A Story of One

It’s the old story, 500 channels and there is nothing to watch. But, back in the olden days, sonny, it was much worse. When I went to the family ranch back in the 1970s, we had one television that received transmissions from an antenna mounted on the tallest pine tree. This allowed us to get one station sporadically. That one station seemed to endlessly play cop shows, or Emergency. I don’t think I ever understood the premise of The Streets of San Francisco, but there were many scenes of cars flying over a hill and bottoming out. There probably wasn’t much of a premise, i.e. no “high concept”. All shows had a grizzled old cop/editor/pizza shop owner, but with a big heart, and a young rookie and brash cop/reporter/single girl. The title sequence for Streets of San Francisco makes up for any lack of concept. It’s not as good as Hawaii 5-0, but close. And there is that voice over that you can never forget, “a Quinn Martin Production.”

Song of the Islands, Na Lei O Hawaii

Recently, someone asked me what my favorite television title sequence was. There are many wonderful examples, The Rockford Files, Wild Wild West, and now Mad Men. But, come on, the winner, hands down is Hawaii Five-O. The theme song alone, composed by Morton Stevens and covered by The Ventures should make it a favorite. The quick cuts, freeze frame action, and high-energy camera work are miraculous. Reza Badiyi, a television director who also created the Mary Tyler Moore montage, created the sequence. For those Waikiki aficionados, Jack Lord is standing on a balcony of the Ilikai Hotel. For anyone out there who thinks the other Hawaiian crime show, Magnum P.I. was better. No, it was lame.