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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Last Of The Dishonorables.

We're back, and will conclude the Dishonorable Mention list for Worst TV
Theme Songs Ever.
There are eight of them, so I can go back to numbering them, beginning with
number 18, which will carry us to the bottom ten list next time.

Some of these songs I barely knew, as I wasn't exposed to the shows first time
They showed up in compilations of TV theme songs on YouTube.
And in the spirit of leaving no stone unturned, I felt obliged to watch them.
There was enough there to make a judgement, and to be grateful that it was
my only exposure to them.
These last Dishonorables, in my opinion, are all worse than the ones I described previously.
So in descending order, from least bad to most, with some of them
indistinguishable, we begin with number eighteen:

18) "The Munsters" Ooh, spooky! Ooh scary!
I never liked the show, and the song didn't help.
I never liked "The Addams Family either, but the song had a certain style.

17) "My Mother, The Car": More part of this list because of how truly
horrendous the show was on it's own terms. It violated it's own premise,
seemingly every chance it got.
The song was just dumb, but not as dumb as the show, which I saw
when it was run on cable for a handful of episodes.
The amazing thing is that several of it's writers went on to run the Mary Tyler
Moore Show.

16 through 13) These next four are interchangeable.
These are the ones I saw on YouTube, was aghast, and made note of them for
particularly this purpose:
They are, in no particular order,
It's About Time,
Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, in which the theme song was selling a silly comedy,
The Ugliest Girl In Town, where they were selling Tranvestism, and
Captain Nice, where they were selling incoherency.

12) "the Courtship of Eddie's Father", where Harry Nillson, or somebody like that
was singing this cutesy-oootsy-pootsy song about a wonderful relationship between
a widowed father and his young son, which caused more than one son to say to his
father, "Why can't you be more like Bill Bixby?"

And finally, number 11) This one could have easily made the Bottom Ten, but it is
so obscure, that I may be the only one who saw it.
The tune isn't bad. It's sort of an uplifting tango.
But it contains the absolutely worst lyric ever written.

A little back story is in order: In the mid 50's, Broderick Crawford starred
in a pretty well-known syndicated series called "Highway Patrol"
It lasted about five years.
Crawford was best known in "Highway Patrol" for his sign-off phrase on the car walkie-talkie, "Ten-four!"
Then, ZIV, the company that produced "Highway Patrol" feeling that maybe Broderick
was still a cash cow, put him in another syndicated series called "King of Diamonds"
In it, he played "two fisted" Johnny King, head of security and insurance
investigator for the diamond industry.
It lasted one season in 1961.
As opposed to "Highway Patrol", on "King of Diamonds", they would occasionally give
him a romantic interest.
The title song grew out of all of this, and included the following lyric, the one
I consider the worst of all-time in any medium.
It was sung by a rather high-pitched male chorus, with a full orchestra backing
them up, and concluded thusly:
Johnny King breaks a door down,
He's not saying 'ten-four' now,
He's romancing a Queen"
Sometimes it's better not to say anything more.

The bottom ten next time.


My book,"Show Runner" and it's sequel,"Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
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  1. The problem with these worst song posts is when they fight for attention to be heard by me after I am done reading your post. So far It's About Time is winning, narrowly over People Let Me Tell You 'Bout My Best Friend.
    On a side note, I remember building a model of the car used for My Mother The Car.

  2. When I do the Best TV Themes, hopefully, it will have the opposite effect, and you'll go out of your way
    to hear some wonderful stuff.

  3. Really, good or bad, I enjoy TV themes. And I miss them as an intro to a show. For some shows, the only thing that survives is the music. And I have always been a sucker for lists such as this. Can't wait for the next post.

  4. James L. Brooks broke into situation comedy by pitching a story idea for MY MOTHER THE CAR to Allen Burns at a party. In-between that and THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW they worked on ROOM 222 together.

    Allan Burns also co-wrote the pilot for THE MUSTERS.

  5. Believe It Or Don't ...

    ... I actually remember King Of Diamonds!

    It played here in Chicago on channel 9, as did most Ziv shows.
    My family almost never watched, but sometimes we'd see the last few minutes, just before the 10 o'clock news, when ch9 was running a late movie Dad wanted to see.
    That meant we saw Brod Crawford do a signoff bit, as he did for Highway Patrol, and then that theme, which I recall as a samba rather than a tango.
    Thing was, Ch9 always cut it off just when they got to that line about "Johnny King breaks the door down" ... and I never got to hear the end.

    Fast forward to the present:
    Ever since the collector-to-collector market came into being, I've been actively looking for King Of Diamonds, mainly just to hear that whole theme song.
    (Of course, it wouldn't hurt any if it was the episode about a deaf-mute mime who was a jewel thief - reportedly the last film role of William Gargan, after his laryngectomy.)

    Anybody have any ideas ...?

  6. I found the King of Diamonds theme on YouTube (under "King of Diamonds Theme Song & Trailer") and if anything I think it's worse than Mark described it. The tune might be passable but that awful, sickening male chorus makes the whole thing sound like the show had to have been a parody. At the very end, almost as an afterthought, the "Queen" line is followed by "He's the King". As though they wanted to make sure we wouldn't get the wrong idea.

  7. There ain't no way the theme to "The Munsters" is one of the 6,000 worst songs, let alone one of the rottenest 20.

  8. Re: The Munsters---I'm just not fond of melodies carried by a combination of tubas and guitars.

    And you've now convinced me that "King of Diamonds" should be in the bottom ten.
    But that boat has sailed.

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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."