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Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Dregs.

Here we are!
The promised land!
The Bottom Five Worst TV Theme Songs of All Time.

5) Mister Ed.

Jay Livingston and Ray Evans were great songwriters.
Three Oscars for Best Song.
"Buttons and Bows", "Que Sera Sera", and "Mona Lisa".
Then, at some point, they were asked to write the theme song for "Mister Ed".
If they were that hard up for money, they should have hocked the Oscars.
I'm sure they knew what a "forced rhyme" was.
How many ways can you come up with a rhyme for "horse" without having
to force?
(Hey! There's one that THEY didn't even think of!)

4) The Texan.

A not-very-well-remembered Western series starring Rory Calhoun in the late 50's.
The theme music accompanied a visual of Rory sitting on his horse, galloping away
slowly from the camera, out on the prairie.
The accompaniment consisted of a rhythmic cacophany of tubas and bassoons that
literally gave the impression that Rory and the horse were consistently farting
to it's tempo.

3) Three's Company.

The low grade here does not involve the singing, the arrangement, or the lyrics.
It's here because the melody, by Joe Raposo, who should have known better, was a
direct ripoff of the great Duke Ellington's "Don't Get Around Much Any More"
'Nuff said.

2) The Pruitts of Southhampton.

The Phyllis Diller sitcom from 1966, where the title song has to be seen to be
Godawful lyrics, and worse, godawful singing by Ms. Diller.
She approached it unashamedly.
She must have had the balls of a cat-burglar.
I'm certain that if David Merrick had caught an episode of "The Pruitts of
Southhampton, he never would have hired her to replace Pearl Bailey in
"Hello Dolly" two years later.
God, what THAT must have sounded like.

1) Maude

I have long maintained that "Maude" was a piece of shit.
As was the song that introduced us to it every week.
I'm going to print the lyrics here, along with my running commentary in parentheses.

Lady Godiva was a freedom rider
She didnt' care if the whole world looked.
(See, she rode through the streets of Coventry, naked.)
Joan of Arc with the Lord to guide her
She was a sister who really cooked.
(See? It's a double entendre! Because they burned her at the stake!
So she cooked! And I guess she had a sister.)

Isadora was the first bra burner
And you're glad she showed up. Oh yeah!
(Isadora who? Duncan? I thought she was about scarves. Not bras. But what do
I know? )
And when the country was falling apart
Betsy Ross got it all sewed up.
(That's because she sewed the first American flag. With the stars and
the stripes and everything.)

And then there's Maude.
And then there's Maude.
And then there's Maude.
And then there's Maude.
And then there's Maude.
And then there's Maude.
And then there's

That old compromisin', enterprisin', anything but tranquilizing,
(She was enterprisin', and I suppose anything but tranquilizin'
I know she got on my nerves. But I never recall her being compromisin')
Right on Maude.
(Yeah, "Right on" is what you said to anyone Bea Arthur's age at the time.
Even in the 70's. Which was the only time ANYONE ever used that expression to

So there you have it.

We will soon begin to stomp in greener pastures as I reveal my list of the
BEST TV theme songs ever.


My book,"Show Runner" and it's sequel,"Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne & Shirley, The Odd Couple, or
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Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperback, "Mark Rothman's Essays" is still available for people without Kindle.
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If you'd like one, contact me at



  1. Ms.'d it by this muchJuly 15, 2012 at 2:54 AM

    "Sister" as in the 1970s feminist sobriquet, not "sister" as in the blood relative of some unnamed sibling trapped in another song.

  2. Are you absolutely, positively, 100% certain about this???????!!!!!
    My thoroughly extensive 70's research truly indicates otherwise.

  3. Someone is collecting TV theme songs and posting them on a website called Television Tunes. Here is the page for The Texan for anybody (like me) who is too young to remember:

  4. That's the brief opening credits. Not what i was referring to.
    It was the closing credits, which I did find on YouTube.

  5. I have been following your writing for a long time here and I thoroughly enjoy it. The "Maude was a piece of shit" comment will have me laughing for years to come. I watched some of them at the time and every once in a while they show up here and there. I was afraid it was just me. I didn't find it funny at all. I hated every minute of it. It was an example of the power Norman Lear had back then that Maude ever got on the air and stayed.

  6. I'd like to see a post where you dissect "Maude."

  7. Actually, I've done that already, but to give you the bare-bones recap:
    1) It was shrill beyond belief.
    2) It's joke structure was totally formulaic.
    A typical "Maude" joke went:
    Maude: Carol, I know that when Walter sees me in this new wig, he'll say "Sweetheart, I don't know what it is, but somehow you look twenty years younger"
    Walter: (entering through the front door) Maude, get that mop off your head!!!
    3) Bea Arthur was too overwhelming to carry a show. A little of her went a long way.
    She was much better suited for "The Golden Girls", where all she had to do was counterpunch to be effective.
    4) The writing had an air of self-importance that it wasn't entitled to.
    5) Esther Rolle, as Florida, the maid, wasn't funny. Bea Arthur herself was quoted as saying that "Most maids won't do windows.
    Esther Rolle wouldn't do comedy"
    6) To agree with one of theother comments, it simply never made me laugh.

    Hope this helps.

  8. Grazi
    I watched it as a kid and never got it. Except for Adrienne Barbeau. She wasn't funny, but I didn't care

  9. I wanted to listen to some of these and actually to others I remembered and found this site. It really was a good place to listen, but you don't see the visual part. You probably already listed it and know. I am amazed at how difficult it is for me to separate these into good or bad, they just call up my life from different times and in several cases are incredibly comforting.

  10. I think the ones I hated to hear the most were "The Love Boat"
    and "Fantasy Island." ,

  11. i watched "maude" as a child. it was on the cbs station, which was the most powerful station in the area. (the other three stations oftentimes didn't come in very well, especially when the weather was bad. this was back in the antenna days, you know.) back then, the three main networks (and to a lesser extent, pbs) ruled the roost. it's like we HAD to watch shows like "maude." i loved it back then, but the reruns that i saw in more recent years disappointed me. maybe "maude" WAS better written than most of the sitcoms of its time, but it wasn't "great." it wasn't in a class with, say, "mash" or "barney miller."

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About Me

Hi. I am, according to my Wikipedia entry,(which I did not create) a noted television writer, playwright, screenwriter, and occasional actor. You can Google me or go to the IMDB to get my credits, and you can come here to get my opinions on things, which I'll try to express eloquently. Hopefully I'll succeed. You can also e-mail me at Perhaps my biggest claim to fame is being responsible, for about six months in 1975, while Head Writer for the "Happy Days" TV series, for Americans saying to each other "Sit on it."