Seattle Opera The Life and Times of MalcolmX McCaw Hall Seattle Washington

PuzzleWatch: Tuning In – The heyday of TV music

From Andy Griffith to Mary Tyler Moore, test your memory of TV's most memorable tunes.

|

The puzzle’s author in 1961, when photographic pride of place was always granted to the new TV.

By 1960, 90% of American households had a television set, and with this new technology came an outpouring of new content: news, dramatic shows, comedy, educational programming, and more. Of special interest to some budding musicians (like me) were Leonard Bernstein’s Young People’s (like me) Concerts, which ran from 1958-1972. These were enriching and unabashedly erudite, with wonderful music and an accessible sophistication. 

This crossword puzzle is not about that television music. It’s about another genre of music that exploded with the widespread broadcast of TV shows in the 1960s. It’s about the brief, corny, sometimes laughable, but easily recognizable “theme songs” that would signal the beginning of a program. Songwriters churned out these little ditties, which not only set the scene – you knew immediately you were in Mayberry, on the Ponderosa or the starship Enterprise – but which could also introduce an entire storyline in less than 50 words: “Come and listen to my story ‘bout a man named Jed; / A poor mountaineer, barely kept his family fed…” (from The Beverly Hillbillies theme song by Paul Henning).

The names of most of these prolific composers – like Earle Hagen – are mostly unknown. Did you know, for instance, that actor Alan Thicke wrote over 40 themes for games shows and a handful for situation comedies such as Diff’rent Strokes? And many other composers made their mark writing background music that accompanied the onscreen action.

So, just for fun, take on this tickler about television themes. (Beware the earworms.) You can do it! “You’re gonna make it after all” (from the Mary Tyler Moore Show theme song by Sonny Curtis).

Tuning In – The heyday of TV music – Click here for an interactive puzzle you can fill out in your web browser

Download the puzzle as a printable PDF

Sponsor

Portland Columbia Symphony Realm of Nature Beaverton and Gresham Oregon

Download the answer key

Be part of our
growing success

Join our Stronger Together Campaign and help ensure a thriving creative community. Your support powers our mission to enhance accessibility, expand content, and unify arts groups across the region.

Together we can make a difference. Give today, knowing a donation that supports our work also benefits countless other organizations. When we are stronger, our entire cultural community is stronger.

Donate Today

Photo Joe Cantrell

Daryl Browne is a music educator, alto, flutist and writer who lives in Beaverton, Oregon.

SHARE:
Triangle Productions presents Eleanor starring Margie Boule Portland Oregon
Pacific Maritime Heritage Center Prosperity of the Sea Lincoln County Historical Society Newport Oregon Coast
Newport Performance and Visual Arts Centers Newport Oregon Coast
Chamber Music Northwest Beethoven's Complete Piano Trios The Old Church Portland Oregon
City of Hillsboro Walters Cultural Arts Center She's Speaking Live! Hillsboro Oregon
Grace Goudy Distinguished Artists Series Willamette University Salem Oregon
Portland State University College of Arts William Shakespeare Measure for Measure PSU Portland Oregon
Portland Chamber Orchestra Young Artist Competition University of Portland Free Event Portland Oregon
Portland Area Theatre Alliance Fertile Ground Portland Oregon
Portland Art Museum Virtual Sneakers to Cutting Edge Kicks Portland Oregon
Portland Columbia Symphony Realm of Nature Beaverton and Gresham Oregon
Portland Opera The Snowy Day Newmark Theatre Portland Oregon
White Bird Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Keller Auditorium Portland Oregon
Northwest Dance Project Sarah Slipper Newmark Theatre Portland Oregon
Corrib Theatre Contemporary Irish Theatre Portland Oregon
Seattle Opera The Life and Times of MalcolmX McCaw Hall Seattle Washington
High Desert Museum Sasquatch Central Oregon
Oregon Cultural Trust donate
We do this work for you.

Give to our GROW FUND.