TV Theme Songs


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

Tabs

About

Interviewees discuss the origins of some of TV's most beloved theme songs.

Highlights
Quincy Jones on composing the theme for Sanford & Son
Lalo Schifrin on composing the Mission: Impossible  theme
Mary Tyler Moore on The Mary Tyler Moore Show theme song
Earle Hagen on writing the theme to The Andy Griffith Show
Composer Charles Fox plays piano medley of some of his compositions (Love American Style, Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, Angie, Hogan Family, Wonder Woman, The Love Boat); Killing Me Softly with His Song
W.G. Snuffy Walden on composing the theme for The West Wing
Who talked about this topic

Lee Adams

View Interview
Lee Adams and Charles Strouse on writing the theme song to All in the Family
Lee Adams and Charles Strouse on audience response to the theme song to All in the Family

Debbie Allen

View Interview
Debbie Allen on the theme song for A Different World

William Asher

View Interview
William Asher on Bewitched 's animated title sequence and theme song

John Astin

View Interview
John Astin on the theme song and opening credits of The Addams Family and on the revivals and legacy of the show

Buddy Baker

View Interview
Buddy Baker on Jimmy Dodd writing "The Mickey Mouse Club March" for The Mickey Mouse Club

Alan Ball

View Interview
Alan Ball on the opening and title theme for Six Feet Under

Bob Banner

View Interview
Bob Banner on Dinah Shore's signature throwing of her kiss on > The Dinah Shore Chevy Show  and on the "See the USA in your Chevrolet" theme song>

Joseph Barbera

View Interview
Joseph Barbera on The Yogi Bear Show, and on the music of the early Hanna-Barbera cartoons

Donald Bellisario

View Interview
Donald Belisario on Mike Post's music for Magnum, P.I. and Quantum Leap d Belisario on Mike Post's music for Magnum, P.I. and Quantum Leap

Milton Berle

View Interview
Milton Berle on the Texaco Star Theater theme song

Rick Berman

View Interview
Rick Berman on the design of the ship and the theme song of Star Trek: Enterprise

Lucille Bliss

View Interview
Lucille Bliss on the theme song on The Smurfs

Steven Bochco

View Interview
Steven Bochco on the importance of music to his series

Kevin Bright

View Interview
Kevin Bright on the opening credits of Friends, how the theme song was written, and the song's popularity

James L. Brooks

View Interview
James L. Brooks on the Taxi theme instrumental

Allan Burns

View Interview
Allan Burns on the theme song and opening credits of The Mary Tyler Moore Show

Robert Butler

View Interview
Robert Butler on the theme song to Hill Street Blues

Glenn Gordon Caron

View Interview
Glenn Gordon Caron on how Al Jarreau came to write the Moonlighting theme song
Glenn Gordon Caron on the main titles and music on Medium

Dick Cavett

View Interview
Dick Cavett on Bobby Rosengarden and the theme song to Cavett's talk show

Les Charles

View Interview
Glen and Les Charles on the theme song of Cheers "Everyone Knows Your Name" (and how "People Like Us" was almost the theme)

Glen Charles

View Interview
Glen and Les Charles on the theme song of Cheers "Everyone Knows Your Name" (and how "People Like Us" was almost the theme)

Alf Clausen

View Interview
Alf Clausen on Danny Elfman's theme song for The Simpsons and composing for the end credits
Alf Clausen on writing the theme song for ALF

Bob Claver

View Interview
Bob Claver on the opening sequence and theme song of The Partridge Family

Art Clokey

View Interview
Art Clokey on his animators and the Gumby theme song

Bill Conti

View Interview
Bill Conti on writing the theme/main title to an Esther and Richard Shapiro script called Oil, later known as Dynasty
Bill Conti on the main title theme for Dynasty
Bill Conti on composing the theme for Earl Hamner, Jr.'s Falcon Crest 
Bill Conti on composing the main title theme to Cagney & Lacey
Bill Conti on composing for the James Bond film "For Your Eyes Only" and creating the title song

Alexander Courage

View Interview
Alexander Courage on writing the theme music for Star Trek
Alexander Courage on creating the sound effect for the Enterprise on Star Trek
Alexander Courage on writing the theme for Judd for the Defense

David Crane

View Interview
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on the Friends theme song, "I'll Be There For You"
David Crane and Marta Kauffman on the Friends theme song, "I'll Be There For You"

Milton Delugg

View Interview
Milton Delugg on composing the theme to What's My Line

Richard Donner

View Interview
Richard Donner on the importance of television theme songs

David Dortort

View Interview
David Dortort on the theme song of Bonanza

Danny Epstein

View Interview
Danny Epstein on the theme song to Sesame Street
Danny Epstein on the theme song to Sesame Street, contd.

Kevin Eubanks

View Interview
Kevin Eubanks on loving the theme song to Mission: Impossible

Tom Fontana

View Interview
Tom Fontana on coming up with the title for Oz  and the opening credits of the show, which feature him getting an Oz  tattoo

Charles Fox

View Interview
Composer Charles Fox plays piano medley of some of his compositions (Love American Style, Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, Angie, Hogan Family, Wonder Woman, The Love Boat); Killing Me Softly with His Song
Charles Fox on composing the theme to ABC's Wide World of Sports
Charles Fox on composing the theme to Laverne & Shirley
Composer Charles Fox on composing the theme for Angie
Composer Charles Fox on composing the theme for Wonder Woman
Composer Charles Fox what a composer does in terms of creating the style of a show; on composing the theme for The Love Boat

Gerald Fried

View Interview
Gerald Fried on his first job in television, for M Squad and being put on staff at the studio with John Williams to then work on Shotgun Slade
Composer Gerald Fried on "Spock's theme" for Star Trek
Gerald Fried on composing music for the characters of Roots
Gerald Fried on composing the main theme for Roots

Gary David Goldberg

View Interview
Gary David Goldberg on how "sha-la-la-la" was added to the Family Ties theme song
Gary David Goldberg on the theme song of Family Ties
Gary David Goldberg on the theme song of Brooklyn Bridge

Lewis Gomavitz

View Interview
Lewis Gomavitz on the Kukla, Fran & Ollie theme song

Earle Hagen

View Interview
Earle Hagen on writing the theme to The Andy Griffith Show
Earle Hagen on the Danny Thomas Show / Make Room for Daddy theme song
Composer Earle Hagen on writing the theme for I Spy

Marilu Henner

View Interview
Marilu Henner on the Taxi  theme song

Paul Henning

View Interview
Paul Henning on the theme songs to Green Acres, The Beverly Hillbillies, and Petticoat Junction

Al Jean

View Interview
Al Jean on the opening credits of The Simpsons

Russell Johnson

View Interview
Russell Johnson on the theme song to Gilligan's Island and being part of "the rest"

Quincy Jones

View Interview
Quincy Jones on composing the theme for Sanford & Son
Quincy Jones on composing the theme and incidental music for The Bill Cosby Show

Eddie Kean

View Interview
Eddie Kean on writing the Howdy Doody theme song

Asaad Kelada

View Interview
Asaad Kelada on the theme song for Family Ties

David E. Kelley

View Interview
David E. Kelley on the importance of music in his shows, including Ally McBeal

Bernie Kopell

View Interview
Bernie Kopell on The Love Boat theme song

Sid Krofft

View Interview
Sid and Marty Krofft on the theme songs to H.R. Pufnstuf

Marty Krofft

View Interview
Sid and Marty Krofft on the theme songs to H.R. Pufnstuf

Glen A. Larson

View Interview
Glen A. Larson on the theme songs to BJ and the Bear  and Battlestar Galactica
Glen A. Larson on the theme song for Battlestar Galactica
Glen A. Larson on composing the theme to Knight Rider
Glen A. Larson on composing the theme song to The Fall Guy

Jay Livingston

View Interview
Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on writing the theme to Bonanza
Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on their hit song "Que Sera, Sera"
Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on writing the theme song for Mister Ed
Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on "Que Sera, Sera" becoming the theme to The Doris Day Show
Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on the importance of a theme song to a show
Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on writing the theme to Bonanza
Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on their hit song "Que Sera, Sera"
Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on writing the theme song for Mister Ed
Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on "Que Sera, Sera" becoming the theme to The Doris Day Show
Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on the importance of a theme song to a show

Chuck Lorre

View Interview
Chuck Lorre on co-writing the theme song to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Chuck Lorre on co-writing the theme song for Two and a Half Men
Chuck Lorre on the theme song to Big Bang Theory

Sam Lovullo

View Interview
Sam Lovullo on the Hee Haw theme song

Bob Markell

View Interview
Bob Markell on the improvised music cues for the opening of the show Danger

Penny Marshall

View Interview
Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall on the theme song and opening credits to Laverne & Shirley

Ed McMahon

View Interview
Ed McMahon on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson theme song, co-written by Paul Anka and Carson

Vic Mizzy

View Interview
Vic Mizzy on writing the theme song for The Addams Family and directing the main title
Vic Mizzy on the legacy of The Addams Family theme song
Vic Mizzy on scoring and writing the theme song to Green Acres
Vic Mizzy on composing the theme for Kentucky Jones
Vic Mizzy on composing the theme for Pruitts of Southampton
Vic Mizzy on the role of music in a TV show
Vic Mizzy plays the theme to The Addams Family
Vic Mizzy plays the theme to Green Acres

Ricardo Montalban

View Interview
Ricardo Montalban on the opening sequence of Fantasy Island

Mary Tyler Moore

View Interview
Mary Tyler Moore on The Mary Tyler Moore Show theme song

Tony Mottola

View Interview
Tony Mottola on writing the theme to Danger

E. Roger Muir

View Interview
E. Roger Muir on the Howdy Doody's theme song and music

Bill Nye

View Interview
Bill Nye on the theme song to Bill Nye, The Science Guy

Bernie Oseransky

View Interview
Bernie Oseransky on the theme song for Hawaii Five-O; and its popularity

Mike Post

View Interview
Mike Post on the theme to Lassie
Mike Post on writing the theme music for The Rockford Files
Mike Post on writing the theme song for Richie Brockelman, Private Eye
Mike Post on writing the theme song for Baa-Baa Black Sheep
Mike Post on writing the theme song for Toma
Mike Post on writing the theme song to The White Shadow
Mike Post on writing the theme song to Magnum, P.I.
Mike Post on working on Hill Street Blues  with writer/producer Steven Bochco
Mike Post on writing the theme song to The Greatest American Hero
Mike Post on writing the theme song to The A-Team
Mike Post on writing the theme song to L.A. Law
Mike Post on writing the theme music for L.A. Law
Mike Post on writing the theme song to Quantum Leap
Mike Post on writing the theme song to Doogie Howser, M.D.
Mike Post on composing for Cop Rock
Mike Post on writing the theme for and scoring Law & Order
Mike Post on writing the theme for and scoring NYPD Blue

Martha Quinn

View Interview
Martha Quinn on the MTV theme song

Gene Reynolds

View Interview
Gene Reynolds on the theme song to M*A*S*H, "Suicide is Painless"

John Rich

View Interview
Director John Rich on the creation of the classic "ottoman" opening of The Dick Van Dyke Show

Isabel Sanford

View Interview
Isabel Sanford on The Jeffersons theme song

William Schallert

View Interview
William Schallert on the theme song of The Patty Duke Show

Lalo Schifrin

View Interview
Lalo Schifrin on composing the Mission: Impossible  theme
Lalo Schifrin on composing the theme for Medical Center
Lalo Schifrin on how part of his composition for the feature film "Cool Hand Luke" became the theme for local Eyewitness News broadcasts

Sherwood Schwartz

View Interview
Sherwood Schwartz on the Gilligan's Island theme song
Sherwood Schwartz on The Brady Bunch theme song

Garry Shandling

View Interview
Garry Shandling on the theme song to It's Garry Shandling's Show

Sidney Sheldon

View Interview
Sidney Sheldon on Friz Freeleng animating the opening sequence of I Dream of Jeannie

G.E. Smith

View Interview
G.E. Smith on working with Aerosmith and writing the "Wayne's World" theme on Saturday Night Live

Bob Smith

View Interview
"Buffalo" Bob Smith sings the theme song from The Howdy Doody Show

Dick Smothers

View Interview
Tom and Dick Smothers on the origin of The Smothers Brothers' Comedy Hour theme song

Tom Smothers

View Interview
Tom and Dick Smothers on the origin of The Smothers Brothers' Comedy Hour theme song

Mark Snow

View Interview
Mark Snow on composing the theme song to The X-Files
Mark Snow on composing the theme song to The Lone Gunmen

Herbert F. Solow

View Interview
Herbert F. Solow on hiring Alexander "Sandy" Courage to be the composer on Star Trek

Jean Stapleton

View Interview
Jean Stapleton on performing "Those Were the Days," the theme song from All in the Family, and a lyric that proved problematic

Charles Strouse

View Interview
Lee Adams and Charles Strouse on writing the theme song to All in the Family
Lee Adams and Charles Strouse on audience response to the theme song to All in the Family

Alex Trebek

View Interview
Alex Trebek on the Jeopardy "think" music written by Merv Griffin

W.G. Snuffy Walden

View Interview
W.G. Snuffy Walden on composing the theme for The West Wing
W.G. Snuffy Walden on composing the theme for thirtysomething
W.G. Snuffy Walden on the theme of thirtysomehting as its own character
W.G. Snuffy Walden on composing the theme for thirtysomething
W.G. Snuffy Walden on the influence of the theme for thirtysomething
W.G. Snuffy Walden on composing and using voices for the theme for I'll Fly Away
W.G. Snuffy Walden on the theme to My So-Called Life
W.G. Snuffy Walden on composing the prologue theme for The West Wing
W.G. Snuffy Walden on composing the theme for The West Wing
W.G. Snuffy Walden on a demonstration of The West Win g theme

Clint Walker

View Interview
Clint Walker on the theme song to Cheyenne

Keenen Ivory Wayans

View Interview
Keenen Ivory Wayans on In Living Color's theme song, written by Heavy D and the Boyz

Dawn Wells

View Interview
Dawn Wells on Sherwood Schwartz's composition of the Gilligan's Island theme song

Cindy Williams

View Interview
Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall on the theme song and opening credits to Laverne & Shirley

Andy Williams

View Interview
Andy Williams on "Moon River" - his show's theme song

Hugh Wilson

View Interview
Hugh Wilson on the theme song to WKRP in Cincinnati 

Terence Winter

View Interview
Terence Winter on the opening sequence of Boardwalk Empire

Alan Young

View Interview
Alan Young on the Mister Ed  theme song

All Topics