Saturday, November 21, 2020


LAVERNE AND SHIRLEY (#21 in 2013) 

Another successful spin-off, this one from Happy Days. (Mork And Mindy would also benefit from Happy Days … as would Joanie Love Chachi) 

Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams seemed to make the perfect pair (and Lenny and Squiggy were their perfect foils) 

It's a cool fact that Cindy Williams played Ron Howard’s girlfriend in the film American Graffiti, which started this whole ‘50’s nostalgia phase. (Naturally The Fonz found a way to cross over to all of these brand new platforms.) 

The title theme to Laverne and Shirley was a VERY catchy ditty that became a #21 pop hit for Cyndi Grecco (“Making Our Dreams Come True,” 1976) It finished at #21 in our 2013 Poll as well .. but falls to #26 this time around. 

The series ran from 1976 – 1983. (Although I was never a fan, I think most would agree that this one over-stayed its welcome by a few years!) 


 Well, we're halfway home ... 

Tomorrow we'll be counting down Your Top 25 Favorites, beginning at 9 am, and wrapping up with the #1 Theme at 6 pm, with The Top Ten kicking of at 1:00. 

Hope to see you then!


JEOPARDY (was not part of our 2013 countdown) 

Could there possibly be ANYBODY out there that doesn’t know this one??? (In fact, how many times have you hummed or sung it while waiting for the answer to one of your own questions?!?! Lol) 

This is the only game show theme to make the countdown ... although a few others were nominated.

(THE DATING GAME, #93, THE NEWLYWED GAME, #115, THE MATCH GAME, #140 and, as a write-in candidate, YOU BET YOUR LIFE, which earned ten votes all on its own ... and might make a good candidate worthy of your consideration the next time around.)

We just recently lost long-time Jeopardy Host Alex Trebeck ... well loved by all.  It's great to see that the theme song to HIS show comes in at #27 among all of your favorites.

(Here's one last little tribute, Weird Al-style) ...


Say the secret word and we'll give you one more! 

A Few More Favorites

For some reason, I always got these two themes mixed up whenever I would play them in my head.  (The shows were really nothing alike ... other than the fact that they were both "family" sitcoms ... but something in my brain found a similarity between these two themes and I'd have to really "think it out" from time to time in order to determine which was which.

Interesting then that these two themes should finish so close to each other in our 2020 Favorites Poll.

(FAMILY TIES earned 69 of your votes and came in at #108 ...

While GROWING PAINS finished slightly higher at #106 with 70 of your votes.)

In between???  (Because I just KNEW you'd be wondering!!!)


FAMILY TIES (this one did not make the list in 2013) 

This is the show that made Michael J. Fox a star here in America. 

The concept was a fun one … 

Two hippie parents are trying to raise their ultra-conservative first born son with mega accounting skills … and political aspirations. 

The first season theme was sung by our buddy Dennis Tufano (former lead singer of The Buckinghams) and Mindy Sterling … 


But after a couple of hit singles together as a duo, it was permanently replaced by the Johnny Mathis / Deniece Williams version. 

The show also helped to make a hit out of the Billy Vera tune “At This Moment” when Fox’s character Alex Keaton fell in love with Ellen Reed, played by actress Tracy Pollan. Fact is, they fell in love OFF screen as well … and have been together now since 1987 … and married for 32 years!

DIDJAKNOW?: Pollan had plans to marry actor Kevin Bacon at the time … and she was replaced as Alex Keaton’s love interest by Courtney Cox. Bacon later fell for Kyra Sedgwick … and Fox and Pollan were reunited during the filming of “Bright Lights, Big City.” They have been together ever since. 

Fox continues to do occasional television appearances. He’s been battling Parkinson’s Disease since 1991 … but Tracy has stood by his side through all of it. 

GROWING PAINS (this did not make the list in 2013) 

When the show first premiered, the title theme was sung by B.J. Thomas as a solo effort … 

But as the series went on, a female vocal was added ... 

which is probably the way you remember it … 

That one was sung with BJ by Jennifer Warnes … 

But in between a duet with Dusty Springfield was also recorded. 

And check out this cast reunion … 

Another family sitcom (with perhaps some less conventional family dynamics) that scored very well is ONE DAY AT A TIME.  (#95 with 78 of your votes)

ONE DAY AT A TIME (this one did not make the list in 2013) 

There was a period of time where ANYTHING Norman Lear touched turned to gold … and this is one of those television series that absolutely benefited from Lear’s Midas Touch. 

(That being said, the show is STILL airing today, in reboot form, to critical raves … so who knows!!!) 

Yes, I watched it from time to time … typically before I was heading out for the evening … and it wasn’t AWFUL … but it wasn’t exactly “Must See TV” either. It WAS cool to see MacKenzie Phillips (offspring of Papa John Phillips of The Mamas and Papas) and newcomer Valleri Bertinelli, who would eventually go on to marry guitar god Eddie Van Halen ...

But Schneider regularly got on my nerves to the point that I just couldn't stand to watch him.  (No offense, Pat Harrington, Jr. ... I believe that is EXACTLY what you were going for!!!)

But honestly ... a guy THAT slimely should have been a used car salesman or something ... 

And not the building's superintendent!


THE LAWRENCE WELK SHOW (this one did not make the list in 2013) #142 with 50 votes 

Years before The Atlanta Rhythm Section introduced us to THEIR version of “Champagne Jam,” we had already been treated to a brief view from “Mr. Bubbles” himself. 

Now I will say that … unless I was at my Grandma’s house, where it was mandatory viewing … I NEVER watched “The Lawrence Welk Show” on my own … 

But you just couldn’t escape the bright and bubbly sound of his theme song. 

A Few More Deserving Extras

No, they did not make The Top 50 ...

But they DID make The Top 100 ...

And how can you overlook THESE themes???


Ooo - Ooo ... You can't leave THIS one off the list!

(CAR 54, WHERE ARE YOU finished up at #66 ... 

after coming in at #48 in 2013)


GET SMART (this one did not make the list in 2013) 

Secret Agent Spies were all the rage during the mid-to-late ‘60’s, thanks to movies like the James Bond franchise and TV shows like The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (Heck, you’ll find the songs “Secret Agent Man” by Johnny Rivers and the theme to "Mission Impossible" right near the top of this list!!!) 

So when Mel Brooks and Buck Henry (two comedy geniuses of our time) decided to spoof the whole genre, “Get Smart” was created … and the duo of Don Adams and Barbara Feldon (Agents 86 and 99) immediately became weekly visitors to our living rooms. 

(Maxwell Smart’s shoe phone seemed preposterous in the ‘60’s … as did many of his special gadgets … yet so much of that technology exists today and seems commonplace and even passe’. And Barbara’s purring during all those “Top Brass” commercials added to her overall sex appeal.  She was already one of the sexiest women on television!)


BARNEY MILLER (this was an “Extra” in 2013) 

This was always one of MY favorite tv themes … 

I always thought it had a GREAT funky beat … and thought it would be a great song to do on stage to open or end a set … play this with the usual “Hey gang, we’re going to take a short break and then be back up here to do it again!" ... making for a COMPLETELY unexpected break song for the audience.

The TV show was pretty good, too!


And it really set the stage for the “Fish” spin-off a few years later … 


MIAMI VICE (#36 in 2013) 

Here’s a TV theme that went all the way to #1 on the pop charts in 1985. (It even won a Grammy for Best Pop Instrumental!) 

This is yet another show I never watched … (I saw exactly ONE episode … because Glenn Frey was making his acting debut on it!) … but it was VERY popular with this generation of TV fans. (Star Don Johnson even attempted a singing career … he had a Top Five Hit with “Heartbeat” the following year … and hooked up with singer / actress Barbra Streisand for awhile.)

Thankfully, the idea of pet alligators never really caught on!  (But it IS cool that Sonny Crockett named his "Elvis!")


77 SUNSET STRIP (this was an “Extra” in 2013) 

Starring Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. (who went on to work for The F.B.I.), Roger Smith (who went on to marry Ann-Margret!) and Edd “Kookie” Byrnes (who had a Top Five Hit with “Kookie, Kookie, Lend Me Your Comb,” a duet with Connie Stevens … and then had a key part in the movie “Grease”), this was an early TV hit (1958 – 1963). 

Working for a private investigating firm located at (you guessed it!) 77 Sunset Strip in Los Angeles (Kookie actually worked as a valet at the restaurant next door), this was a “hip” (in a beatnik sort of way) series that inspired ABC to develop other shows in the same vein. (“Hawaiian Eye,” starring Byrnes’ vocal partner Connie Stevens, was probably the most successful and familiar … but “Surfside Six” and “Bourbon Street Beat” also fit the same mold.) 

This catchy theme charted as an “extra” in 2013 … the finger-snapping, beatnik beat crossed over to the pop chart, too, peaking at #38 in 1959. (There’s another HUGE chart discrepancy on this one … it reached #38 in Cash Box Magazine … but only hit #69 … a full thirty places lower … in Billboard.) 


And, since I mentioned it a couple of times now, how can I NOT run this clip??? 

And is there a BETTER "Good Guy" than THIS one??? 

THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN (did not make our 2013 list) 


I was too young to see The Adventures Of Superman when it first aired (incredible to think that some of these episodes were filmed in color way back then!!!), but I sure remember watching it every afternoon when I got home from school … or on the weekends where it aired in syndication forever. (It’s STILL on in many places … and perhaps even more, thanks to cable!) 

The story of George Reeves is a sad one … and could run for several chapters on its own. (I really should do that someday) But I was a MAJOR fan … and still am … 

To this day, George Reeves is the ONLY Superman for me. 

Remember when he appeared on I Love Lucy?!?!? (No, it was NOT in color … but when I saw this, I just HAD to share!) 


THE TWILIGHT ZONE (#32 in 2013) 

Another show that has been remade in multi-fashion over the years, proving the enduring longevity, creativity and originality of the original. 

(Who out there hasn’t sung the doo-doo doo-doo notes of this opening during some strange occurrences over the years?)

The list of future stars who appeared on this program is staggering. But the real nod here is to the genius of Rod Serling … who also acted as the perfect host. 

It’s up four notches this year (from #32 to #28) and Twilight Zone TV Marathons are pretty common. (We just watched part of one a couple of weeks ago!) Incredibly, there are 158 episodes in all, spread out over five seasons of the original series. 


WELCOME BACK KOTTER (#23 in 2013) 

A lot of TV themes were released as singles over the years, all capitalizing on the popularity and familiarity of these tunes with the teenage audience out there. 

But NOT a lot of these tunes went all the way to #1. 

“Welcome Back” by John Sebastian, formerly of The Lovin’ Spoonful, was an exception to the rule. 

The show made a star out of John Travolta, who played Vinnie Barbarino, one of Mr. Kotter’s Sweathogs. (Kotter was played by the COMPLETELY obnoxious Gabe Kaplan, today one of the country’s top poker players.) 

The show lasted four seasons (Travolta left after the third season … by that time, he was already a successful movie star, having filmed “Carrie,” “Saturday Night Fever,” “Urban Cowboy” and “Grease.”) Out of loyalty to his former fellow actors, he did make a couple of guest appearances, billed as “Special Guest Star.” 

The theme from “Welcome Back Kotter” falls from #23 to #29 in this year’s poll ... a bit of a surprise, really, as this song still seems to be extremely popular ... and there was quite a flurry of votes for it when this year's competition began.  (Even so, it ended up with 234 votes)


As mentioned last hour, there were a number of "Write-In" votes cast after the Final Ballot was posted.

However, it wouldn't have been fair to include any of these titles (no matter how deserving they may be) because they wouldn't have had the same shot at securing votes as the other themes already on the list.  (That being said, there is absolutely NO doubt in my mind that, had they been included and given "equal time" during the voting period, at least TWO of these would have made The Top 100 ... and possibly even The Top 50.)

Instead, we have to chalk them up as "glaring omissions" instead.  (The nominating process was up to YOU guys ... for two weeks, we built a list of every television theme nominated ... and then tallied the votes from there.  Simply put, we blew it when it comes to some of these ... but thanks to all the "Extra! Extra!"'s we're running, we can still spotlight five of those themes that I think would have put up a decent fight to make the final countdown.

COPS  (Everybody knows THIS one, right???) 



Another program that used music to great effect throughout its run, the Scrubs theme is another classic that everybody overlooked. 

One of my favorites: 



Here’s another one that was never even nominated! 

Of course, if you were voting for THIS one, I guess you’d have to be VERY specific as to which theme song you liked! 

Throughout its history, the series ran through “Moon Over Parma” (sung by Drew himself) to The Vogues’ hit “Five O’Clock World” (a GREAT breaking character music video that was edited into one of the episodes in Season One and then adapted as the Series’ Theme Song in Season Two) to the perhaps most-appropriate “Cleveland Rocks,” written by Ian Hunter and performed by The Presidents Of The United States Of America beginning in Season Three. 

Here’s a glimpse at all three … 


During the course of the series, Drew, Louis and Oswald put together a garage band that included adopted Cleveland native Joe Walsh! 


Etched in our minds FOREVER … just like a stapler encased in jello ... this short little ditty brings a smile to our face every time we hear it … because it ALWAYS triggers a hysterical moment from one of our favorite television series ever … well, the first five seasons anyway! (This is one that WAY overstayed its welcome … and desperately tried to find a way … through any number of potential “lead characters” … to fill the spot vacated by series star Steve Carell / Michael Scott. They really should have quit while they were ahead.) 

GAME OF THRONES Without question, one of the most popular themes in recent tv history … 

Yet it never received even a single nomination for our TV Favorites Poll … 


And how about a great theme like WILL AND GRACE ... even a successful reboot didn't get this one nominated!!! 

And how about LOUIE (which is essentially just the #1 Stories' hit "Brother Louie") ... 

Both of these great themes barely registered as an "afterthought" once the nominations had been closed. But still, both are worthy of at least an Honorable Mention, don'tcha think? 

Hey, if nothing else, this mention can act as a reminder, should we ever decide to run this poll again somewhere down the line. 

Your Favorite TV Themes By The Numbers

 When all was said and done, a total of 390 different television themes were nominated for our 2020 poll.  (This includes a handful of write-in votes that occurred after the final ballot was circulated.  NONE of these new titles were deemed eligible once the final ballot of 213 titles was published ... but we WILL feature a few of them next hour, so be sure to stick around for that!)

Of these 213 final nominees, 70 earned 100 points or more.  (Coming in at #70, with 101 votes, was this one):


The Master Of Suspense, Alfred Hitchcock hosted his own television series for a total of ten seasons (between Alfred Hitchcock Presents and The Alfred Hitchcock Hour.)

Most famous for his movie credits (Psycho, The Birds, The Man Who Knew Too Much, Dial M For Murder, Vertigo, Rear Window and at least a dozen more), Hitchcock pulled together one hour storylines that held you spellbound in front of the small screen, too.

That famous opening of the hand-drawn outline of Hitch’s massive girth is one of early tv’s most vivid images.  And the theme is downright classical!  Listen to this extended version!

Since you'd have to drop all the way down to #142 to find the first song that earned less than 50 votes, we've decided to expand our new permanently posted countdown to Your Top 100 Television Theme Favorites.  (Watch for this to appear as soon as this weekend's countdown wraps up on Sunday Night here:

A total of 24,492 votes were cast in all ...

Besides the 70 that earned 100 or more, 34 earned 200 or more, 17 earned 300 or more and six earned 400 or more.  And one of those actually earned more than 500 votes (nearly 600, in fact!) to become the runaway leader in this year's poll.

Here's how we put the whole thing together ...

We had an open nominations period of two weeks, which generated 360 nominees.  You may recall that we then did an elimination round to allow you to "save your favorites" ... 

At this point, any title with less than ten votes was eliminated ... and titles that fell into the 10-35 vote category were given one last chance to survive.  (By this point, 35 votes already got you a Top 100 berth so there was no point in focusing on themes that were never going to make the list anyway.)

We also told you at the time that of all the themes that had earned the required ten votes to qualify, only ONE theme stayed at those ten votes ... and that theme was MIGHTY MOUSE.

We asked you to share the love for this one and nine of you did, boosting its tally to 19 and pushing it to #195 on the list.

That left ADAM-12 as the lowest ranking theme on the list with just twelve votes.

In addition to MIGHTY MOUSE, a number of other animated show themes also made the list, including tracks like THE PINK PANTHER, THE JETSONS, SPIDER MAN, BUGS BUNNY, YOGI BEAR, ROCKY AND BULLWINKLE, THE ALVIN SHOW, MAGILLA GORILLA, CASPER THE FRIENDLY GHOST, THE ARCHIES, WOODY WOODPECKER and HUCKLEBERRY HOUND.  (One animated theme even made The Top 25!!!  Betcha can guess what THAT one was!!!)

Here are two of my favorites that we're going to feature this hour ...

TOP CAT (did not make the 2013 list) 59 votes, #125 in 2020

Here's another cartoon theme that earned some of your votes … And a VERY catchy theme at that! 


GEORGE OF THE JUNGLE (this one was an “Extra” in 2013) 87 votes, #83 in 2020

Once again, we prove that “Catchy Is King” … as they don’t get much catchier than this one! 

(Now if only Sonny Bono had listened to George’s advice!!!) 


 And here's another one, just for fun ... 

THE SMOTHERS BROTHERS COMEDY HOUR (did not make our 2013 list)  89 votes ... and #79 in 2020

I always liked this one. 

Of course, I was a MAJOR fan of The Smothers Brothers at the time … And this cute little piece of incidental music provided the perfect background for what was in NO way a cute little tv comedy! 


And how cool is this??? 



Boy, talk about your countdown coincidences!!!

Twenty minutes ago we featured Freddy Cannon's big hit "Action," the theme from WHERE THE ACTION IS, at #31 ...

And now we're featuring AMERICAN BANDSTAND right behind it at #30.

Freddy got more than his fair share of attention thanks to this television program ... in fact, he holds the record for the most appearances on AMERICAN BANDSTAND.

Hosted by eternal teenager Dick Clark, the program allowed him to build a television empire that branched out into a wide variety of other genres … most typically staying true to his musical roots (Clark started out as a disc jockey) as well as a host of game shows. Popular features introduced new music each week on segments like Rate A Record … and kids (originally from Philadelphia and then from Los Angeles) showed off the latest dance crazes while teenagers from coast to coast tried to copy all of their moves … and many of our favorite music stars of the day stopped by to lip-sync their latest hits.

This theme went thru any number of changes over the years, reflecting the sound and trends in music of each new particular era … and then was given new life in the ‘70’s when singer Barry Manilow put words to the music and made it popular all over again. 

American Bandstand finished at #11 in 2013 … but takes a significant tumble this time around, landing at #30.


WHERE THE ACTION IS (#40 in 2013) 

This one ranks as one of the most-improved themes on the countdown ... Where The Action Is moves up nine big spots from #40 in 2013 to #31 in 2020! 

Congrats and kudos to long-time FH Member Freddy Cannon, who took the title track to #10 when it was released as a single in 1965. 

Hosted by Paul Revere and the Raiders (who also recorded the title track), "Where The Action Is" only lasted a couple of seasons before it was replaced by The Raiders’ NEW television program "Happening ’68" ... but even in its short time on the air, it provided the PERFECT after school fodder for all us teenagers (or, in my case, wannabe teenagers) who LOVED all the current hit sounds on the radio. This was our chance to see some of our musical heroes in person … (or at least lip-synching their latest hits on the beach or at the pool!) 

One of the big perks of doing Forgotten Hits over the years was meeting Freddy "Boom Boom" Cannon, one of the nicest guys you're ever going to meet.  (He even brought me up on stage when he appeared at The Arcada Theatre!)

In fact, here's a picture of me and Freddy (with the incomparable Svenghoulie!) taken after the show.



HILL STREET BLUES (#16 in 2013) 

Mike Post strikes again!

Down sixteen spots from our 2013 poll, here is the theme to the multi-award winning show “Hill Street Blues” … another Mike Post creation that turned into a Top Ten Pop Hit in 1981.  (Post wrote FOUR of the Top 35 themes on this list!)


THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW (#37 in 2013) 

One of my all-time favorite shows (and themes), it was always a contest to guess “Trip or No Trip” during the opening sequence. 

After the first couple of seasons, they actually filmed a new opening sequence where Rob Petrie sidesteps that damn ottoman … but then trips on the carpet a shuffle or two later. (I LOVED it!!!) 

And then, they filmed an alternate to THAT new opening … so you never really knew for sure just WHAT you were going to get! (Witness all three openings below) 

One of the best written, directed and acted comedy series ever, it has hardly aged at all … and I find myself STILL laughing at the same jokes some 40 or 50 viewings later! 

The Dick Van Dyke theme is up four places this time around, climbing from #37 to #33. 


DRAGNET (#6 in 2013) 

This one takes a bit of a tumble. 

Dragnet finished at #6 in our 2013 poll … but falls to #34 in our 2020 search for your all-time favorite television theme songs.

Yes, it's another oldie but goodie ... and our voters seemed to skew a little to the younger side this time around ... (you'll still see plenty of '60's and '70's favorites ... but you'll also find some tunes from the 1990's and even (GASP!) the new millennium!!!)

Still, those four opening notes seem to be etched in the minds of most of us, especially since the show was revived a couple of times (and even made into a movie, albeit not in the most serious manner.) 

The brainchild of Jack Webb (who starred as Sgt. Joe Friday in two TV incarnations), “Dragnet” parodies date back to Stan Freberg and Buchanan and Goodman in the early-to-mid ‘50’s. Webb’s matter-of-fact approach to the narrative was just the other side of Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone delivery. (Naturally, Dan Aykroyd portrayed BOTH actors on Saturday Night Live.) 

The title theme became a #1 Hit for Ray Anthony back in 1951. It first aired from 1951 – 1959 … and was revived again in 1967, when it ran until 1970. This clips gives you a feel for the tone of the whole series … as well as the ‘50’s theme and the 1967 revival … IN COLOR!!! 

The Countdown Continues ... with #35

LAW AND ORDER (#41 in 2013) 

Talking about great Mike Post TV Themes, this was one of his best ... showcasing a no-nonsense courtroom procedural that showed the case from the ground floor up … gather the evidence, build your case and then take it to court. (Obviously, people loved it … it ran for twenty seasons!) 

By the way, there’s a reason this song never had lyrics … 


Here are a few more themes that earned enough votes to make The Top 100 ...

But not enough to hit The Top 50 ...

S.W.A.T. (#39 in 2013) 

The Theme from S.W.A.T. became a #1 Hit for The Rhythm Heritage in 1975.  (Here it earned 113 votes, enough to earn it a #65 showing.)

They also covered “Keep Your Eye On The Sparrow,” the theme song from Baretta.  

Although this songs seems to be best known for Sammy Davis, Jr.'s vocal version, the best that record could do was “bubble under” in 1976, meaning that The Rhythm Heritage actually had the bigger hit!

(For those of you at home keeping score, The Baretta theme ... sung by Sammy Davis, Jr. ... earned 48 votes.  That put it at #145.)


LA LAW (this one did not make the list in 2013) 

Another GREAT ensemble cast: Harry Hamlin (Michael Kuzak), the return of Susan Dey (Laurie Partridge) to television (all grown up as District Attorney Grace Van Owen), Corbin Bernsen (as the ALWAYS ready, willing and able … to bed his clients … divorce attorney Arnie Becker), Alan Rachins (tightwad Douglas Brackman, Jr. … before he became Dharma’s hippie father!), Richard Dysart (Law Firm Patriarch Leland McKenzie), Michael Tucker (Stuart Markowitz, whose Venus Flytrap sexual technique had the entire country buzzing for more information as to how to exactly perform it), his TV (and real life) wife Jill Eikenberry (Ann Kelsey), Susan Ruttan (as Arnie Becker’s sexually frustrated secretary Roxanne Melman), Larry Drake (Benny Stulwicz, their mentally challenged office assistant), Michele Greene (young attorney Abbie Perkins) and Jimmy Smits (as Hispanic … and brilliant … attorney Victor Sifuentes.) 

In addition to great acting and great writing with compelling cases, a touch of romance and an excellent sense of humor, this series also gave us yet another great Mike Post theme song.  (Hey ... I wonder if they ever fixed that elevator???) 

The series ran for eight years (why isn’t THIS show available on DVD?) 


MOONLIGHTING (this was an “Extra” in 2013 ... 98 points and a #71 showing in 2020)

This was always a fun program to watch. 

Designed as a starring vehicle for model-turned-actress Cybil Shepherd (notoriously always filmed with a soft lens!), it ended up making a star of former bartender Bruce Willis … which caused quite a bit of conflict behind the scenes. (Word is that by the time David Addison and Maddie Hayes were FINALLY ready to get it on in Season Five, the two stars couldn’t stand each other and were barely speaking!) 

Willis somehow morphed from a wisecracking private eye on television to a wisecracking major motion picture action hero star … and Shepherd has rarely been heard from since. 

This is another great smooth jazz theme song, handled brilliantly by Al Jarreau, who also cowrote the tune. It became a #23 pop hit in 1987. 


LASSIE (this one did not make the list last time) 

What kid didn’t watch Lassie on Sunday nights? 

Starting in 1954 (!!!), the show ran for an incredible NINETEEN seasons, longer than the typical lifespan of the collie breed. 

Every dog to ever portray Lassie on television was actually a MALE collie (as female collies tended to shed their coat during their “in heat” season.) Male dogs also tended to outweigh their female counterparts by about fifteen pounds … which producers felt made Lassie to give off a stronger appearance on camera. 

Several dogs portrayed Lassie over the years … and sometimes even within a given season … as such, the studio had to make sure all the dogs looked essentially alike. 

The original Lassie, (real name, Pal, from the 1943 film, “Lassie, Come Home”) played Lassie on the first two television episodes … and then continued to make sporadic appearances until his death in 1958. Pal’s grandson, Baby, played the role for six years (until his death at the age of eight.) Although Baby appeared in the most episodes, he was the only collie to fill the role that lived to be less than seventeen years old. 

Incredibly, the program remained on the same network on the same night of the week and in the same timeslot for its entire original run.  During that time, a total of NINE different collies played the lead role. 

The show was so popular, they even got away with changing owners … from Jeff Miller (Tommy Rettig, 1954 - 1957) to Timmy Martin (Jon Provost, 1957 – 1964) 

When the new family took over in prime time (this is when the series’ theme song changed to the whistling tune that earned all of your votes), those first four seasons starring Tommy Rettig were released in syndication as “Jeff’s Collie.” 

Although the plots were rather weak (C’mon, girl, lead the way … Timmy’s fallen into the well again!), Lassie herself was an institution, and made appearances on other variety shows all the time.  She even went out on tour!!!

DIDJAKNOW?:  Although this seemed to be the running gag for as long as the series ran, over the course of its entire run of 366 episodes, Timmy NEVER … EVER ... fell down a well … yet that seems to be the greatest memory (and mockery) of the program!