Monday, August 27, 2007

Rating Game Redux 14: All Together Now

Unlike last week's impossible mission, I did not hesitate to choose the three best TV theme songs for The Register-Mail. And while many more than three would be better--as always (my heart breaks to leave out The Dick Van Dyke Show or Mr. Ed--although both are mentioned in passing--let alone the deeply reassuring strains of the various covers of the Law and Order theme--a melody that I greet with Pavlovian immediacy, mouth watering for both crime and punishment, with cool guest stars, Columbo with a better wardrobe--I chose the following for an obvious reason: their complete internalization by anyone my age--50 and counting (by cracky)--who, as David Byrne once sang, "grew up in a house with a television always on."* In particular, the first involves snapping fingers; if pressed I will confess I enjoy hearing that sound in a song more than hand-clapping--which has its own all-systems-go attractions. The second features whistling--every song should feature whistling, even classical music. And the third gets even more iconic in my head if I think of the Mad magazine parody. ("By the way, how's your Mom, Ed?") Together, these three have served to gleefully deaden intellectual faculties for decades, providing for many of us a respite from rational thought and pragmatic deliberation. In other words, truly mystical experiences.

The Addams Family
Vic Mizzy (Mr. Ed, Green Acres, F Troop), who sings the lyrics himself, embeds into the collective TV Generation mind a literally finger-poppin’ paean to all things creepy, kooky, and of course ooky.

The Andy Griffith Show
As Andy and Opie head off fishing, Earle Hagen (The Dick Van Dyke Show, That Girl, The Mod Squad), who does the whistling himself (another multi-tasker!), perfectly captures the breezy, casual mood of the best of all sitcoms about small-town America.

Dom-dah-DOM-dom. Dom-dah-DOM-dom-DAH. Like Jack Webb’s persona, this manages to be no-nonsense, relentless, surreal, and implacable, all at once. Just the facts, courtesy of composer Miklós Rózsa.

*And Good Grief! how could I have forgotten The Twilight Zone? I apologize to the little boy I once was, happily scared to death by that theme, a little spidery dance along my spine, sharp and venomous.

By the way: Suavity. Some have it, some don't. (Lest we forget, Don, lest we forget.)

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