Your favorite TV themes: Day 8

Previous installments: Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7

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

Star Trek by Alexander Courage. First of all, “Alexander Courage”? How the heck is that somebody’s name? And why isn’t it mine? Courage got his start in film, orchestrating and arranging music for certain scenes in films such as Show Boat, The Band Wagon, Gigi, and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. He worked for years as an orchestrator with Andre Previn. Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek, wanted Jerry Goldsmith to write the music. Goldsmith said no and suggested Courage. Roddenberry wrote lyrics to the theme so he could claim half the royalties, and this was a source of tension between Roddenberry and Courage. Goldsmith did eventually write the music for Star Trek: The Motion Picture. According to Wikipedia: “After later being Goldsmith’s orchestrator when Goldsmith composed the music for Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Courage orchestrated Goldsmith’s adaptation of Courage’s own original Star Trek theme.” Like all but the last entry today, this was suggested by Taylor Haskins.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine by Dennis McCarthy. Both Taylor Haskins and Patrick McCurry specified the early, slower version of this theme. In later years, the theme was redone at a faster tempo. Dennis McCarthy is essentially the in-house composer for all things Star Trek. He wrote the theme to this show and also wrote music for The Next Generation, Voyager and Enterprise. Oh, and for MacGyver!

The Jetsons by Hoyt Curtin. I’d never heard Hoyt Curtin’s name until doing the research for today’s post, but I sure have heard his music. He was the musical director for Hanna-Barbera from its first shows in 1957 until he retired nearly 30 years later, writing the themes for The Flintstones, Top Cat, The Jetsons, Jonny Quest, Superfriends, Josie and the Pussycats, and The Smurfs, among many others. He also wrote two tunes for Ed Wood’s classically horrible Plan 9 From Outer Space.

The Price Is Right by Sheila Cole. Taylor Haskins, in talking about this theme, said, “Seriously, try to find a more harmonically complex TV theme…it’s the height of irony.” I think there’s more to the story of who wrote this theme than “by Sheila Cole” would suggest. Unless she died young or left the business, it seems odd that Cole could write a theme as iconic as this and never write anything again, which she never did, according to everything I could find online. Edd Kalehoff wrote all the other musical cues for the show (along with music for many other shows). Does anyone know anything about Sheila Cole? If so, please respond in the comments.

Twin Peaks (“Falling”) by Angelo Badalamenti. Justin McCoy Smith mentioned this theme to one of the more adventurous shows ever made. Angelo Badalamenti, who wrote the theme, also wrote the music for other David Lynch projects, including Blue Velvet and Mulholland Drive. He went to the Eastman School of Music in my longtime home of Rochester, NY. Interestingly, his connection to Lynch started when he was hired as Isabella Rossellini’s singing coach for Blue Velvet. When Lynch couldn’t secure the rights to the song he wanted her to sing, he and Badalamenti wrote one in its place. Other well known films on Badalamenti’s resume include The Wicker Man, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, and Secretary.

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