DAILIY DIRT: Along with Jim Rockford and Bret Maverick came some good music, too

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James Garner as Jim Rockford in "The Rockford Files". (NBC-TV)

Daily Dirt for Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022

I’m not sure what was more fun today, putting together this second list of favorite theme music, or rekindling memories of James Garner, one of the baby boomers’ all-time favorite stars … Welcome to today’s three thoughts that make up Vol. 415 of The Daily Dirt.

1. Today we offer our favorite theme songs from dramatic TV programs over the years (If you missed Wednesday, you missed the top intro music from comedies. Hint, if you were a “Cheers” fan, you won’t need to go back and check what was No. 1).

1. “The Rockford Files” (NBC): I always loved the phone call before the music of Mike Post and Peter Carpenter pounded its way into your living rooms, along with the good-natured personality of James Garner, who portrayed Jim Rockford.

2. “Maverick” (ABC): James Garner, who played Bret Maverick, was also one of the stars of this program. Apparently, good music followed Garner around. David Buttolph was responsible for this theme song. 

3. “Hawaii Five-O” (CBS): Arguably the greatest instrumental intro ever, Morton Stevens gave us that pulsating rhythm, accompanied by those giant on-screen waves. I was never a big fan of the show, but always wanted to catch the theme music before switching the channels.

4. “Bat Masterson” (NBC): Somebody named Ron Tilden provided us this great theme song, which actor Gene Barry brought to life as Bat Masterson.

5. “Mission: Impossible” (CBS): The perfect and relatively low-key intro to what was a seemingly perfect spy show. The legendary Lalo Schifrin was the man responsible for the music.

2. Since we’re in the heart of football season, it’s time to update our list of all-time favorite football films:

Gold medal: Remember the Titans (2000). How good was this film? My wife, Kathy, who may know less about sports than any other living human being on the planet, also thought it was a great film. I remember having to talk her into even seeing the movie. I had to promise to do some yard work or something. While football was at the heart of the movie, its principal purpose served to be an instrument of tackling (no pun intended) racial inequality in the 1970s south. To this day, Denzel Washington, who portrayed real-life coach Herman Boone, has never been better in a role. I will always “Remember the Titans.” 

Silver medal: “Brian’s Song” (1971). Ironically, Gale Sayers had always been my favorite NFL player growing up, and when I saw this movie as a senior in high school, Billy Dee Williams’ portrayal of Sayers in this highly regarded film cemented that feeling for me. Sayers was the best friend of teammate Brian Piccolo (played equally well by James Caan), who lost the battle with cancer at a young age. This is one of those rare movies that will always stand the test of time.

Bronze medal: “We Are Marshall” (2006). Matthew McConaughey is simply marvelous in the role of coach Jack Lengyel, who rebuilt the Marshall University football program after a 1970 plane crash killed the Thundering Herd football team and others associated with the program. I always felt a closeness to this film because Lengyel had been a coach in Wooster, Ohio, about 20 miles from where I grew up and was living at the time of the plane crash. I still remember opening up the Sunday morning sports section and reading about that plane crash in the fall of 1970. 

Honorable mention: “The Longest Yard” (1974). Hey, it was Burt Reynolds in his prime. It was football. It was classic comedy. It was great.

3. This week’s NFL rankings are compliments another Eighinger, son Geoff.

He loves the NFL like his dad does MLB, so Papa Dirt is turning over this weekly segment to the youngster. He promises his love for the Cleveland Browns will not influence his rankings. We’ll see … 

This week’s countdown:

5. Green Bay Packers (3-1): A pretty pathetic 3-1 for the Pack, but they will always be contenders with coach Matt LaFleur leading the charge. The Giants and Cowboys are also 3-1, but nobody takes either of them seriously (And by “nobody,” Geoff means himself).

4. Minnesota Vikings (3-1): Running back Dalvin Cook is going to need to get his act together for the Vikings to maintain a lead in the NFC North.

3. Kansas City Chiefs (3-1): That loss to the Colts in Week 3 still stings, but always trust in quarterback Patrick Mahomes and the offensive circus that surrounds him.

2. Philadelphia Eagles (4-0): Year two of the Nick Sirianni era has started strongly, but I just don’t see them as the best team in the league.

1. Buffalo Bills (3-1): Nobody circles the wagons like the Buffalo Bills and you’d be hard pressed to find a hotter commodity than quarterback Josh Allen. The 17-point comeback against Baltimore on Sunday is just another addition to his legend.

Steve Thought O’ The Day — So Nick Sirianni is coach of the Eagles. Who knew?!

Steve Eighinger writes daily for Muddy River News. How much of his MRN paycheck did he have to give Geoff for his work?

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