Category Archives: Spy Games

The Top Ten TV Theme Songs of the ’60s (According to Flash)

Good day, friends, my apologies for being away so long, but a combination of too much work and too little downtime has kept me away for a little while. Nevertheless, I have been planning this post for a while (which was inspired by our good freind Pie), and I thought now’s as good a time as any.

Before I begin, I will point out that this is my list, and is not intended to be definitive – in fact, I’d love to hear other people’s ideas for top TV themes. Having thus hopefully de-fanned the fires of a possible flame war, and set the stage for collegial and fun discussion, let’s now get to the list, in no particular order other than starting with the best cartoon themes ever:

1.) Underdog (1964)

I wanted to start with this for one reason, and one reason only (besides the fact that it is awesome): to get the admission out of the way that this theme scared the bejeezus out of me when I was a kid. As with many things, I had to be an adult to truly appreciate it.

2) Spider-Man (1967)

What more can I say about this one – everyone knows and loves Spidey, doing whatever a spider pig does can:

Acyually, I can say one more thing: note that when Spidey looks out the window onto the street, he looks at the front of the store which is selling “Fine Jewlery”; when he swings down, the sign says “Fine Jewelry”. A side effect of having animation done in Canada?

3) I Spy (1965)

As I mentioned in my post on Robert Culp, this one is a no-brainer:

4) Peter Gunn (1958)

Ok, technically, this one isn’t from the 1960’s; on the other hand, the show lasted into the early years of that decade. No matter: private eye + Henri Mancini = EPIC:

5) Doctor Who (1963)

This video mixes all versions of the very disctinctive Ron Granier theme up to the David Tennant version:

I particularly like the Tom Baker and Tennant versions. For comparison, this is the new version from the new Season 5, with Matt Smith as the new Doctor:

6) Batman (1966)

Ok, you all know this one, right? I can’t think of this one without thinking of my neighbor’s son, who used to sing this with great gusto, except he used the phrase “That Man” – slightly more generic version, but cool nontheless. This is the longer version rather than the one featured on the series, accompanied by some additional music:

7) Danger Man (1964)

No, not “Secret Agent Man” – that sucked. This is the original British version of the theme song from Danger Man, along with some interesting bits from an episode. I gotta say – love the harpsichord!!:

8 ) The Prisoner (1968)

Both our second Patrick McGoohan-related and Ron Granier composed theme (and yes, it should have been Number 6):

9) The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (1964)

The Season 1 version is by far my favorite, but I do like the Season 2 version as well – Seasons 3 and 4 seem to be leeching off Batman a little too much for my tastes:

10) Land of the Giants (Season 2 – 1969)

The themes from the only two seasons of Land of the Giants are quite different (as readers will know from an earlier post of mine), but I have to say I prefer the Season 2 theme, written, as were many of Irwin Allen’s themes, by Johnny Williams, who later would compose the theme for “Jaws” and “Star Wars”, among other well-known iconic musical themes. Enjoy!

Well, that’s it for the moment – let’s hear your ideas for the next 10, or for the themes from the ’70s, ’80s, ’90s and beyond!

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under 1960s, Cartoons, Detective Stories, Epic Awesomeness, Music, Sci-Fi, Spy Games, superheroes, Television, Videos, YouTube

Robert Culp – R.I.P.

Robert Culp, star of the TV classic I Spy, has died at the age of 79.  To say he was merely brilliant would be an understatement. Besides I Spy, he also starred as gung-ho FBI agent Bill Maxwell in The Greatest American Hero in the early ’80s.

In honor of a brilliant actor, I give you the themes from I Spy, which I consider to be one of the best ever written for TV, and The Greatest American Hero, which, despite the risk of ridicule, I quite like also…

For me, one of his most enjoyable performances was as Trent, the immortal warrior in the Outer Limits episode, “Demon With A Glass Hand”, written by Harlan Ellison. Truly one of the finest pieces of sci-fi ever presented on television, IMHO.

And, of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention another absolute classic Outer Limits episode, “The Architects of Fear” – if you are at all a fan of Watchmen, you owe it to yourself to watch this one…

A sad farewell to a true master of his craft, and a role model for ‘cool’…

6 Comments

Filed under Epic Awesomeness, Sci-Fi, Spy Games, Television, Uncategorized, Videos, YouTube

Mission: Accomplished

Peter Graves, best known as Jim Phelps in the long running Mission: Impossible TV series, died on Sunday of a heart attack at the age of 83.

And no, he had never seen a grown man naked.

Probably best known to younger (?) viewers as Captain Clarence Oveur from the Airplane! films, Graves had a long history in the movies, including at least two ’50s sci-fi flicks that were ‘riffed’ by the robots on Mystery Science Theater 3000.

Beginning of the End (1957):

Part 1 of It Conquered the World (1956),  perhaps best remembered now for the immortal “Man is a feeling creature…” speech:

Fun Peter Graves Facts:

  • His older brother was James Arness, aka Marshall Matt Dillon from Gunsmoke.
  • Jim Phelps was not the first leader of the Impossible Missions Force – the IMF was led at first by Dan Briggs, played by Steven Hill, who later went on to play District Attorney Adam Schiff on Law and Order from 1990-2000. Graves took over as leader of the IMF at the beginning of Season 2.

This blog post will self-destruct in five seconds.

Leave a comment

Filed under Movie Megacheese, Obituaries, Sci-Fi, Spy Games, Television, Videos, YouTube

Be Seeing You…?

An interesting article in the NY Times today about an upcoming miniseries. On November 15, the new, updated version of The Prisoner will premiere on AMC. To be frank, I have many more misgivings about this than about the remake of V.

the_prisoner_2009

The original production, starring Patrick McGoohan, was a wild, psychedelic allegory on the place of modern man in what was then a society undergoing profound technological and social change. We are experiencing similar social change now, but is the medium of allegory going to be usurped by the necessities of commercial success? Is it possible for a TV series to end on such an ambiguous note as the 60s series did? Is the viewing public intelligent and open minded enough to cope with the profound questions raised in the original, such as ‘what is the individual’s role in relation to society?’ ‘What is the true meaning of freedom?’ ‘To what extent must individual liberty be sacrificed for the good of the community?’

prisoner_pfb1968

I think the answers will come too easily, the typical drama formula superseding the spirit and intent of the original. Plus, my cable company doesn’t carry AMC, which pisses me off. Only time will tell whether my questions will be answered, keeping in mind of course the Village philosophy:

“Questions are a burden to others, answers a prison for oneself.”

Be seeing you.

3 Comments

Filed under 1960s, Epic Awesomeness, Sci-Fi, Spy Games, Television, Uncategorized

Say U.N.C.L.E. (again)

Leave a comment

Filed under 1960s, Spy Games, Television

Man from U.N.C.L.E. Part 2

Leave a comment

Filed under 1960s, Spy Games, Television

The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Part 1

For your enjoyment, one of my all-time favorite shows: the Man From U.N.C.L.E. The episode: The Project Strigas Affair. Check out the cool guest stars – one of whom is in the credits, the other in a relatively minor part starting at about 3:15:

1 Comment

Filed under 1960s, Spy Games, Television