Updating TV Theme Songs For The Big Screen – Which Catchy Tunes Do It Right?

The Dukes of Hazzard

Just like the Duke brothers, this song is country, a little bit rock ‘n roll – the original Dukes of Hazzard theme follows the standard role of setting up the story and background of its main characters in a catchy and memorable way:

For the updated film version, Willie Nelson throws a bit more rock ‘n roll into the country tune, but stays true to the original lyrics and tone:

The Flintstones

Catchy and a bit silly, The Flintstones theme was short and sweet and worked to introduce us to Fred’s signature phrase, “Yabba, dabba, do!”:

When the live action version of the series was brought to the big screen by John Goodman, Rick Moranis and Rosie O’Donnell the theme song mirrored the style of the film itself and simply brought the world of the Flintstones to life without changing the original material:

Inspector Gadget

With the police siren kicking things off, the slightly sinister sounding Inspector Gadget theme still kept things catchy with its chorus of “ooo ooos” and “go, Gadget, go!” chants:

Much like The Flintstones, when Matthew Broderick brought the slightly absentminded inspector to life the film (and song) stayed true to the original cartoon with just a few embellishments to fill out the instrumentation for the big screen:

Get Smart

Before Law & Order (and it’s own well-known opening music), there was Get Smart, a crime procedural that also left its theme song lyric-less instead letting the explosion styled sound effects drive the tune and remind the audience that there may be danger at any turn:

For the Steve Carell/Anne Hathaway update, the explosive beats were switched out for more stylized percussion that kept the tune true to the original while still giving it an updated polish:

Sex and the City

The glass tinkling intro marked the beginning of every episode and set us up for Carrie’s (Sarah Jessica Parker) usual voice over that marked what she was writing about (and what that episode would inevitably tackle):

When the four ladies made the trip from the Big Apple to the big screen, this well-known ditty got the star treatment as well with Fergie adding her own touch to the tune, filling the song with lyrics and (appropriately) titling her version “Labels or Love”:

Leave It To Beaver

This theme is just as wholesome as the Cleaver family themselves, but rather than introducing the characters or setting up the premise of the show, the song opts to instead introduce us to the actors starring in it:

For the big screen version, composer Randy Edelman kept the classic tune is kept in tact, but flushed it out with richer orchestration and expanded on the slightly goofy tone of the original (with the visuals to match):

Having now been able to compare both versions of these songs – do you find that you prefer the retro versions or the more modern takes?

Allison has always been fascinated by the power music has when paired with an image – particularly its effect in film. Thanks to a background in recording and her days spent licensing music to various productions (including, of course, movies), Allison can usually be found sticking around to see all the songs noted in a film’s credits and those listening to her iTunes inevitably ask, “What movie is this song from?”

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