May 2, 2014 by T. Gregory Argall
Like most people of my generation, the first television theme songs I really became aware of were of a certain nature.
(By the way, isn’t it just sheer brilliance how they managed the rhyme with “gamma rays” and “unglamorous?” I’ll tell ya, there were high-fives in the writers room that day.)
Then along came the 1970s and it all changed.
Picture this: A long view across the river, taking in the New York skyline. You’re just getting a sense of the majesty of it all, the great city of constant happenings, and then that bass line kicks in.
Yeah, you know what I’m talking about.
The ’70s were the heyday of television theme songs. They had dudes like Quincy Jones and Sammy Davis Jr. doing songs for television shows. How cool was that? (And in Quincy’s case, it wasn’t even a good show, but we all watched it anyway.)
And then there was Mike Post.
For about twenty years (including all fifteen years of the 1980s) Mike Post reigned as the King of the Television Theme Song. If you wanted a hit TV show, you couldn’t go wrong with a Mike Post theme song.
Sadly, the days of the significant theme song are mostly in the past. Television producers have realised that if they shorten the title sequence, they can have more time for advertising. (And you thought it meant more time for the actual show. Silly you. The shows themselves are shorter but the timeslots remain the same.) So now we have the opening credits running through the first scene and then, if you’re lucky, there’s a three second musical sting with the show title graphics.
Of course, there are exceptions. “Game of Thrones,” for instance. The 3D clockwork map title sequence runs for about twenty-seven and a half minutes with a dirge-like song that could have been much better.
It could have been done cool like this…
There you go. I’ve set the soundtrack to your weekend.
As always, try to be nice to each other.