"Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale" of a time when television shows began with awesome TV Theme Songs. "Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name" and sometimes you want to go back to when TV Theme songs were special. "Here's a story... of a lovely" time when TV Theme Songs served to identify, distinguish and set the stage for the television program that followed. "You take the good, take the bad, take them both and there you have" what unfortunately has become a lost artform. "Believe it or not", sadly it seems no effort or pride is taken in the TV Theme Song ever since Seinfeld proved a short synth-bass riff could be used instead. “Schlemiel! Schlimazel! Hasenpfeffer Incorporated!” This regular feature may not "make all our dreams come true", but it will remember some of the best TV Theme Songs from years past (with a focus on the '80s decade). "Come aboard, we're expecting you."
This time we will cover the theme song for ALF. The series debuted in September of 1986 and ran for four seasons and 102 episodes. The star of the show was ALF (which stands for Alien Life Form) who was a brown, furry puppet created and performed by Paul Fusco. The ALF character became sort of a pop culture phenomenon with the show becoming hugely popular especially for its second and third seasons where it ranked #10 and #15 respectively on the year-end Nielsen Ratings. ALF is definitely remembered as one of the pop culture icons of the '80s decade.
The upbeat instrumental theme song used for ALF was composed by Alf Clausen and Tom Kramer. (Yep, one of the composers names was actually Alf.) Alf Clausen is a very accomplished composer who is probably best known now for his impressive work on The Simpsons, but he has scored and/or orchestrated music for more than 30 films and television series. Clausen was music director for the Donny & Marie show as well as a year on The Mary Tyler Moore Hour in the late '70s. Clausen then served as the composer for the series Moonlighting from 1985 to 1989 and had the same role on ALF from 1986-1990. He also conducted the orchestras and, for some, provided additional music for several films including The Beastmaster (1982), Airplane II: The Sequel (1982), Splash (1984), Weird Science (1985), Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986), Dragnet (1987) and The Naked Gun (1988). Clausen was also the music producer behind the theme song to Disney's Chip 'n' Dale Rescue Rangers in 1988.
Tom Kramer has had a long career mostly as a music editor serving in that role on some '80s films like The Color Purple (1985), She's Having a Baby (1988), The Great Outdoors (1988) and Uncle Buck (1989) among others and continuing still to this day. Not sure how Kramer got involved in composing the ALF theme song, but he must have made some contributions in order to earn that credit. The theme song worked fine for the show's opening, but I would have preferred a more traditional '80s theme song with some cheesy lyrics about how an alien crash-landing into their lives brought a family closer together. They chose to go another direction and here are the opening credits for ALF featuring the instrumental theme song...
I wouldn't consider it one of the truly special instrumental theme songs of the decade, but it definitely serves its purpose. I still think it's awesome that they hired a guy named Alf to compose for a show called ALF.
Hope you enjoyed tuning in for another "episode" of TV Theme Songs!