Now The Rookies had a spin-off with its own awesome theme song; one that went on to hit status on the radio! That was S.W.A.T. (1975-1976.) Now don't let that short-looking run mislead you into thinking that the series wasn't a hit. It was. It ran for the early part of 1975, then came back that fall for another season, but was ultimately cancelled in a response to a backlash against increased TV violence.
Some TV themes I loved back in the day were not necessarily because of the music! I had no great love for the theme song from Cagney & Lacey (1981-1988), but I most certainly did for supporting player Martin Kove, whose credit in the show was shirtless! In those early (or for many of us pre-!) VCR days, we longed for that fleeting glimpse of the burly-looking hunk. It happens around the 0:37 mark if you're the impatient type...
I really can't say I watched the show when it was on (and it didn't last long),but another skin-baring credits sequence came courtesy of Patrick Duffy's water-based action show Man from Atlantis (1977-1978.) Fans of his ought to enjoy this one greatly.
One more opening credits sequence with a nod to beefcake is the failed 1985 show Street Hawk, starring Rex Smith. George Clooney was the show creator's first choice for the lead, but that was vetoed by ABC. It's at about the 0:30 mark that Sexy Rexy is spotted in just some dark briefs. This music is so "porn-y" as to be unintentionally hilarious.
Of course few shows can claim the camp/cheese satisfaction that the short-lived Manimal achieved in its brief 1983 run. The sadly-departed Simon MacCorkindale played a gentleman who could assume the form of a variety of animals, but the show was never able to form any significant fan base or ratings and so it swiftly disappeared, its title becoming a catchphrase for shoddy sci-fi.
I've mentioned it before here (I think in a post devoted to campiness), but since we're on this subject, I have to include the ever-hooty initial credits for The Six Million Dollar Man (1974-1978.) They were only used for a couple of instances, but thank God for them! The song is as hysterically funny as it is completely catchy and captivating with vocals by the immortal Dusty Springfield. I'm including the closing credits, too, because she keeps on going... It seems like there won't be a song as it begins, but wait for it... Wait for it...
Who among you, however, remembers this other Quinn Martin-produced show starring a humpy young Burt Reynolds? This cop show, Dan August (1970-1971) was before his movie career really took off with Deliverance (1972), aided by the publicity atom bomb of his semi-nude centerfold appearance in Cosmopolitan. I love the way he looks in this series, sans his trademark mustache.
One of the other fondly remembered themes people mentioned was for Here Come the Brides (1968-1970), which started as an instrumental only to have voices added to it for later episodes. Strange that neither Bobby Sherman, nor David Soul, both singers in their own right, had anything to do with the vocal version of the theme song. As a side note, I met Mark Lenard, who was the resident antagonist on this show, around 1987 and he couldn't have been nicer. (Fans of these three gents really need to click on the photo and view it in its larger splendor!)
Of course the aforementioned The Fugitive had its own memorable credit sequence in that revered Quinn Martin style. A lengthy prologue recaps the series' concept of a man ever on the run from the law, followed by glimpses of that week's guest stars. Stay tuned for a lovely looking Vera Miles in this one!
If you recall my #1 favorite TV theme of all time (from The Colbys), you might be interested to hear this one from another failed prime-time soap by the same composer, Bill Conti. Emerald Point NAS (1983-1984) has to count as a dress rehearsal, musically, for Conti's Colbys theme. But look at the attractive cast that was assembled here! (This one, annoyingly, wouldn't let me embed, so please click here to watch.)
And here we find Flamingo Road, a prime-time soap that limped along from 1980-1982 before cancellation. (NBC had quite a bit of difficulty launching a successful evening soap opera, but tried several times. This one was probably the one that stuck around the longest.)
In researching this round of credits, I had intended to dig up a show I watched pretty faithfully as a teen, thanks to its Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) sort of vibe (read: it was a rip-off!) Then I found out that its star was recently revealed to have been involved in sexual misconduct with underage girls over the course of several years! That was quite a shocker as I had always liked Stephen Collins. (And it gives heretofore sexy/mysterious head shots like this one a now-creepy vibe!) Despite this, I still want to share the opener because it's very well-edited and includes a precious little doggie sidekick and you know how I love dogs. Tales of the Gold Monkey ran from 1982-1983.
Of a similar vein, and running the same single season, was Bring 'Em Back Alive, starring Bruce Boxleitner. These sort of "take a moment and look into the camera" credits were/are so cheesy, but I love them!! The leading character of this series, Frank Buck, was a real man who collected animals for a living and wrote about his exploits in a book of the same title as the show. Despite his many exotic adventures, he was actually felled in 1950 by lung cancer. Mr. B. seems to be packing more than crates, though, in this publicity photo! I'm going to go out on a limb, so to speak, and guess that the real Buck didn't have some Daisy Duke-ish clad bimbo with him in the jungle, though......
My previous post ended with an eye-boggling Sid & Marty Krofft program and I'm going to do the same again. Though some of you cited H.R. Pufnstuf as a favorite, I'm going to dig deeper into obscurity than that. This lunatic Saturday morning show is probably unknown to many (most?) of you, but I had to serve it up because I love - I mean LOVE - the theme song. The Lost Saucer (1975-1976) starred Jim Nabors and Ruth Buzzi. I'm actually linking to an episode of the show because the clips of only the credits have an annoying announcer drowning out the groovy, Partridge Family-esque music and this is one time I don't welcome that. See if you like it enough to listen twice! Till next time, my loves...