"They must be saved, at any cost

The era of the television theme song is over. Due to time constraints caused by cramming as many commercials as possible into a half-hour show, producers have chosen to trim the opening song.

It’s a damn shame, too, because future generations won’t have incredibly stupid songs from their childhood to sing while drunk in their dorm rooms.

Classic TV theme songs are pieces of folklore and just about the only shared cultural artifacts of our fragmented society. Every grandfather knows all the words to The Brady Bunch song and so do their grandchildren.

The loss of TV themes is very sorrowful, but I think I’ve discovered a way to save them, or at least preserve the ones we have. If we could sing along to the classic instrumental TV themes, perhaps they’ll survive into the future, and perhaps new shows will adopt theme songs.

As a hobby, I’ve started composing words for the many theme songs that don’t currently have them. Unfortunately, I never seem to get past the first few lines before abandoning the idea.

My first composition was for Law and Order:

Law and Order’s on,

Law and Order’s on now.

Twenty times a day,

You can watch an episode.

I stopped there, unable to proceed any further. I wanted to add some lines about how 75-year-old Jerry Orbach could chase and catch 20-year-old thugs and throw them against a brick wall, but the rhyming scheme was all wrong.

That was five years ago and my failure to complete the lyrics haunts me to this day.

Another show for which I began lyrics was Bewitched. Alas, my efforts failed after a few lines on this one, too.

He’s gay,

She’s a witch,

And the mother-in-law’s a dyke.

In twin beds

They sleep.

But somehow had a tyke.

OK, so that one was pretty weak. But you get the idea. This is a vital mission, putting words to these old songs. A task force of professional lyricists should get to work immediately.

I’ve been working hard on them but I’m not getting far. Most of my latest compositions have all been directed to my wife. The chorus of Curb Your Enthusiasm, in my household, is now, “I love you, baby. You are my baby.”

Hardly Cole Porter, that one, nor is my version of The Andy Griffith Show song:

Andy Griffith saves the day,

But some say he’s in the KKK.

Mayberry is so lily-white,

It might be the work of Barney Fife.

After listening to a lot of Joy Division and the Smiths, I went to work on the original Tonight Show theme from the 1970s.

Johnny Carson is dead,

His body’s underground.

Ed McMahon still breathes,

But his health isn’t very sound.

Even from the grave, everybody knows

Carson is still

Funnier than Leno.

You get the idea. I’m a horrible lyricist, but this has been driving me nuts. We simply cannot allow these great songs to die. They must be made relevant for today’s generation or they will vanish forever.

I’m working on the end title song to All in the Family and the theme to The Rockford Files but it’s tough. Saving our culture is never easy, but somebody has to do it. I’ve labored for hours on Beverly Hills, 90210 and the only good rhyme I have is “90210” and “ho,” and Salt ’n’ Pepa came up with that years ago.

This project is in desperate need of help. That’s where you, the talented readers of NUVO, can help. Take one of the above TV songs, or find another not listed here, and compose lyrics for them. E-mail them to me at shammer@nuvo.net and I’ll compile them all for archival purposes and possible publication.

The importance of this project can’t be overstated. It’s not hyperbole to say that this is the single most important mission in the history of mankind. Our lives are at stake. We must start now before our history is lost forever.

Now, I must get back to work. I’m five lines into Conan O’Brien’s theme and I’m looking for a word that rhymes with “pompadour.” Wish me luck. n



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