It’s not Cheers or Friends or even MASH. It’s not Who’s The Boss or Leave It To Beaver or The Brady Bunch. Nor is it Scooby Doo or Monday Night Football or Arrested Development. No, the greatest TV show intro ever edited is none other than …
The Six Million Dollar Man!
First of all, it’s encompassed by swanky 70s music, heavy on bass guitar and strings accompaniment. The theme song gets into your head and haunts you for days. Half of a great TV intro is having sweet music that neither bugs you nor pisses you off. It has to seep into your skin and stay with you the whole next day, giving you an aura of coolness and respectability. It has to add to your personality and confidence. It has to become your personal theme song.
The second requirement is excellent footage and editing. The Six Million Dollar Man sort of cheated in this respect in that the audio between the tower and Colonel Steve Austin was actual audio from a downed test pilot who crashed a Northrop M2-F2. And in fact, the video you see in the intro of the test plane coming in for a landing, rocking, and then crashing, was of the actual crash in 1967. The TV studio got special permission to use it from NASA. It’s expertly edited between shots of Steve Austin (Lee Majors) in the cockpit until finally, the crash.
Cut to the surgery room. Medical equipment. Machines beeping, showing vitals. Close-ups of robotics. An air pipe taped to Steve Austin’s mouth. Oscar Gordon narrating, saying how he’s “A man barely alive. We can rebuild him. We have the technology. We can make him better than he was. Better, stronger, faster.” Footage of Austin in rehab, running sixty miles an hour. A straight camera shot, concentration on Austin’s face. Music crescendo … freeze-frame … cue title screen … The Six Million Dollar Man.
Awesome, man, just awesome.
PS … a note … close second places go to Airwolf and The X-Files.