Thursday, April 29, 2021

Thursday Movie Picks #355: TV Theme Songs (TV edition)

This being Thursday, it's time for another edition of Thursday Movie Picks, the blogathon run by Wandering Through the Shelves. We're in the last week of the month, which means that it's time for another TV edition. This month, the subject is TV themes or scores, which is fairly easy. So I thought about what sort of theme-within-a-theme I'd do. I had a couple in mind, such as composer Mike Post (The Rockford Files and others), or themes that became big hits, such as Welcome Back, Kotter. In the end, I decided to go with three TV shows that borrowed pieces of classical music. I think for two of the shows the music is at least as connected with the show as it is as a standalone piece:

Alfred Hitchock Presents (1955-1965). Appropriate, I suppose, for a movie blog, this TV show produced and hosted by the famous movie director is an anthology of mystery and suspense stories. The theme music is "Funeral March of a Marionette", by French composer Charles Gounod:


Firing Line (1966-1999). Conservative writer and thinker William F. Buckley hosted this long-format interview show with a wide range of guests from across the political spectrum and a polite, if clearly adversarial, style of interviewing allowing guests to explain themselves more fully and designed to be more highbrow than, say the Sunday morning shows. An example of this is British philosopher Malcom Muggeridge who did several episodes, including one which became a Christmas staple. The theme song is the third movement of J.S. Bach's Brandenburg Concerto #2.

Masterpiece Theatre (1971-2008). PBS anthology show repackaging BBC dramas such as Upstairs, Downstairs or I, Claudius. The show dropped the word "Theatre" in 2008, as part of a restructuring that also changed its sister program Mystery; at the same time it also dropped the theme known for three dozen years, Jean-Joseph Mouret's Rondeau. Under the new title of Masterpiece Classic, it's aired such BBC fare as Downton Abbey.

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