Tuesday Is Theme Tunes Day – Buck Rogers In The 25th Century

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This week’s classic theme tune comes from cheesy 70s sci-fi adventure Buck Rogers In The 25th Century.

Like Space: 1999, the show last week’s classic theme tune came from, it appeared shortly after Star Wars hit cinemas and was clearly an attempt, at least in part, to cash in on the success of that film and the resultant resurgent popularity of sci-fi.

The show was the brainchild of the prolific Glen A. Larson, though the character of Buck Rogers has been around since 1928, first appearing in two novellas by Philip Francis Nowlan published in the magazine Amazing Stories.

Larson’s take on the character starred Gil Gerard as Buck, an astronaut whose mission in 1987 goes disastrously wrong when he is frozen in suspended animation as his space shuttle careers out of control, its altered orbit returning him back to Earth 500 years after he left, rather than the planned five months.

The series initially sees him trying to fit in to the futuristic society, while also helping to defend the planet from alien threats.

He is mainly aided by love-interest Colonel Wilma Deering (ahhhh, Wilma…), played by Erin Gray, and a pint-sized comedy robot called Twiki, whose voice was provided by the legendary Mel Blanc (best known for providing the voices of all the main Warner Brothers cartoon characters, including Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck).

Buck Rogers In The 25th Century actually appeared on the big screen before debuting on TV – the pilot episode was released in cinemas months before the series began on NBC. More about the film version in a moment…

The series debuted in September 1979 and ran for two seasons, with a major revamp in between the two.

Here, then, are the opening titles for season one (the video also includes the closing titles and a short closing scene featuring Wilma and Twiki):

Vodpod videos no longer available.

And here are the season two titles (the music is almost identical but the visuals and the opening narration have changed):

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Now, you remember that cinema version of the pilot I mentioned?

Well, here are the opening titles from that, which are notable for a couple of very good reasons.

First, there is the theme tune, which is the same as the TV version but is longer and has lyrics added.

Second, and far more importantly for those of us who were young lads when the show first aired and who were, shall we say, somewhat… uh… smitten by Wilma Deering, especially when she was wearing her white fighter pilot’s uniform… or her purple satin leisure suit… um… where was I?

Oh yes, the movie’s opening title sequence. Actually, you know what, I’m not going to spoil it for you – just check it this extraordinary piece of movie history for yourself (don’t read any further until you’ve watched it):

Vodpod videos no longer available.

I love the way that they explain the fact that Buck is writhing around on the floor with the show’s two main (scantily-clad) female characters by explaining in the opening narration that: “For 500 years, Buck Rogers drifted through a world in which reality and fantasy merged into a timeless dream”.

What a perv! Do they get special training for that at NASA?

The result is sort of like a cross between the opening titles of Barbarella and a Bond movie, as shot by a bad soft-porn director. It’s just so wrong… and yet, somehow, so right.

But maybe that’s just me. In any case, I can’t resist signing off with this pic (hey, it’s an important part of my childhood! The show, I mean…):


Filed under Classic TV, Tuesday Is Theme Tunes Day

5 responses to “Tuesday Is Theme Tunes Day – Buck Rogers In The 25th Century

  1. checkwon

    ohhh, Wilma 🙂 You’re a bad, bad, choob. All I have to say is I was 11-13 while Buck Rogers was airing. Thanks for the memories.

  2. What can I say, Check? I’ve yet to meet anyone of my generation (30 – mid 40s) who doesn’t have a *ahem* soft spot for Wilma Deering.

    On a not-entirely-unrelated note, where do you stand on Nena?

  3. robertlindsey58

    We just watched this and were surprised at the soft-porn opening. I told my wife that every pre-teen and probably teen and probably adult male had a crush on Erin Grey. I also told her I am going to get her a purple body suit.

  4. Yeah, it’s an eye-opener given the innocent nature of the TV show.

    Purple body suits… every home should have (at least) one!

    Thanks for the comment mate and for stopping by.

  5. Pingback: And Then There Were Fifty Thousand! « The Cathode Ray Choob

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