Been & Going

[Kicking Back with Jersey Joe] Let’s Play More Card Sharks

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

Can you call the next card HIGHER or LOWER for cash?  Watch as Jersey Joe and his friends play a another round of the classic TV game show Card Sharks!  Are the questions from the 70s & 80s the same as today?


THE 411

Name: Card Sharks

What: TV game show

Airdates: 1978-1981 (NBC) 1986-1989 (CBS) 1986-1987, 2001 (Syndicated)


Once again, we think this show should return to television!  This summer, ABC is bringing back To Tell The Truth, Celebrity Family Feud, and The $100,000 Pyramid.  Could a new Card Sharks revival be on the short list as well?

blog 93 card sharks

[Kicking Back with Jersey Joe] Let’s Play Card Sharks

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

Can you call the next card HIGHER or LOWER for cash?  Watch as Jersey Joe and his friends play a round of the classic TV game show Card Sharks!  Are the questions from the 70s & 80s the same as today?

THE 411:

Name: Card Sharks

What: TV game show

Airdates: 1978-1981 (NBC) 1986-1989 (CBS) 1986-1987, 2001 (Syndicated)


I’m surprised they haven’t brought this game show back.  The 2001 edition was absolutely awful.  They forced both contestants to play off of one row of cards, which meant nothing until you got to the final card.

Still a great game show and if they keep to the original rules — this really should, and probably will, return to TV soon!

blog 85 card sharks

[Kicking Back with Jersey Joe LIVE] What Is Your Favorite Game Show?

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

What do you think is the best TV game show?  Join Jersey Joe and Patch Frasca as they chat live from downtown Jersey City in this special rebroadcast of a live show.



THE 411

What: TV game shows

For: allows contestants to win big money for playing a game on televisio n


What is your favorite game show?  There are so many that I didn’t get a chance to talk about on this live show, that I want to do another episode!  I love Family Feud… but, Match Game is still the best!

[Kicking Back with Jersey Joe] Jersey Joe’s Top 100 TV Themes (Honorable Mentions)

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (2 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

It’s been a great summer counting down my top 100 TV themes.  It was a task that was harder than it looked!  I chose my top 100 based on theme, style, and if the credits properly demonstrated to viewers what the series was about.  There were many more than 100 that I wanted to feature, so here’s a few honorable mentions that came close to making my list.





The Entourage opening credits featured a great theme and cool shots of the actor’s names as neon store front signs in LA.  The final overhead car shot was pretty neat, too!





Will & Grace get bonus points for having one of the most unique opening credits sequences I’ve ever seen.  Whoever designed this did a great job of interspersing a few funny clips inside layers of the show’s logo, something no one else has really done.  The piano theme is pretty cool, too!





Everyone who was a kid in the 70s – 90s can probably sing this theme song!  When I was a kid, I always wanted that traffic light in Mr. Rogers’ house!


Only people from Western Pennsylvania have probably ridden the Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood trolley at Idlewild Park in Ligonier, PA.  Sadly, that ride has closed and will be re-themed as Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood and will reopen in 2015.





Sesame Street is really much more hi-tech now then when we were all kids, right?





Man this was a big show back in the day… and George Clooney, wonder whatever happened to him?





The saxophone solos in the second version of the Cagney & Lacey credits was the best!  Much better than the jazzy theme from the forgetful first season with Meg Foster!





I am so glad they are rerunning this on Universal HD… William Shatner jumping over the hood of cars, YES PLEASE!





Here’s another song that everybody knows.  This was taken from an early second season episode.  They would have to reshoot the opening each season as the kids grew older.





The second version of the opening credits to this series was the best!  I love how they added all the little ships and activity going on around the space station.


THE 411


What: TV Theme Songs


Use: themes used to open a TV series or cartoon


Purpose: introduce main cast and introduce audience to the theme of the series


Numbers reviewed: Honorable mentions




So, here are a few that I wish I could have squeezed into my top 100 list.  There are loads more that we could have gone over and everybody has their opinion, but these few really needed to be added to the list.


I hope through my top 100 and these bonus additions, that I was able to help you take a walk down TV memory lane.  I also hope that I got a few of your favorites on my list!  If there’s any you think I missed – I’d love to hear about it!


I don’t own any of the rights to these, nor did I upload them to YouTube.  This blog is presented for educational and informational purposes.


Image credit – Howard Walfish

[Kicking Back with Jersey Joe] Jersey Joe’s Top 100 TV Themes (1-10)

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (3 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

Here they are – the top 10 of my top 100 TV theme songs summer countdown.  Over the past 10 weeks, I’ve been counting down ten at a time what I think are the best TV themes ever created.  The list is not just about the music. It’s also about the editing, the style of the credits, and how well they introduce each series.


Just like David Letterman – let’s get to my top 10 list!


#10 LA LAW

Airdates: 1986-1994 (NBC)



I’ve always loved that rocking saxophone intro and hit during the credits.  Over all 8 seasons, the only change to the credits was the stars, with both Harry Hamlin and Susan Dey, leaving the series and others coming and going.


This show has finally been released on DVD, with seasons 1 through 3 hitting stores in by the end of 2014.


You could look at this show as the template for which all other legal shows would follow.  Each episode featured humor as well as hard hitting drama, usually on a recent topic such as the 1992 LA riots.


This show may have also been America’s first introduction to vanity license plates?



Airdates: 1971-1979 (CBS) & 1979-1983 (CBS, as Archie Bunker’s Place)



All in the Family is one of the most controversial shows to ever hit TV.  The series was way ahead of it’s time with all the off color topics that were handled, especially for the 1970s.  Racism, same sex, and bigotry were handled with lots of laughs and that kept viewers coming back for more.  You never knew what Archie was going to say or who he was going to insult next?  Nobody was safe!


The show took years to develop and was originally titled Justice for All, as Archie and Edith’s last name was originally Justice, not Bunker and was to shot for ABC.  Here’s a look at the original, rare unseen pilot.  You’ll notice the different characters for Meathead and Gloria, as well as a few different lyrics.



Did you also catch the disclaimer “suggested for the mature audience”?  That would remain when the second pilot was shot, now titled Those Were the Days.



There are actually several verses of the song that were recorded, but never broadcast.  The main reason behind Archie & Edith singing in the first place, was a cost cutting measure, as there was no more money after the first pilot was shot.


All in the Family also has the most amount of spin-off ever for a TV show including, The Jeffersons, Maude, Gloria, and 704 Hauser.


Although the series ended after 8 seasons, it technically continued on as Archie Bunker’s Place for 4 more.  The focus of the show shifted from the Bunker house to Archie’s new bar, after most of the cast had no longer wanted to be part of the series.  Here’s an episode of Archie Bunker’s Place:




Airdates: 1977-1984 (ABC)



Originally inspired by a British show, Three’s Company was a ratings blockbuster for ABC, but was just as famous for the behind the scenes turmoil with the cast.


Three roommates, sharing an apartment – with Jack having to pretend he’s gay in order to stay with two women.  You can instantly see where the comedy begins, but that was far from the end of it.


The first big change to the show was when the Ropers, the downstairs landlords were given a spin-off of their own, The Ropers.  Check out the really bad opening to their show:



After The Ropers leave, Don Knots is brought on as new building manager, Mr. Furley.



The show continued to do well with Knotts, but Suzanne Sommers (Crissy) then demanded a pay raise, producers fought back and had her only appear in one minute taped sequences at the end of the episodes during season 4.  After her contract was not renewed, a new roommate played by Jennilee Harrison was brought in as her cousin Cindy.  She lasted for one season, before Priscilla Barnes took over the third roommate Terri.



Ratings started to dip after season 8 and ABC wanted something new, so they kept Ritter’s character and developed a continuation of the show under the title Three’s a Crowd.  This show has often been packaged with the Three’s Company episodes under the title, Three’s Company Too.





Airdates: 1985-1992 (NBC) 1992-1993 (CBS as The Golden Palace)



Three widows and an elderly mother share a Miami house, a whole lot of cheesecake, and big ratings for NBC on a Saturday night.  Who knew that these four older women could be so funny?  The NBC executives did!


Most people don’t remember, but in the pilot the girls also had a live in cook, Coco who never again appeared after that episode.


The series also created a spin-off show; Empty Nest that aired in the time slot directly after, featuring The Weston’s who lived across the street.  The characters and pilot for Empty Nest was actually part of a Golden Girls episode with a different cast.


After 8 seasons, Bea Arthur decided to leave the show and the series was cancelled by NBC.  CBS wanted to continue with the characters, so they created a continuation known as The Golden Palace, where Blanche, Sophia, and Rose ran and lived in a beach front hotel.  It lasted for only one season.  It wasn’t that bad and would have been fine if they had kept it around for another season (which they very nearly did).



And now the big announcement – The Golden Girls have made a comeback!  Well, in the Netherlands!  It began airing in 2012 and is using old scripts and music from the original series.  Here’s a look at their opening credits!




Airdates: 1990-1996 (NBC)



Just about anyone who was watching television in the 90’s can sing the theme song to this show.  They kept the opening in tact through most of the show’s run, although it too was cut down in later seasons.  Unlike, TBS who cut it down to just a few terrible shots and beats for the reruns.  Over all the seasons, there was only one minor cast change, with two different actresses playing the role of Vivian, the mother of the house.


There are several other verses to the theme and a few of them have made it to air.  For a handful of early first season episodes, the credits were 40 seconds longer, and contained additional scenes.  Take a look…



The Fresh Prince of Bel Air was the ultimate rags to riches story, from the means streets of Philly to the post life in LA.  Both for the character and actor, Will!



Airdates: 1976-1983 (ABC)



I got in trouble for airing this theme on our high school news.  I still don’t know why.  Some teachers are just plain mean!


Anyhow, Laverne & Shirley was the story of two Milwaukee roommates who were just trying to make their way in the 1950’s.  We all grew up with them, through their jobs, their dates, and their weekly adventures.  The series was a spin-off from Happy Days, where both Laverne & Shirley were introduced as love interests for Fonzie (Henry Winkler).


While the show mostly focused on the two title characters, their upstairs neighbors Lenny and Squiggy were also featured.  It’s been said that actors David L. Lander and Michael McKean, created the characters while high on pot one night at Carnegie Mellon University.  They toured the country with the characters as a comedy duo, before being picked up by the show.


I always loved how Laverne (Penny Marshall) wore an L on all of her clothes.  Her favorite drink was milk & Pepsi, a combination I’ve never tried!


After 5 seasons, producers decided to move the characters to Burbank, California.  It was explained that they lost their brewery jobs to automation and they wanted to start fresh.  The rest of the cast followed.  As a result, the opening credits were changed, but the now classic theme song was kept…



Usually, a move like this is a last ditch effort to boost ratings, but the ratings weren’t that bad and the show held on.  In season 8, actress Cindy Williams who plays Shirley, became pregnant and after some harsh negations with the network, was let out of her contract.  She disappeared after two episodes with a note apologizing to Laverne.  The show would continue on as Laverne & Shirley, with Williams name and shots removed from the credits.



But, the show without Shirley just couldn’t make it.  Even Lenny was gone by the end of the season.  The LA episodes were still good, but they should have kept the series in Milwaukee making beer.



Airdates: 1979-1988 (NBC)



The Facts of Life focused on four girls and their housemother at an all girls school in Peekskill, New York.  But, that’s not how the series started.


The head housemaster, Mrs. Garrett (Charlotte Rea), was actually the housekeeper for the Drummonds on the first two seasons of Diff’rent Strokes.  During the second year, NBC executives loved the character and producers sent the Drummonds to visit an all girls school upstate as a potential place for daughter Kimberly (Dana Plato) to enroll.  Garrett is offered the job, but turns it down at the end of the episode, only to reconsider and take it during the summer hiatus, leaving her to suddenly disappear from Diff’rent Strokes.


During the first season, there were about a zillion different girls, along with a different headmaster.  While the theme song was written by Alan Thicke (who we’ve discussed before), for this season Charlotte Rea herself sings along!  Take a listen and look at all the confusion as the editor tries to squeeze the giant cast members into boxes!



After the first season was done, producers retooled the show, letting many of the girls go, and reformatted the sets and role of Mrs. Garrett.  I kind of wish they would have kept all of the cast, but adding Jo (Nancy McKeon) in season two was pretty cool.  The changes worked and the show scored high ratings.


It was during season 6, that the opening credits took on an updated rock version of the theme, but the biggest change was about to happen at the end of season 7, when Charlotte Rae decided to leave the series and passed the torch to her long time friend Chloris Leachman as her sister Beverly Anne to take care of the girls.  Check out the updated intro after a retro Saturday night NBC promo.



The show was never as good without Rae and it was cancelled after two seasons in this format.  Had she stayed with the show, who knows how long it could have been on the air?



Airdates: 1982-1993 (NBC)



Who wouldn’t want to pull up a stool at the bar where everybody knows your name?  If this thing was in my neighborhood, I’d be a regular!


Cheers was a staple of NBC’s Thursday nights, but was almost cancelled after a low rated first season.  The producers worked out the bugs and kept the laughs coming with this great group of barflies week after week.


The opening theme has become a TV classic and is featured prominently on the new Cheers slot machine on casino floors!


The show underwent many cast changes, starting in season four with the off-screen death of Coach (Nicholas Colansanto).  He’s replaced by Woody (Woody Harrellson) as head bar tender for the rest of the show’s run.  Shelly Long, who plays Diane decides she wants to leave the show to pursue an ill fated movie career and is replaced by Rebecca (Kirstie Alley), who first manages the bar, then burns it down.  Kelsey Grammer as Frasier and his wife Bebe Neuwirth as Lillith would eventually join the cast as main characters as well.


Though all the changes, America still loved to tune in and see former Red Sox player Sam Malone (Ted Danson) keep everything together, no matter what.


Here’s a look at a later set of opening credits, with the awesome song and classic pictures, and the cast changes.




Airdates: 1987-1994 (Syndicated)



This show has one of the best musical scores in the history of television.  Not only did it have excellent writing, excellent acting, it also had a full orchestra that gave every episode an epic feel.  I was glued to the TV each week and would sit there for the end credits, just to see the promo for what was coming next week, hoping it would be a new episode.


Star Trek: The Next Generation was a spin-off of the original 1960’s Star Trek series and an earlier version almost made it to the air in the 1970’s as Star Trek: Phase II, using many of the same elements such as the Riker – Troi romance.


The show has been in reruns, non-stop since the series left the air and every episode is now being remastered and released on Blu-Ray.


I’ll still stop and watch every time it’s on. I put in on in the background just about every day at work.


The cast stayed mostly intact, throughout the seven year run with only Denise Crosby as Tasha Yar and Wil Wheaton as Wesley Crusher, leaving the series.

This show also launched two official spin-offs, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager.  Another spin-off Star Trek: Enterprise has loose connections to this show as well.


Check out the opening credits for the original pilot… notice anything different?




Airdates: 1978-1991 (CBS) & 2012-present (TNT)



So, here’s my pick for the best ever TV theme – Dallas!


The show was must see TV for anyone with a set on Friday nights.  It’s the story of Ewing Oil and the crime, corruption, and family battles for the empire.


At the center was tycoon J.R. Ewing (Larry Hagman), who was the only character to appear on every episode of the original CBS run.  The classic Who Shot JR? cliffhanger episode left America gasping to know who pulled the trigger and would the character survive during the six month summer hiatus of 1980.


Through the 14 seasons, there was a large turnover in the cast that is far too many to go into in this countdown blog.  Here’s a look at the opening as it appeared during the final CBS season.  One mistake they made was getting rid of the iconic three way boxes that were featured on every episode, except for the last two seasons.  But, the iconic theme was there in all its glory!



I was too young to fully understand this show during the early seasons, but I know how much I loved the theme.  My grandmother would watch the show and I would make sure to stick around for the opening credits, before running away to play with Matchbox cars or whatever I did as a kid.


Most of the main characters stayed including Ewing, Duffy, and Gray, all of which would return for the TNT remake that launched in 2012.  It’s awesome that they still kept the music, although they have shortened it a bit for modern audiences.  Hard core fans of the show should be able to tell where the music edit is.  Take a listen and see if you can spot it…



One thing you can definitely spot is the changes to the Dallas skyline over the two decade hiatus.


Sadly, actor Larry Hagman passed away last year during season two of filming.  His character JR was also killed off the show, using some unused takes that had already been shot.  The producers paid homage to Hagman with a special orchestration of the theme and special opening credits featuring Hagman, that are nothing short of poignant, touching, and absolutely respectful.




THE 411


What: TV Theme Songs


Use: themes used to open a TV series or cartoon


Purpose: introduce main cast and introduce audience to the theme of the series


Numbers reviewed: 1 – 10




So, here they are… the final 10 of my top 100 TV themes!  Did you find any of my choices shocking?  Again, these weren’t chosen just for the music, but also for the editing style, and how well they introduced the series and characters.


Next week, I’m going to do a special HONORABLE MENTION blog.  I have a few shows, that didn’t quite make the list that we should take a special look at.  Let me know what you thought of the countdown. I hope that many of your favorites as well as a few surprises made the list.


I don’t own any of the rights to these, nor did I upload them to YouTube.  This blog is presented for educational and informational purposes.


Image credit – Eduardo Basto

[Kicking Back with Jersey Joe] Jersey Joe’s Top 100 TV Themes (11-20)

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (2 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

We’re at the top 20 mark of my 100 favorite TV themes summer countdown.  I hope you’ve enjoyed this as much as I!  These top 20 opening themes are some of the best that ever appeared on television.  Let’s check out 11-20 and see if you were a fan of these shows, too…



Airdates: 1975-1985 (CBS)



They’re movin’ on up!


What started out as a spin-off from All in the Family, The Jeffersons took on a life of its own.  Anybody remember George Jefferson as on of Archie Bunker’s neighbors?


After hitting it big in dry cleaning, George and his wife Weezy purchase an apartment in New York City’s Upper East Side.  The mismatch between not only the couple, but also their neighbors, and smart mouth maid kept this sit-com on the air for 11 seasons.


The first set of opening credits perfectly set the tone of the series.  You see the Jeffersons leaving their Queens home, driving over the 59th St. Bridge to the Upper East Side and entering the front elevator door to their new life.  Later versions of the credits kept the same song, but used hilarious b-roll shots of the series.



The Jefferson’s apartment building is a real life apartment building in the Upper East Side.  I know, I work around the corner, and pass it all the time!


I also found this unusual version of their opening credits when the show was aired in Italy.  I have no idea why it was edited this way, but the retro shot of Manhattan is kind of cool… the still shots of the actors are not!




Airdates: 1976-1985 (ABC), 1988-1993 (CBS), 1977-1995 & 1999-present (Syndicated)



You know a game show is good when it is still on the air after 35+ years!  Originally developed as a spin-off to Match Game, Family Feud has kept the pulse of America since the 1970’s.  You ask 100 people a question and contestants have to guess their top answers for cash.  It’s a pretty simple concept.


The best part of Family Feud’s theme was the original opening where the families would pose behind the large yellow door.  When the show returned in 1999, the producers got rid of the doors, but the families still had that freeze frame moment.  Sadly, they have abandoned the big family intro in the past couple of seasons and they really need to bring it back.


Everybody knew Richard Dawson as the original and probably the greatest host ever for this series.  He kissed every woman and even married one of the contestants!


When the series returned in 1988, it was with a new host Ray Combs, who was never as good as Dawson.  After a few years of ratings decline, they brought Dawson back with a new version of the original theme and a new set.  This only lasted one season, as the ratings took a major hit during the OJ Simpson trial that caused the show to routinely be preempted.



The show was brought back again in 1999, this time with Louie Anderson as host.  He got the job after Dawson turned it down.  Louie was hilarious during his first season, but during his second and third seasons, he seemed to lose interest.  With Louie as host, the original theme song was abandoned and a cheesy new theme was created.  The little riddles to introduce the family are absolutely embarrassing.



After three seasons with Louie, the producers hired Richard Karn (Al from Home Improvement.)  He was terrible!  I went to a taping once while he was hosting and he lost his place and they had to retape part of the round.  He also made a ton of mistakes.  For a brief time during his hosting, they brought back the original theme, but then returned to the Louie Anderson music.  After three seasons of Karn, producers hired John O’Hurley (Mr. Peterman from Seinfeld) as host.  I think O’Hurley was the best behind Dawson.  He was funny, personable, and easy to understand.  It was during his run that they finally brought back the classic music and had the families pose again!



Since 2010, Steve Harvey has been the host of the show with Joey Fatone as announcer (although he only reads one line that they use over and over again at the opening, so that kind of doesn’t count as announcing.)  Production of the show moved first to Orlando and now to Atlanta, where Harvey lives and hosts his radio show.  The latest version keeps scoring high ratings, but many of the questions are now quite sexual in nature.  I’m not sure I would let my kids watch the latest version of the show.



But, no matter what… Family Feud is still an awesome game show and I hope to see this one on the air for many more years to come.



Airdates: 1990-2010 (NBC)



Dun… dun…


While the awesome theme and the style of the opening credits to this show haven’t changed during the 20 seasons, the cast sure did.  None of the cast from season 1 made it all the way through to the end.


Law & Order detectives take on the hardest criminals in New York City’s mean streets.  The series has also spawned four spin-offs including, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Law & Order: Trial By Jury, and Law & Order: LA.  The latter was an attempt to continue the series, but it was a massive ratings flop.  Each version of the show used an opening credit theme similar to the original, except for the LA version, which then changed to the classic style credits once the ratings were already in trouble.





Law & Order takes full advantage of the NYC streetscape and really can’t work anywhere else (see LA flop version).  There’s always crime and there’s always a story on the streets of the Big Apple.  You also get to see the gentrification of the city as each season passes.


I love the theme song, I love the color palette, and I love the editing style of every version of the credits.  There’s still lots more stories to tell.  Even though SVU is still on the air, I think they could bring back the original with a new cast.



Airdates: 1988-1997 (ABC)



Roseanne was the working class family that everyone could relate to.  At least they did until the weird last season where the family hit the lottery.  Anyhow, this show was a ratings blockbuster that I’ll still watch if I catch it flipping through the channels.


Roseanne’s opening credits were also quite original.  For the first few years, it featured the cast sitting around the kitchen table and would be reshot every season as the kids got older.



In the later years, they switched to morphing headshots in a photo frame, but kept the sax.  The kitchen table shots were still the best.



For the final season, most of the cast and producers wanted to end the show, but ABC threw a boatload of money at them, so they pressed on for one more.  This was where we got all the fantasy episodes… remember Roseanne as a super hero saving a train that was taken over by terrorists?  The last season’s intro was pretty cool and that’s where we finally get words to the theme song!  Thanks John Popper!




Airdates: 2007-present (CBS)



Four geeks trying to make their way in the world is the theme behind one of TV’s current ratings leader. The Big Bang Theory has been renewed for several more seasons and can give anyone hope that they can make it in the real world, no matter if you have common sense or not.  While these guys may be geniuses, they have very little life skills… and that’s where the comedy comes from.  I would love to challenge them to a round of rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock!


The original pilot for the show had a much different set of opening credits and featured the 80’s rock song “She Blinded Me with Science.”  I like how the song and the look of the credits take us quickly forward from the Big Bang to the present.



Airdates: 1989-present (FOX)



I thought for sure there would be a zillion different Simpsons opening credits uploaded to YouTube, but it turns out that’s incorrect.  They too, most police for their videos.


The Simpsons has broken just about every TV milestone and can be considered America’s favorite family since they made their debut on The Tracy Ullman Show back in 1987.  Remember those shorts?


I love the opening credits and they really haven’t changed much over the years.  The biggest was when the show finally went to HD a few seasons ago.  With the upgrade, the credits were reorganized with more sight gags added.


The best part has been Bart’s funny lines he’s writing on the chalk board and the couch gag, which are reworked for each and every episode.  It’s not every show that does something unique for their credits each time!


I’m a huge Simpsons fan, but the comedy has gone down hill in the last few seasons.  I’m not sure if we’ve done all that we can do with the characters, but the writing and jokes just aren’t on par with the earlier seasons of the show.  It almost feels like they’re trying to be too much like The Family Guy.  The show did better when they focused on one character and went for the little sight gags.  I hope they can do something to boost the creativity and keep this show on the air for many more years.  The movie was hilarious, but the weekly series is now lacking.



Airdates: 1970-2005 (ABC), 2006-present (ESPN)



So, what ABC affiliate general manager is not kicking himself in the butt for letting this big money show go to cable?


This selection in my countdown may shock a few people, but it earned its place for two reasons.  It has kept the same general opening theme music for decades and also has featured the Monday Night Party intro as well, which is changed each week and reshot each season.


While I love the FOX Sports theme music, ABC’s football theme was first, and I’m glad that they still use it on the ESPN broadcasts.


When Monday Night Football was on regular broadcast television, local stations earned big bucks by selling their share of commercial ad time that was provided by the network.  However, many affiliates complained that the long length of the games would delay their 11pm newscasts and cause a drop in ratings.  After hearing so many complaints, ABC moved the series to ESPN, where it’s been airing ever since.  Sadly, the ratings these stations got back for their 11pm news was short lived.  Ratings for all 11pm newscasts are down, now that people get their info off the internet and none of ABC Monday night programs have earned the same ratings.  This really was a horrible move on the part of ABC affiliates, who have no one to blame but themselves.


I’m not sure of the exact year ABC started using their now iconic football theme, but check out the game open from 1970 – that’s brought to you by CIGARETTES!



While football on Sunday is awesome and the occasional Monday night matchup is great, both the league and network TV are doing themselves a disservice by adding games on Thursday and Saturday nights.  It’s too much football, spread out during the week.  NFL games should be more of an event.  I, like most people, have to get up for work on Friday… (even some Sunday night games can be painful!)  Let’s keep the party where it should be… to two nights a week.


But, let’s check out on more ABC themed MNF open… this one from Halloween 1994!




Airdates: 1994-2000 (FOX)



I have to admit, I was not a major fan of this series – but I thought the short opening credits sequence rocked!


Party of Five was a teen drama, which focused on five siblings who had to find a way to live together after their parents are killed by a drunk driver.  The show barely escaped cancellation due to low ratings after the first season, but FOX kept it on, and it eventually found an audience.


They must not have been able to secure the rights to use “Closer to Free” internationally.  Check out the overdubbed opening credits as seen in Mexico!




Airdates: 1978-1985 (NBC) 1985-1986 (ABC)



Does anybody have any real idea what the lyrics to these opening credits mean?  I get it’s the story of two orphans from Harlem who go to live with a rich guy in a New York City penthouse… but is the word Strokes a metaphor for a painting on a canvas and that no two are alike?  I guess so, because everybody’s got a special kind of story.


Does the voice behind the song sound familiar?  That’s actor Alan Thicke, the eventual star of Growing Pains.  Thicke actually created the theme song for a number of sit-coms and game shows.


The video shoot from the first season, is similar to The Jeffersons, as it shows their journey from poor to rich in about one verse.


As the series went on, the opening would change to feature new cast shots and b-roll.  The kids grew up after each season, Mrs. Garett the original housekeeper left for The Facts of Life, and finally Mr. Drummond gets married and a new woman and her son move in.


Here’s a look at the last NBC season opening:



After NBC cancelled the show, ABC picked it up for one more season.  Dixie Carter left after fighting with Gary Coleman on the set, so they brought in a lookalike.  Since the show changed networks, a new remixed version of the theme was required.  Since there are only a handful of episodes of this version of the music, you could say it’s a little rare.  It was a cool idea to use all the picture frames, which was high tech at the time!



And I found this awesome clip of a Diff’rent Strokes / Knight Rider crossover!  I don’t ever remember this…  it was clearly a very special two part episode!




Airdates: 1994-2004 (NBC)



Another show that I wasn’t a big fan of, but I clearly get they’re a group of friends, trying to figure out life in New York City.


The theme song became so popular, it was rewritten with extra verses added, so it could be played on radio.  The show lasted for 11 seasons, but the credits were shortened to just the main verse in the later years.  Sad, the playing in the fountain opening was kind of unique to this show.



Another big ratings show for NBC, but the time had come to say goodbye.  The network was eager to keep some form on this show alive, so they spun-off Joey and sent him to LA to become an actor in his self titled series, Joey.



The show was awful, but yet somehow got renewed for a second season.  It was so bad, Family Guy made fun of their character Cleveland when he was spun-off into his own show, wishing him better luck than this.  I think we can all say we learned something from this blog this week.  It’s not a good idea to send shows from NYC to LA.  Just ask Law & Order, that’s a tough change for audiences to handle!


THE 411


What: TV Theme Songs


Use: themes used to open a TV series or cartoon


Purpose: introduce main cast and introduce audience to the theme of the series


Numbers reviewed: 11 – 20




Well, some unusual choices for my top 20, don’t you think?  Next week, I finally reveal my top ten.  No spoilers this time, though.  See if you can guess who I picked for my number one theme!


I don’t own any of the rights to these, nor did I upload them to YouTube.  This blog is presented for educational and informational purposes.


Image credit – Paul-W

[Kicking Back with Jersey Joe] Jersey Joe’s Top 100 TV Themes (21-30)

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

We’ve made it to the top 30 of my 100 favorite TV themes countdown.  We’ve seen a lot of classic show intros that you may have forgotten about, but hopefully they’ve brought back some great memories.


Let’s get to it and see what the next set of 10 in our countdown will be…



Airdates: 1983-1987 (NBC)



This may be one of my favorite TV shows of all time!


A group of crack commandos are hunted by the US government for a war crime that they didn’t commit.  They reside in the Los Angeles underground and survive as soldiers of fortune.  You’ve got a problem and no one else can help… maybe you can hire The A-Team!


Once they dropped the annoying female reporter from the show (she really didn’t fit into the plot lines), this series hit its stride.  The A-Team was much more than just guys shooting guns and blowing things up (although that part was AWESOME and yet somehow nobody ever really got seriously hurt!)  The series also interspersed comedy and some outrageous situations while their lives are on the line and somehow they always got the job done.


I loved how Mr. T’s character of B.A. Baracus, was afraid of flying and each time they had to board a plane, the team would have to find a different way to knock him out.


I started wearing Chuck Taylor shoes as a kid thanks to Dwight Schultz’ character of Murdoch — the insane pilot who the team always busted out of a mental institution.


Another of composer Mike Post’s brilliant TV themes, these opening credits spell out the adventure you’re about to go on with perfect detail.  They really put some thought into these credits.  Did you ever notice the shot of the Cylon with Dirk Benedict?  The Cylons were part of his previous big name series Battlestar Galactica.


After the ratings started to dip at the end of season 4, the series was unfortunately retooled for season 5.  The team was captured and mock executed by the Feds.  They then went to work for a millionaire (played by Robert Vaughn), who was head of a worldwide foundation.  Their new mission involved helping countries in trouble around the globe.  They now had to fight everything from drug cartels to out of control dictators. They also added a new member of the team, Frankie, a special effects specialist.  Sadly, they also made Murdoch sane.


A new synthesized version of the theme song was also introduced, but all of these changes tainted the core of the show and it was gone by the end of the season.



A few years ago, a big blockbuster Hollywood movie hit theatres based on the series and was an absolute disaster.  The plot was dumb, everything was shot on bad green screen, and the characters were simply trying too hard.  That film should have NEVER been made.



Airdates: 1959-1964 (CBS), 1985-1987 (CBS), 1988-1989 (Syndicated), 1994 (CBS), 2002-2003 (UPN), 2008 (MyNetwork TV)



It’s the TV show that takes ordinary people and places them into extraordinary situations.  What would you do if you were the last person left on the planet, or saw a monster ripping apart an airplane wing at 33,000 feet, or being able to alter reality and bring back a loved one from the dead?  Then perhaps, you’ve entered The Twilight Zone.


For over 50 years, The Twilight Zone has captured the imagination of audiences with several stories over 30 or 60 minutes that places you into the world of the supernatural.  Some of the tales are down right scary, while others are meant to leave the viewer pondering their life decisions.


The power of this show has brought it back to TV multiple times and another new series or movie is currently in the very early stages of production.



I think the 1985 version of the opening theme is by far the coolest.  As soon as that simple piano intro starts up, you know you’re about to enter the Zone.  There’s also a slot machine based on this show that plays the theme over and over, that I’ve actually hit on a few times.  There’s also an amusement park ride based on the show as well!


Here’s the intro from the latest revival that aired on UPN and was rerun for a summer on MyNetwork TV.  This theme was composed by Korn’s Jonathan Davis.




Airdates: 2005-2013 (NBC)



A hilarious faux-documentary about a group of people who sell paper in Scranton, Pennsylvania, it’s a simple as that.  Cameras follow the staff on their everyday misadventures led by their inept boss, Michael Scott (Steve Carell).  The office pranks, the absolute political incorrectness, and team building misadventures with hilarious cutaways and staff interviews made this show a hit!  Would your boss take you out on a booze cruise, sign everyone up for a marathon, or pack everyone into a bus and travel around searching for pies?


This series is absolutely hilarious, but I never got into it until the reruns in syndication.


Honestly, I don’t know if I could ever buy paper from salesman as messed up as these, but I wouldn’t mind giving them a call!  I love how the city of Scranton has embraced the show, even hanging up a banner downtown with the Dunder-Mifflin Paper Co. logo.


Sadly, this show lost its mojo, after Carell left at the end of season 7.  NBC kept it alive for 2 more seasons, but it wasn’t until the very end that the show started to get funny again.  Without Michael Scott – it wasn’t really The Office.


Here’s a look at the Carell-less opening credits:



A plan to create a Dwight Schrute spin-off known as The Farm failed and that pilot episode was screened as part of the regular series.


The Office was originally created in the UK and aired for 12 episodes (and 3 Christmas specials).  Here’s a look at the brief run of the UK version that aired on the BBC:




Airdates: 1988-1989 (Disney, under the title Good Morning Miss Bliss), 1989-1993 (NBC), 1993-2000 (as Saved By the Bell: The New Class)



Sadly, it seems that most versions of these opening credits have been removed from Youtube, but this should still bring back memories.


If you grew up in the 90’s – you were watching this show!  At, least I don’t know anyone who didn’t.  And remember when there were actual kids’ shows on Saturday morning?


Saved By the Bell was the adventures of Zack Morris (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) and his friends’ daily lives of growing up and surviving the world of high school.  This show scored blockbuster ratings for NBC, but was actually started off as a completely different show.


In 1987, NBC aired a pilot under the title Good Morning, Miss Bliss that starred Haley Mills as middle school teacher Miss Bliss.  This series focused more on the teachers than it did on the kids.


Here’s a brief look at the original pilot:



There were some up and coming stars also made an appearance in that original pilot.  Did you see Brian Austin Green, Jaleel White, or Jonathan Brandis?


NBC passed on the series, but The Disney Channel picked up the rights and reformatted the show to focus more on the students than Miss Bliss.  It aired for 13 episodes.  Only Miss Bliss herself made it to the new series and Dennis Haskens was cast as Principal Mr. Belding, a job he would have for over a decade.


NBC took a second look at the show and ordered a full season for Saturday morning kids TV where it became an instant hit.  After the first season aired, NBC executives wanted to keep the ratings high during the summer, so they took the Good Morning, Miss Bliss episodes and quickly shot an intro with Zack, explaining these were their adventures in junior high.  They modified the new Saved By the Bell intro to add on the additional cast that didn’t make it through to the NBC version, including Miss Bliss.


Here’s a look at the original Disney Channel credits, then stay tuned for the modified Saved By the Bell intro and credits.



The following summer, NBC executives ordered more new episodes by having the gang take summer jobs at the Malibu Sands resort.  Their boss is future King of Queens star Leah Remini.


Saved By the Bell continued on for 5 seasons and for the final year, NBC doubled their order of episodes, but Tiffani Thiessen as Kelly and Elizabeth Berkley as Jesse did not want to sign on for the additional episodes, so Tori (Leanna Creel) is introduced for a block of episodes near the end of the series run.


After the cast graduated high school, NBC kept most of the gang together and spun them off onto Saved By the Bell: The College Years.  It aired for one season and downright stunk.


Here’s an actual episode of the series.  Fast forward to 1:16 for the credits and new opening theme song.



NBC still kept the original series alive, by casting a whole new set of kids and retitling the show Saved By the Bell: The New Class.  Although it was never as popular as the original show, the series added and subtracted main cast members each season.  Dustin Diamond, who played Screech during the original series (and was free after The College Years was cancelled), was brought on as a school assistant starting with season 2.



By the time the show left the air, the kids were a completely different cast.  Here’s an entire episode of The New Class from season 7.  Even through all the changes, I’m glad they still kept the theme song and look of the intro.




Airdates: 1986-1993 (ABC)



It’s the misadventures of Balki from Mepos, who moves to Chicago to live with this American cousin Larry.  Their clash of cultures was the setting for this great sit-com!


Their opening credits theme is one of the better from the 80s and 90s and you knew exactly what to expect of the show.  But, their more famous intro was not the original one.  Check out the opening credits from the first season:



While the first season does give us more of the theme and some cool b-roll shots of both Larry and Balki moving, those shots over the pink background make them look like a gay couple.  The later version of the credits was much better.


I also read that Louie Anderson was originally cast in the role of Larry in the original pilot.  I would love to see that, but I don’t think that’s ever seen the light of day.



Airdates: 1984-1985 (CBS), 1987-1990 (Syndicated)



I flat out hated this show when it was on the air, but I did think the theme song was kind of cool.  It set the tone and clearly explained that Charles (Scott Baio) lived in the basement and was the family’s housekeeper.


It debuted on CBS in 1984, but only lasted a season due to low ratings.  When it entered syndication for local stations to air, the show did much better and went on three more years.


I want to know, who was the sloppy editor for those first season CBS’ credits?  Did you catch how the names are slapped on the screen almost a second before the shot of many of the actors?


When the show came back in syndication, it underwent some major changes.  First, the original family the Pembrokes, moved to Seattle and a new family the Powells moved in, allowing Charles to stay in the same role.  The theme song was jazzed up and the new cast members were introduced.  Here’s a look at the revamped and much better credits:




Airdates: 1999-2003 (FOX), 2005-present (FOX)



What was originally ordered as a set of comedy sketches for MadTV, turned out to be a Sunday night animation staple!  FOX has had ratings success with the adventures of The Griffins with their TV parodies and political incorrectness.


The best part of this show is all the cutaway gags in which no one is safe.  Whether they’re making fun of Jews or the President, everybody takes an equal ribbing in this hilarious show.


This is one of the rare television series to come back from the dead to even bigger ratings.  After airing the show on Wednesday nights, FOX cancelled it in 2003.  The producers kept the franchise alive with a direct to DVD movie that did blockbuster sales.  FOX decided to put the show back on the air and broadcast it with the rest of their Sunday night adult cartoons and the ratings have never looked back.


The show has been so successful; it’s spawned two spin-offs The Cleveland Show and American Dad.  Executive producer Seth Macfarlane has gone on to write a few blockbuster movies and is even said to be working on a new version of The Flintstones.  If that ever happens, I’m sure it will be comedy gold.


Where the writers of The Simpsons have seemed to run out of ideas for the past decade, Family Guy shows no sign of slowing down creatively.



Airdates: 1984-1992 (NBC)



No TV theme countdown is complete without Night Court!  If I ever had to end up in a New York City courtroom, I would hope that it’s Judge Harold T. Stone’s (Harry Anderson.)


The premise of the show was simple.  You get arrested or sued for a petty crime; you end up in Judge Stone’s late night court.  The series dealt with the crazy people that would end up in front of his bench as well as the lives of the judge, his defendants, and bailiffs.


There were a few major cast changes over the years.  First, it took three seasons to cast Markie Post as attorney Christine Sullivan.  For the first two seasons, we had three different attorneys in the role.


Secondly, there were three female bailiffs.  The first was chain smoking Selma Diamond as Selma, died from lung cancer after the second season.  She was replaced by Florence Halop as Florence, but she died after season three.  Finally, Marsha Warfield took on the role as Roz from season four onward.


There were also two court clerks during the run.  Karen Austin as Lana during season one and Charles Robinson as Mac from season two onwards.


Here’s a look at the pilot’s credits.  Check out the different cast and Richard Moll with hair!  I also love how you get to see some awesome shots of the gritty 80’s New York City streets.



…and here’s the season 3 intro with Florence Halop.




Airdates: 1984-1992 (NBC)



It’s one of the most popular sit-coms in TV history and may have saved NBC from bankruptcy in the 1980s.  The Huxtables were the family that everybody wanted to be a part of.  No matter what the problem, Cliff (Bill Cosby) and Claire (Phylicia Rashad) would make sure to turn it into a teaching moment for their kids.  Sometimes they would break into song, sometimes they would turn the house into a giant apartment building to teach their son a lesson, or they would welcome yet another long lost relative that’s a great jazz musician!


The series concept was almost perfect, two professional working parents, and five kids.  Except that when the kids started to grow up, the show lost something.  The first five seasons were hilarious, well written, and well produced.  Once they brought in Olivia (Raven-Symone) this show down right sucked.  At this point, both Rudy (Keisha Knight Pulliam) and Vanessa’s (Tempestt Bledsoe) characters were useless.  The writers also tried to go for the “look at the little cute kid” tactics and would really derail the plot.  The last three seasons each saw major ratings slides.


What I did love is how each season; they would shoot a new set of opening credits, and rework the theme song.


Somebody on Youtube edited every single version of the theme into one big movie.  Take a look!  The theme used for the last season, was actually supposed to be for the season before, but producers could not get the rights to the mural in the background, which is why seasons 6 & 7 intros are the same.




Airdates: 1983-2006 (PBS)



I had no idea this show was still on the air in 2006, but who is the knucklehead that pulled the plug?  It’s an educational TV show that’s teaching kids to read!  Fortunately, host LeVar Burton is working to bring this series back, and I predict it will be on the air within two years.  It’s already back as an IPAD app and a Kickstarter campaign rose over 5 million in days!


I grew up watching this show.  I don’t like to read, but this show sure made me want to.  Plus, I learned all kinds of life lessons from the vignettes and on locations shoots that Burton would present.  My favorite was the behind the scenes tour of Star Trek: The Next Generation, where he played Lt. Cmdr. Geordi La Forge.


Here’s a remastered version of the theme that was used from 1999 on…



THE 411


What: TV Theme Songs


Use: themes used to open a TV series or cartoon


Purpose: introduce main cast and introduce audience to the theme of the series


Numbers reviewed: 21 – 30




We’re in the top 30 and some really big name shows are now making the list.  I wanted to add Saturday Night Live to number 29, but they are so tight with their clips, that none of their opening credits have been uploaded online.  I at least wanted to give them an honorable mention!  They are another series that have kept the general theme of their credits, but have changed along with the times.


Next week, we hit the top 20!  We’ve got a number of crazy families on the list!  Plus, we’re only two weeks away from the big countdown finale!


I don’t own any of the rights to these, nor did I upload them to YouTube.  This blog is presented for educational and informational purposes.


Image credit – Daniel Horacio Agostini

[Kicking Back with Jersey Joe] Jersey Joe’s Top 100 TV Themes (31-40)

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)

Here it is!  We’ve made it to the top 50!  All summer long, I’ve been counting down my top 100 favorite TV show themes.  We’ve had everything from current hits, to kid’s shows, to obscure classics.  Let’s keep the list going and see what’s in store for the next set of 10!



Airdates: 1984-1991 & 2003 (NBC)



Fred Dryer was originally a football player for both the New York Giants and the Los Angeles Rams, before turning to acting, and taking on his signature character Hunter.


Hunter was a no-nonsense cop who battled the bad guys in the mean streets of LA.  Although the show would be considered tame by today’s TV standards, Hunter was a bit violent for the 1980’s.


I loved this series and it blended the right amount of action and humor, plus guy vs. gal antics with his partner Dee Dee McCall (Stepfanie Karmer).


The opening credits featured another great soundtrack by composer Mike Post, who would also create the themes for a number of TV shows.  Both the credits and the theme were updated every season, giving us more then seven great cuts.


Here’s a look at the revised credits from season 3.  They make no secret that this is a gritty cop show.  Just look at the drug dealing, murder, and action shots they feature.



By the time we get to season 5, the rock guitar really kicks in.  Plus, we get the money shot of Hunter stopping his car just above the Hollywood sign to admire the view of his city at the end.  I don’t recall that being in any episode…



By the time we get to season 7, Stepfanie Kramer left the show to pursue a singing career.  Have you ever heard her sing?  I haven’t.  A new female lead was brought in, but she clashed with actor Fred Dryer, so she was killed off and midway through the season and he gets yet another female partner.  The end shot in this version of the credits and even hard rock guitar theme are pretty cool.



After a few successful made for TV movies, NBC decided to bring back Hunter as a regular series in 2003.  Were you watching?  You probably weren’t.  It was cancelled after airing only 3 of the 5 produced episodes.



I admit it… I did watch the revival and they made two critical mistakes.  First, they moved Hunter from LA to San Diego and secondly, they let him look old.  The grey hair just wasn’t him.  It was like watching my grandfather do the stunts.  The only thing they did right in this version was to bring back Stepfanie Kramer, which they had already done in the TV movie.



Airdates: 1965-1971 (CBS)



You take a rich couple and put them on a farm in the country and you’ve got Green Acres!


The series explored the vast difference between city and country life and with a more than memorable opening theme.


Arnold the pig probably became more famous than the main characters during the show’s run.  Arnold could understand English and loved to watch TV, among many of his talent’s that cranked up the slapstick value of the show.  Although, he wasn’t on every episode, Arnold guaranteed a good laugh when he appeared.  I mean, who’s not going to laugh at a pig watching TV?



Airdates: 1989-1998 (NBC)



It’s the show about nothing that became one of the greatest shows in American TV history.  Every week, we would tune in to see the misadventures of Jerry and the gang as they screwed up life and love in New York City.


The show really didn’t have traditional opening credits.  During the early seasons, Jerry would perform his standup act as that memorable theme played in the background.  In the later years, they pretty much dropped Jerry’s standup from the show, which I think was a big mistake.


Not as big of a mistake as the series finale, though… am I right?


I could go on and on about this one, but we’ve all seen every episode over and over.  It’s one of the greatest shows ever… enough said.



Airdates: 1977-1987 (ABC)



It’s the cruise ship that everyone wanted to be on.  That’s because you never knew which big name celebrity would be making a guest appearance!


The Love Boat sailed for 10 seasons and each episode gave us three or four completely unrelated stories that somehow intertwined with each other.  The only weird part of the show was the use of a laugh track when this was clearly not recorded in front of a studio audience.


This series was so popular that one of the episodes has been rated one of TV Guide’s 100 Greatest Episodes of all Time.


For the show’s ninth season, the theme and credits got a massive upgrade.  Check out the new version with the Love Boat Mermaids!  YES!



Even after the show left the air, it still made two more TV movies.


UPN brought back the show as Love Boat: The Next Wave for two seasons from 1998-1999, but sadly it was cancelled to do low ratings and never gained the fame of its predecessor.  I never understood why the new captain kept putting his hat on over and over in the new credits?




Airdates: 1970-1975 (ABC)



Based on the hit Broadway play and the hit movie, you have two completely opposite divorced husbands sharing an apartment in 1970’s New York City.  One was a clean and proper guy, while the other was a complete slob.  That’s all you needed for one of television’s classic sit-coms.


I always liked the jazzy theme of the credits and the vintage shots of The Big Apple.  Even for the 1970’s their box design used here was unique and not easy to do.


ABC tried again with this same format and even recycled 8 scripts for its successor The New Odd Couple for one season that lasted from 1982-1983, only this time it was with two African-American guys. It never caught on and was cancelled.  Rumors are still floating around that Hollywood is planning another big budget Odd Couple film.



Airdates: 1999-2007 (HBO)



A show all about gangsters whacking each other off in New Jersey.  Sounds like a simple idea, but with plots and drama as complex as this show was, it was no wonder that it was must watch and much talked about TV for everyone.  It was the movie Goodfellas as a weekly TV series!


It’s not often that you find a show, as perfectly casted as this.  James Gandolfini was the perfect lead and everyone still talks about what happened in that final scene when Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin cranked up on the juke box.  Did he get whacked?  What do you think?


While the theme song stayed the same, the opening credits were altered for season 4 to remove the shot of the World Trade Center.  Living in the area, I can also tell you that if you followed the route he was driving, you would exit from the Lincoln Tunnel and end up in Elizabeth, New Jersey, but not before driving in circles around Jersey City to follow a few of the b-roll cutaway shots are not in the correct order.


Here’s a look at the season 5 credits, minus the World Trade Center towers.



TV Guide has listed The Sopranos opening credits as #10 of TV’s Top Ten Title Sequences.



Airdates: 1993-present (CBS)



It’s official!  Dave is now the king of late night and I am going to be busted up when this show leaves the air next year.  I’ve been watching Dave since he started on NBC way back in 1982.  I even remember his short lived daytime show, where he got his feet wet that NBC cancelled all their game shows for even before that!


David Letterman has been a late night staple for many of us for decades and now I can understand how everyone would run to watch his mentor, Johnny Carson each night.  Dave is bow the Johnny of our generation.  Every big star from actor to comedian to US president has made a stop in the Ed Sullivan Theater to talk.



While Dave has kept the same brilliant jazzy show theme, the credits have changed drastically over the years.  Another show that was forced to remove images of the World Trade Center after it was destroyed (and Dave’s first show back on the air after that event will forever be TV history.)


By watching the evolution of Dave’s opening credits, you also get to see a glimpse of the gentrification of New York City.  In the first set, you’ll see the old cigarette billboards and dirt all over Times Square, but by the time we get to 1997, you can see how that’s all been cleaned up.



I always loved how they found unique ways to feature the band out and about in the city for their beauty shot!


…and here’s one final piece of TV history.  It’s their modified opening credits the night Superstorm Sandy hit New York City.  I didn’t get to see this when it was originally broadcast and I was too busy bailing water out of my flooded apartment.  I would have given anything to have been watching this in that most horrifying moment!




Airdate: 1985-1992 (ABC)



Another of the big 80’s family sit-coms, Growing Pains dealt with the Seavers as they too faced the trouble of raising three kids in the changing world.  It kind of sounds a lot like the plot of a few other 80’s sit-coms, but this show seemed to work and many of the obstacles that faced the family, seemed more true to life.


This series would deal with tough topics such as AIDS, sex, and even a close friend dying in a car accident, without trying to be cute like Full House was.  This was also thanks to Alan Thicke’s character, who as the father was a practicing psychologist who worked out of home and was always there to help his kids figure things out.


The first set of credits for this show, featured still painting meaning to depict the changing world and parenting through the years.  Thankfully, these were abandoned for glamour shots of the cast and a more upbeat theme after the first season.



I wonder if those were actually real life vintage photos of the cast?



Airdates: 1975-1984 (CBS)



I could call this just another sit-com, but it was actually more of a comedy-drama.  This series would tackle tough issues with life and relationships, while the main character, who was a divorcee who picks up her life and moves to Indianapolis, tackles a new world of feminism, all while raising her two daughters.


Each episode was set up so that you got the hard hitting plot point fairly early, then explored the resolution along with the characters for the remainder of the half hour.



While the characters took on a great deal of personal drama, cast member Mackenzie Phillips battled a very public fight with drugs that got her dismissed from the show, only to be rehired again.


As the series rolled on, new characters were constantly introduced to help keep the plots fresh.  Eventually, the mother (Bonnie Franklin) found a new true love, as did her younger daughter (Valerie Bertinelli) who basically grew up in front of America’s eyes.


The season six opening credits keep the same song, but the editing style is quite a departure from the rest of the show.  It looks like some editor found the magic box that allows video to be placed in boxes on screen and flown around.  This version of the opening is just one big train wreck.



By the time the show entered the final season, the editing style of the credits returned to normal, but featured many new additions to the cast.




Airdates: 1972-present (CBS), 1972-1980 & 1985-1986 & 1994-1995 (Syndicated)



Here it comes!  Television’s most exciting hour!  It’s the game show and the open that’s excited viewers for over 40 years.  It’s a simple game show, where contestants are called four at a time to the stage to bid on an item, the person closest to the actual retail price gets to play a special pricing game for more cash.  Three at a time, they face off at a wheel and the top two go to the Showcase Showdown, where only the one who is closest to the actual retail price without going over, can take home the big cash!


The show was originally targeted to housewives, who were expert shoppers, and were also home during the day to watch the show.


Most people recognize Bob Barker and current host Drew Carey from the show, but Bob was not the first to host the series.  It actually aired in black and white on both NBC and CBS in a much scaled down form during the 1950s and 1960s.  Only a modified version of the bidding round was played.  This version was hosted by game show legend Bill Cullen from Pittsburgh.


You can check out a full episode of the original version, here:



When the Bob Barker version hit the air in 1972, it was known as The New Price is Right for a time.  Another version aired at night for local stations hosted by Dennis James, before Barker took over that show as well after 4 seasons.  Here’s a rare look at the James night time version:



Price made it back to syndication in 1985 for a season with host Tom Kennedy.  It returned again in 1994 with major modifications with host Doug Davidson.  The Davidson version was down right awful.  The set was seriously overhauled and mostly used video screens for the prizes and the games.  This version was a serious rating flop and was gone after one embarrassing season.



When the Barker version started in 1972, the now famous “Come on Down!” line that called contestants to play was not part of the show open.  Instead, a contestant’s name was called and told to simply “Stand Up!”  It was quickly changed to the version we now know to love.


The Price is Right music itself has nothing to do with grocery products or prices, but it has become such a part of the show, that after all these years, it has to get a mention.  The current Drew Carey episodes still use the same style of open and theme, although now they are in high definition.




THE 411


What: TV Theme Songs


Use: themes used to open a TV series or cartoon


Purpose: introduce main cast and introduce audience to the theme of the series


Numbers reviewed: 31 – 40




We’re now past the halfway point in my countdown and the best is still to come!  I wanted to add M*A*S*H at number 32, but couldn’t find any actual show opens posted online.  There are tons of theme links, but none of the actual credit sequences with the cast securing injured solders off of the helicopter and buses.


Check back next week when we take a look at numbers 21-30.  We’ve got lots more NBC, including your favorite high school class, a Saturday night staple, and the New York courtroom we all wish we could get a case in if we ever get in trouble with the law!


I don’t own any of the rights to these, nor did I upload them to YouTube.  This blog is presented for educational and informational purposes.


Image credit –Jonathan Lassoff

[Kicking Back with Jersey Joe] Jersey Joe’s Top 100 TV Themes (41-50)

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)

Here it is!  We’ve made it to the top 50!  All summer long, I’ve been counting down my top 100 favorite TV show themes.  We’ve had everything from current hits, to kid’s shows, to obscure classics.  Let’s keep the list going and see what’s in store for the next set of 10!



Airdates: 1982-1986 (NBC)



I can’t tell you how bad I’ve always wanted to drive this car!  I recently re-watched the pilot on DVD and was shocked at how graphic it was for the 80’s.  The pilot shows our hero, Michael Knight, getting shot in the head as a cop and then is nursed back to health with no family, no identity, and goes to work for the Foundation for Law and Government.  Basically, they go after the bad guys, when the cops can’t!


Michael’s talking car, KITT (perfectly voiced by actor William Daniels) was a super computer on wheels.  This car is far more advanced than anything we have on the road today.  This car could drive 150 MPH on auto-pilot through city streets, had an early form of GPS, a computer database that could look up just about anything, and a TURBO BOOST button that caused the car to jump high in the air.  Why hasn’t our military developed this?


I don’t know who voiced over the original intro (there was no voice over for the first few episodes), but he sounded like he really needed to stop smoking.  It was all he could do to get the show’s title out of his mouth before being winded.  Listen to him gasp for air!


Want to hear a scarier version of the intro?  Listen to this guy from the Danish version:



I still say the show’s greatest episode was when KITT was challenged by his evil twin KARR.  Kind of reminds me of Data and Lore from Star Trek: The Next Generation.


While the show was awesome in the 80’s (and including several made for TV movies), it has been brought back twice since.  One ran for two seasons in syndication as Team Knight Rider and in 2008 for NBC starring Val Kilmer.  The 2008 version was a disaster all around.  They changed the car into a Transformer and even recycled some of the original series plots.




Airdates: 1979-1985 (CBS)



The only way to follow Knight Rider in my count down is to go with another of TV’s greatest car show ever, The Dukes of Hazzard.  You can’t tell me that there’s ever been a funnier cop to watch on TV than Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane!


A bunch of country hicks that run around in a car with the doors welded shut, getting arrested over and over.  That was the plot for the series that skyrocketed in the ratings week after week.


As the show grew with fans, so did the cast’s egos.  First, James Best as Roscoe walked off the show and was replaced for three episodes, followed by Tom Wopat and John Schneider (Luke & Bo Duke) who walked off for most of season 5 and were replaced by their nearly identical and yet somehow related counterparts Coy & Vance Duke, until everything was settled.


Take a look at the opening credits and teaser with the Coy and Vance replacements.  Remember them?




Airdates: 1983-1987 (HBO)



This was back at the time when pay cable channel, HBO aired kid’s shows.


Created by Jim Henson and is part of his Muppets franchise, the Fraggles lived underground and ate candy scaffolding created by ant like creatures known as the Doozers.  Fraggles played, while the Doozers just worked and worked.  They were constantly trying to avoid the Gorgs, who are farmers that live at another tunnel exit and consider the Fraggles pests.


Sound crazy?  This would probably never hit the air today, but back in the 80’s, it was great for both kids and adults and still has a loyal following.



Airdates: 1989-1997 (ABC) 1997-1998 (CBS)



So, what’s missing from the season 1 credits?  Steve Urkel! The nerdy neighbor would be the show’s star after the first season, but here Jaleel White was only an occasional guest star until everyone loved his character.


Another of ABC’s family sit-coms, the show dealt with the problems of work, school and growing up in a Chicago suburb.  Somehow, this show was a loose spinoff of Perfect Strangers.


The show moved to CBS for the final season, when they tried to create a family friendly Friday night of programming to take some of the thunder from ABC’s similar programming strategy.  It failed and this show along with a few others that moved to the network were gone in less than a year.


Here’s a look at a syndicated set of opening credits that have been cut down for time:




Airdates: 2001-2008 (NBC) 2009-2010 (ABC)



A bunch of interns at a teaching hospital learning the ropes of working in a medical center.  These guys knew how to make medicine, funny.  Some of the show’s greatest moments would be the classic daydream cutaways!


Just like many other shows, the opening credits got shorter and shorter as the series went on.



This show probably would have been on the air for several more years, but star Zach Braff, decided he wanted to leave and many of the original cast followed.  The show was rebranded Scrubs: Med School for the ninth season.  A new set of credits were created, but without most of the stars everyone knew (some of the cast did hang around for a few episodes), the experiment was a flop.



#45 DR. WHO

Airdates: 1963-1989 (BBC) 2005-present (BBC)



The theme song and opening credits have basically been the same for this classic sci-fi series for more than half a century!


Mostly aired on PBS in the United States, Dr. Who tells the story of a time traveling humanoid alien who helps to right wrongs, fight for the human civilization, and help ordinary people.


The series currently holds the Guinness Record for the Longest Science Fiction Show.


Dr. Who has become a part of pop culture in the United Kingdom and numerous attempts have been made to bring it across the pond to the United States.  In 1996, FOX aired a movie pilot that was not picked up to series.  Most recently, new episodes have been airing on BBC America.


The Doctor has changed numerous times over the years, but the premise of the show has not.  When the Doctor is near death, he re-energizes himself into a new host.  A changing sign of the times, the Doctor’s ship is actually a vintage police call box.  They were plentiful on London streets in the 60’s, but are all but gone now.


I’ve seen this show off and on over the years and I’m fascinated at how they’ve kept the character fresh and relevant through all these decades.  I’d like to see some of the original black and white episodes, but nearly 100 of the early shows were erased and the tapes were recycled.


If you really want to see some TV history, check out what this fan did.  They’ve edited together every opening credit sequence since 1963!




Airdates: 1981-1986 (ABC)



Another great 80’s action show, The Fall Guy was the story of Colt Seavers (played by Lee Majors) who was a Hollywood stuntman by day and private investigator at night.  It was ABC’s answer to The A Team!  The show featured amazing stunts, great plot lines, and a pre Night Court Markie Post!


I have no idea what country this other intro is from, but take a look at Ein Colt fur alle Falle.  The Fall Guy – aired overseas.




Airdates: 1974-1984 (ABC)



It’s the show that brought us such phrases as “sit on it” and “jump the shark,” Happy Days was TV gold in the 70’s and early 80’s.  Set in the 1950’s, the series focused on Richie Cunningham (Ron Howard) and his misadventures with friends and family as they made their way through the decade.  He often sought the advice of his bad boy, leather jacket wearing friend Fonzie (Henry Winkler,) who would become the main focus of the show after Richie joins the army and leaves.


The famous Happy Days theme song, was the not the series first.  For the first two seasons, Bill Haley’s famous Rock Around the Clock opened the show.



The series featured many cast and format changes over the years.  The first happened in season 3, when the sit-com went with a multi-camera setup and was taped in front of a live studio audience.  The set was changed to allow for the modifications, so the Cunningham’s house seemed to undergo a little renovation over the summer hiatus.


The Chuck Cunningham syndrome, as it came to be known, was the sudden and mysterious departure of the older brother Chuck.  He appeared off and on during the first two seasons as the older, athletic brother, but never returned after season 2.  Later scripts make no mention of him and even refer to the main character Richie as the only son.


Later, Richie would leave the series and the plot lines would focus on Fonzie and his new role as auto shop teacher at the local high school.  While still popular, the series was on the air for far too long and the writers were running out of things to do with the cast.  New characters were being constantly introduced, while many of the main cast ended up with spin-offs of their own.



The result was a very different looking show by the time they got to their last season.  The cast didn’t even look like they belonged in the 60’s, anymore.



Airdates: 1993-2002 (FOX)



As soon as the dark whistle theme kicked in, you know you were about to battle aliens and government conspiracies.


The X Files was one of the last powerhouse shows on FOX’s Friday night, before moving to it’s final home on Sundays, where it aired for several more years.


Agent Mulder (David Duchovny) and his partner Agent Scully (Gillian Anderson) initially started off with a rough relationship, as Scully was always the skeptic when it came to investigating the paranormal.  11 seasons and several movies will change that; as the two finally hooked up, got married, and had a kid!  The whole romance thing never worked for me as it took away from the mystery that was the core of this show.


It spawned one spin-off, The Lone Gunman, based on a trio of nerdy informants the FOX burned off after 13 less than exciting episodes.


#41 CSI

Airdates: 2000-present (CBS)



I’ve been to Las Vegas a zillion times and I’m grateful that I’ve never needed the services of CSI!  All kidding aside, it’s one of TV’s most popular shows and with The Who’s rocking theme, you get one awesome show open.  Although for the first couple of seasons the credits were a lot less flashy.



14 seasons later, only a few of the original cast is still part of the show, but current star Ted Danson is absolutely perfect in his role as team leader.  Sure, the series gets gory at times as they try to solve murders, but they’ve been able to keep most of the scripts fresh and the plots are constantly taking crazy turns!


THE 411


What: TV Theme Songs


Use: themes used to open a TV series or cartoon


Purpose: introduce main cast and introduce audience to the theme of the series


Numbers reviewed: 41 – 50




We’re now past the halfway point in my countdown and the best is still to come!  I wanted to add Unsolved Mysteries and Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego at number 41, but I couldn’t find any good show intros online.  Most of what I found was either remixes or parodies.


Check back next week when we take a look at numbers 31-40.  We’ve got America’s favorite game show, the cruise ship everybody wants to be on, and the show about nothing!


I don’t own any of the rights to these, nor did I upload them to YouTube.  This blog is presented for educational and informational purposes.

Image credit – chrisinplymouth