Original Theme Songs: 46, 45

46. Justin Time

Originally I had Growing Pains in this spot, but the more I listen to “Show Me That Smile” it just doesn’t work. I love Jennifer Warnes, but she’s only in one version of this generic theme song. Dusty Springfield ruins the one he’s in. Plus, the theme song just reminds me of Cameron’s religious fanaticism and the scripts that helped drive Gold to anorexia. So, eff, that show.

So, to something more innocent. My nineteen month old son loves this theme song, and I can’t blame him. Unlike most themes meant for pre-school kids, there’s no ear-piercing crescendo. And the theme of the show is driven home without connecting every dot. Like most kids themes, they name all of the characters in the song, but the melody isn’t ruined in order to do it. It’s a fun jingle without being an annoying earworm.

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Theme Songs: 50, 49

50. Have Gun, Will Travel

Title: The Ballad of Paladin
Composer: Johnny Western, Richard Boone, and Sam Rolfe
Performer: Johnny Western

I’ve seen perhaps five episodes of every TV western ever made, but I do like the music. I don’t really care for the theme to Bonanza (a bit too twangy), but I enjoy this ode to Paladin, which has more restraint than most.

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Top 50 Original Theme Songs

I listen to theme songs. Like, I have an entire playlist devoted to them on my mp3 player. I think that qualifies me to prattle on about them for a month. 

A lot of work used to go into creating catchy, original songs for the opening or closing credits of your favorite shows. These days, most shows either forgo songs all together (e.g. Lost) or they grab something already in existence that fits the show’s personality (e.g. Friends, Wonder Years, Scrubs).

For the next five weeks, we’ll cover two songs per day. These 50 are the ones most likely to get stuck in my head all day, but in a totally good way.

I always sing out of tune


1. Wart

Bosses, especially in NES games, fall into one of two categories. They’re either insanely easy once you determine the trick to beating them, or they’re insanely hard, requiring perseverance and multiple hits. Wart is neither of those. While there are strategies to defeating him and avoiding getting hit, there’s no automatic road to victory. On the other hand, it is very possible to get very good at defeating him, taking no to minimal damage. In a way, he’s like Mike Tyson.

He wants to eat your children

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2. No Escape

presented by nibbishment

No game in the Mario series was more willing to dispense with established rules than the second game in the series (yes, I know, “Doki Doki Panic”, etc, etc). Of all the rules it broke, though, the most sinister was clearly the one that most of us took for granted.

What’s offscreen is in the past.



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3. Don’t Blink, Don’t Look Down

presented by nibbishment

When I was 9, my parents, my brother and I house-sat for a couple who lived on a lakeside lot. This family happened to have a Nintendo with a copy of Super Mario Brother 3. My parents didn’t want us to waste our time playing it when there was so much natural beauty to behold. They had a point, of course, but my brother and I still set our alarm clocks for absurdly early hours so that we could sneak down to play it. Every day for two weeks, we would get to the same exact place in the game.

I wrote that up a couple of years ago when I was going through my list of favorite video game moments. This one was number 27, which seems just about right. We so badly wanted to beat this level and it just didn’t seem possible to do so. We had no problem getting here – whistles made that almost trivial. For some reason that I don’t seem to recall, we always used our P-Wings elsewhere, which (in one of this level’s – and indeed, this’ game’s – biggest failings) would have rendered this level stupidly easy.

Oh yeah. Big fuckin’ hero flying over the entire level.


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