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TV Diary: Battle of the TV show theme songs

Monday, April 29, 2013 - 12:01 am

Yahoo! TV recently held its own Road to the Final Four of the best TV theme songs by hosting a song poll in which 277,000 fans voted for their favorite theme of all time.

Of 32 bracketed selections, this TV theme song beat “Diff'rent Strokes” in Round 1, “The Addams Family” in Round 2, “The Andy Griffith Show” in Round 3 and “Cheers” in the final round.

It was a lowly 12th seed that knew what it was talkin' — er, singin' — about, was not frightened off by Lurch or Thing, could not be arrested by Sheriff Taylor and, well, everybody knew their names, too, because they were in the song.

Creator Sherwood Schwartz was tasked in 1964 with summing up his new show in a minute theme, so he enlisted the help of composer George Wyle to write this year's winning theme song, “The Ballad of Gilligan's Isle.”

This theme song was filmed in black-and-white the first season. It was refilmed in color for seasons two and three, featuring different end lyrics, which were changed at the insistence of the lead actor, Bob Denver, who wanted “the Professor and Mary Ann” added to the song.

“Gilligan's Island” had a good run 1964-67, but the show was not popular enough with CBS executives, or their wives, for that matter. CBS president William S. Paley and his wife, Babe, were “Gunsmoke” fans and he switched the Western from Saturday night to the prime Monday night slot “Gilligan's Island” held, causing its cancellation.