Monday, September 29, 2008

Mike Post and TV Mysteries

by Julia Buckley

Today is the birthday of the prolific Mike Post, who wrote theme songs for many of our favorite TV mystery shows. Post, who was born in Berkeley in 1944, got his big break with one of my all-time favorites: The Rockford Files. Remember that wonderful beginning?

Jim Rockford, you're still my boyfriend. :)

The Post theme that probably became the most famous, though, was this wonderful Hill Street Blues composition.

Some other mystery themes composed by Post were: Murder One, NYPD Blue, LA Law, Hunter, Law and Order, The Commish, Magnum PI, Tenspeed and Brown Shoe, CHiPs, Hardcastle & McCormick, Baa Baa Black Sheep, Remington Steele, Renegade, Silk Stalkings, Stingray, and Wise Guy.

There's a little something for you Tom Selleck fans. My, but these songs do bring back memories.

And here's something that happened a long time before Pierce Brosnan became James Bond and Doris Roberts became Raymond's mother (but read Jeff's comment below--Post didn't score this one, Henry Mancini did).

What a terrific contribution Mike Post has made to the mystery community. I can't think of my favorite 70s and 80s mysteries without humming their theme songs. Maybe you'll be humming one of these for the rest of the day.

What's your Post favorite?


Terry Odell said...

Magnum PI all the way. I even had a record (yes, vinyl) of Mike Post's TV hits. But I remember an aerobics instructor having the Magnum theme song in her mix, and it was always easy to find the extra energy to keep going.

J. Kingston Pierce said...

His theme from The Rockford Files is certainly his most memorable one. But I'm also partial to his contributions to NYPD Blue, Murder One, and L.A. Law.


David Cranmer said...

I'm with Terry-- Magnum PI. I own (still do) the 45 with Selleck and Post on the cover

Terry Odell said...

Didn't Post do "Greatest American Hero" too? I seem to recall that from my albun.

Hmmm... Office Depot gave me a $15 iTunes gift certificate when I bought a toner cartridge for my printer today ... some good ideas on what to spend it on.

Lonnie Cruse said...

Gotta be Remington Steele. Terry got $15 worth of free iTunes? Wow!

Sandra Parshall said...

Good heavens, Julia, the things I learn from you! I had no idea one man had composed all those themes. The Hill Street Blues music is my favorite. I like the Law & Order theme but not the tortured variations they use on the L&O spinoffs.

Look at Pierce Brosnan's hair... Few things define an era the way hairstyles do, especially men's hairstyles.

Darlene Ryan said...

Julia, you are a devious woman. :) My favorite is the A-Team theme and now I can't get it out of my head.

Julia Buckley said...

Terry, I think TV theme songs stay in our consciousness in a way most songs don't--after all, they were imprinted there! Magnum was a great song with those gorgeous visuals of Hawaii (which is also why I remember Hawaii 5-0, a great theme song but not Post's).

I'll have to check about Greatest American Hero. But that was a great song!

Julia Buckley said...

Jeff, I'm with you--I love the Rockford tune.

And David, I didn't even know that they released TV theme songs on forty-fives! So interesting. Although I do remember, in the way-back seventies, getting a Banana Splits 45 in my cereal--on one of those little flexible plastic records. Anyone remember those?

Julia Buckley said...

Lonnie, I was a big Remington Steele fan, although I hadn't remembered the theme.

Sandra, the hair is gorgeous! :)
So early eighties. Have you heard PB sing in Mamma Mia? It's memorable, too. :)

Darlene, A-Team wasn't one of my favorites, but I do think it was one of the most memorable themes. I can always summon it up, but I had forgotten a lot of these other ones.

Terry Odell said...

Remember records? Sure. We had little yellow ones -- Golden Records. They were 78's. We had stacks and stacks of them.
And it was my kids who watched Banana Splits, not me, but I do remember promotional records that were really flimsy.

Julia Buckley said...


We had 78s and 45s, and a little record player with an adjustable needle that could play them both. A relic.

I miss those days, but not really the technology. :)

J. Kingston Pierce said...

There's only one correction that ought to be made here. Mike Post did not compose the theme for Remington Steele. That should have been credited to the late, great Henry Mancini. However, Post was the guy who gave us the opening music for Baa Baa Black Sheep, The Commish, and Hooperman. All good themes, if largely forgotten nowadays.


Julia Buckley said...

You're right in that he didn't score it, but one website suggests that he contributed to it musically. I must research further.

But according to the Museum of Broadcast Communications, his complete works are these (and this includes GAH, Terry):

Two on a Beach, 1971; Gidget Gets Married, 1972; Griff, 1973; Needles and Pins, 1973; Toma, 1973; Locusts, 1974; The Morning After, 1974; The Rockford Files, 1974, The Texas Wheelers, 1974; The Bob Crane Show, 1975; The Invasion of Johnson County, 1976; Richie Brockelman: Missing 24 Hours, 1976; Scott Free, 1976; The Black Sheep Squadron, 1977; Charlie Cobb: Nice Night for a Hanging, 1977; Off the Wall, 1977; Doctor Scorpion, 1978; Richie Brockelman: Private Eye, 1978; The White Shadow, 1978; Big Shamus, Little Shamus, 1979; Captain America, 1979; Captain America II, 1979; The Duke, 1979; The 416th, 1979; The Night Rider, 1979; Operating Room, 1979; 240-Robert, 1979; Tennspeed and Brownshoe, 1980; Scout's Honor, 1980; Hill Street Blues, 1980; Coach of the Year, 1980; The Greatest American Hero, 1980; Palms Precinct, 1982; The Quest, 1982; Tales of the Gold Monkey, 1982; Will, G. Gordon Liddy, 1982; The A-Team, 1983; Bay City Blues, 1983; Big John, 1983; Hardcastle and McCormick, 1983; Riptide, 1983; The Rousters, 1983; Running Brave, 1983; Four Eyes, 1984; Hadley's Rebellion, 1984; Hard Knox, 1984; No Man's Land, 1984; The Return of Luter Gillie, 1984; The River Rat, 1984; Welcome to Paradise, 1984; Heart of a Champion, 1985; Stingray, 1985; Adam: His Song Continues, 1986; L.A. Law, 1986; The Last Precinct, 1986; Destination America, 1987; Hooperman, 1987; Sirens, 1987; Wiseguy, 1987; Murphy's Law, 1988; Sonny Spoon, 1988; The Ryan White Story, 1989; B.L. Stryker: The Dancer's Touch, 1989; Unspeakable Acts, 1990; Without Her Consent, 1990; NYPD Blue, 1993.

william said...

The breezy, whimsical theme to this classic series was a Top 10 hit co-written by Mike Post and Pete Carpenter. The duo first partnered in the late 1960s, and began working for producer Stephen J. Cannell when they wrote the theme to his cop show Toma in 1973.
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Julia Buckley said...

Do you refer to Remington Steele? In which case, does that mean they wrote it and Mancini scored it?

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