Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Ottoman Empire

Earle Hagen, who composed some of the most memorable TV theme songs of the 1960s, dead at the age of 88. Among his credits are the themes for "The Dick Van Dyke Show," "Mod Squad," "That Girl," and "The Andy Griffith Show," which he not only co-wrote but whistled.

I learn from Mark Evanier's invaluable blog News From Me that Hagen's "Dick Van Dyke Show" theme played over three different possible opening-credit sequences: Rob trips over the ottoman, Rob deftly skirts the ottoman and shakes hands with Buddy, or Rob skirts the ottoman but stumbles anyway. (There's a fourth if you include the first-season credit sequence, which consisted of a file folder full of 8x10 glossies of the cast.)

I never saw this show in its first run, and when it was syndicated, I never got the sense they were being shown in strict chronological order. In my mind, I assumed that there was a season where Rob was shown tripping, followed by a season where he sidestepped the furniture, having learned his lesson the season before. (I never realized there were two versions of him missing the ottoman.)

But as Evanier points out, the sequences were used randomly, which would have been way too postmodern for me to grok when I was a kid. Here are all three, roughly synced up:

1 comment:

Pike said...

Apparently Andy Griffith was drunk a lot of the time.

When they made the show.