Newsweek’s tribute to the opening credits of the new HBO series “True Blood” reminded me of the good old days when television show theme songs and opening credits were as much fun as the shows. The “Dick Van Dyke” show kept you guessing each week. Would Rob Petrie trip over the ottoman or not?
“The Simpsons” has a terrific theme by Danny Elfman and a funny kick at the end with Bart writing a different sentence on the blackboard for punishment each week. Theme songs from Welcome Back Kotter and Friends appeared on the pop charts. I’ll bet if I just mention The Brady Bunch, Gilligan’s Island, or Cheers the entire song will go through your head — and might get stuck there. Each year’s Cosby Show opens different and all were completely charming. The best part of Valerie Bertinelli’s short-lived sitcom “Sydney” was the theme song written by her then-husband Eddie Van Halen. And I used to turn on the Saturday morning show Mugsy each week just to hear the theme song song by David Clayton-Thomas of Blood, Sweat & Tears. On PBS, the opening credits for “I Claudius” and “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” set the tone perfectly. HBO’s “Big Love” and “Six Feet Under” had superb opens.
But this one may be the all-time best: