Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Vic Mizzy (1916-2009)

Vic Mizzy (1916-2009)Recently on the blog, I brought up how the old-fashioned TV theme is a dying art form, so I was surprised to learn from Film Score Click Track's Jim Lochner that one of the kings of the old-school TV theme, Addams Family and Green Acres theme composer Vic Mizzy, died Saturday at the age of 93. The last major piece of music from Mizzy that I heard was a novelty song about Spider-Man he recorded for the Spider-Man 2 DVD's bloopers montage.

Lochner's more of an expert on Mizzy's credits than I am (his obit contains a full audio clip of Mizzy's memorable main title theme from The Ghost and Mr. Chicken). However, as a child of the '80s, when baby boomers' nostalgia for the TV shows and rock music they grew up with was at its most overbearing, I heard the Addams Family theme everywhere, from Harry and the Hendersons to a local radio ad campaign for Winchester Mystery House that reworked the song's lyrics to focus on Sarah Winchester's not-exactly-scary crib. My inability to get sick of hearing that Mizzy ditty is a testament to his witty songwriting.

Making up new lyrics for the Addams Family theme was a playground pastime. A popular new version was "The Addams Family started/When Uncle Fester farted/That's how they got retarded/The Addams Family." The not-as-twisted-or-funny lyric that I came up with was "Their house is an exhibit/When people come to visit."

Attaboy, Victor!


  1. Hey, Jimmy! Great rapping with you at APE....

    Vic Mizzy was awesome. As was THE GHOST AND MR. CHICKEN. Nothing beats the themes songs for ADDAMS FAMILY and GREEN ACRES, really (and BEVERLY HILLBILLIES, by the by).

    The SPIDER-MAN cartoon had a fun theme (not by Mizzy). And stuff like HAPPY DAYS and LAVERNE & SHIRLEY tried hard. WKRP had a cool one.

    I like the bittersweet instrumental themes, like TAXI and NEWHART. THat's a tradition.

    Lyrically, there's nothing going on with today's theme music, but thankfully, we still have catchy instrumental theme songs. Off the top of my head, THE OFFICE, PARKS & RECREATION and KING OF THE HILL. And the militaristic BSG.

    One of the catchiest theme songs for me of recent memory that looped in my head was Steve Earle's interpretation of Tom Waits' WAY DOWN IN THE HOLE for season 5 of THE WIRE. Have you heard that one?

  2. The Wire is my favorite TV series of all time. I loved how there was a different version of "Way Down in the Hole" per season (season 1: the Blind Boys of Alabama; season 2: the original version by Waits; season 3: the Neville Brothers; season 4: Domaje; season 5: Earle).

    "There's never been a paper bag for drugs. (PLOOP! PLOOP! PLOOP!) Until now."