Thursday, November 3, 2011

TV Theme Songs

Sometimes, life is kinda funny. I remember being very young and watching the shows in this post, and just loving them. They were situation comedies that focused on rural life, often poking fun of visiting city folk. At the same time, they also gently poked at the country folk as well. At the time, I was living in the suburbs of Philadelphia, but soon, the family was going to move to a rural area of Delaware.

The Andy Griffith Show

The whistle that begins The Andy Griffith Show is iconic. You hear it, and it conjures up images of a man and son with fishing rods on their shoulders, walking down a country lane. Andy and Opie. A boy and his Paw. The show debuted in 1960 and ran through 1968. It starred Andy Griffith as Sheriff Andy Taylor and a very young Ron Howard as his son Opie. Andy was a widower, so he lived with his elderly Aunt Bea, who was able to look after Opie, cook the meals and do the cleaning. Don Knotts played the bumbling deputy, Barney Fife. They lived in a mythical town, Mayberry, North Carolina. It was a town filled with characters and crackpots, and the occasional drunk.

And, lest we forget, Mayberry also had a mechanic at the local gas station. Looking for more in his life, this Mayberry resident signed up for the armed service. His name, you ask? Gomer. Gomer Pyle.

Gome Pyle USMC

Yes, the title character of Gomer Pyle, USMC was first a part of The Andy Griffith Show before getting his own spin off. Gomer was a country bumpkin, often finding it tough going in the Marine Corps. It didn't help that Sergeant Cater seemed to always be there to scream and yell at the young man. The show debuted in 1964 and ran until 1969.

The next show was one of two shows set in the fictional farming town of Hooterville, in some Midwestern state. While both shows focused on the life of the main families, there were several cross-over characters who appeared in both shows.

Petticoat Junction

The first show found it's center in a hotel on the outskirts of Hooterville. A widow ran the Shady Rest Hotel with the help of a hapless elderly uncle Joe and three beautiful daughters, named Billy Jo, Betty Jo and Bobby Jo. Yes, that was the premiss of Petticoat Junction. There was the steam train that ran next to the hotel, and the trips to town to visit Drucker's Store, and the handsome crop-duster. The show debuted in 1963 and aired the final episode in 1970.

But it was not the only situation comedy to call Hooterville home. In fact, while not exactly a spin-off, the second show featured many of the same charming characters and locations.

Green Acres

Green Acres told the story of Oliver and Lisa Douglass, residents of Manhattan. It seems Oliver always had a yen to be a farmer, and after a successful law career, he decides to pick up his roots and move to Hooterville to make that dream come true. His socialite wife, Lisa, was not very excited about the move. They also made trips to Drucker's Store to purchase goods from Sam Drucker. And the show also introduced America to Arnold, the pig. Arnold was adopted by the Ziffels, the neighbors of Oliver and Lisa. The show debuted in 1965 and continued on through 1971.

These shows all debuted while I was just a child, truly amused by the broad comedic stylings they offered. Just hearing the theme songs warms my heart still.


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