Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Music to Noir By

What do the following have in common?

They had theme songs written by this guy:

His name was Earle H. Hagen. And he also made a tremendous contribution to the noir worldview, with this, an anthem titled "Harlem Nocturne":

I prefer the Flat Duo Jets version, but this was the best youtube had to offer.

Hagen also wrote incidental music and orchestration for the films Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Daddy Long Legs, Carousel, Nightmare Alley, and Kiss of Death, among many others.

He died this past Monday night, at age 88.

If you ever find yourself whistling the theme song from The Andy Griffith Show, think of him. He not only wrote the tune, he's the guy who whistled it on TV.

I'm going to keep an eye peeled for his 2002 autobiography, Memoir of a Famous Composer Nobody's Ever Heard Of.

In honor of Earle, tell us about a favorite TV theme song... or even a bit of incidental music you have fond memories of, from the small screen.

Mine is a little ditty that was sung during an episode of Alias Smith and Jones, an all-too-shortlived Western from the early Seventies, starring the died-way-too-young Pete Duel.

All I remember is that the lyrics were "that's why I do like I do..."

Still remember the melody, all these years later. Someday, I have to find a copy


  1. Oh, God, I lurve TV theme songs, and I have oodles o'favorites, mostly from back in the day:

    Petticoat Junction, Flintstones (all the verses), The Sopranos, Dick Van Dyke, Peter Gunn, Mission Impossible, the Jackie Gleason Show, Burke's Law, the list goes on.

    On one of the Sopranos soundtracks there's a great version of the Peter Gunn theme that morphs into The Police's Every Breath You Take. And I have very fond memories of Jason Alexander bringing down the house at the Grammys one year, doing a medley of 60s and 70s theme songs.

    My current favorite is the theme from Two and a Half Men. I just crack up every time hear it.

    And, this is my favorite TV themes website: http://www.televisiontunes.com/


  2. "I sure wish the governor would let a few more people in on our secret."
    The show wasn't the same after Pete Duel checked out.

    If you want to download the theme song, you can find it here:

  3. Alias Smith and Jones and I Spy are both available on hulu.com

    I like MASH- but I prefer the movie where they use the words than the tv show where it was instrumental

  4. The theme song to the Perry Mason TV series. My mother made a loop tape of it for me and sent it to me when I was blue and all alone in Paris.

  5. I like the AS&J theme song a lot, but I haven't been able to find the other song that was in one of the programs, though a lot of people have MP3s of "Jones" singing "'Tis a Gift To Be Simple."

    Louise, I think it was your love for the Perry Mason theme that inspired this post. I love the story about your mother sending the tape to Paris.

  6. Mod Squad, Hawaii 5-0, HOgan's Heroes.

    I guess you can see what era I grew up in.


  7. There's Kathy who's been most everywhere
    From Zanzibar to Berkley Square,
    But Patty's only seen the sights a girl can see from Brooklyn Heights,
    What a crazy pair...

    How can you not love a song that has this line:

    Patty loves to rock and roll,
    A hot do makes her lose control...

    I know, not exactly Peter Gunnor Mister Lucky, but it's been impossible to shake.

  8. Oops, that's hot dog, not hot do...

  9. Ah, we have cds in our collection that have the themesongs from various tv shows over the decades. :-D

    Did anyone notice in the movie, The Dish, the hilarious scene where the theme to Hawaii 5.0 got substituted for the American national anthem? That movie just makes me homesick. :-D

    Great post, Miss C. :-D


  10. Marianne, yes! Love The Dish, and adored that moment ;-)

  11. David, I kind of loved "hot do..."

    Marianne and Rae, I have to go rent that immediately. I am a huge fan of the 5-0 theme. I used to play it in Vermont when I had to drive my tiny Datsun down this mountain that never got plowed. Nothing like the Ventures for schussing a forty-pound car down a steep grade in deep powder.

  12. I had such a crush on Pete Duel. My confession is that I rather liked The Waltons theme, and I even like the theme to the BBC News (did I really say that?). I can't remember the theme to The Big Valley, but I remember I liked it in days of yore (my dad loved westerns when we were kids, so my memories are always of the western themes, though I really hated Bonanza!).
    I know I'll think of some more when I've signed off. Truth is, I hardly watch TV ... oh, yeah, I love the theme from MASH - and I still love that show. And there was a show in Britain called, The Last Of The Summer Wine, which was quite lovely - and the theme suited it so well.

    I thought The Dish was fantastic! Talking about crushes, it was that Sam Neill thing ...

  13. I remember watching Duel in "Love on a Rooftop," too. Never realized he'd been in Gidget with Sally Field until I saw an interview with her on youtube, while looking for AS&J clips. So sad about him. I was pretty little when he killed himself, but I remember being shocked and very sad about it.





    HAWAII 5-0






  15. What a HOOT!
    Perry Mason , Peter Gunn, Hawaii 5-0.... all fab!


  16. Mission Impossible, of course!