Something burrowed

Earworms, contrary to popular belief, were not invented by Khan Noonian Singh, but sometimes they can be persistent enough to qualify as some sort of weapon.

Some of the crawlers with which Francis W. Porretto is beset are TV themes, from the era when TV themes were actually given some thought. Of course, this gives me an opportunity to plug some of my latter-day favorites:

  • Angelo Badalamenti’s weird Philip Glass-meets-Duane Eddy theme for David Lynch’s creepy series Twin Peaks, which stretches to over five minutes on the soundtrack album.
  • Also very creepy: the original theme for Unsolved Mysteries, by Michael Boyd and Gary Remal Malkin, which is somehow even creepier with the voice of host Robert Stack.
  • Not at all creepy: Patrick Williams’ jazzy theme for The Bob Newhart Show, titled “Home to Emily.” Williams worked up several variations during the show’s run, the funkiest of which sounds like the first sixty seconds of this later recording.
  • Speaking of variations, Dennis McCarthy’s opening theme for Parker Lewis Can’t Lose was never recorded the same way twice: each episode was different, yet somehow the same. (The version under the closing credits remained constant.)
  • Not exactly a TV theme by this definition, yet a theme that appeared on TV, and one that I’ve plugged here before: Ferdinand J. Smith’s bumper that introduced HBO Feature Presentations, circa 1983.

Try getting these out of your head.



  1. Zimriel »

    13 December 2009 · 12:42 am


  2. Brian J. »

    13 December 2009 · 8:45 am

    This is the point someone from the St. Louis area whispers “Wehrenberg.”

  3. Da Goddess »

    14 December 2009 · 6:22 am

    Or any of the Cosby theme versions.
    Or I Dream of Jeannie

  4. canadienne »

    15 December 2009 · 12:20 am

    Oddly, the TV theme earworm that haunts me is from “Get Smart.” Best comedy ever.

    I had an excruciating ear infection about the time I saw “Wrath of Khan” which made for, ah, interesting nightmares.

  5. View From The Porch »

    16 December 2009 · 8:35 pm

    Make it STOP!…

    Via Dustbury, I am forced to ponder earworms. Just to share with the class, here’s the one I haven’t been able to purge from my noggin for the past three days…

  6. Mark »

    20 December 2009 · 7:37 am

    Ugh, I used to watch Parker Lewis Can’t Loose.
    Does NOT hold up to what I remember…

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