Daily Dirt: Never underestimate the power of a (theme) song

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Daily Dirt for Jan. 28, 2022

Most hit TV shows also showcase a great theme song … here are some examples in today’s three thoughts that make up Vol. 196 of the Daily Dirt.

1. Be honest with me involving today’s first thought. How important was a TV show’s theme song in attracting your initial viewership? Remember, be honest.

When that opening music began, for example, for “Cheers,” were you all but hooked? And by the time the lyrics reached “Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name” there was no way you were changing the channel, correct?See if the following list of theme songs resonates in the same fashion. They are 10 of my all-time favorites:

“Cheers” (NBC, 1982-93): The famous theme song, “Where Everybody Knows Your Name,” was co-written and performed by Gary Portnoy. 

“Green Acres” (CBS, 1965-71): What many do not know is that the catchy theme was sang by the show’s actors and actresses.

“The Mary Tyler Moore Show” (CBS, 1970-77): The actual name of the popular opening song is “Love Is All Around,” and for eight years in the 1970s it provided a perfect punctuation for most Saturday evenings.

“Happy Days” (1974-84, ABC): This was the first great sing-along theme song of the 1970s, performed by Pratt and McClain.

“All in the Family” (1971-79, CBS): Surprisingly the fingernails-on-a-blackboard theme sung by actress Jean Stapleton was a top-30 hit on the Billboard adult contemporary charts. 

“Welcome Back, Kotter” (1975-79, ABC): The theme song, sung by John Sebastian, was far better than the half-hour comedy that gave John Travolta his start. (Raise your hand if you remember the famous catch-phrase from the show — “Up your nose with a rubber hose!”)

“Hawaii Five-0” (CBS, 1968-80): Arguably the most iconic instrumental theme song in TV history, the song (performed by the Ventures) peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1969. (Oh, one other thing. Book ’em, Dan-o.)

“The Addams Family” (1964-66m ABC): “They’re creepy and they’re kooky, mysterious and spooky, they’re all together ooky … “

“The Monkees” (1966-68, NBC): The Monkees kickstarted Monday nights for two years with “Here we come, walkin’ down the street, get the funniest looks from everyone we meet …” (It’s still hard to believe that drummer/singer Micky Dolenz is the only Monkee still with us.)

“The Andy Griffith Show” (1960-68, CBS): Another great instrumental. Remember the whistling? Remember Opie and Andy throwing rocks in the pond? For the record, the same of that catchy song is “The Fishin’ Hole”. Herbert W. Spencer and Earle Hagen wrote the song, and Hagen provided the whistling.

2. We haven’t played “Overrated/Underrated” for awhile, so let’s go.

Today’s subject matter is built around cartoons.

Overrated: “SpongeBob Squarepants”. This is the most popular cartoon in the world today — except in my house.

Underrated: “Beavis and Butt-Head”. For those who have not heard, there’s a new movie featuring the dynamic cartoon duo that is in development. A release date is expected sometime late this year. 

Overrated: “Phineas and Ferb”. One of the by-products of being a grandpa is having to watch shows like this with the grandkids.

Underrated: “Jonny Quest”. When this action-packed cartoon debuted in 1964, it was part of ABC’s prime-time lineup. My favorite character was always Race Bannon.

Overrated: “Bugs Bunny”. Sorry, but I was always rooting for Elmer Fudd to plug that silly wabbit.

Underrated: “Family Guy”. I’m note sure who I enjoy more, Peter Griffin or son Stewie.

3.The Big Ten caused some eyes to open earlier this week when conference officials hinted that the 14-school league will likely drop its East-West divisions for football following the 2022 season and go to one, big 14-team conference behemoth.

The top two schools would qualify for the Big Ten championship game.The bottom line to this revelation is that it opens the door for Ohio State and Michigan to play back-to-back games more seasons than not. The Buckeyes and Wolverines traditionally close their regular seasons with their annual blood-letting in late November, and if they are are the top two conference finishers — more likely than not most years — they will play again in seven days. That will be guaranteed boffo box office — and TV ratings.

This year’s Ohio State-Michigan game drew 15.89 viewers, the largest TV audience for for a regular-season college football game in two years.


Steve Fact O’ The Day Steve was once said to be a the human version of Peter Griffin. He took that as a compliment.

Steve Eighinger writes daily for Muddy River News. Yep. Spot on.

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