Friday, February 29, 2008

Mystery TV Themes: MAGNUM, P.I.

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

MAGNUM, P.I. (CBS, 1980-88)
Developed to make use of the facilities built on location for Hawaii Five-O, this post-hardboiled detective series became a top-rated show in its own right. Tom Selleck played Thomas Magnum, a former Navy SEAL and Vietnam vet who lived in the guest house of a lush 200-acre beachfront estate owned by celebrated (but unseen) author Robin Masters. Magnum regularly butted heads with estate manager Higgins (John Hillerman), an ex-British Army Sergeant Major, and got into a variety of adventures with war buddies T.C. Calvin (Roger E. Mosley) and Rick Wright (Larry Manetti). The Museum of Broadcast Communications notes that Magnum, P.I. was one of the first series to explore "the impact of the Vietnam War on the American cultural psyche." Several memorable episodes grew out of Magnum's past war experiences.

The theme was composed by five-time Grammy-winner Mike Post, who started out in pop music as an arranger of such hits as "Classical Gas," "I Got You Babe," and "I Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)." Writing for TV since the '70s, his lengthy resume includes themes written or co-written for The Rockford Files, Hill Street Blues, Greatest American Hero, Law and Order, and many more.

Buy Magnum, P.I. on DVD

More Magnum info:
TV Guide
TV.com
Wikipedia

Mike Post Biography

CLASSIC THEME


ORIGINAL (AWFUL) THEME


More themes:
MANNIX
MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE
MOD SQUAD
MONK
NBC MYSTERY MOVIE

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Mr. Monk And The Continuity Police

TV writer and novelist Lee Goldberg explains the inevitable continuity problems between a television series and the tie-in novels ... in particular, Monk:
I thought the two-part MONK season finale was great, but it points out one of the pitfalls of writing a tie-in series while the TV show it is based on is still in production. It means there are going to be some continuity miss-matches between the TV series and the books...and there's nothing that can be done about it.
Lee also gives his perspective on the upcoming DVD release of the first season of Mannix. (He worked on the crossover episode of Diagnosis: Murder that brought Joe Mannix out of retirement.)

Related links:
Mr. Monk Is On The Run (Pt 2)
Q&A: LEE GOLDBERG (Monk, Diagnosis Murder)
Mystery TV Themes: MONK
Mystery TV Themes: MANNIX
Diagnosis -- Murder!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Mr. Monk Is On The Run (Pt 2)

On the season finale of Monk:

Everyone convinced of Monk's death, Natalie plans a memorial service. But Monk's undercover in Nevada to unravel facts about the crooked small town sheriff. Can he clear his name and come out of hiding? Watch the season finale – "Mr. Monk Is On The Run (Part 2)" – tonight at 9/8c only on USA!
Register to chat with star Tony Shalhoub at 8PM E (5PM P). He'll be logged on via live video feed.

Related links:
Mr. Monk And The Continuity Police
Q&A: LEE GOLDBERG (Monk, Diagnosis Murder)
Mystery TV Themes: MONK

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Mystery TV Themes: HAWAII FIVE-O

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

HAWAII FIVE-O (1968-1980, CBS)
One of the longest-running crime dramas in TV history, Hawaii Five-O followed members of an elite state-police unit investigating an assortment of felonies in the 50th state, where it was shot on location. Created by Leonard Freeman, the series starred Jack Lord, James MacArthur, and Kam Fong. Sidenote: Magnum P.I., also based in Hawaii, is said to have been created to make use of the extensive studio production equipment left behind by Hawaii Five-O. (Early episodes even referred to Five-O.)

Morton Stevens (1929-1991) created the popular theme, for which he won two Emmy Awards (1970 and 1974). A film score composer from Newark, New Jersey, Stevens studied composition at the Juilliard School, and became the arranger and later the musical director for such stars as Sammy Davis Jr., Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Liza Minnelli. In 1965 Stevens became director of music for CBS West Coast operations. His television work also included Gunsmoke and Police Woman.

Buy Hawaii Five-O on DVD

Morton Stevens Television Composer, 62 (New York Times)

Hawaii Five-O links:
TVShowsOnDVD
TV Guide
TV.com
Wikipedia

The Hawaii Five-O Fan Club
The Hawaii Five-O Home Page

OPENING CREDITS


More themes:
IT TAKES A THIEF
JUDD, FOR THE DEFENSE
KOLCHAK: THE NIGHT STALKER
LONE RANGER
MAGICIAN

Friday, February 15, 2008

Mr. Monk Is On The Run

From the official newsletter for USA Network series Monk:
"Monk believes he is getting closer to solving the murder of his wife Trudy, but the clues only lead to trouble. When he investigates further, things turn deadly. As Monk becomes the prime suspect in a murder, he has to outrun a small town sheriff and plan his escape. Did somebody frame Monk? Can he survive as a fugitive on the run? Watch the first episode of Monk's two-part season finale, 'Mr. Monk Is On The Run,' tonight at 9/8c only on USA!"
Also on the official site: Live Chat with Tony Shalhoub
Register to chat with the Emmy-award winning star right before the season finale Friday, Feb. 22 at 8PM E / 5PM P. Tony will be logged on via live video feed to chat with his fans and answer any Monk questions.

Related links:
Q&A: LEE GOLDBERG (Monk, Diagnosis Murder)
Mystery TV Themes: MONK
Monk's Mind Game (and more)
Mr. Monk and the Amazon review
Mr. Monk and the Two Assistants

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Mystery TV Themes: THE MOD SQUAD

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

THE MOD SQUAD
This police drama (ABC, 1968-73), produced by Aaron Spelling, centered on three troubled young adults recruited to be undercover cops. Series creator Bud Ruskin based the show on his experiences in the 1950s on the LAPD. The series starred Tige Andrews (Captain Greer), Michael Cole (Pete Cochran), Peggy Lipton (Julie Barnes), and Clarence Williams III (Linc Hayes).

The pounding theme was created by composer Earl H. Hagen, whose illustrious career includes playing trombone with Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, and Ray Noble. His television credits, which span the 1940s to the 1980s, include Mike Hammer, Planet of the Apes, and I Spy, as well as sitcoms That Girl, The Dick Van Dyke Show, and Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. In 2002 he published the autobiography Memoirs of a Famous Composer... Nobody Ever Heard Of (Xlibris), his third book.

Buy The Mod Squad on DVD

The Mod Squad links:
TVGuide.com
TV.com
DVD News on TVShowsOnDVD.com
Wikipedia

Earl H. Hagen links:
Hagen Autobiography Shows Why He Knows The Score (BMI)
Space Age Pop Music

OPENING CREDITS


TELEVISION SPOT


The Mod Squad: A TV Classic Remembered


More themes:
MONK
NBC MYSTERY MOVIE
PERRY MASON
PETER GUNN
ROCKFORD FILES

Monday, February 4, 2008

Mystery TV Themes: DRAGNET

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

The Dragnet Collection, Vol. 1DRAGNET
The "Dragnet March" ("Danger Ahead") by composer Walter Schumann (1913-1958) is one of the most recognizable themes in history. During World War 2, Schumann was musical director of the Armed Forces Radio Service; after the war, he returned to L.A., where he was a conductor and arranger for the motion picture and television studios. (He wrote stock music for several Abbott & Costello films.) Schumann also recorded several albums of choral music. His 1954 theme for Dragnet won him a 1955 Emmy Award.

Dragnet started as a radio drama (1949-1957), which Jack Webb created after he had a small role in the semi-documentary film noir He Walked by Night (1948). Like the film, the radio series kept the low-key, documentary style, made use of actual police cases, and even had the same L.A.P.D. technical advisor. The success of the radio show led to the first Dragnet TV series (1952-1959, 263 episodes), starring Webb and several partners. A top 10 hit during its first run, the show was also a feature film in 1954. The show was brought back for another 100 episodes (and a TV movie) in 1967-1970, again starring Webb, with partner Harry Morgan. Webb died in 1982, but the show was revived twice more -- as a syndicated TV series (1989-90) and as the short-lived 2003-2004 ABC series starring Ed O'Neill (also called L.A. Dragnet). This most recent version had a spiffy new theme by Mike Post that riffed off Schumann's original march.

Three versions of the theme at Mark Little's MyThemes.TV

More about composer Walter Schumann:
Space Age Pop Music
IMDB

More about Dragnet:
Badge 714
TV.com
TVShowsOnDVD

Dragnet 1951


2003 opening


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

Crime TV on DVD