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October 4, 2015

The Addams Family, Green Acres and Vic Mizzy

by Allison Waldman, posted Oct 20th 2009 1:09PM
Addams_Family_TVI never heard of Vic Mizzy, but he was a professional songwriter who specialized in TV themes. Vic Mizzy passed away on Saturday at the age of 93. I may not have recognized his name, but I know Vic Mizzy's music... and I've had his tunes in my head for decades. Mizzy was the man who wrote two classic TV themes, Green Acres and The Addams Family. And they really were classic. To this day, I remember every word and can sing them at the drop of a hat (if you were wearing one and decided to drop it).

Mizzy had written songs that the likes of Dean Martin and Doris Day recorded, even the great Billie Holiday. But those TV themes are his legacy. That's not a bad thing. Mizzy made music that people remember because they were catchy themes attached to quirky series. And his songs were perfect because in 90 seconds or so, he captured the gist of the sitcom. Think about it:

Eddie Albert singing, "Green Acres is the place to be, farm living is the life for me, land spreading out so far and wide, keep Manhattan just give me that countryside." You know Eva Gabor's response, you don't need to see the words; it's in your head. Credit Mizzy with establishing exactly what Green Acres was all about.

For The Addams Family, he was even better, perhaps because he got as much out of snapping fingers as Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim did for West Side Story. But Mizzy was thrilled that people remembered The Addams Family because of those finger snaps. "Two snaps got me a mansion in Bel Air," he said philosophically.

You know, at the Emmys, Neil Patrick Harris pointed out that they don't write TV themes like they used to. Say what you will about the times being different, but as a kid, there was something very welcoming when you could turn on the set and hear, "They're creepy and the kooky, mysterious and spooky, they're all together ooky, the Addams Family."

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I agree 100%. I don't know if Mizzy wrote all the incidental (in-episode) music for "The Addams Family", but that was phenomenal, too.

The loss of theme songs for fictional television shows is a tragedy. Whether they were corny like "Green Acres" or inspiring like "The West Wing", it's truly a loss to American pop culture to have them disappear the way they have in the last decade or so. I hope they return someday. But I'm doubtful that they will, considering the state of the industry.

October 20 2009 at 5:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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