Sunday, October 16, 2016

A song for the season.

All the talk last week on this dopey site about music from TV shows, like the number (ha!) from Sesame Street called "1-2-3-4-5" or jingles from various perfume ads, somehow got me thinking of the once-fertile genre of game show music.

For example, this ditty might be familiar to some as the theme from Jackpot, a game show produced by Bob Stewart that ran on NBC 1974-1975:


I knew it better as the music from This Week in Baseball. (Fans of the departed Hinderaker-Ward Experience podcast may recall that they used it for their "This Week in Gate Keeping" segment.) The tune was called "Jet Set," and it was written by Mike Vickers, once a member of Manfred Mann, who went on to write tunes for TV shows and films.

But the game show theme I was thinking of was the one used in the late 1960s and early 1970s by the show To Tell the Truth. That Bob Stewart-produced show had been on since 1956, but this wasn't the original theme, as you can tell by its swingin' sixties sound.


And those funky graphics:


The gimmick of the show was that three people would enter the studio, each claiming to be a particular interesting person; one was the person, the others were lying. The celebrity panelists had to use a series of questions to guess who the real person was; winnings were based on the liars' ability to fool the panelists. ABC did a brief revival not long ago, but the closest show on the air now to that is probably Food Network's Cooks vs. Cons. People too young to have seen the show in its original run, which ended in 1978 (and then 1981, 1991, and 2001), may have seen a clip from the show in the film Catch Me if You Can, since the real-life Frank Abagnale actually did appear on the program in 1977. (He didn't look like Leonardo DiCaprio.) I believe many of the old episodes have also aired on the Game Show Network.

In this political season, though, I thought the cheerful ditty used as the theme was appropriate for our national anthem.
It's a lie, lie. You're telling a lie.
I never know why you don't know how
To Tell the Truth, truth, truth, truth
You don't know how To Tell the Truth.
The rest can be seen here.

Catchy, huh?
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