Wednesday, October 21, 2009
R.I.P. Vic Mizzy
Vic Mizzy, who wrote the Addams Family theme song, perhaps the greatest of all TV themes, passed away yesterday at the age of 93. It is spooky that he should leave us so close to Hallowe'en, the time of year when his creepy and cooky and all together ooky tune is most appreciated.
The show was based on the popular black-humor cartoons by Charles Addams, which ran in the New Yorker magazine for many years and featured perhaps my favorite TV character of all time, Cousin Itt. The song made him a wealthy man, as this quote from his New York Times obituary notes, “Two finger snaps and you live in Bel Air.” Here Mr. Mizzy reminisces about the genesis of the Addams Family theme:
Mizzy (seen here with stars Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor) was no one-hit wonder; he also composed the theme to Green Acres, the show about urban sophisticates doing the organic country-farmer thing, decades before Williamsburg trust-fund hipsters would follow suit.
In college, a friend and I had a fun, beer-soaked discussion about the misogynistic genius of the lyrics to the Green Acres theme. It begins as a point-counterpoint about the merits of country life vs. city life (e.g., "Fresh Air/Times Square"), husband and wife making their points succinctly and effectively -- that is, until Eddie Albert pulls a Don Draper-esque trump card on Eva Gabor: "You are my wife." End of discussion. Goodbye, city life.
In a stroke of demented genius, the novelty songsmiths Damaskas & Barnes & Barnes mashed up the Green Acres theme with the Beatles epic "A Day in the Life" in 1978. Arnold the Pig does some nice piano work here:
One of the members of Barnes & Barnes, who also did a big novelty hit "Fish Heads" was Bill Mumy, who played Will Robinson on Lost in Space. Don't you love it when things come together so neatly? R.I.P. and TCB, Vic.