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
04:05
Lalo Schifrin on composing the Mission: Impossible  theme
12:42
Mary Tyler Moore on The Mary Tyler Moore Show theme song
00:58
Earle Hagen on writing the theme to The Andy Griffith Show
03:21
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
08:41
W.G. Snuffy Walden on composing the theme for The West Wing
01:34
Who talked about this topic

Lee Adams

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Lee Adams and Charles Strouse on writing the theme song to All in the Family
16:32
Lee Adams and Charles Strouse on audience response to the theme song to All in the Family
02:47

Debbie Allen

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Debbie Allen on the theme song for A Different World
00:53

William Asher

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

John Astin

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John Astin on the theme song and opening credits of The Addams Family and on the revivals and legacy of the show
05:42

Buddy Baker

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Buddy Baker on Jimmy Dodd writing "The Mickey Mouse Club March" for The Mickey Mouse Club
00:20

Alan Ball

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Alan Ball on the opening and title theme for Six Feet Under
01:06

Bob Banner

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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>
02:37

Joseph Barbera

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Joseph Barbera on The Yogi Bear Show, and on the music of the early Hanna-Barbera cartoons
04:21

Donald Bellisario

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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
00:39

Milton Berle

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Milton Berle on the Texaco Star Theater theme song
01:25

Rick Berman

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Rick Berman on the design of the ship and the theme song of Star Trek: Enterprise
04:49

Lucille Bliss

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Lucille Bliss on the theme song on The Smurfs
00:36

Steven Bochco

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Steven Bochco on the importance of music to his series
01:59

Kevin Bright

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Kevin Bright on the opening credits of Friends, how the theme song was written, and the song's popularity
08:52

James L. Brooks

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James L. Brooks on the Taxi theme instrumental
00:37

Allan Burns

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Allan Burns on the theme song and opening credits of The Mary Tyler Moore Show
05:20

Robert Butler

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Robert Butler on the theme song to Hill Street Blues
01:20

Glenn Gordon Caron

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Glenn Gordon Caron on how Al Jarreau came to write the Moonlighting theme song
01:05
Glenn Gordon Caron on the main titles and music on Medium
01:56

Dick Cavett

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Dick Cavett on Bobby Rosengarden and the theme song to Cavett's talk show
02:00

Les Charles

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Glen and Les Charles on the theme song of Cheers "Everyone Knows Your Name" (and how "People Like Us" was almost the theme)
03:15

Glen Charles

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Glen and Les Charles on the theme song of Cheers "Everyone Knows Your Name" (and how "People Like Us" was almost the theme)
03:15

Alf Clausen

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Alf Clausen on Danny Elfman's theme song for The Simpsons and composing for the end credits
02:38
Alf Clausen on writing the theme song for ALF
03:42

Bob Claver

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Bob Claver on the opening sequence and theme song of The Partridge Family
00:34

Art Clokey

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Art Clokey on his animators and the Gumby theme song
00:51

Bill Conti

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Bill Conti on writing the theme/main title to an Esther and Richard Shapiro script called Oil, later known as Dynasty
05:58
Bill Conti on the main title theme for Dynasty
01:53
Bill Conti on composing the theme for Earl Hamner, Jr.'s Falcon Crest 
05:07
Bill Conti on composing the main title theme to Cagney & Lacey
02:28
Bill Conti on composing for the James Bond film "For Your Eyes Only" and creating the title song
03:44

Alexander Courage

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Alexander Courage on writing the theme music for Star Trek
04:06
Alexander Courage on creating the sound effect for the Enterprise on Star Trek
01:00
Alexander Courage on writing the theme for Judd for the Defense
01:31

David Crane

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David Crane and Marta Kauffman on the Friends theme song "I'll be there for you"

Milton Delugg

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Milton Delugg on composing the theme to What's My Line?
01:34

Richard Donner

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Richard Donner on the importance of television theme songs
00:48

David Dortort

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David Dortort on the theme song of Bonanza
02:46

Danny Epstein

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Danny Epstein on the theme song to Sesame Street
00:48
Danny Epstein on the theme song to Sesame Street, contd.
01:40

Kevin Eubanks

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Kevin Eubanks on loving the theme song to Mission: Impossible
00:14

Tom Fontana

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Tom Fontana on coming up with the title for Oz  and the opening credits of the show, which feature him getting an Oz  tattoo
02:06

Charles Fox

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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
08:41
Charles Fox on composing the theme to ABC's Wide World of Sports
07:30
Charles Fox on composing the theme to Laverne & Shirley
08:10
Composer Charles Fox on composing the theme for Angie
01:42
Composer Charles Fox on composing the theme for Wonder Woman
03:29
Composer Charles Fox what a composer does in terms of creating the style of a show; on composing the theme for The Love Boat
08:34

Gerald Fried

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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
01:54
Composer Gerald Fried on "Spock's theme" for Star Trek
01:09
Gerald Fried on composing music for the characters of Roots
00:42
Gerald Fried on composing the main theme for Roots
00:45

Gary David Goldberg

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Gary David Goldberg on how "sha-la-la-la" was added to the Family Ties theme song
00:28
Gary David Goldberg on the theme song of Family Ties
00:39
Gary David Goldberg on the theme song of Brooklyn Bridge
00:33

Lewis Gomavitz

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Lewis Gomavitz on the Kukla, Fran & Ollie theme song
01:41

Earle Hagen

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Earle Hagen on writing the theme to The Andy Griffith Show
03:21
Earle Hagen on the Danny Thomas Show / Make Room for Daddy theme song
00:46
Composer Earle Hagen on writing the theme for I Spy
05:00

Marilu Henner

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Marilu Henner on the Taxi  theme song
02:47

Paul Henning

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Paul Henning on the theme songs to Green Acres, The Beverly Hillbillies, and Petticoat Junction
03:30

Al Jean

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Al Jean on the opening credits of The Simpsons
01:39

Russell Johnson

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Russell Johnson on the theme song to Gilligan's Island and being part of "the rest"
00:52

Quincy Jones

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Quincy Jones on composing the theme for Sanford & Son
04:05
Quincy Jones on composing the theme and incidental music for The Bill Cosby Show
05:21

Eddie Kean

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Eddie Kean on writing the Howdy Doody theme song
00:58

Asaad Kelada

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Asaad Kelada on the theme song for Family Ties
00:28

David E. Kelley

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David E. Kelley on the importance of music in his shows, including Ally McBeal
02:23

Bernie Kopell

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Bernie Kopell on The Love Boat theme song
02:02

Marty Krofft

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Sid and Marty Krofft on the theme songs to H.R. Pufnstuf
00:35

Sid Krofft

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Sid and Marty Krofft on the theme songs to H.R. Pufnstuf
00:35

Glen A. Larson

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Glen A. Larson on the theme songs to BJ and the Bear  and Battlestar Galactica
02:07
Glen A. Larson on the theme song for Battlestar Galactica
00:53
Glen A. Larson on composing the theme to Knight Rider
02:03
Glen A. Larson on composing the theme song to The Fall Guy
00:50

Jay Livingston

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Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on writing the theme to Bonanza
05:33
Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on their hit song "Que Sera, Sera"
02:35
Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on writing the theme song for Mister Ed
05:07
Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on "Que Sera, Sera" becoming the theme to The Doris Day Show
01:46
Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on the importance of a theme song to a show
00:46

Chuck Lorre

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Chuck Lorre on co-writing the theme song to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
00:16
Chuck Lorre on co-writing the theme song for Two and a Half Men
00:57
Chuck Lorre on the theme song to Big Bang Theory
01:20

Sam Lovullo

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Sam Lovullo on the Hee Haw theme song
04:15

Bob Markell

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Bob Markell on the improvised music cues for the opening of the show Danger
00:34

Penny Marshall

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Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall on the theme song and opening credits to Laverne & Shirley
02:04

Vic Mizzy

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Vic Mizzy on writing the theme song for The Addams Family and directing the main title
02:24
Vic Mizzy on the legacy of The Addams Family theme song
01:22
Vic Mizzy on scoring and writing the theme song to Green Acres
04:53
Vic Mizzy on composing the theme for Kentucky Jones
01:46
Vic Mizzy on composing the theme for Pruitts of Southampton
00:34
Vic Mizzy on the role of music in a TV show
01:37
Vic Mizzy plays the theme to The Addams Family
01:10
Vic Mizzy plays the theme to Green Acres
00:32

Ricardo Montalban

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Ricardo Montalban on the opening sequence of Fantasy Island
01:27

Mary Tyler Moore

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Mary Tyler Moore on The Mary Tyler Moore Show theme song
00:58

Tony Mottola

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Tony Mottola on writing the theme to Danger
00:50

Bill Nye

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Bill Nye on the theme song to Bill Nye, The Science Guy
01:19

Bernie Oseransky

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Bernie Oseransky on the theme song for Hawaii Five-O; and its popularity
01:06

Mike Post

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Mike Post on the theme to Lassie
01:26
Mike Post on writing the theme music for The Rockford Files
05:08
Mike Post on writing the theme song for Richie Brockelman, Private Eye
01:29
Mike Post on writing the theme song for Baa-Baa Black Sheep
00:58
Mike Post on writing the theme song for Toma
01:14
Mike Post on writing the theme song to The White Shadow
00:58
Mike Post on writing the theme song to Magnum, P.I.
00:32
Mike Post on working on Hill Street Blues  with writer/producer Steven Bochco
03:48
Mike Post on writing the theme song to The Greatest American Hero
01:01
Mike Post on writing the theme song to The A-Team
00:34
Mike Post on writing the theme song to L.A. Law
01:39
Mike Post on writing the theme music for L.A. Law
01:09
Mike Post on writing the theme song to Quantum Leap
00:31
Mike Post on writing the theme song to Doogie Howser, M.D.
01:19
Mike Post on composing for Cop Rock
05:35
Mike Post on writing the theme for and scoring Law & Order
06:22
Mike Post on writing the theme for and scoring NYPD Blue
05:12

Gene Reynolds

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Gene Reynolds on the theme song to M*A*S*H, "Suicide is Painless"
01:58

John Rich

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Director John Rich on the creation of the classic "ottoman" opening of The Dick Van Dyke Show
01:55

Isabel Sanford

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Isabel Sanford on The Jeffersons theme song
02:35

William Schallert

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William Schallert on the theme song of The Patty Duke Show
00:48

Lalo Schifrin

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Lalo Schifrin on composing the Mission: Impossible  theme
12:42
Lalo Schifrin on composing the theme for Medical Center
02:11
Lalo Schifrin on how part of his composition for the feature film "Cool Hand Luke" became the theme for local Eyewitness News broadcasts
01:59

Sherwood Schwartz

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Sherwood Schwartz on the Gilligan's Island theme song
03:40
Sherwood Schwartz on The Brady Bunch theme song
01:57

Garry Shandling

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Garry Shandling on the theme song to It's Garry Shandling's Show
01:40

Sidney Sheldon

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Sidney Sheldon on Friz Freeleng animating the opening sequence of I Dream of Jeannie
00:37

G.E. Smith

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G.E. Smith on working with Aerosmith and writing the "Wayne's World" theme on Saturday Night Live
01:38

Bob Smith

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"Buffalo" Bob Smith sings the theme song from The Howdy Doody Show
02:28

Dick Smothers

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Tom and Dick Smothers on the origin of The Smothers Brothers' Comedy Hour theme song
02:00

Tom Smothers

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Tom and Dick Smothers on the origin of The Smothers Brothers' Comedy Hour theme song
02:00

Mark Snow

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Mark Snow on composing the theme song to The X-Files
06:13
Mark Snow on composing the theme song to The Lone Gunmen
00:38

Herbert F. Solow

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Herbert F. Solow on hiring Alexander "Sandy" Courage to be the composer on Star Trek
01:40

Jean Stapleton

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Jean Stapleton on performing "Those Were the Days," the theme song from All in the Family, and a lyric that proved problematic
00:32

Charles Strouse

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Lee Adams and Charles Strouse on writing the theme song to All in the Family
16:32
Lee Adams and Charles Strouse on audience response to the theme song to All in the Family
02:47

Alex Trebek

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Alex Trebek on the Jeopardy "think" music written by Merv Griffin
01:13

W.G. Snuffy Walden

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W.G. Snuffy Walden on composing the theme for The West Wing
01:34
W.G. Snuffy Walden on composing the theme for thirtysomething
02:49
W.G. Snuffy Walden on the theme of thirtysomehting as its own character
06:28
W.G. Snuffy Walden on composing the theme for thirtysomething
02:38
W.G. Snuffy Walden on the influence of the theme for thirtysomething
01:28
W.G. Snuffy Walden on composing and using voices for the theme for I'll Fly Away
02:47
W.G. Snuffy Walden on the theme to My So-Called Life
01:01
W.G. Snuffy Walden on composing the prologue theme for The West Wing
03:17
W.G. Snuffy Walden on composing the theme for The West Wing
00:14
W.G. Snuffy Walden on a demonstration of The West Win g theme
01:14

Clint Walker

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Clint Walker on the theme song to Cheyenne
00:12

Keenen Ivory Wayans

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Keenen Ivory Wayans on In Living Color's theme song, written by Heavy D and the Boyz
00:30

Dawn Wells

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Dawn Wells on Sherwood Schwartz's composition of the Gilligan's Island theme song
00:36

Cindy Williams

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Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall on the theme song and opening credits to Laverne & Shirley
02:04

Andy Williams

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Andy Williams on "Moon River" - his show's theme song
03:44

Hugh Wilson

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Hugh Wilson on the theme song to WKRP in Cincinnati 
02:05

Terence Winter

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Terence Winter on the opening sequence of Boardwalk Empire
02:48

Alan Young

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Alan Young on the Mister Ed  theme song
01:09

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