Although it is occasionally overlooked, especially in the era of modern television where Tivo or DVR can fast forward through it, and DVD’s allow it to be clicked past with the touch of a button, the INTRODUCTION is still as crucial as it ever was in initiating the program you’re about to watch.
Intro’s come in all varieties. They might use an original song, such in the case of Gilligan’s Island or The Beverly Hillbillies, that remind us of the initial premise of the show. In case you ever forgot HOW Gilligan and the gang got stuck on the island or WHY the Clampetts are living in the lapse of luxury, their 30 second intros are a quick and catchy reminder to the viewer of a “three hour tour” gone awry and how ol’ Jed discovered some black gold (oil) and “moved to Beverly, Hills that is.”
Other shows give us cheery, almost motivational songs, full of family-friendly lyrics, sung over pictures of smiling cast members, allowing us to realize just how great this program is about to make you feel–Full House and Family Matters come to mind.
Still, nothing beats a great instrumental number over a brilliantly produced montage.
Here is a list, in no particular order (because really, can ANYONE choose their favorite program intro?) of my top ten favorite television program introductions:
Seriously, best song ever. It’s my cell phone ring, and has been for about two years. The rich people and Texas-y shit visuals make it all the more amazing to listen to.
2. The Golden Girls
This song is all the rage back in St. Olaf, oh and at my house too. I like to hear it about three times per day, and nothing makes me happier than watching Blanche saunter down the hallway boldly with her eye shades resting on her forehead.
So I can’t find the actual intro, but the song is the most important part. I would say that this song is in my head 60% of the time that I am awake. I think that counts for something.
4. Beverly Hills, 90210
A greater guitar riff has never, nor will ever, exist. Combine that with high fives, muscle flexing, surfboards and high wasted pants, and you’ve got yourself a hit.
5. The Mary Tyler Moore Show
Throw that hat right up, Mary, just throw it right up into they air! You’re sooo going to make it!
6. Laverne & Shirley
Another total classic, and perhaps Wayne and Garth solidified this one for me, but seriously, it doesn’t get much better than this.
7. Rescue Rangers
Action, adventure, use of the word “gumshoes,” terribly generic 80’s rockin’ jam with repetitive lyrics. Animated perfection.
8. The Dick Van Dyke Show
Is he or isn’t he going to trip on the ottoman? And how great is the voice over for who stars in the show? Since when could we not just READ that on the screen?
9. The Wonder Years
Joe Cocker! And this grainy olden timey film. I’ll save you the half hour and just tear up now.
10. Pee Wee’s Playhouse
Everything I ever wanted in a television program, or life, can be found in this two minute, 27 second introduction. God bless you Paul Reubens, god bless you!