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been a lot of great television show introductions produced over the years.
Some of my favorites include:
"The Andy Griffith Show," with its
simple fishing scene and whistling tune.
"Hawaii Five-0," with its riveting
montage and the classic "rolling surf" scene.
"Friends," with its exuberant clips and memorable tune (perhaps
a little too memorable?)
Composer Jerry Goldsmith
What makes a
good introduction? Certainly a catchy tune and an interesting
setting, something that makes you want to stick around and watch the show.
In my opinion, one of the very best and most memorable introductions ever
made was for The Waltons, showing John Walton bringing
home a new radio, taking it out of his Model T truck, and carrying it up
to the porch.
Much of the credit belongs to songwriter Jerry
Goldsmith who penned the popular and catchy Waltons theme song.
Goldsmith, born in 1929, is a prolific and talented songwriter who scored
the music for numerous films including Patton,
Star Trek I, and Alien,
along with several television shows, such as
The Man From U.N.C.L.E, Room 222, Barnaby Jones, and the
Star Trek Voyager and Next Generation
Come to think of it, The Waltons theme song sounded
a lot like the song to Room 222 (for some reason, I've remembered
the Room 222 theme song after all these years, not that anyone else
remembers the song, let alone the show). Anyway, among all of
Jerry's songs, I think The Waltons theme was definitely the best.
The Waltons Introductions
It's been 30 years since I saw the series, but as I recall
from watching The Waltons back in the 1970s, two main introductions were used during the show's nine seasons:
There were variations of each introduction. As I
recall, during the first season or so, The Waltons had a long
introduction with John bringing home the radio, which was shortened around
the second season. Then the sepia montage was used starting, I
believe, in the third season.
Above: The "radio"
Above: The "sepia"
The sepia montage introduction was used for many years, but
frankly, I don't remember if they kept using it all the way through
the ninth and final season in 1981. That's because I stopped
watching The Waltons after about the sixth season.
To be honest, after six seasons, with Will
Geer now gone, John-Boy in New York, and Ellen Corby doddering around the
house after her stroke (and pulling at my heartstrings), I couldn't bear
to watch the show anymore. Plus, I was now going to college, so my
Thursday nights were filled with more erudite pursuits -- like eating
pizza and drinking beer.
What I can't remember, though, was which introduction was
used during which season. Unfortunately, watching the recent
Waltons reruns on The Hallmark Channel hasn't helped any. That's
because the folks at Hallmark use whatever introduction they feel like,
including a long "radio" introduction (1 minute, 27 seconds) on some of
the first season episodes, a shorter "radio" introduction (57 seconds) on
other first season episodes, and the "sepia montage" introduction for the
second season. To further confuse the matter, Hallmark uses a "long sepia
montage" (54 seconds) for some episodes and a "short sepia montage" (a
paltry and very rushed 41 seconds) for others.
Because the Hallmark reruns aren't any help, and because
the entire series hasn't come out yet on DVD, I had to scratch my head and
try to remember which introduction was used for each season. I might
be wrong (and let me know if I am), but as I recall from 30 years ago,
there were three Waltons introductions used:
During the first season, a long
introduction (1 minute, 27 seconds) was used showing John bringing home a new radio.
During the second season, a
shorter version (57 seconds) of John bringing home the radio was
During the third season and all
subsequent years, the sepia montage (54 seconds) was used.
Frankly, I never liked the "sepia montage" introduction and
remember being disappointed in 1974 when it was used for the first time
(since it was 1974, the phrase I actually used was, "What a bummer.")
Why didn't they keep using the "radio" introduction, which I really liked?
Probably because the kids were growing up and it would've looked weird to
have a 3-foot tall Jim Bob in the Introduction, and then see a 6-foot
tall Jim Bob in the series.
This is probably more than anyone would want to know about the Waltons introductions,
but if you've waded all the way through this lengthy discussion, you'll be
delighted to know that I put together three pages depicting
the Waltons introductions, including photos and audio clips. You can check
them out by clicking below.
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