Getting in the Mood

TV themes. Do you remember when they lasted longer than only a couple of seconds? When the sound of your favorite show put you in the mood for an episode of fun, suspense or tears? Did you know the lyrics by heart? Did you recite them or sing along? Do you still find yourself humming those songs while you cook, do laundry or are cleaning up? Do they still put you in a good mood like they used to? Bring back memories of characters once dear to you like friends or relatives?

Today, a lot of shows save up time by using trademark teasers rather than songs that last longer than a mere moment. Castle, Malibu Country, The Good Wife are some of my favorite examples. If you sneeze, you may miss the catchy intro. Sad news for anyone who suffers from hay fever or catches a cold. There are exceptions no doubt: Elementary Downton Abbey or Rizzoli & Isles. I enjoy all of these shows once in a while but the less new programs offer a catchy melody or song, the more I miss that positive trigger classic television used to lure me in. Granted, for the sake of commercials, screen time has been cut down over the years. While a Perry Mason episode still lasted an average of 50 minutes and Bewitched an entertaining 25, most shows only get 43 (or 21) minutes today. So while it was great to hum along to Family Affair or Hart to Hart in the past, it makes sense for Go On to save up time and use those theme song seconds for the storyline.

Although I know the reasons and appreciate a couple of contemporary programs for their beautiful tunes, I still miss those beautiful TV songs that used to stick with me all week. Bugs Bunny, The Mickey Mouse Club, The Flintstones. I Love Lucy, The Muppets, Bill Cosby, Growing Pains. Murder She Wrote, Family Ties, The Golden Girls. Love Boat. Cagney and LaceyScarecrow and Mrs. King. Even shows I didn’t like for anything but their catchy themes such as Family Matters or Full House. Do you still remember your favorite melodies?!

Vintage Christmas

So this is it, only one day left till Christmas Eve.  Let’s doll up and spend the holidays with some of those joyful classics. Have yourself a charming vintage Christmas. And bless y’all!

Christmas songs:

Christmas TV episodes:

Christmas radio:

Family Affair

TV classics: Family Affair

USA 1966-71, 5 seasons, 138 episodes, 25 minutes each, CBS, color. Producer: Don Fedderson. Cast: Brian Keith, Sebastian Cabot, Kathy Garver, Johnny Whitaker, Anissa Jones and Mrs Beasley

Plot summary: After the sudden death of his brother, bachelor Bill Davis “inherits” three children (including doll Mrs Beasley) and tries to raise them in his chic New York City apartment with a little help from his English original butler Mr. French.

Review: Family Affair is a beautiful example of a 1960s family show.

In the beginning, Bill Davis, a bachelor to boot, has a hard time adapting his life to the needs of a teenage daughter and her six-year-old twin siblings. And his butler Mr. French is not much of a help in respect to children. They are quite at odds with their “inheritance”, but of course, as the show progresses, the two men learn to dry tears, find solutions to school problems and understand that there may be many dolls out in the world, but there’s only one Mrs Beasley. As the children grow up in this turbulent, funny but harmless show, so do the adults, and with them the audience.

For an entire generation, Brian Keith was a darling uncle Bill and he is, indeed, a real treat to watch on his journey from a 1960s bachelor (with all the cliches attached) to a loving father of three. The children supporting him were beautifully cast and know how to bounce off Brian Keith’s charm and Sebastian Cabot’s equally entertaining talent and lines. The episodes are easy to follow for children and endearing to adults as one of those classic gems that comes without explicit language, violence or sexual references. That’s what family entertainment in the 1960s looked like and it is a lot of fun to lean back and revisit this bygone era.

Available on DVD. Family Affair opening credits