HeadScratcher No. 6: Two words: Jan Hammer
Dum-dum-duh-da-da-da-da-dum (waterskier) Dum-dum-duh-da-da-da-da-dum (neon sign) Dum-dum-duh-da-da-da-da-dum (bikini) Dum-dum-duh-da-da-da-da-dum (flamingo) Dum-dum-duh-da-da-da-da-dum etc. etc…
“A-ha!” said 13 of you. “It’s that dagblasted Miami Vice theme song!” Yes, the four Emmy-winning cop shows all had memorable instrumental theme songs.
But only Connie Chilton, this week’s favorite child, knew that they were all, in fact, top-10 hits on the Billboard pop charts: “Dragnet” by the Ray Anthony Orchestra (No. 3 in 1953); “Hawaii Five-O” by the Ventures (No. 4 in 1969); “Hill Street Blues” by Post & Carlton (No. 10 in 1981; Mike Post also performed the hit theme songs for The Rockford Files and Magnum, P.I.); and of course Jan Hammer’s percussive “Miami Vice” jam hit No. 1 in 1985.
Other theories: A few of you claimed they were all about specific cities in the U.S. and had their urban settings in their geographic titles, but wasn’t Hill Street Blues set in a made-up locale loosely based on Pittsburgh? “All four had episodes involving PCP,” said Ophalandus Brasfield II (such colorful names!). I didn’t have the wherewithal to actually, you know, check this one out, but suffice it to say that it inspired a pleasant daydream about an old afterschool special starring a young Helen Hunt, who, high on angel dust, crashes through a second-story window to certain death. Ah, the ’80s! Trust me, it was better than As Good As It Gets.
But guess what, guys? The PopWatch Bullies, Paul and Paolo, are back, and this time it’s personal. “Unless you’ve got a more sinisterly clever connection up your sleeve (which we highly doubt), all these shows are remembered by their catchphrases as much as anything else,” they sniped. “Just the facts, ma’am!”, “Book ’em, Dan-O!” “Let’s be careful out there,” etc. Ingenious! Just the kind of creativity we’re looking for here at PopWatch HQ!
But wait — is “Freeze! Miami Vice!” really a catchphrase? I say no. It’s like saying “Freeze! Police!” which they do on most cop shows. If you had tried to fake me out by saying “Remember how Crockett always used to say, ‘That’s the way we roll in Alligator Alley’?” I totally would have given it to you. But instead, no. As The Simpsons‘ sage Nelson Muntz might say: “HA-ha!”
In the meantime, though, PWBs, watch the ‘tude; I will totally go all 21 Jump Street on y’all and Sipowicz will take you to the principal’s office, bare-assed and all. And nobody wants to see that happen.
Thanks for playing! Get ready for another HeadScratcher on Friday.
(P.S. To the enthusiastic Dyan Glazer, a word of friendly advice, invoking the music of Toni Basil is not the way to this man’s heart.)
addCredit(“Miami Vice: Everett Collection”)