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Padre Steve’s Favorite Popular Television Theme Songs


Well it is time for something less serious tonight and since there is plenty of seriousness to go around on the internet I felt like going back to music. For a while now I have been thinking back, thanks to the Sirius Satellite Radio Seventies on Seven channel about popular songs from television shows that became hits on the Billboard charts.

I don’t know about you, but some of these songs bring back great memories, even of I wasn’t a regular viewer of the shows. Part of this is because a number were always on the radio, particularly on American Top 40 when I was doing the dough rolling and food preparation duties when I worked at the Shakey’s Pizza Parlor in Stockton California.

Of course very few of them were recorded then, but the fact that I was hooked on the AM Pop radio of the 1970s and 1980s meant that I picked up some songs simply because they were on the air as well as on television.

We don’t see many themes from television programs being big hits anymore. I am not sure for the reason but I think that a lot has to do with the proliferation of “reality TV” shows that rely more on people’s intense voyeuristic needs for entertainment than did the sitcoms and dramas of earlier days. As such most of these show do little or nothing for theme songs.

Most of my favorites come from the 1970s and 1980s, of course those were years where I followed more television shows than I do now. Some come from earlier and one,  I’ll be There for You was from the 1990s.


I have always loved Joey Scarbury’s Theme to Greatest American Hero “Believe it or Not” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B4JCehDOy54 or live on Solid Gold countdown http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pUEFHZFLAyM . Since I am also a Seinfeld devotee I remember George Costanza (Jason Alexander) making up his own version of the song as his answering machine song.


Finding it too funny I did the same for our answering machine at one time http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yg-TqEFYcfM. Maybe I need to do it for my I-Phone now.


John Sebastian recorded Welcome Back the theme to Welcome Back Kotter, a song and television show that was very popular when I was in high school. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6o0Cah5kQU


The Theme from Happy Days was very popular during the 1950s’ nostalgia that gripped the country when I was in junior high school. Recorded by Pratt and McClain it remained part of American life through the early 1980s as Ron Howard and Henry Winkler made the fiction 50s come alive during the turbulent 1970s. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Tqc4FKNzWU


Cindy Grecco recorded Making our Dreams Come True for the show LaVerne and Shirley which was a spin off from the popular Happy Days. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JijyXS6Sb30. I had pretty much forgotten about the song until I heard it on the Sirius 70s channel.


Other songs that were Billboard hits from sitcoms included Waylon Jennings song Good Old Boys for the series The Dukes of Hazard. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIVMSnPVXfI and Steve Carlisle theme to WKRP in Cincinnati http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7jRXt2Bt1Sc .


One hit from a comedy that was not an upbeat song was by Johnny Mandel http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4gO7uemm6Yo who sang the haunting theme from the movie M*A*S*H, Suicide is Painless.  It was a Billboard hit when the movie came out, but when it remained as the theme for the television show  it was done as an instrumental introduction. One can understand why, but the song was popular after the release of the movie and became the official song of the Army Medical Department in the 1980s.


One tie in that I have to the series is when as a young enlisted man http://search.peopleschoice.com/v/26948942/and-the-9th-annual-favorite-television-comedy-series-is-m-a-s-h.htm . I am somewhere on in the group of soldiers to the left of the cast at the end of the video. I think I can find me, but my screen isn’t big enough to honestly say if the person I think is me is me.


The theme from SWAT by Rhythm Heritage http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dHnx-z0I7SM was one of several instrumental hits for police or detective shows. Other instrumental favorites included several by Mike Post who arranged the instrumental theme to Magnum PI starring Tom Selleck. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kIi9iTsbhtg, the theme to Hill Street Blues http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tSOeRqNtQtM both of which made the top 40 as did his theme for the Rockford Files staring James Garner http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXtpoO_DlDM

Another police drama song, the them to Miami Vice was recorded by Jam Hammer. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQDU-2qMre0


The Rembrandts recorded their hit I’ll be There for You for the hit sitcom Friends. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jUSXZAtCaRQ

David Naughton_Makin' It_45

David Naughton recorded Makin’ It http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=91D58RuHyVU was recorded for a show called Makin’ It which was far shorter lived than the popularity of the theme song.


Some earlier themes included Dragnet by Ray Anthony from the 1950s http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ChE5GHKsgHU Henry Mancini did the theme for Peter Gunn in the 1950s and 1960s http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dechpnavTyA which was reintroduced to people like me through the Blues Brothers http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_CHjYHwNzx0.


Hawaii Five-0 which was very popular in the 1970s them made it high on the Billboard Hot 100 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ASvQ-bNURn4 and has been re-done for the new rendition of that show http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hwhvByj8YG8


One of my favorites, and possibly my favorite of all times is the them from Cheers Where Everybody Knows Your Name by Gary Portnoy http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-mi0r0LpXo


These songs are like old friends. When I hear them it is like I am in place where “everybody knows my name.” So anyway, thanks for allowing me the diversion tonight.


Padre Steve+

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Driving to the Music: Padre Steve’s Traveling Music Part One

I’m back in North Carolina after a quick trip home and despite a number of things that I want to write about just feel like I want to chill out tonight.  I have been doing some reading of late, I finished a couple of books recently on religion and public life and I am continuing to read Eric Hoffer’s classic primer on the psychology of mass movements The True Believer and re-reading the first volume of Richard Evans trilogy on Nazi Germany The Coming of the Third Reich.  I have also started a book that I picked up a few years back Roger Knight’s tome on the life of Admiral Horatio Nelson The Pursuit of Victory. But enough about reading this article is about music, the kind of music that I like.

Sometimes it is good just to chill out. I haven’t spent much time online this weekend and with the exceptions of checking the headlines I haven’t done much looking at the news the past couple of days.

Since driving throughEastern North Carolinahas become a big part of my life over the past year and one of the few benefits to driving is listening to the music that I enjoyed in high school and college.  This is in large part due to dearth of interesting radio programming that exists in this part of the state. This article will be the fist of several dealing with some of my favorite songs and since I do a lot of driving between Virginia Beach and Camp LeJeune figured why not do a couple of articles about some of my favorite road music.

Sports radio, which is my default setting since I gave up AM Talk Radio afterIraqis in short supply. My local Virginia Beach ESPN Radio 94.1 only reaches toElizabethCityand the local ESPN AM stations in the Jacksonville-New Bern area are very limited in coverage being low power stations.  I like NPR but there are wide gaps in coverage in this area and the weekend line up is not the most exciting and sometimes by my standards pretty lame.  There are a plethora of low power “Christian” or “Gospel” stations as well as Country and Western stations along the route but I am not a big C&W fan and am definitely not a fan of what passes for music or preaching on the religious stations.  There is one pretty good “Oldies” station, FM 107.9 WNCT inGreenvillethat has a nice selection and good coverage area but there I times that I want to be in control of my music.  When I do get a new car when this tour is over and I don’t have to have to pay for two places to live I will get some kind of satellite radio system but for now I’ll make due with my collection of CDs especially the ones that I had made with collections of my favorite music. I know that I am dating myself with CDs but maybe I will eventually move all my music to the digital side of the house on my I-Phone someday but I’m too lazy and don’t want to spend the money until I have to actually do it, I think I remember doing the same with LPs, 45s and cassette tapes.

The music that I like was what was on the radio back when I rode the bus to junior high and high school and when I got my first car during my senior year of high school.  I remember listening to the late “Doctor” Donald D Rose who had the morning show on KFRC San Francisco during the 1970s as well as the local Stockton AM station KJOY both of which were AM Top 40 stations.  In college I would listen to Kasey Kasem’s American Top 40 on Saturday and Sunday mornings when making dough and doing food prep at Shakey’s Pizza.

Since I am a now a relic by the standards of young people having come of age in the 1970s and early 1980s my music taste reflects my era.  Now I do like other music but my favorite is the music that I grew up with so here are a few links to music videos of some of my favorite groups and artists who still manage to keep me alert and focused behind the wheel as I travel the highways and byways ofEastern North Carolina.

I always like the Eagles and for driving music one must start with Take it Easy http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DL683aq49_M which is a great driving song and relaxing at the same time as I start my trip on I-264 inVirginia Beach.

Of course driving in Hampton Roads is no picnic and Kenny Loggins Danger Zone http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jwL5xmhJejQ from the classic Naval Aviation movie Top Gun is a perfect song for traveling on our roads.

Olivia Newton’s John Magic http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r7WPwH8Rd6g is a bit of a change of pace when I get snarled in traffic in Chesapeake or when I hit the Downtown tunnel in Norfolk depending on the route that I try to use to get out of the Hampton Roads metro area.

Judy says that I never tire of Abba; indeed I think I have almost every song and album that the Swedish super group ever recorded.  I find that a lot of Abba songs are great road music and that Waterloo http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sj_9CiNkkn4 the hit that launched them to stardom in 1972 has a nice feel at 70 mph on the US 17 bypass around Washington NC.    


Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VcjzHMhBtf0 is one that I like as I begin to pick up the pace on either US 17 or US 13 once I break free into the open country.

I always loved the big voice of the late Laura Branigan who died far too young of a brain aneurism in 2003, her song Gloria http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1tVutw8rjFk is about a woman living in the fast lane and going a bit crazy in the process. The song remained on the Billboard “Hot 100” for 36 weeks in 1982. The song makes for great open country driving, especially when you have to pass someone doing 48 mph in a 60 plus zone just because they can.


Blondie’s  Dreaming http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4-1MhH7dwQ and Heart of Glass http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x1all9_blondie-heart-of-glass_music were favorites in college and from when Judy and I started dating back in 1979.   I can listen to Blondie songs all day long and on some trips Blondie is all that I listen.  Today was kind of cool because I listened to their new album Panic of Girls a couple of times on first part of the trip.

Rod Stewart was a favorite back then and still is for me today and though he has done a lot of work lately with classic pre-rock and roll era songs I always liked his early work the best including Maggie May http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AfWl1Fn-FrE&feature=related .  This is a more recent concert version of the classic.

The music from the movie soundtrack of The Blues Brothers is always nice to drive to and when you are driving alone it is always good to know that Everybody needs Somebody to Love http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCTJeT2i9QU.

Then there is Starship and the great Grace Slick with Nothing’s Going to Stop us Now http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0w5s6V8rQH4 which is great on the final stretch of any trip.

That’s enough for tonight.  Have a great week and remember that this is Veteran’s Day week so thank a veteran.


Padre Steve+

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Some of Padre Steve’s Favorite Funny Movies of the 1970s and 1980s

I don’t know about you but no matter what your age some of your favorite movies might just come from the time when you were in High School or College. For me that was the 1970s and 1980s.

I have always been a fan of slapstick and silliness and in my book some of the most creative and even hysterical films ever made came out of that era.

Of course there are all of the Mel Brooks films which I have mentioned in previous articles.  I absolutely love Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, Spaceballs and History of the World Part I.

But I also love others such as Burt Reynolds films like the Smokey and the Bandit and Cannonball Run films where Reynolds teamed up with people like Dom DeLouise, Sally Field and Jackie Gleason as well as The End, The Longest Yard and Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.

There were others such as Foul Play with Chevy Chase and Goldie Hawn, Stripes, Caddie Shack and Meatballs with Bill Murray. Then there were was the Pink Panther series with Peter Sellers in the role of Inspector Clouseau, in a great series of comic misadventures.

Then there are the military dark comedies such as Kelly’s Heroes and the movie version of M*A*S*H, Private Benjamin and Catch 22.

I cannot ever forget the Zucker, Abrams, Zucker films, Airplane and Airplane II, the Naked Gun series with Leslie Nielsen and spoofs like Hot Shots and Hot Shots Part Deux. Then of course I cannot leave out films like the Blues Brothers, Ghostbusters, Animal House and English imports like Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Some of favorites include sports comedies such as Major League, Bull Durham, the Longest Yard and Slapshot, and cop comedies such as 48 Hours, and Beverley Hills Cop and then films like Trading Places.

I love these films because I get a laugh out of them and on days like today where I had to undergo more cognitive testing ordered by the Neurologist to see if the Mad Cow is getting me.

So anyway those are some of my favorites and if I took a boit more time I probably could add to these in a big way.


Padre Steve+


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