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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 12 December 2017 at 9:38am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

What shows changed their theme tunes? What sort of list can we come up with?

I'm referring to a completely different tune so not a case of a show remixing something or whatever the correct terminology is. The fourth season of AIRWOLF uses the same music as the first three seasons, but it's the same theme. Just like, say, Ken Thorne used John Williams' music for SUPERMAN III: same theme and recognizable, just different.

(Please, someone, help me, what is the word I am looking for? Remix? Or something else? I've used an online dictionary, I hate it when a word is absent from my brain).

Anyway, moving on...

The theme for MAGNUM, P.I. changed at some point. I prefer the initial theme.

Didn't THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN have one, two or even three themes? I am sure the TV pilots used different music.

Haven't some of the LAW & ORDER shows changed their theme?

Nicholas Hammond's THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN also used two different themes for its two seasons? And the music for the intro to the 1977 pilot movie is different.

I'm sure you can add to the list.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 12 December 2017 at 10:36am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

I DREAM OF JEANNIE, for one, got a different theme starting with the second season. GILLIGAN'S ISLAND modified its introductory song.

THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW changed the words of its opening.

The original STAR TREK kept tinkering with the instrumentation, if not the tune.

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Brian Floyd
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Posted: 12 December 2017 at 11:20am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

If using real songs counts, THE DREW CAREY SHOW went through at least three different themes. It used an actual theme, "Cleveland Rocks" (a cover by The Presidents Of The United States Of America), and "It's A Five O'Clock World". They also used "What Is Hip?" in one episode, but I don't remember if it was the opening or later in the episode. 

For it's first two seasons, HAPPY DAYS used "Rock Around The Clock" before getting an actual theme song.

WALKER, TEXAS RANGER had a different theme at first, before they switched to the one most people are familiar with. (Aka the best thing about the show)

I believe THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN series (not pilots) had alterations to the narration, but I don't know if the theme changed.


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Vinny Valenti
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Posted: 12 December 2017 at 11:55am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

I remember GIMME A BREAK had a completely new, more 80's theme song (still sung by Nell Carter) in-between seasons.

THE FACTS OF LIFE had a couple of changes during it's run, with mostly the same lyrics, but becoming progressively more 80's as well.


Edited by Vinny Valenti on 12 December 2017 at 11:58am
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Eric Sofer
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Posted: 12 December 2017 at 11:55am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

"Lost in Space" changed their theme entirely.

"Animaniacs" changed a few times... once when Bill Clinton was out of office and the playing the sax was a little dated, and once when they split out Pinky and the Brain to their own show.

"Star Trek: The Next Generation" changed the nature of its theme orchestration a couple times. At least they didn't change the words... :)

The Bugs Bunny show changed as it changed its premise, from "Bugs Bunny" to "Bugs Bunny/Roadrunner" to "Bugs Bunny/Tweety." "This Is It" remained, but then there were themes after that - or not.

"The Monkees" changed their theme slightly if I recall (and certainly changed the under-graphics". Also, the closing credits changed from "Monkee's Theme" to "For Pete's Sake."

"The Simpsons" theme changes depending on whether the episode is long or not; they have a short version and long version. 

The same occurs on "Full Frontal with Samantha Bee."

"Scrubs" had a long and short version of their theme too.

I guess if you REALLY want to be overly specific, "Batman" changed its opening in its last season by adding a "kick" sound when Batgirl swung in.

There were two radically different version of "The Herculoids" theme music.

Hanna-Barbera's "Fantastic Four", "Herculoids", and "Mighty Mightor" cartoons varied by having a voiceover at times.

"The Perils of Penelope Pitstop" had two very different themes too.

"The Munsters" had different versions of the theme song; season 1 was a little more goofy and season 2 and after were more rock/brass based.

That's all I can think of off the top of my head. Big head, I guess...
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Michael Penn
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Posted: 12 December 2017 at 12:12pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

THE FLINTSTONES underwent a complete change. 
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Michael Penn
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Posted: 12 December 2017 at 12:13pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Ah, and THE PARTRIDGE FAMILY changed words.
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Darren Ashmore
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Posted: 12 December 2017 at 1:52pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Quantum Leap also jazzed up the theme tune for seasons 4 and 5 I think. I preferred the original version.
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Eric Smearman
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Posted: 12 December 2017 at 4:53pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

If I recall correctly, STARSKY AND HUTCH had several themes. In fact,
they might have changed themes every season.

Edited by Eric Smearman on 12 December 2017 at 5:05pm
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Brian O'Neill
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Posted: 12 December 2017 at 5:20pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

HAPPY DAYS famously dropped 'Rock Around the Clock' for its familiar theme song in 1975 (start of season 3). Although modern opinion says that 'nobody' watched the show after the first two years, the facts (and Nielsen ratings) say otherwise.

STARSKY AND HUTCH did change themes each season. The original, by Lalo Schiffrin, sounded like something he might have used if MISSION IMPOSSIBLE had premiered in the mid-70s. The second, by Tom Scott, was used in season 2, dropped, and then returned with more 'disco' in the final season. And in between, the season 3 theme, by Mark Snow, tries to sound like a 'disco jazz' composition, nodding to both of the other songs, without borrowing from either. 

THE FLINTSTONES also, infamously changed the closing theme to that wretched 'Let The SUN SHINE INNNN...' for the final season.

THE BIONIC WOMAN changed themes after season 1, but kept a version of the original theme as its closing.

MAGNUM, P.I. had a different theme(by another compser) for its first dozen or so episodes, introduced the famous Mike Post theme around 10 episodes in, as incidental music, then put it in the closing credits for a couple of episodes before finally 'taking the plunge'.

I'm not sure if WONDER WOMAN had its familiar vocal theme for its first episodes on ABC(after moving on from World War II, the final season had an instrumental(and, yes, disco-ish) theme.

FAMILY MATTERS used Louis Armstrongs 'What a Wonderful World' in its first season, but the later theme replaced it on the syndicated reruns.

There are 'public domain' episodes of THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES out there, with a different theme song for the reruns, but that song did not air originally in first-run.

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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 12 December 2017 at 5:28pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

COLUMBO didn't have an intro if I recall right (not a traditional one), but I remember a heck of a lot of opening and closing themes.

And is COLUMBO a TV series, anyway? It was movie-length and it feels like some sort of movie/TV hybrid. 
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Brian O'Neill
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Posted: 12 December 2017 at 5:45pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

Columbo first appeared on TV in a 1958 dramatic anthology episode, played by actor Bert Freed. The character returnd in the 1967 TV-movie, 'Prescription Murder', played by Peter Falk, who was far from the first choice for the role, but became the only actor anyone could imagine playing it.(Famously, Bing Crosby was offered the role, but when he learned it was intended as a pilot for a series, he said it would cut into his golf game!) There were years of negotiations before creators William Link and Richard Levinson agreed with Universal Studios and NBC on the show's format, and star.
From 1971 to 1977, COLUMBO, MCCLOUD*, and MACMILLAN AND WIFE, along with various other shows, were aired on a rotating basis, usually on Sunday nights, with the overall title 'NBC Mystery Movie'. There was a theme song by Henry Mancini which aired every week during the original run, but that did not make the transition to the reruns(or international showings). 

Each series had roughly 6 to 8 episodes per year(depending on if NBC also had a fourth show in the rotation; HEC RAMSEY, with Richard Boone and Harry Morgan, was the only one of those 'fourth shows' to last more than a year), and running 90 minutes or 2 hours (allowing for commercials), dependig on how NBC felt like scheduling around it in a given year(it followed 'The Wonderful World of Disney', which also sometimes expanded to 2 hours).
The other shows in the 'Mystery Movie' time slot were far less successful, so for a couple of years,they only bothered with the 'big 3'.

One show introduced in the last year, however, did become a weekly series: QUINCY.  COLUMBO had a few more original episodes after the other shows ended in '77, always airing as one-offs. 

A decade later, after NBC had successfully revived Raymond Burr's PERRY MASON with new TV movies, ABC tried the 'mystery movie' rotating-series concept again, and COLUMBO returned, alongside short-lived shows starring Burt Reynolds(B.L. STRYKER) and Louis Gossett, Jr.(GIDEON OLIVER). 
When the latter two shows failed,but Columbo was getting decent viewing figures, ABC kept it around, on an occasional basis, through the early 2000s. (The network also tried reviving KOJAK briefly, but that was a failure, partly because the first one killed off Kevin Dobson's character of Crocker, Kojak's partner from the original series).
COLUMBO even had company from yet another long-running show on ABC, when that network picked up MATLOCK, and gave it the TV-movie treatment for a few years. But the lieutenant outlasted everybody, with Peter Falk's final episode airing in early 2003.

*As for MCCLOUD, it was introduced as part of an entirely different anthology, FOUR IN ONE, in 1970. The other show that survived that experiment was Rod Serling's NIGHT GALLERY. (Well, there yuh go, chief)


Edited by Brian O'Neill on 12 December 2017 at 6:21pm
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Tim Cousar
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Posted: 12 December 2017 at 7:18pm | IP Logged | 13 post reply

PSYCH had a long and short version of the theme song, and some episodes tinkered with it to reflect a theme of the episode, i.e. an episode that was a tribute to TWIN PEAKS had a re-arrangement of the theme song sung by Julee Cruise.
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Jozef Brandt
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Posted: 12 December 2017 at 8:39pm | IP Logged | 14 post reply


This is a show that usually I'm the only one who remembers: 

The 2 season sitcom Grand had two theme songs.  The first season theme song (which had both a long and a short version) was sung by the cast (which included Pamela Reed, John Randolph, Michael McKean, Bonnie Hunt, John Neville).  It was written, strangely enough, by Mark Snow (aka composer of the X-Files theme) with lyrics by the show runner Michael Leeson.  The second season used the same song, but had an overproduced, slick, studio version that played over a lot of helicopter shots of a town.  (Like they were going for a Falcon Crest look or something). 

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Brian O'Neill
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Posted: 12 December 2017 at 9:38pm | IP Logged | 15 post reply

Robbie Parry:


I'm referring to a completely different tune so not a case of a show remixing something or whatever the correct terminology is.

*****

"Arrangement"? Some of the examples others listed here are re-arrangements(same song played a bit differently, lyrics changed, etc.)

*****
Robbie:

Didn't THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN have one, two or even three themes? I am sure the TV pilots used different music.

*****


Yes, it used a different theme for two of its three ABC Suspense Movie 'pilot' episodes in early 1973, a shlockfest sung by the criminally misused Dusty Springfield" 'Love him if you can, hold if you can, feed him if you caaannn, he's the maaaan(Six Million Dollar MAAAAN!')
'Cyborg'(the original TV pilot) used more 'generic' music over opening credits.

The first season version of the theme featured a somewhat shorter version of Oscar Goldman's 'We can rebuild him' speech.  The musical 'cresendo'(accompanied by a long  'revving motor'sound effect as Steve is on the treadmill) was also shorter, with just four notes as the series title was displayed.
The later seasons flshed out Oscar's narration, added the computer graphics and sound effects of bionic parts appearing onscreen, and played more of what would become the show's iconic theme song'(Da na na naaaaaa...)  during the 'treadmill' shot leading to the titles.


Edited by Brian O'Neill on 12 December 2017 at 9:52pm
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Brian Floyd
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Posted: 12 December 2017 at 10:48pm | IP Logged | 16 post reply

You'd think I'd have remembered PSYCH, since I watched the reunion movie recently.

Didn't MONK have multiple themes? I know there was the version sung by Randy Newman, and the version done by Snoop Dogg when he appeared in an episode. But wasn't there also an instrumental version, as well?


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Brian O'Neill
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Posted: 12 December 2017 at 11:06pm | IP Logged | 17 post reply

Even BONANZA tried a different theme around 1967, before going back to the more familiar one.a few years later.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 13 December 2017 at 7:56am | IP Logged | 18 post reply

 Brian O'Neill wrote:
"Arrangement"? Some of the examples others listed here are re-arrangements(same song played a bit differently, lyrics changed, etc.)

Thank you. One to make a mental note of.

 Brian O'Neill wrote:
Yes, it used a different theme for two of its three ABC Suspense Movie 'pilot' episodes in early 1973, a shlockfest sung by the criminally misused Dusty Springfield" 'Love him if you can, hold if you can, feed him if you caaannn, he's the maaaan(Six Million Dollar MAAAAN!') 'Cyborg'(the original TV pilot) used more 'generic' music over opening credits.

Thanks, that refreshes my memory. I do prefer the later themes.
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James Woodcock
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Posted: 13 December 2017 at 8:35am | IP Logged | 19 post reply

STARSKY AND HUTCH - as mentioned above had a number of themes

SPACE 1999 - the change in themes reflected the change in story structure to my mind

BABYLON 5 - each season had different themes, some were remixes (season one, two and four, while three and five had different themes. Three's theme was actually a piece of incidental music from season one purposed) 
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Ted Downum
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Posted: 13 December 2017 at 8:41am | IP Logged | 20 post reply

SPACE: 1999 switched themes and title sequences from season 1 to season 2.

Season 1: portentous fanfare, Landau and Bain looking serious, "IN THIS EPISODE" card followed by preview scenes from the episode you were about to watch (an approach later copied by the rebooted BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, I think), and a quick recap of the events of September 13, 1999.

Season 2: peppier, more action-oriented theme; Landau rises from chair and zaps something off-screen; Bain walks down corridor in big hurry; close-up of Catherine Schell's eyeball as Maya turns into tiger, eagle, and finally herself. No preview scenes.

Speaking of the rebooted GALACTICA, I seem to recall that its title sequence and theme changed too, between the first couple of seasons, but I'm not positive.

EDITED TO ADD: Woodcock JUST beats me across the finish line with SPACE: 1999!
 


Edited by Ted Downum on 13 December 2017 at 8:42am
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Luke Styer
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Posted: 13 December 2017 at 10:15am | IP Logged | 21 post reply

 Brian Floyd wrote:
If using real songs counts, THE DREW CAREY SHOW went through at least three different themes. It used an actual theme, "Cleveland Rocks" (a cover by The Presidents Of The United States Of America), and "It's A Five O'Clock World". They also used "What Is Hip?" in one episode, but I don't remember if it was the opening or later in the episode.

Early on (first season?) "Moon Over Parma" was the theme song.  Then in later seasons "Cleveland Rocks" and "Five O'Clock World," though I can't recall which was first between those two.

They used "Girlfriend in a Coma" in an episode in which Drew was in a coma. I watched it pretty regularly in syndication years ago, and I think they may have used a few other songs on a one-time basis, but I can't actually remember any other examples, so I may be totally off.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 13 December 2017 at 10:21am | IP Logged | 22 post reply

How could I forget STARSKY AND HUTCH and SPACE: 1999?

The Season 1 theme of SPACE: 1999 was dark and foreboding; the Season 2 theme was light-hearted and heroic. I prefer the first theme.
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 13 December 2017 at 12:06pm | IP Logged | 23 post reply

If a show runs long enough, the theme tends to get "freshened up" at least at some point.  The Bob Newhart Show did it a few times.  The first time I liked the change but then they tinkered further and it got worse. 

Mission: Impossible's signature theme was also made jazzier (faster, more horns!) in the fifth season, though they went back at some point in a later season. 
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Warren Scott
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Posted: 13 December 2017 at 1:25pm | IP Logged | 24 post reply

Brian is right about the different themes found on shows sold on DVD because they have entered the public domain. I have read that it's because the themes aren't public domain themselves. So those themes weren't actually used on the air.
Most cartoons have had multiple themes, "Scooby-Doo" being a good example. There also have been a number of themes whose singers changed ("The Love Boat," "The Facts of Life" and "Family Ties.)while the songs themselves weren't changed.
By the way, I loved both "Lost in Space" themes though I didn't like the show much.
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Brian Floyd
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Posted: 13 December 2017 at 1:47pm | IP Logged | 25 post reply

Music rights are one reason I don't own WKRP IN CINCINNATI on DVD. 


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