When JFK Was Idlewild

Once upon a time, when our collective attention span was actually longer than that of a gnat’s, television programs (even local news broadcasts) had theme songs and opening credits.

Now, because you have a remote at your fingertips, programmers are afraid you’ll change the station if you’re not thoroughly engaged in the first five seconds of a show.

That means we’re missing out on theme songs that might stay with you for a lifetime.  Like the theme to Car 54, Where Are You?, which aired on NBC from 1961 to 1963.  

Not only is it a catchy little ditty, it’s a wonderful time capsule, referencing a former prime minister of the Soviet Union, and the New York airport later renamed for that prime minister’s nemesis, John F. Kennedy.

It turns out the man who wrote the music for the Car 54 theme song died last Monday.  His name was John Strauss.  While he had a prolific career, he will always be remembered for setting to music the lyrics that began with “There’s a holdup in the Bronx…”

In its genre, a 30-second classic.

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About Gerry

I've been covering Connecticut news and sports since 1974. I know, I don't look that old.
This entry was posted in Living in the Past, Noticed, People, TV Stuff and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to When JFK Was Idlewild

  1. I was just a tad too young to have seen the original run of Car 54, but I became a big fan of the show through reruns and on TvLand. We even had a banner at our wedding wishing Gunther and Sylvia Toody a happy anniversary since they were also married on Aug. 18!

    The theme song always made me smile and sing along and I particularly enjoyed Fred Gwynne as Officer Francis Muldoon. Gwynne is another one I miss, not only for his roles in 54, The Munsters and as the judge in My Cousin Vinny, but for the amazing children’s books he wrote and illustrated, especially A Chocolate Moose for Dinner and The King Who Rained.

  2. Janet A. says:

    Thank you so much for this! Not a week ago, I said “Ooh! Ooh!” to my husband about something, and immediately into my mind popped Officer Toody and the Car 54 theme, which I promptly “sang” for my husband (who, as a teenager, lived in Jackson Heights).

    I was not quite a teenager myself when the show ran, but of course I remembered every word.

  3. Gene says:

    I like Frankie Laine singing “Rawhide”. Do you remember Rowdy Yates? Wishbone?

    Gosh, now you have me going on a lot of TV themes…Rockford Files, LA Law, Hill St. Blues.

    I suppose one or more of those will be playing in my head all day. 🙂

  4. Paul says:

    Ooo! ooo! ooo!

  5. Gerry says:

    Thanks for the comments. Another one that sticks out is for a short-lived 60s sitcom called “It’s About Time.”

  6. Gerry, thanks SO much for sharing this clip! I have been telling people for decades about a show starring Imogene Coco and Joe E. Ross about cavemen and astronauts and they’ve looked at me like I’ve had 3 heads. I was a really young kid, but I also remembered the theme song, probably because of the cartoons. The other one I have fond memories of but no one else seems to remember was My World and Welcome to It based on James Thurber cartoons and starring William Windom.

  7. Aww…another monument to my misspent youth gone. Makes me want to mix myself up a Leprechaun and stop over on St. Pat’s Day and raise a final one to the old place. Thanks for letting me know though. I don’t get out that way much anymore.

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