Monday, April 06, 2015

Memorable Musical Signatures from Radio & TV

So many! Too many! I asked the husband which ones flew straight into his mind - he came up with a rather obscure one first, from an old radio programme he used to hear in his home town, Salina, Kansas long ago: "Let's Dance" played by Benny Goodman, opening signature tune of a favourite music show. Urged to recall something more mainstream he chose TV's The Lone Ranger theme music, and that from MASH.

Too many vied for first place in my own memory - a couple from British radio in the 1940s and 50s came up, but not many will recall these so I'll link without embedding: Dick Barton, Special Agent (The Devil's Gallop"); and Paul Temple (Coronation Scot).

Theme from long-running (1960 to present) British TV soap opera Coronation Street has stayed in memory long after I last saw the show in 2003/4.

From this side of the Atlantic, though watched from the other side initially (and more times than I'd care to count) the beautiful theme from Lonesome Dove, composed by Basil Poledouris.
And another old American favourite, Dallas and its signature theme.

So... which themes from radio and TV shows stick in your memory?


LB said...

Funny isn't it, how they stick with us, even after so many years. The first one I thought of was the theme song, "Good Times" from the 70's TV show by the same name (I occasionally still watch it):

Being a child of the 70's, I also remember the theme songs from The Monkees, The Brady Bunch and The Partridge Family shows.

Sonny G said...

gee thanks LB, now that Brady Bunch song is gonna play in my head all day lol..

for me- theme for Bonanza
theme for Mayberry- whistling
both bring a happy tear to my eye.

Twilight said...

LB ~ I've never seen "Good Times" but coincidentally my husband has mentioned it to me recently. There's a contestant on American Idol who reminded him of the "Good Times" character known for his "dy-no-mite!" :-)

I'm not familiar with the other three - well maybe the Monkees one...will go have a listen. ;-)

Twilight said...

Sonny ~ Ah yes - I remember "Bonanza" and the signature tune - it was a favourite show of my mother's. Michael Landon was in it I think - I remember him better from "Highway to Heaven" - used to enjoy that one, no recollection of its theme though.

Mayberry - yes, husband introduced me to that soon after I arrived here.

mike said...

It's a challenge to remember them all, Twilight! This is my off-the-top list:

"The Munsters"

"Leave It to Beaver"

"My Three Sons"


"Twin Peaks"

"The Prisoner"


"Six Feet Under"

"The X Files"

"Pee Wee's Playhouse"

"Northern Exposure"

"Hawaii Five-O"

"Colbert Report"

Twilight said...

mike ~ LOL! Goodness me!
Hmmm...Don't know many of those - do know and like the "Twin Peaks" music and "Hawaii 5-0", and "X-files".

"Hawaii 5-0" brought to mind another from years past - "Magnum PI"

(Loved the series then, but its star actor has lost his gold star from me due to his politics!)

Thanks for that list - I shall investigate the unknowns.

Anonymous said...

... Oh, I love this Ice Skating ...

... wait, what's that? ... Hawaii Five-O?
... Can't skate slow anymore!

"The agony of da - feet"

"Guys like us, we had it made"


Twilight said...


Thanks for those...LOL! The first one's new to me - the second is also (ouch my ears!) in its American guise - never did see the show translated to 'Murican. The English version (called" 'Til Death Us Do Part" doesn't do the ears much good either: :-)

LB said...

After I left my comment, I immediately remembered another one. How could I have forgotten the opening music from the "I Love Lucy" show?:

Listening to it now kind of makes me sad.:(


You're welcome, Sonny - lol! Those theme songs were designed to be 'earworms'.

Twilight said...

LB ~ Though I've seen lots of clips and maybe the odd episode of "Lucy" I'd never heard the theme song. Cute!
Whenever I think of the "Lucy" show I recall a scene in "Crocodile Dundee" when Mick (Crocodile Dundee) is brought from the Australian Outback to a posh hotel in the centre of NYC. He's introduced to the TV in his room....

Sue Charlton: [helping Mick get settled in to his NYC apartment] There's a TV over there if you get bored.

Michael J. "Crocodile" Dundee: Oh, yeah - - I remember television from way back. I saw it at a buddy's house one time.

Michael J. "Crocodile" Dundee: [turns on the set and sees an "oldies re-run" of an "I Love Lucy" show pop up on the screen] Yup - - that's what I saw that time.


Anonymous said...

"Mrs. Slocombe, you will return to your post."
"When I turn around, you will raise your arm."
"I will ask, "What is it, Mrs. Slocombe?"
"You will ask me, "Are you free?" If I nod, you may then approach me."

"... the left leg merely does a forward aerial half turn every alternate step."


Twilight said...

Anon/kidd ~

"I'm free!!" - famous catch phrase from "Are You Being Served" - yep, great old stuff - signature opening not very tuneful but this is it:

And the classic, daftest ever and most beloved British series of all, Python

Always, always memorable.

LB said...

Twilight ~ That's the great (and not-so-great) thing about reruns!

mike (again) said...

"'Frasier's' Tossed Salad And Scrambled Eggs Among Top 10 Weirdest TV Theme Songs"

Scroll-down to the bottom and click on the accompanying blurbs for the "weird" explanations. One of your and their honorees is "Mash", with this explanation: "The "M*A*S*H" theme was also titled "Suicide is Painless" -- what a great message for a show about the hardships of war.

"Suicide is painless / it brings on many changes / and I can take or leave it if I please.
The game of life is hard to play / I'm gonna lose it anyway."

Anonymous said...

It is hard to believe that I don't watch TV ...
... I only saw a few of these back in the day ...
... But I've seen them all now.

... Interview with the well spoken Mr. Serling

... Some criminal defense lawyers always win!
... My Mom watched this.

... I've watched it since day one in 1966, thanks to a great babysitter.
... Bill's been into the Helium again ...


Twilight said...

mike ~ Yes, I remember the Frasier zany one! Watched quite a few episodes on DVD.

The Mash one, mercifully has no lyrics
in the opening theme - I guess its choice for the prog's theme was as whacky as the rest of MASH. :-)

Thanks for the link.

Twilight said...

Anon/kidd ~ Loved the Twilight Zone one - especially the nee-noo nee-noo part which must come in at the end rather than the opening. :-)

Husband was wondering if Perry Mason might be on Netflix, just tonight. don't think I ever saw any episodes of that one, and wasn't a Star Trek fan but have seen the odd episode...well, to be honest they're all a little odd. ;-)

Thanks for that selection.

anyjazz said...

Almost forgot one of my all time favorites. Dudley Do Right.

Twilight said...

anyjazz ~ LOL! Yes - very you, that is!

R J Adams said...

Please, Miss, [hand frantically flailing the air] I remember the Dick Barton theme and the Coronation Scot (getting faster and faster!). And doesn't that guy on the front of "Lonesome Dove" remind you of (Sir) Bruce Forsyth?
As for Coronation Street, the theme rings out four times a week in our house. My wife loves it and we've been watching it for four years - started in 1979 and we're now in 1983! Yes, all the old stuff. It's great. Today's 'Corrie' is total rubbish. I wouldn't waste time watching it. You'd not believe how it's changed.
I think my all time favorite theme tune was from "The Onedin Line" It was actually the Adagio of Spartacus and Phrygia by Aram Khachaturian, but it suited that series so well. Da-da daaaa, da-da daaaa....oh, don't get me started!

Twilight said...

RJ Adams ~ Oh good, I thought I'd be alone in those two memories - amazing how they stick isn't it? Probably because our diet of listening material was so limited back then - nowadays it goes on...well, for ever.

That's Robert Duvall, in "Lonesome Dove" in his slightly younger years. Maybe he looks like Sir Bruce, but I can only recall that Sir B.F. had a prominent chin, could dance a bit and play piano - other than that I wouldn't know him now if I fell over him. :-) Oh... I've dragged his catch phrase out of the depths: "Nice to see you - to see you, nice!"

Re Corrie - I think I'd sensed the show was deteriorating during my last few years in the UK - still better than Eastenders though! Corrie's heyday had to be in the mid-1960s to 80s. It had great, finely drawn funny, believable characters:
Elsie Tanner, Len Fairclough, Emily,
Ken and Deirdre (actress recent RIP), Ena Sharples, etc etc.

LOL! I was told more than once that (in those days) I looked like the actrees who played Elsie Tanner - my reply - "Yeah - maybe at a distance of half a mile through a fog - and quite honestly I don't have the boobs for it!" (Always admired her attitudes though)

Bob said...

Cattle Call - Theme song for the Eddie Arnold radio show. It would be starting just as I got home for lunch break from grade school - late 40s early 50s. Sponsored by Robin Hood Flour.

It is the one that comes immediately to mind although I am familiar with many through the years.

Twilight said...

Bob ~ Hi there! Thank you for this addition. Though I wasn't in the US back then, I still knew this song, it was played quite a lot on BBC radio back in the day. Eddie Arnold had a great voice!