Tuesday, August 31, 2010

TV Themes: DEPARTMENT S (1969) / JASON KING (1971)

Celebrating the main titles and opening themes from mystery/crime TV shows ...

"When a case proves too baffling for the minds of Interpol, they turn to the talents of Department S." British spy-fi series Department S (ATV, 1969-70) featured a trio of operatives who solved mysteries too perplexing for normal law enforcement agencies. The series starred Peter Wyngarde, Joel Fabiani, Rosemary Nicols, with Dennis Alaba Peters.

The next season the Wyngarde character got his own spin-off, Jason King (ATV, 1971-72). In the new series, King -- a "dilettante dandy and author" -- left Dept. S to concentrate on his career writing adventure novels.

The Department S theme is credited to composer Edwin Astley (The Baron, The Saint). The Jason King theme is credited to Laurie Johnson (The Avengers, The Professionals).

Department S Intro


Jason King TV intro theme


More TV Main Titles:
Rock out with MANNIX!
Mystery TV Themes: MANNIX
Mystery TV Themes: THE BARON (1966)
Mystery TV Themes: THE SAINT
Opening Theme: THE PERSUADERS
TV Themes: THE AVENGERS w/ THE NEW AVENGERS
Opening Theme: THE PROFESSIONALS
Opening Theme: HAMISH MACBETH
Opening Theme: IT TAKES A THIEF
Mystery TV Themes: MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE
TV Themes: CHECKMATE
Mystery TV Themes: GET SMART
Crime TV Themes: S.W.A.T.
Opening Theme: BARNABY JONES

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Mystery TV Themes: THE BARON (1966)

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

British series The Baron (ATV/ABC, 1966-67) starred American Steve Forrest as John Mannering, an international art and antiques dealer tracking stolen treasures. Although inspired by the novels by John Creasey (written under the pen name Anthony Morton), the print version of the Mannering character -- a reformed jewel thief who was British and married -- became a straight-arrow bachelor from Texas who worked for British Intelligence.

The striking theme was created by British composer Edwin Astley (1922-1998), also credited with the themes for The Saint and the original British theme(s) for Danger Man.

The Baron Opening Theme from 1966


The Baron - Trailer


More Opening Titles:
Mystery TV Themes: THE SAINT
Opening Theme: THE PERSUADERS
TV Themes: THE AVENGERS w/ THE NEW AVENGERS
Opening Theme: THE PROFESSIONALS
Opening Theme: HAMISH MACBETH
Opening Theme: IT TAKES A THIEF
Mystery TV Themes: MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE
TV Themes: CHECKMATE
Mystery TV Themes: GET SMART
Crime TV Themes: S.W.A.T.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Jim Hutton as ELLERY QUEEN coming to DVD

TVShowsonDVD.com offers an update on the upcoming DVD package of Ellery Queen: The Complete Series. The whodunit series (NBC, 1975-1976) starred Jim Hutton as Ellery Queen and David Wayne as his father, Inspector Richard Queen. Created by Richard Levinson and William Link (who also created Mannix, Columbo, and Murder, She Wrote), each episode contained a "Challenge to the Viewer" with Ellery inviting the members of the audience to solve the mystery themselves -- before the solution was revealed. Among the show's guest stars were Eve Arden, George Burns, Milton Berle, Guy Lombardo, Rudy Vallee, and Don Ameche. The DVD set comes out September 28.

TVShowsOnDVD: Ellery Queen - Full List of Bonus Items, Including 'Too Many Suspects', for the Upcoming DVDs

Related links:
MURDER, SHE WROTE still going strong
Rock out with MANNIX!
Mystery TV Themes: MANNIX
Crime TV Themes: NBC MYSTERY MOVIE (Columbo)
Opening Theme: DIAGNOSIS MURDER

Thursday, August 12, 2010

M SQUAD (1957) vs. POLICE SQUAD (1982)

A pair of main titles from classic cop shows -- the original and its parody: M Squad (NBC, 1957-60) starred Lee Marvin as Detective Lieutenant Frank Ballinger, a member of a special unit of the Chicago Police assisting other units battling violent crime city-wide. The 1982 parody series Police Squad starred Leslie Nielsen as Detective Frank Drebin; it only lasted six episodes on ABC, but led to the successful Naked Gun movies.

1957 M Squad TV Lee Marvin -- theme by Count Basie


Police Squad! Intro (In Color) -- theme by by composer Ira Newborn (parody of the M Squad theme)


M Squad Theme - Count Basie - 1959


More Cop TV Themes:
Hawaii Five-O 2010, 1996, 1975
Opening Theme: THE ROOKIES
Opening Theme: KOJAK
Opening Theme: STREETS OF SAN FRANCISCO
Mystery TV Themes: DRAGNET (1950s, 2003)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Opening Theme: HETTY WAINTHROPP INVESTIGATES

With the release of my new whodunit Nursing a Grudge starring geriatric amateur sleuth Earl Walker, this blog is featuring senior citizen detective shows the next several weeks ...

Henrietta "Hetty" Wainthropp, a sixty-ish housewife in Lancashire, England, was introduced as an amateur sleuth in David Cook's 1986 novel Missing Persons. However, a TV movie based on the book led to a series -- and rather than keep her amateur status, the producers decided to make crime her business. Thus was born Hetty Wainthropp Investigates (BBC One, 1996-1998), wherein Hetty (played by Patricia Routledge) and young sidekick Geoffrey Shawcross (Dominic Monaghan) open up a proper office for private investigations.

As described by Thrilling Detective: "While the series is definitely aimed at fans of 'cozies' rather than hard-boiled fiction -- it's highly unlikely, for instance, that the non-violent, bus-pass-owning Hetty will ever get mixed up in a car chase, a shootout, or a wild fistfight -- Hetty has at least a few 'tough guy' qualities that make her more than just a eccentric P.I wannabe. First and foremost, she's quite strong willed and plain-spoken, and her cases occasionally take her into some (relatively) rough locales that would make Miss Marple faint dead away."

Hetty Wainthropp Investigates Opening/Closing Titles


More TV Main Titles:
Opening Theme: BARNABY JONES
Opening Theme: MRS. BRADLEY MYSTERIES
Opening Theme: MISS MARPLE
Opening Theme: CRAZY LIKE A FOX
Opening Theme: PERRY MASON RETURNS

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Trailer: GREEN HORNET

Coming to theaters January 2011: GREEN HORNET starring Seth Rogen as Britt Reid (The Green Hornet) and Jay Chou as Kato. The masked superhero was originally created by George W. Trendle and Fran Striker for radio in the 1930s. The character went on to appear in film serials in the '40s, on television in the '60s, and in comics from the '40s to the present.

Here's the trailer for the upcoming film:


Related links:
Watch the DICK TRACY serial free online!
Opening Theme: Batman 1966 w/ The Odd Couple

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Opening Theme: CRAZY LIKE A FOX

With the release of my new whodunit Nursing a Grudge starring geriatric amateur sleuth Earl Walker, this blog is featuring senior citizen detective shows the next several weeks ...

Crazy Like a Fox (CBS, 1984-1986) starred Jack Warden as free-spirited private detective Harry Fox. Co-star John Rubinstein as played his son Harrison, a high-strung attorney frequently dragged into his father's cases. Crazy Like a Fox aired a total of 35 episodes.

The series was followed in 1987 by the TV movie Still Crazy Like a Fox, where the Foxes found themselves stirring up trouble in London. Monty Python's Graham Chapman guest-starred as Detective Inspector Palmer in one of his last roles before his death in 1989.



More TV main titles:
Opening Theme: THE ROCKFORD FILES
Opening Theme: DIAGNOSIS MURDER
Opening Theme: MATLOCK
Opening Theme: BARNABY JONES
Opening Theme: NBC Mystery Movie (COLUMBO)

Crime TV on DVD