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.