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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Sherwood Schwartz is 90

Yes, I know. Sherwood Schwartz was the purveyor of some schlocky television shows. But some of them were shows I actually watched. A lot.

While he had worked on a number of shows before, Mr. Schwartz first became known broadly for Gilligan's Island a 1964-1967 program that may have been terrible - I almost never watch it in reruns - but which, like many folks at the time, used to view religiously. Its cultural impact has never entirely subsided. Not only did Sherwood Schwartz produce Gilligan's Island, he co-wrote its iconic theme, which, I've learned is in ballad meter, "commonly found in ballads, has stanzas of four iambic lines. The first and third typically have four-stresses; the second and fourth have three-stresses and usually rhyme (Horton, 1995)."

Of course, I've provided links for both opening and closing themes (audio and video) for 1964 and 1966. The significance of the theme is reflected in the number of times it has been parodied. Here's one in the style of N'SYNC. Another is called Dracula's Isle. And, of course, the king of Gilligan reference, Weird Al Yankovic.

But my favorite was a single that I actually own, a song by Little Roger [!] and the Goosebumps called Stairway to Gilligan's Island - there's link to an MP3 of the song there.

I've been reading about the disappearance of the TV theme. (Grey's Anatomy, which USED to have a theme, is a prime example of the lost art.)

While Gilligan was still on, Sherwood Schwartz created It's About Time, a show about astronauts landing in prehistoric times. It lasted only one season, 1966-1967, yet I remember the lyrics, also by Mr. Schwartz.

Given that, I have to make another confession: NOT ONCE did I ever see a first-run episode of The Brady Bunch, the 1969-1974 program that Sherwood Schwartz produced and for which he co-wrote the theme. I've caught it sporadically in syndication.

As much as I watched Gilligan, I never watched any of its goofy-sounding follow-up TV movies - the Harlem Globetrotters? - but I HAVE happened upon some Brady-related reunion fare, though I couldn't tell you what.

Anyway, happy 90th birthday, Sherwood Schwartz!

Oh, yeah: Mary Ann.
I'm quoted in a blog about yesterday's important event.


Anonymous said...

I think I was halfway raised by Mr. Schwartz - I pretty much caught every episode of Gilligan and the Bradys in syndication back in the late 70s. Sure, they're kind of awful, but kind of great, too. There's something vaguely surreal about the universes those characters live in. -Nik whose stupid decision to pick Blogger Beta means he can't comment with his blogger sign in.

Uthaclena said...

"It's About Time"

Your theme link may be a second theme... not quite how I remember it.

Also, for trivia, Imogene Coca played the caveman's wife, "Shad;" however, her name was originally supposed to be SHAG, until the producers discovered that meant something quite different in Great Britain!