven’t stopped playing either of the Coltrane clips since he posted them.
I love “The Sound Of Music.” In fact, I love pretty much everything Julie Andrews ever did. Her “My Favorite Things” is literally one of my favorite things. But Coltrane’s interpretation takes it to a whole new level that has absolutely nothing to do with singing Austrian moppets. I can only imagine what sort of magic he might have wrought if he’d ever gotten ahold of one of the Kristy McNichol/Christopher Atkins duets from 1982’s “The Pirate Movie.”