Updated: May 1, 2021
"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 The Fall Guy titled "Unknown Stuntman". "Well, I'm not the kind to kiss-and-tell..." The Fall Guy debuted in November 1981 and then ran for five seasons and 113 episodes starring Lee Majors as a stuntman who works as a bounty hunter on the side. The show was created and executive produced by Glen A. Larson who had also created/developed The Six Million Dollar Man, Battlestar Galactica, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, B.J. and the Bear, Magnum, P.I. and Knight Rider among others.
Larson was friends with Dave Somerville the former singer/guitarist for the '50s group The Diamonds. It turns out Somerville had been previously asked by television executives to develop a song for a television series based on the life of an anonymous stuntman. Although that original show never went forward, a year later Somerville showed it to Larson who coincidentally had also been trying to develop a TV show about stuntmen. The song inspired Larson to finish developing his idea and the two pitched the idea to ABC Studios, opening with Somerville playing the song on his guitar. On the strength of that song and a five-minute pitch, ABC agreed to fund a pilot episode of what would become known as The Fall Guy. The inspiration for it all, Somerville's song, would become the theme song and be titled "Unknown Stuntman". The decision was to have the show's star, Lee Majors, sing the theme song himself. The lyrics make several references to major celebrities of the day including Farrah Fawcett (who was Majors' estranged wife at the time) as well as Bo Derek, Sally Field, Jaclyn Smith, Cheryl Ladd, Cheryl Tiegs, Raquel Welch, Robert Redford, Clint Eastwood, and Burt Reynolds. Here are the opening credits of The Fall Guy featuring “Unknown Stuntman” sung by Lee Majors…
It doesn't hurt when you are able to feature the gorgeous Heather Thomas in a bikini during the opening credits either! A slightly extended version of "Unknown Stuntman" was created and released as a single in 1984, but did not seem to gain traction on the radio or charts. Either way, "Unknown Stuntman" is still a superb theme song that perfectly sets the tone and premise for The Fall Guy. "But when I end up in the hay, it's only hay, hey hey."
Hope you enjoyed tuning in for another "episode" of TV Theme Songs!