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popular western show in its time, became so familiar to audiences that they started calling it “The Lone Ranger Theme,” when it was, in fact, Rossini’s “William Tell Overture.” While some of the themes had words or lyrics that helped identify the program or a particular person, most lacked any textual content. Many radio theme songs became quite famous and were immediately identified with certain radio personalities and shows. Some of the most famous were: Bing Crosby: Where the Blue of the Night Meets the Gold of the Day Bob Hope: Thanks for the Memories Jack Benny: Love in Bloom Red Skelton: Holiday for Strings Burns and Allen: Comin Through the Rye Fibber McGee and Molly: Save Your Sorrow for Tomorrow Lawrence Welk: Bubbles in the Wine Sergeant Preston of the Yukon: Donna Diana Overture Harry Owens and His Royal Hawaiians: Sweet Leilani and Aloha Oe An interesting sidelight of radio shows was the serialized episodes of radio dramas that were eventually called “Soap Operas,” so called because these shows were sponsored by soap companies; Procter and Gamble, Colgate, Palmolive and Lever Brothers. As the “Golden Age of Radio” came to a close in the early 1960s, a new medium of entertainment was already making huge strides in popularity with the public—Television. As the population adjusted to this new form of entertainment, so did our family. At my urging, my family bought our first TV set. We were the first family on the block to have one. You could always tell which households had TV by the antenna on the roof (cable had yet to be invented). Our antenna was 20 feet high! The new shows on TV adopted the theme music concept from their predecessors in radio. Each show or personality was identified by its opening music and the following themes became household fixtures. From a national survey these top ten TV themes were selected: Cheers: Where Somebody Knows your Name Gilligans Island: Ballad of Gilligans Island Friends: I’ll be There for You The Fresh Prince of Bel Air: You Know you’re a 90’s Kid When… The Simpsons: Simpsons Theme Full House: Full House Theme The Adams Family: Adams Family Theme Mary Tyler Moore Show: Love Is All Around Happy Days: Happy Days Theme Hawaii Five-0: Hawaii Five-0 Theme The network evening news shows also used musical themes to introduce the news and news anchors. They often used classical and semi-classical forms of music. From 1956 to 1970, The National Broadcasting Company’s (NBC) Huntley-Brinkley report used an innovative approach with two different venues: Chet Huntley broadcasted from New York and David Brinkley broadcasted from Washington D.C. Their theme music was from Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. Later, John Williams composed “The Mission,” the theme currently used for the opening of the NBC Nightly News. Most people never hear the entire piece Williams wrote, and NBC only uses the opening few bars. The Columbia Broadcasting System’s (CBS) Evening News did not use theme music until 1987. Composers John Trivers and Elizabeth Myers wrote the original theme that is still used today. The themes for American Broadcasting Company’s (ABC) World News Tonight, has had many transformations over the years. Its current theme music was written by Hollywood composer Hans Zimmer. Movie themes have been a major factor in films since the “talkies” came into existence in the early part of the 20th Century. Many movie themes became popular hits and were famous apart from the films where they were introduced. The American Film Institute picked what they determined were the top ten movie themes: Over The Rainbow from Wizard of Oz, 1939 As Time Goes By from Casablanca, 1942 Singing In The Rain From Singing In The Rain 1952 Moon River from Breakfast at Tiffany’s 1961 White Christmas from Holiday Inn, 1942 Mrs. Robinson from The Graduate, 1967 When You Wish Upon a Star from Pinocchio, 1940 The Way We Were from The Way We Were, 1973 Stayin Alive from Saturday Night Fever, 1977 The Sound of Music from The Sound of Music, 1965 Musical themes have been very important in the past, and still are today. They are critical as openers that distinguish the program and talent that follows. For better or worse, it looks like they are here to stay. Don’t miss a “Salute to John Williams” Danville Community Band’s Annual Spring Concert, Sunday, June 12, 2016, 3 p.m. at Community Presbyterian Church, 222 West El Pintado Rd, Danville. Free concert and parking.Please submit questions and comments to banddirector01@comcast. net Visit our website at www.danvilleband.org for up-to-date information about the Danville Community Band. j u n e 2 0 1 6 A L I V E E A S T B A Y 15


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