Main Titles

Your long search is over. You've found the home page of Lee Goldberg - author, TV producer, and charming man-about-town.

16

Nov 2013

12 TV Shows That Changed Their Theme Song

Posted by / in Main Titles / 8 comments

I love TV themes. The best ones become iconic, part of our cultural fabric… like Hawaii Five-O, Peter Gunn, Star Trek, The Addams Family and The Brady Bunch to name just a few. But several famous shows completed scrapped their opening themes… some early on as they were finding their way and some later in their runs to revitalize the series. Here are 12 examples (three of them shows that I worked on):

Kojak

Bonanza

Lost in Space

Season 1
Season 3

Magnum PI

Land of the Giants
Season 1
Season 2

Simon & Simon

The Avengers

SeaQuest

Space: 1999

Walker Texas Ranger

Monk

Martial Law
Season One
Season Two

 

Please select the social network you want to share this page with:

Did you like my post?

If you did then feel free to share it with your community and friends on Facebook or Google Plus, just click on the icons to share.

SIMILAR POSTS
8 comments
  • Kitty

    November 16, 2013, am30 9:14 AM
    01

    Out of the shows I watched, I like the earlier versions of Kojak and Bonanza, and I prefer the later versions of Magnum PI, The Avengers and Monk. Love that Randy Newman song.

  • Gil

    November 16, 2013, am30 11:36 AM
    02

    Definitely the first Bonanza. 2nd Magnum PI, Walker, Monk, Avengers, Simon and Simon. Te rest are forgettable for each. Thanks for reminding me of the Avengers.

  • AuntyEm

    November 16, 2013, pm30 2:12 PM
    03

    I think which theme song you prefer can depend on which one you first hear. For example, I watched Lost in Space and Bonanza early on in those series when I was a child and the theme songs that I remembered were the original ones. However, I came to The Avengers and Magnum later and prefer the second theme songs for them because that was what I remembered best. Music is meant to evoke an emotion so my theory is that if you enjoyed a show when you first watched it, you’re more likely to remember that theme song than you are a version you hear later. Having said that though, I came to Monk later but then made a point of watching all the series (thank you cable tv) and have to say that I prefer the first theme. Of course, who can forget Marci’s comment to Monk about never changing his theme song if he ever gets his own tv show! And I especially like how the producers played the original theme song in other ways throughout that series. Well done Monk.

  • 14 More TV Shows That Changed Their Theme Songs | Lee Goldberg

    November 17, 2013, am30 8:24 AM
    04

    [...] had such a great response to my post 12 TV Shows That Changed Their Themes that I’ve collected fourteen more examples of shows that scrapped one theme tune for an [...]

  • PaulDBrazill

    November 18, 2013, am30 12:19 AM
    05

    Ha! I barely remember that 2nd Bonanza theme!

  • Stephen

    March 19, 2014, pm31 8:29 PM
    06

    What about Starsky and Hutch? The first theme song was hard-nosed, reflective of the series’ early going as a tough cop show. But when the vibe of the show changed into more goofy plots, them new techno theme song reflected that change.

  • Jim M.

    August 20, 2014, pm31 10:25 PM
    07

    “Hazel” and “I Dream of Jeannie” are two more examples of television series’ main theme music that were changed. In the case of “Jeannie,” most fans would probably agree for the better from the theme used the first season to the iconic theme accompanying the animated opening of “Jeannie” (Barbara Eden) pouring out of her bottle in a stream of smoke and dancing toward her master, “Captain/Major Anthony Nelson” (Larry Hagman).

    The first season’s theme of “Jeannie” was a pleasant enough instrumental with a waltz tempo written by Richard Weiss. Apparently, series’ creator.producer Sidney Sheldon became dissatisfied with the original theme music, so commissioned a new one by Hugo Montenegro with lyrics by Buddy Kaye. And that was the one that stuck, danceably and infectiously so. Brill Building tunesmiths Gerry Goffin and Carole King had also composed a song called “Jeannie” for Sidney Sheldon before the series began, but it was never used. Given the Goffin-King tracks’ record, I’d certainly like to hear that one some day, if a recording of it even exists.

    But in the case of the “Hazel” main theme song (three of them), I think the show’s producers should have left well enough alone and stuck with the first and most catchy theme (lyrics by Sammy Cahn & music by James Van Heusen) of the first three seasons. And even in that first season, the vocal version sung by The Modernaires over the closing credits was abandoned after the first eight episodes. I think that was also a mistake, as was nice to have a vocal version at least one full season. Bouncier versions of that same Van Heusen-Cahn theme were used the second and third seasons before a change of tunes.

    The theme used for the fourth season of “Hazel” was a faster-paced but relatively innocuous one composed by Screen Gems’ house songwriter (and onetime songwriting partner of Neil Sedaka) Howard Greenfield with Helen Miller. The fifth and final season’s main theme music (accompanying a network switch from NBC to CBS; also the season which saw series’ co-stars Don DeFore and Whitney Blake leave the series in a salary dispute) was a more conventional tune also penned by Greenfield, but with Jack Keller; the team that would co-write some other memorable TV themes songs, including “Bewitched,” “Gidget” and “The Flying Nun.”

  • JackConuvial

    September 14, 2014, am30 12:47 AM
    08

    re: Space: 1999… 1st Season’s music AND 1st Season’s opening shots of Landau and Bain. Very powerful + the music alternates back and forth between crescendoing Classical to groovy 70s guitar rock. https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=8WZW4groJro#t=0

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>