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TV Theme Songs: Alice

"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 Alice titled "There's a New Girl in Town". "Early to rise, early to bed. In and between I cooked and cleaned and went out of my head. Going through life with blinders on, it's tough to see. I had to get up, get out from under and look for me.." Alice debuted in August of 1976 and ran nine seasons and 202 episodes crossing over into the '80s and ending in 1985. The show was based on the 1974 film Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore. It features the title character who is a widow that moves with her young son to start life over again, and finds a job working at Mel's Deiner, a roadside greasy spoon in Phoenix, Arizona.

The show's theme song "There's a New Girl in Town" was written music by David Shire (music), Alan and Marilyn Bergman (lyrics). Several arrangements of the song were used throughout the series' run. The lyrics stayed the same for the first two seasons, but then were altered for season three and again for season four and then again for season six. Shire has composed for film, television and stage. He composed original music for Saturday Night Fever (for which he received two Grammy Award nominations) and won the Academy Award for Best Song in 1979 for his and Norman Gimbel's theme song for Norma Rae, "It Goes Like It Goes". In 1979, his song "With You I'm Born Again" recorded for Motown by Billy Preston and Syreeta was a huge hit. The husband and wife duo of Alan and Marilyn Bergman have a long list of accomplishments including having won two Academy Awards for Best Original Song, the Grammy Award for Song of the Year and are inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. They may be best recognized for their work with Barbra Streisand including The Way We Were and Yentl.

The song was performed by Linda Lavin who also played the title character in the show. That puts Alice on the list of shows with the theme song performed by one of its stars; a list that also includes All in the Family, Gimme a Break, The Fall Guy, My Two Dads, 227 and 21 Jump Street. Lavin had been onstage since the age of five and, after college, she moved into roles on Broadway in the '60s (including a Tony nomination in 1970) before moving to Hollywood in 1973 where she shifted her focus to television. So it shouldn't be a surprise that she is able to handle the theme song. Here are the opening credits for season 1 of Alice featuring "There's a New Girl in Town" performed by Linda Lavin...

One of main things I remember from the show was the catchphrase used by Flo, one of the other waitresses in Mel's Diner. "Kiss My Grits!" became very popular and I am surprised to learn that Polly Holliday, the actress who played Flo, refuses to repeat that line that made her famous. Well, kiss my grits! "There's a new girl in town, with a brand new style. She was just passing through, but if things work out she's gonna stay awhile."

Hope you enjoyed tuning in for another "episode" of TV Theme Songs!


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