I was contacted in mid-January of this year by Adam Thompson, “an editor and writer at The Wall Street Journal,” who told me via e-mail that he was “pondering doing a piece on people who are able to find the most obscure intros to TV shows and put them online.” He was referring to The Rap Sheet’s YouTube page. “I found you after a search for the Scarecrow & Mrs. King intro,” Thompson explained, “and was kind of amazed at the number of intros you’d posted. Would you have a few moments to tell me about this? How many you’ve posted, how long it takes to find these things, whether there’s a missing intro out there that you’re trying especially hard to find, etc.?”
Although I thought this was a rather odd subject for the Journal to tackle. I was glad to answer his questions. A month and a half have passed now, though, since I did that, and there’s been no sign of the article Thompson proposed. So I figure his interest has waned. Nonetheless, I put some effort into responding to Thompson’s query; and since I have indeed tried to develop The Rap Sheet’s YouTube page over time, I thought you might be interested in what I told him.
I created that YouTube “channel” you came across as an entertaining supplement to my award-winning crime-fiction blog, The Rap Sheet (http://therapsheet.blogspot.com/). I have long been a fan of vintage TV mystery and crime dramas, and every once in a while I’d come across the main title sequence from one of those shows on YouTube. Finally, in 2010, I decided to collect a few of them. That enterprise grew and grew, until now I have more than 300 such opening sequences posted.Since I wrote to Thompson, I have managed to locate those hard-to-find openings to Dog and Cat and Dellaventura, but I’m still searching for the rest. Let me know if you spot them.
I don’t spend a lot of time trying to expand the offerings on that page, but I have accumulated more than 600 subscribers over the years, so I guess I’m doing enough to please some people. Probably folks much like me, who remember these old shows and get a kick out of seeing at least some portion of them resurrected. I’m not in the questionable business of uploading whole episodes of classic programs onto YouTube; that would seem to be an obvious violation of copyrights. I see what I do as a small tribute to some older shows that many viewers have never heard of, but would do well to investigate further. Use of these clips is for historical and entertainment purposes only, and is not meant to establish ownership of such materials.
As I said, it has taken me years to accumulate all these series intros, but I don’t devote a lot of energy to the game. I check in regularly on YouTube and use Google alerts, looking for the TV intros I remember best and would like to showcase for Rap Sheet readers. By that means I have located most of the entries on my wish list, including the hard-to-find openings from the 1976 private-eye series City of Angels (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZGcaFtxJH8A), the 1982-1983 comedy-drama Tucker’s Witch (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7buWx-U_-so), the 2001 cop show Big Apple (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPA-HBkE2g4), and the 1974-1975 historical crime series, The Manhunter (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3fEorRm_90c).
There are still a number of main title sequences I’d like to add to my collection. For instance, I haven’t yet managed to dig up the original, 1972-1973 opening from The NBC Wednesday Mystery Movie “wheel series” (with theme music by Quincy Jones) -- though I have posted a later version of that opening (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9IGmzsX8ek). I’m also still on the hunt for the introductions from Dog and Cat (1977, starring Lou Antonio and Kim Basinger), Chase (1973-1974, starring Mitchell Ryan), Caribe (1975, starring Stacy Keach), Dellaventura (1997-1998, starring Danny Aiello), and Michael Hayes (1997-1998, starring David Caruso). But give me time. I’m patient, and these intros have a tendency to pop up on the Web when you least expect to see them. There always seems to be someone out there with access to old shows and the time to upload them to YouTube.