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Best 70s Kid Show Theme Songs
The Making of a Good Theme Song
A good kid's show theme song has a lot to accomplish. It sets the tone for the entire show and helps explain the premise. It's also the best kind of earworm: short, bouncy and fun to sing along. In short, it's the hook that will keep you watching or launch you on a search to see what else is on. Whether done in the style of soft rock, funk or early new wave, the 1970s produced a lot of them. Grab a big bowl of Fruit Loops, some Ovaltine and enjoy the 70s all over again.
Image courtesy of Frostnova on Flickr
This was a great show, full of great catchy tunes in addition to its theme song. I even loved singing the zip code in the letters segment - 02134. "Zoom" was produced by WGBH Boston and originally aired on PBS from 1972 - 1978. (It was briefly revived in the late 90s.) The show's premise was to get kids to "turn off the TV and do it." Often based on viewer suggestions, each episode would find the multi-racial cast doing a variety of activities including plays, poems, science, cooking, or just hanging out, often while barefoot and wearing awesome striped shirts.
One of the many things I love about Sid and Marty Krofft is their ability to take the most wacked out premise and set it to music. This show is a prime example. (And it even includes the word "twas.") After seeing a magic show, an overly curious boy named Mark falls into a giant hat. It transports him to Lidsville, a land where all the people are hats, ruled by an evil magician named HooDoo. Really.
Mark is played by Butch Patrick, better known to T.V. audiences as Eddie Munster.
Groove to the Sounds
Need to have these groovy sounds for your very own? Check your favorite music service for theme song downloads such as "Scooby Doo," "Josie and the Pussycats," "Land of the Lost" and bring a little Saturday morning to your life.
The Muppet Show
This was one of the greatest shows of my childhood. The premise is brilliant: Kermit and his ragtag troop of Muppets struggle to put on a weekly variety show, all while juggling high maintenance performers, backstage mishaps and cheery A-list guest stars who seem game for anything. And what a guest list. During its five year run, "The Muppet Show" featured over 100 celebrities including legends such as Lena Horne, Milton Berle, Vincent Price, Gilda Radner, Steve Martin, Elton John, Bob Hope and Danny Kaye. The theme song begins with Kermit introducing the week's guest star and then the rest of the gang singing about their "sensational, inspirational, celebratiional, Muppetational" show.
Muppet Show Opening
Though not technically a theme song, no look at 1970s kids TV would be complete without Schoolhouse Rock. A series of animated interstitials which first aired on ABC in 1973, these catchy tunes taught an entire generation that learning could be fun. I learned so much from watching Schoolhouse Rock and to this day, I can recite the preamble to the constitution from the related episode of America Rock. Over 70 episodes have been produced as recently as 2009. There are so many greats to choose from but here are three of my all time favorites.
"HR Pufnstuf" is the first and probably best known live-action series from brothers Sid and Marty Krofft. Surprisingly, they only produced 17 episodes but the show was so successful NBC ran it for three years. A feature film was released the year following the show's debut. The story of a boy named Jimmy who takes a ride on a boat, he discovers it is the property of a witch who wants to get her hands on Jimmy's magical flute. The boy capsizes on Living Island where Pufnstuf, the mayor, rescues him. My favorite part of the show was always the music, starting with its theme song. Who could resist a song about a boy and his magic golden flute? And that dreamy, sing-song quality puts you in the mood to....I forget.
H.R. Pufnstuf has twice been ranked on TV Guide's Top Cult Shows Ever.
Which decade had the best kids show theme songs?
Sigmund and the Sea Monsters
Another high concept show from The Kroffts, this one focused on Sigmund, an outcast sea monster who is found by brothers Johnny and Scott. Sigmund, you see, refuses to scare people and is thus kicked out of his cave. Johnny and Scott take him to their clubhouse where they try to keep Siggy from being seen by his family as well as theirs. Like many shows of its time, it featured lots of music, much of it performed by star Johnny Whitaker.
A fire at the beginning of season 2 burned all the "Sigmund and the Sea Monster" sets and many of the costumes.
The theme song puts the emphasis right where it should be: on a giant, sandwich-eating, mystery-solving Great Dane. Though technically first airing in 1969, I think of this show as more associated with the Me Decade.
In France the show is called "Quoi de Neuf, Scooby Doo?"
Josie and the Pussycats
These girls rocked hard and had me hooked from the opening drum line. Based on the Archie Comics characters, "Josie and the Pussycats" is about a girl band who can’t seem to help falling into mysteries as they pursue their dreams of music stardom. The trio includes even-tempered guitarist Josie, brilliant tambourine playing Valerie, and Melody, the bubble-headed drummer. Their entourage included potential boyfriend and roadie Alan, their sketchy manager Alexander, his trouble-making twin sister Alexandra and a cat. The rockin’ theme song was written by Hoyt Curtin, William Hanna and Joseph Barbera.
Valerie was the first female black character on a regular cartoon series.
The Electric Company
A variety show that used sketch comedy, animation and songs to teach grammar, "The Electric Company" was originally designed for kids who had outgrown "Sesame Street." It was fun and upbeat with a cast to rival any show since: Morgan Freeman, Bill Cosby, Rita Moreno, Joan Rivers, Mel Brooks and head writer Paul Dooley (best known as Molly Ringwald's dad in "Sixteen Candles.")
The Bugaloos aired on NBC from 1970 - 1972 and, like "Pufnstuf," only 17 episodes were filmed. Billed as a British version of "The Monkees," the Bugaloos were a musical group with insect wings who lived in the magical Tranquility Forest. Their nemesis was the evil Benita Bizarre who lived in a jukebox and tried her best to put an end to our heroes.
Phil Collins was one of the finalists for the role of I.Q. The theme song was written by Charles Fox and Norman Gimbel who wrote the classic "Killing me Softly with his Song" as well as theme songs for shows such as "Happy Days" and "Laverne and Shirley."
Land of the Lost
This kids adventure series follows the Marshall family - Rick, Will and Holly - as their river rafting trip goes wrong and sends them to a world where dinosaurs still rule. The banjo-heavy theme could give the "Deliverance" song a run for its money.
Tell me about YOUR favorite 70s kids show theme songs.