Monthly Archives: January 2016

The Actor with the Best Theme Songs

When I associate actors with theme songs I come up with combinations like Alan Alda and Mash, Hal Linden and Barney Miller and Alan Reed (voice of Fred Flintstone) and, well, The Flintstones.

But there’s one actor that is associated with three great theme songs.

Last Thanksgiving I mentioned to my brother, Rick, that I was thinking of performing the theme from Secret Agent at The Top Shelf’s next show.  Secret Agent was a popular spy show from the 1960s, starred Patrick McGoohan, and had a great theme song (“Secret Agent Man”) that became a big hit for Johnny Rivers.

Here’s a clip of Rivers performing the song for the TV show Live at the Hollywood Palace.

Rick thought that “Secret Agent Man” was good, but that I should do “High Wire” instead.

I looked at my brother like I didn’t know what he was talking about because I in fact did not know what he was talking about.

Rick, showing more patience with me than usual, explained that “High Wire” was the theme song to Danger Man.

I again looked at my brother like I didn’t know what he was talking about because…

With even greater patience, Rick explained that Danger Man was the name in the UK for Secret Agent and that Danger Man had its own theme song, “High Wire.”

And that theme song is terrific.  Here’s a clip of it performed by Jools Holland and his band from a documentary about the song’s composer, Edwin Astley.

But wait, there’s more.

Patrick McGoohan starred in a cult sci-fi / mystery series called The Prisoner and it, too, had a great theme song (one at the start of the show and a different one for the closing credits).  Here’s a snippet.

Does any other actor come close to having this many great theme songs?

And if this arsenal doesn’t elevate McGoohan to “serious badass” in your eyes, consider this clip of him playing drums from the 1962 film All Night Long.

While McGoohan is not, in fact, playing drums he apparently worked very hard so that it would be convincing.

Mr. McGoohan, you are in a class of your own.