Thursday, January 9, 2014

Paying a Call on Vic Mizzy

Mizzy at the keyboard.
Happy birthday to Vic Mizzy (January 9, 1916-October 17, 2009), whose classic theme songs to The Addams Family and Green Acres are beloved by Baby Boomers, and still enjoyed today by newer viewers of these timeless shows. Opening-title sequences are virtually extinct today; instead of a great song and lyrics, you usually just get credits flashed over the first scene. Boring! In the 1960s, though, an opening theme was a show's signature, doing much to explain the show to new viewers, and give a comforting sense of familiarity to returning fans.

Although his finger-snapping theme for the Addams clan, and his musical debate between Oliver and Lisa Douglas on the merits of city vs. country life, remain his best-known work, he composed others. Here's one you might not know, because the show itself was a flop, and vanished quickly. But let Mizzy's theme for The Pruitts of Southampton, which starred Phyllis Diller, seep into your consciousness, and you'll be singing it for days. He also wrote popular songs; I didn't know until recently that he collaborated with Manny Curtis on My Dreams Are Getting Better All the Time, sung in the 1940s by Doris Day.

For an in-depth career interview with Vic Mizzy, head to the Emmy TV Legends site.

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