Tag Archives: Barnaby Jones

Things I Think About While Listening to Jose Feliciano

16 Mar

It is a good night. We had a great meal with great conversation. Now, Jose Feliciano is on the turntable. The only problem is that it is cold outside. We made it through an entire Winter, and it had decided to get cold in the middle of March. It seems that Spring has not yet sprung.

Heck, Jose is singing “California Dreamin'” and is talking about a Winter’s day. I know how he feels. This is no time to be sitting in the house wearing a hoodie. Yet, that is what I am doing. I am also thinking that it is time for a stream of consciousness.

Let us start with Jose himself. He sings the theme to a terrible Western that could have been great. Mackenna’s Gold stars Gregory Peck, Omar Sharif and a bunch of other big stars.

It is about the search for gold. It is also about Julie Newmar swimming nude. According to movie lore, she was supposed to wear something in the scene, but she shocked everyone by doing it for real.

By the way, the theme sung by Jose Feliciano is “Old Turkey Buzzard.”

For those not up on their 1960s television, Julie Newmar plays Catwoman on Batman, the campy version that stars Adam West. A lot of cool people play villains on that show. Burgess Meredith plays the Penguin. Eli Wallach plays Mr. Freeze. Why do I mention those two? They are also in Mackenna’s Gold.

Did I mention that it is a terrible Western that could have been great? The real problems are the special effects. Man, they look terrible, and I imagine that they looked terrible when it first came out. They should have gone natural like Julie does in the skinny dipping scene.

Jose also sang the theme song for Chico and the Man, a 1970s television show about a cranky old man and a Chicano man in his 20s. It stars Jack Albertson and Freddy Prinze. It also stars Scatman Crothers.

Scatman appears in a ton of movies and television shows, but Friday Foster is one of my favorites. It stars the fantastic Pam Grier, but it also had Eartha Kitt. Does anyone know what other role features Eartha Kit? She plays Catwoman on the the campy 1960s Batman.

Julie Newmar and Eartha Kitt play the same character on the same television show. Lee Meriwether also plays that character in that version of the Caped Crusader, but that is another story for another time. We could let Barnaby Jones work his way through that mystery.

Sampling a Few Television Theme Songs

27 Apr

The other day, my stepdaughter and I were listening to the radio when a new song came on the air. In the beginning, I thought I heard a few notes that sounded familiar. Then, the entire thing kicked in, and it was definitely familiar. “Uma Thurman” by Fall Out Boy samples the theme from The Munsters, one of the great television themes of all time.Munsters

The song provided a chance for me to explain to my stepdaughter all of the wonderful things about The Munsters. However, it also made me wonder what other television themes could be turned into cool songs. That is when I decided to make a list. Before this begins, we need to address a few things.

First, I have no idea how they combined The Munsters with Uma Thurman. That is a pop cultural mashup is there ever was one.

Second, the theme songs must be instrumental to make for better sampling by current or future artists.

Third, the songs must come from shows that I actually like. If I did not hear a theme song on a regular basis, then I see no reason for it to be used.

These days, I do not watch much episodic television. In fact, Game of Thrones is the only current show that I watch. Luckily, it has an awesome theme song that makes you think the next hour is going to be a huge event.

In the old days, there was a Texas version of Game of Thrones. Dallas was a prime time soap opera that followed the shenanigans of the Ewing clan. However, I thought the theme gone was the best part. When the camera flew over Texas Stadium, the home of the Cowboys, I had seen the highlight of the show.

Of course, soap operas have been the staple of daytime television for decades. If someone wanted to put together a slower song, then the piano dominated theme for The Young and the Restless would do nicely. During the summers, I always made sure to listen to that song before I started doing something else.

Another great piano theme belonged to The Incredible Hulk, starring Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno. However, this was not the opening theme. Rather, it was the closing theme. I can still see Bixby hitchhiking on a lonely road and trying the escape the anger within. Apparently, he did not like himself when he was angry.

Anyway, that is enough for the slow songs. It is time to get back to something fast paced and rocking. Nothing epitomizes that better than the theme from Magnum, P.I. When I get a red Ferrari, I am going to ride around with that song playing all the time. Hopefully, some creative band will sample it in a song, and I will be able to change things up.

Detective shows like Magnum, P.I. are always good fodder for cool theme songs. Barnaby Jones did some geriatric rocking as Buddy Ebsen ran as fast as he could after a criminal. When that tune is turned into a real song, I expect a clip of Barnaby running after someone or hanging out with Frank Cannon.

The Rockford Files also had great theme music, and the video is ready to roll. All you need is a trailer with an answering machine and an early model Pontiac Firebird. Honestly, the original theme sound a little tinny, but some real instruments would make it awesome.

Before I leave this list, I must include something from the Science Fiction genre. It will not be Star Trek or Star Trek: The Next Generation. Instead, we need to see a song built around the theme of Lost in Space. However, this is where we face a conundrum. Lost in Space had two theme songs. One was for the more serious version of the show’s early days, and the second came in with the campy era. I will go with the first one.

Obviously, there are a ton of other theme songs that would be great for sampling. If you guys have any ideas, then let me know.


They Aren’t John Shaft, But They Are Still Cool

18 Feb

Today, I was driving down the interstate when a red blur went by me. It was a red Ferrari. A couple of thoughts went through my mind.

“Damn, that’s a cool car.”

“Hey, I should blog about cool private investigators on television.”

One thought – obvious. The other one – not so much.

Anyway, here goes with the post. Private investigator shows were a big deal in the 1970s and 1980s, and my parents watched most of them. As a result, I watched them, too. It’s funny how television copies itself. Let one program hit it big, and a bunch more will follow. I guess some detective show must have hit it big because those shows were everywhere.

Obviously, private investigators were cool, but there were several factors that made up the coolness. Most important was a cool opening credits theme song. In fact, it’s impossible to be a cool television investigator without a cool theme song. Other factors can vary. There may be a cool car. There may be a cool assistant or sidekick. There are also bonus points if the show was a Quinn Martin Production with each episode made up of chapters and an epilogue.

With all of that being said, here are some cool television private eyes.

Barnaby Jones – Old? Sure. I never could figure out how he ran down suspects. However, there is a lot of coolness here. Barnaby had a great theme song. He was a Quinn Martin Production. More than that, his secretary was a former Miss America.Barnaby Jones

Jim Rockford The Rockford Files was one of the coolest shows ever. Rockford lived in a trailer and drove a Firebird. Admittedly, it wasn’t a Trans Am, but everyone has faults. He was also used the latest technology, an answering machine. Oh, he also had a great theme song.Jim Rockford

Thomas Magnum – Magnum was the epitome of cool. Cool theme song. Cool car. Cool friends. Cool house in a cool locale. However, underneath all of that cool was a professional moocher who didn’t really want to do much.Thomas Magnum

Thomas Banacek – I have written a little about Banacek before. He was a “man about town” from Boston who investigated insurance claims along side his street wise chauffeur and a friend who owned a bookstore. Full of old Polish proverbs, he solved the craziest of crimes. His theme song left a lot of be desired. I wonder if there is an old Polish proverb that explains why a cool investigator would operate to lame music.Banacek

Frank Cannon – I have to give Cannon props for being another Quinn Martin Production, but I have to admit that it was rare to see him running down any bad guys. This guy liked to eat and liked to get paid so he could eat more. Cannon had a cool Lincoln Continental, and he lived in New Mexico. Now, that is what I call cool. His theme song was decent.Cannon

It’s because of these guys that I grew up wanting to be a private eye. Heck, it’s a job that can be done no matter who you are.

A former oil baron from the Ozarks.

A gambler from the Old West.

A guy who turned down the role of Indiana Jones.

A movie-making, airplane-building tycoon.

A voice actor who played the Lone Ranger.

These are just a few of the great television private detectives. Do you guys have some favorites?