Tuesday, January 29, 2008

MURDER, SHE WROTE still going strong

April is a busy month for mystery writer-turned-sleuth Jessica Fletcher. Some twelve years after its cancellation, Murder, She Wrote is still doing brisk business -- including a new DVD box set and a brand-new novel. (No surprise, really, when you consider that CBS did not cancel the long-running series due to lack of interest, but because advertisers wanted younger viewers.)

In fact, 2008 will see two brand-new hardcover Jessica Fletcher mysteries: In April, Murder, She Wrote: Murder on Parade (NAL Hardcover), followed this October with Murder, She Wrote: A Slaying in Savannah. Penned by "Jessica Fletcher with Donald Bain," the two titles in 2008 means there will soon be thirty original novels in print starring Cabot Cove’s favorite mystery solver.

Meanwhile, the original 1984-1996 series starring Angela Lansbury continues its march to DVD. Season Seven was released last October. Season Eight comes out April. (Updates at TVShowsOnDVD.com)

Not bad for a show that was replaced with something nobody even remembers.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Mystery TV Themes: THE LONE RANGER

Spotlighting the great themes from mystery/crime TV shows ...

Celebrating its 75th anniversary January 30, the story of The Lone Ranger has been told on radio, TV, film, and in animation and comics. The title character is the lone survivor of an ambush of Texas Rangers, found by the Indian Tonto. Wearing a mask to hide his indentity, he dedicates himself to "making the West a decent place to live." The series began on radio in Detroit in 1933, and was so popular it led to several stations banding together for the Mutual Broadcasting System. The radio drama lasted until 1956.

The series made the jump to TV in 1949, airing on ABC. The Lone Ranger was portrayed by Clayton Moore (1949-52, 1954-57), and John Hart (1952-54). The part of Tonto was played the whole run by Jay Silverheels.

The show's theme was taken from the overture to "William Tell," a four-hour French opera composed by Gioacchino Rossini. It premiered at the Paris Opera in 1829.

The Lone Ranger links:
TV Guide
The Museum of Broadcast Communications
Radio Hall of Fame
Lone Ranger Fan Club
Wikipedia

"William Tell" links:
Wikipedia
Classics For Kids

OPENING CREDITS


1956 THEATRICAL TRAILER


More themes:
PERRY MASON
HART TO HART
BATMAN 1966 (w/ THE ODD COUPLE)
BARNEY MILLER
MANNIX

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Mystery TV Themes: PERRY MASON

Spotlighting the great themes from mystery/crime TV shows ...

PERRY MASON
This fictional defense attorney, created by best-selling pulp writer Erle Stanley Gardner in the 1930s, appeared in some 80 novels and short stories, several films, and a long-running radio drama before hitting the small screen in 1957. Raymond Burr's portrayal lasted from 1957-1966, and he returned to the role for more than 25 made-for-TV movies from 1985-93.

"The Perry Mason Theme" (a.k.a. "Park Avenue Beat") was composed by Fred Steiner. He graduated from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music with a degree in composition in 1943. He went on to write for radio and television, including scores for episodes of Rocky & Bullwinkle, Twilight Zone, Star Trek, Gunsmoke, Hawaii Five-0, Hogan's Heroes, Rawhide, The Untouchables, The Andy Griffith Show, and Tiny Toon Adventures. (This past May, he received an honorary doctor of music degree from his alma mater.)

Perry Mason summary, episode guide at TV.com
Perry Mason at Thrilling Detective
Perry Mason DVD news at TVSHowsOnDVD.com

OPENING CREDITS


More themes:
NBC MYSTERY MOVIE
PETER GUNN
ROCKFORD FILES
S.W.A.T.
SIMON & SIMON

Crime TV on DVD