Your favorite TV themes: Day 7

Previous installments: Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6


I asked you to suggest your favorite TV themes. You responded with dozens and dozens of shows! Here’s the seventh batch, in the order they were mentioned. Come back tomorrow for more!

Rockford Files by Mike Post and Pete Carpenter. The ubiquitous Mike Post returns for the fourth time in this series with another classic, this time assisted by Pete Carpenter. Carpenter, a trombonist and arranger, worked with Post from 1968 until Carpenter’s death in 1987. He wrote music in the 60s for The Andy Griffith Show, Bewitched and Gomer Pyle, among others. He and Post had their breakthrough with Rockford, then went on to write for CHiPs (1977), Magnum, P.I. (1980), The A-Team (1983) and many other shows. Brett Porter and Dmitri Matheny suggested this show.

Barney Miller by Jack Elliott and Allyn Ferguson. First and foremost, this is one of the greatest shows ever filmed. Period. Second, this theme is just ridiculously good, starting with the sound of Chuck Berghofer’s bass. Everything about this theme just screams New York in the 1970s. Elliott and Ferguson wrote both this theme and Charlie’s Angels. Elliot also wrote the theme to Night Court, co-founded and directed the American Jazz Philharmonic, and created the Henry Mancini Institute. Ferguson is a storied figure in the music world. He studied with Nadia Boulanger and Aaron Copland; founded the Chamber Jazz Sextet and worked with poet Kenneth Patchen; composed music for dozens of TV shows and films; and served as music director for the American Movie Awards, the Emmy Awards, the Grammy Awards, the Kennedy Center Honors, the Oscars, Julie Andrews, Johnny Mathis, and Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme. This theme was a favorite of Brett Porter, Dmitri Matheny, Andy Ricker and Matt Casarino.

The Days And Nights Of Molly Dodd by Patrick Williams. I’d never heard of this show until Brett Porter suggested it for this series. It ran from 1987-1991 and starred Blair Brown in the title role. Patrick Williams, who wrote the music, was the artistic director of the Henry Mancini Institute (see above) for five years and taught at several universities. Williams was nominated for an Oscar for his score to one of my favorite films, Breaking Away. He won four Emmys and was nominated 27 times for his work on shows such as Columbo, Lou Grant, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Bob Newhart Show, and The Streets of San Francisco. Williams also wrote well known classical pieces and did both the arranging and conducting for both of Frank Sinatra’s Duets albums.

SWAT by Barry De Vorzon. Taylor Haskins suggested today’s final two themes. SWAT was a short-lived spin-off of the show Rookies, running from 1975-76. The theme is probably the best known element of the show. SWAT was produced by Aaron Spelling, who also produced Charlie’s Angels and Beverly Hills 90210, among others. Barry De Vorzon, who wrote the theme, wrote hit songs in the 50s and 60s for rockabilly musicians Dorsey and Jonny Burnette. In the 70s and 80s he scored a number of films. One of his compositions, retitled “Nadia’s Theme,” was used on The Young and the Restless. He and Joe Walsh co-wrote “In The City” for the worst rock band of all time, The Eagles.

Streets Of San Francisco by Patrick Williams. Karl Malden and a young Michael Douglas starred in this 70s crime drama, which ran for 5 years on ABC. See above for Patrick Williams’ credits. The show was produced by Quinn Martin, who also produced The Fugitive, Twelve O’Clock High, The F.B.I., The Invaders, Cannon, and Barnaby Jones.

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