TV Theme Songs: Unsolved Mysteries
"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 Unsolved Mysteries. A show documenting cold cases and paranormal phenomena, Unsolved Mysteries began as a series of seven specials, presented by Raymond Burr, Karl Malden and Robert Stack, beginning on NBC on January 20, 1987.It then became a full-fledged series beginning on October 5, 1988, hosted just by Stack going forward. It ran on NBC for nine seasons and 291 episodes before moving to CBS for its final two seasons on network television. Unsolved Mysteries was revived on Lifetime, Spike and Netflix for a total of 299 more episodes. The show's main goal was not to solve the mysteries, but this ended up being a side benefit.
According to the Unsolved Mysteries website, “Of the more than 1,300 mysteries profiled, half the cases featuring wanted fugitives have been solved, more than 100 families have been reunited with lost loved ones and seven individuals who were wrongly convicted of crimes, have been exonerated and released. Cases involving missing persons, missing heirs, murder, fraud, and amnesia have also been solved following broadcasts. That adds up to over 260 solved cases.”
Robert Stack's grim presence and ominous narration was critical, but the show's tone was set by its eerie haunting theme music. The Unsolved Mysteries theme song, composed by Michael Boyd and Gary Remal Malkin, certainly can make your hair stand on end while invoking both fear and tension. Before writing this memorable theme song, the two are credited at co-writing the score and some of the music used in the 1984 film Breakin', but surprisingly not much else of note. For the Unsolved Mysteries theme, they used several techniques to create the desired result including the repeating piano rhythm, a scary bass line along with tension-causing tritones. They also brought a synthesist named Charles Judge who really added some chilling effects with his synthesizer. The combination created a theme song which has been creeping viewers out ever since. Here is the full version of the original Unsolved Mysteries theme song...
If the music freaks you out a little bit, you certainly are not alone. There's even a Facebook group called "Unsolved Mysteries Intro Music Scared the Crap Out of Me".
Hope you enjoyed tuning in for another "episode" of TV Theme Songs!