Wednesday, May 4, 2011

80s tv themes: a guest post by karen g.

I started humming a tune as I sped off to Target the other day. (I often have these moments of reflection when I’m on my way to or in Target. The store is a source of inspiration, and reasonably-priced goods after all). For a moment, I couldn’t quite place the song, and then it hit me. Riptide! A detective show that ran from 1983 to 1986 starring Perry King and Joe Penny in short 80’s shorts. How could you not get caught up with such a catchy intro tune?

This opened the floodgates to all the forgotten and sometimes obscure TV shows of my childhood. Speaking with my American friends, I realized that I may have had the opportunity to see many shows that they missed – either that or I was just neglected as a child and watched way too much TV to compensate. Today I will share some of my favorite 80’s TV theme songs with you.

Airwolf! Cold War themes, James Bond type espionage, Jan-Michael Vincent in leather bomber jackets and aviators. I remember the thrill of seeing those helicopter blades floating into the air as the show started. Airwolf was the helicopter version of Knight Rider – if only Kit could fly ...

Then there was Sledge Hammer. A spoof of detective shows of the mid-80’s (think Naked Gun). I remember sitting and laughing at how preposterous the episode themes were. Sledge Hammer barely had two seasons in the limelight – but it will live in my memory forever. Where are you now David Rasche?

Hill Street Blues, probably one of the most beloved theme songs of all time.

Hunter – starring ex-NFL player Fred Dryer as Sgt. Rick Hunter and Stepfanie Kramer as Sgt. Dee Dee McCall. I loved that Dee Dee constantly had to play dress-up (usually as a prostitute or stripper) to lure in suspects. Lots of 80’s spandex, glitter and big hair!

And now for my claim to fame. According to my “Mommy Dearest”, before I could even speak, the first noticeable form of communication from me was a song I hummed. The theme song to... wait for it... Dallas. Maybe I’m destined to marry an oil baron after all.

Here are a few more nods on my trip down theme song memory lane, starting with a few of the more obscure:

Tales of the Golden Monkey

The Littlest Hobo (Le Vagabond)

Monkey Magic

The Raccoons (this song was way too hot for a kid’s TV show)

Night Court


Mr. Belvedere


Hart to Hart

Falcon Crest (named one of my dogs after a villain in this show)

Dynasty (a jdbrecords favorite)

And for my mini-series nods...


The Thorn Birds

and North and South


  1. Best write-up I've read in ages! (WINK)

  2. LOVED IT ... I am a big fan of, Greatest American Hero's "Believe it or Not"
    You've really taken me back with this!

  3. Very well said! I've been on a theme song downloading tear of late on iTunes (Harold Faltermeyer and Jan Hammer, for starters, with all due respect, you have NO idea what you wrought all those years ago). Plus, as someone who could recite, with little to no inducement, virtually any prime-time TV line-up from the '80s... Ah, great times - and great memories!

  4. These are awesome, Karen - thanks for the trip down memory lane! We loved the Airwolf theme so much that my brother taped it by holding the stereo to the tv! We'd then listen in the car and zoom around town. ;)

    The other awesome 80s themes that can't be forgotten: Magnum, P.I., The Incredible Hulk, Scarecrow and Mrs. King and the A-Team... and that's just the hour long dramas!

  5. many classics!
    My fav during college was Hill Street Blues every Thursday. I should have been a cop and retired in Miami by now! Instead, I here at work watching my work wife Karen type up her blog :)

    Love it KG!

  6. The usual flash of brilliance we have come to expect from Karen G. Although, to a child born in the second month of the decade, I'm crushed the Thundercats theme song was left off the list. And, as a result of my hatred for all things Texas, whole-heartedly disagree with Dallas as a selection. But, as we 80's children have learned over the years, there are only two things guaranteed to us in life. Huge hair and knee-high socks.

    Focker out.

  7. Well done ...Dallas ...such a classic ...may have gotten my luv for soaps from Dallas. And way to bring back memories ...I loved Stepfanie Kramer (Sgt. Dee Dee McCall) with her brunette big hair! Inspired me to tease away and wear lots of eyeshadow for a time - LOL.