OT: TV theme songs

My wife and I were talking about TV theme songs the other day and we named a bunch of them that were very good.
The Rockford Files
Sesame Street
Welcome Back, Kotter
Barney Miller
The Jeffersons
Sanford and Son

But we agreed that the best was the theme of Peter Gunn.

What is your favorite TV theme song?


Hard to have just one fav 'cause so many are good and in the same league.
A few that spring to mind:

  1. Hawaii 5-0 especially the early seasons version. (A tad more deliberate in the conducting and lots of brass)

  2. The Munsters, season 2. The version with the “rock ‘n’ roll 'lectric guitar.”

  3. Rawhide Takes me back to 2nd grade. Mrs Rowland’s class. In the school yard we’d sing: “She’s Rowland, Rowland, Rowland…”

  4. Car 54 Where are You? "Kruchev’s due at Idlewild." Man, they don’t write lyrics like that anymore

  1. Mission Impossible by Boris Claudio “Lalo” Schifrin

Not sure about my favourite (one’ll come to me when I’m not thinking about it) One that’s fresh on my mind because we were listening to a BBC Radio 4 programme a day or two ago about the series…the various iterations of the Dr. Who theme.

I remember watching the very first episode with William Hartnell as The Doctor when I was about 11. Black and white, fixed camera angle, flimsy set (set a coffee cup down too hard and the whole tardis shook) So much more plausible back then.


“Rowland, Rowland, Rowland”
Love it.


A few favorites:

  • Theme from Taxi – Angie - by Bob James – great tune, great Fender Rhodes
  • closing credits for WKRP In Cincinnatti
  • Love Is All Around – Mary Tyler Moore theme – good production values

One bit of trivia… In the closing theme for WKRP, the lyrics sound like a typical rock song… Very hard to understand, seem to begin with “Went to a bartender…” and that’s about all you can make out but no one ever thought about it cuz it just sound like an outtake from some actual rock song. It’s not. The vocals were a “guide vocal” just aded to demonstrate the melody and rythm but once they recorded the placeholder take, they decided, “screw it, leave it like that.” The lyrics are all gibberish. THAT’S rock and roll. LOL



Agreed with some of the above. Also:

Miami Vice

The Jetsons


Addams’ Family

Twilight Zone

Outer Limits (?)

Star Trek (version?). Subsequent generations?

Leave It to Beaver

Mr Ed

Not Bewitched or I Dream of Jeannie

The Lone Ranger

Wild, Wild West

Bonanza (surprised not already mentioned)

Beverly Hillbillies

More when I can remember them.

But you can get them here:


The Best?

Why of course the Pink Panther. Perhaps the best piece of classical music ever written.

This one is just ultra skilled.

This one leads you back to YouTube.


I can sing every word of the theme song from “Car 54” from memory.


I didn’t see “Magnum PI” mentioned.

I quite liked the music for “Greatest American Hero”, which, like “Magnum” was composed by Mike Post and Pete Carpenter.

“The Unknown Stuntman” from “The Fall Guy”, co-written by Glen Larson.

“Key West” was a favorite of mine. I worked evenings, so always had to tape it. After watching the show, I often would back up the tape and listen to the music again. This is the start of the pilot. The weekly theme music comes in around the 1:10 mark.

A bit more symphonic. the opening to the original “Battlestar Galactica”, also co-written by Glen Larson.

Last one for this list: “12 O’Clock High”. Unfortunately, Quinn Martin productions always had a voiceover at the opening, but this piece gives a good listen during the closing credits. Back in the day, when I watched the show, I couldn’t hear most of the closing credit music either, because there was usually a voiceover promoting some other program.


OK, now my little grey cells are starting to perk


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It’s been almost 30 years since I had one of those dumbing boxes.

TV is a push (broadcast) paradigm. I like Internet’s pull paradigm.

The Captain

Not even NBC News with Chet Huntley & David Brinkley - Symphony No. 9, Second Movement by Beethoven
Firing Line - Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F Major, Third Movement (Allegro assai), by Johann Sebastian Bach

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I don’t think I’ve heard that theme music (like a good many upstream) Can you hum it and post a link?

In double checking to make sure I wasn’t suffering from False Memory Syndrome with my age at the time, I Goggled the “first episode of Dr Who”. So, that was the reason for the BEEB programme…50 year anniversary!!

Talking about the BEEB and radio, two themes/programmes from even earlier than Dr Who that are still going strong and I/we still listen to are The Archers and the Shipping Forecast. With a mind that retains trivia, I can still recite most of the shipping regions around the British Isles with decent accuracy.

In case you’re stuck in the Lundy, Fastnet, Irish Sea vicinity with only a working wireless…


Throughout my life my brother and I have found it to be like “Happy Birthday” or “The Alphabet Song”. Once you’ve learned it, it never goes away.

Can anyone recall the first TV series they watched regularly as a child. We didn’t get a TV until about the summer of 1960, so I’d only be 8 coming up to 9. There are 2 series that stick in my mind (along with a few of the US westerns available and kid-specific stuff) in the limited viewing hours we had…

The Citadel …an adaptation of A J Cronin’s novel of the life of a doctor in pre-NHS Britain (specifically Welsh mining villages) Found it a real snore at the time but my dad was glued to it even knowing the “story” pretty well.

Coronation Street … a soap opera that’s still running today, apparently. My mum loved this…oddly a soap that was centered on a working class community in the North of England (Manchester area) None of the escapism of typical US soap…and only one brief break for adverts half way through!

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YES!!! I liked this one a lot and still like it today.

This is the one I was trying to think of yesterday but just couldn’t recall … “Mork and Mindy” kept popping into my head for some reason.

I liked Sunday night TV because of McCloud and Columbo on alternating weeks. Both of those were must watch TV for me.

Some that come to mind as timeless/always there:

Highway Patrol — syndicated, various times but usually in the afternoon
The Jackie Gleason Show — Saturday nights 7:30
Sea Hunt — Locally Saturday night 7:00 leading into Jackie Gleason
Captain Kangaroo — I think 8:00 a.m
Ed Sullivan Show — Sunday nights, 7:30

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Oh yes. Highway Patrol. Broderick Crawford…10 - 4. I nearly remember that. We got Perry Mason too…and a few others.

I was hooked on Gerald McBoingBoing.

david fb

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