I asked my Twitter followers, “Yr favorite TV themes are…?”
They were a generous bunch, I retweeted them all, about 80 I think.
Two relevant to jazz not mentioned are the The Price is Right, with a wildly funky bassist and sort of celebratory Afro-centric vibe put on a Charles Strouse tune (I don’t know the arrangers or performers) and Roger Kellaway’s piano on All in the Family.
I think the one theme that didn’t come up – until a last minute tweet by Ted Reichman – that means a lot to me personally is The Twilight Zone by Marius Constant. This is (relatively) hardcore European modernism, a style I had no youthful access to in any other way but from the television. Much of the incidental music for TZ was just as important and truly top-drawer, with many big names like Jerry Goldsmith, Leonard Rosenman, and Bernard Herrmann (who contributed a theme tune as well).
That TZ music, just like the music for Doctor Who by Delia Derbyshire, Ron Grainer, Malcolm Hulke, Dudley Simpson, Paddy Kingsland and others, was crucial to my development as a musician. A blessed gateway to the strange.
Thanks to all!