Seems like a funny thing to get into a Facebook flame war over, but then again, what isn't?
Someone on one of my classic TV boards started a thread naming classic TV themes that didn't have lyrics. It is a frightening thing, but there are people out there who vote and drive motorized vehicles that believe that "The Carol Burnett Show" counts because the lyrics are only sung at the end, and "M*A*S*H" counts, because the lyrics were only sung in the movie. Also had to argue with someone that "Make Room for Daddy" was "Danny Boy," but that also didn't go well.
There are many TV themes that we know and love as instrumentals that have lyrics. Some are better than others. Feel free to sing along as we go, because we ALL know the tunes.
"I Dream of Jeannie" had two theme songs. The first season featured a pleasant, generic waltz by Richard Wess. When Tony Nelson’s space capsule splashed down in color, it was replaced by the bouncy Hugo Montenegro samba that we all know and love, and Buddy Kaye supplied lyrics for a Montenegro single.
Jeannie, fresh as a daisy.
Just love how she obeys me,
Does things that just amaze me so.
She smiles, Presto the rain goes.
She blinks, up come the rainbows.
Cars stop, even the train goes slow.
When she goes by
She paints sunshine on every rafter,
Sprinkles the air with laughter,
We're close as a quarter after three.
There's no one like
Jeannie. I'll introduce her,
To you, but it's no use, sir,
Cause my Jeannie's in love with me.
One of the great TV theme composers was Jerry Fielding. His “Heroes March” for “Hogan’s Heroes” was originally just instrumental, but he himself composed lyrics for the album “Hogan’s Heroes Sing the Best of World War II.” Yes, that happened.
Heroes, heroes, husky men of war,
Sons of all the hreoes, of the war before.
We're all heroes up to our ear o's
You ask questions
We make suggestions
That's what we're heroes for.
All good heroes love a good, big fight
Open up the bomb bays and brighten up the night.
We applaud the people who laud us,
You pull the roses,
We punch the noses,
That's what we're heroes for.
What's a hero do?
Well, we're not gonna tell ya
Cause we wish we knew.
That's why we heroes are so few.
We've got a slogan
From Colonel Hogan
And Colonel Hogan's a hero too.
Never flinch, boys, never be afraid,
Heroes are not born, boys, heroes are made.
Ask not why, boys, never say die, boys,
Answer the call, remember we'll all be heroes forever more.
“Leave it to Beaver” came up quite a bit on the thread, but that song, “The Toy Parade,” has a delightful set of lyrics that was released as a children’s record in the late 50s.
Hey! Here they come with a rum-tee tum they're having a toy parade.
A tin giraffe with a fife and drum is leading the kewpie parade.
A gingham cat in a soldier's hat is waving a Chinese fan,
A plastic clown in a wedding gown is dancing with Raggedy Ann.
Fee fie fiddle dee dee they're crossing the living room floor
Fee fie fiddle dee dee they're up to the dining room door.
They call a halt for a choc'late malt or cookies and lemonade
Then off they go with a ho ho ho right back to their toy brigade.
“The Andy Griffith Show” is a great favorite, and one of the most fun theme songs to whistle, obviously. But there were also lyrics to “The Fishin’ Hole,” sung by Griffith himself on a couple of his albums. The words here so gloriously invoke the spirit of Mayberry.
Well now, take down your fishing pole
And meet me at the fishing hole
We may not get a bite all day
But don't you rush away
What a great place to rest your bones
And mighty fine for skipping stones
You'll feel fresh as a lemonade a-setting in the shade
Whether it's hot, whether it's cool
Oh what a spot for whistling like a fool
What a fine day to take a stroll and wind up at the fishing hole
I can't think of a better way to pass the time of day
We'll have no need to call the roll
When we get to the fishing hole
They'll be you, me, and old dog, trey to do the time away
If we don't hook a perch or bass
We'll cool our toes in dewy grass
Or else pull up a weed to chaw
And maybe sit and jaw
Hanging around, taking our ease
Watching that hound a scratching at his fleas
I'm gonna take down my fishing pole
And meet you at the fishing hole
I can't think of a better way
To pass the time of day
Sometimes lyrics are just a bad idea, and worse … a cheap way to make a quick buck, as was the case with Gene Roddenberry and his abysmal lyrics slapped onto Alexander Courage’s iconic “Star Trek” theme. Roddenberry composed the lyrics himself, simply as a way to pocket half of Courage’s royalties, and the composer never forgave him. The problem with THESE lyrics, is they don’t fit the tune as written. See for yourself …
The rim of the star-light
Is wand'ring in star-flight
He'll find in star-clustered reaches
Strange love a star woman teaches.
His journey ends never
His star trek
Will go on forever.
But tell him
While he wanders his starry sea
Remember, remember me.
To cleanse your palate from that evil stink, enjoy these lyrics, composed DECADES after “The Dick van Dyke Show” left the airwaves, by one of its stars, Morey Amsterdam.
So you think that you've got troubles?
Well, trouble's a bubble
So tell old Mr. Trouble to get lost!
Why not hold your head up high and
Stop cryin', start tryin'
And don't forget to keep your fingers crossed.
When you find the joy of livin'
Is lovin' and givin'
You'll be there when the winning dice are tossed.
A smile is just a frown that's turned upside down
So smile, and that frown will defrost.
And don't forget to keep your fingers crossed
A quick scan of YouTube will uncover vocal versions as well of “My Favorite Martian,” “Hawaii Five-O,” as sung by Sammy Davis, Jr., “Mission: Impossible,” and even “Peter Gunn,” as sung by the inimitable Sarah Vaughan. You can also find the complete versions of “Cheers” and “WKRP in Cincinnati,” both of which were released as full-length pop singles. As was Sonny Curtis’ “You’re Gonna Make it After All,” the theme from “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” Your jaw will drop at the sexism of verse two of THAT one. A different time, indeed.
I hope you’ve enjoyed our little sing along today! If you have any favorite theme music you’d like to share with me, I’m available at firstname.lastname@example.org. This concludes our broadcast day.