2333 Directionless.

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In the intrest of this being posted close to on time I’ll write my blurb in a moment. Patreon. Subscribestar. These don’t create themselves, in site of what the quality, or opinions of my peers, might have you believe.

Frank Bonner, who played Herb Tarleck on WKRP IN Cincinnati passed away today or yesterday, or however long ago depending on who ever is reading this whenever. I was quite young when it was on television, but I saw quite a bit of it. Whenever a star passes from it I’m reminded of those times. I always liked the theme song, but as a child I didn’t truly appreciate the simple story it tells:

Baby, if you’ve ever wondered
Wondered whatever became of me
I’m living on the air in Cincinnati, Cincinnati, WKRP

Got kind of tired packing and unpacking
Town to town and up and down the dial
Maybe you and me were never meant to be
But baby think of me once in awhile

Heading up that highway
Leaving you behind
Hardest thing I’ve ever had to do
Broke my heart in two
But Baby, pay no mind
The price for finding me was losing you

Memories help me hide my lonesome feelin’
Far away from you and feelin’ low
It’s gettin’ late my friend, I miss you so
Take good care of you, I’ve gotta go

Baby, if you’ve ever wondered
Wondered whatever became of me
I’m living on the air in Cincinnati, Cincinnati, WKRP

Got kind of tired packing and unpacking
Town to town and up and down the dial
Maybe you and me were never meant to be
But baby think of me once in awhile
I’m at WKRP in Cincinnati

The first two parts are all that were sung on television, but the internet showed me that the story continues a bit more in the full song. It’s such a heartbreaking & hopeful song. The singer is looking back while moving forward. “The price for finding me was losing you” I feel that keenly now that I’ve lived some 40 + years. I look back and wonder if I was worth that price.
This is one of my top three theme songs from TV if not #1. It has come to mind, unbidden, many times.


The actress, Julie Andrews, said this- about the rough spots, + the great spots, in her career + other experiences:
“No experience is wasted.”

(Julie Andrews was in the 1964 film- Mary Poppins.)

Has Julie Andrews been so forgotten that people need prompting as to who she was? She was in an obscure little movie called The Sound Of Music, too.

Heh, heh!
I guess I was going by [someone’s] rule that, if the pop culture or film you’re mentioning is 40 years old, or older, that the cool kids in college, + grade school, might not know it yet.

[Also…] I’m *cough* somewhere over 25, + I’m trying to avoid writing comments like: “Heyyy Sonny! Let me tell you about when I met TEDDY ROOSEVELT! And yesterday…I took a ride in a genuine…automobile!”

Speaking of which, the actor who played opposite Julie Andrews as Captain Von Trapp in the Sound of Music (Christopher Plummer) passed away earlier this year. He was a Canadian actor who was most famous for his many film roles, but many people don’t know he was also a Shakespearean stage actor for much of his career. I was lucky enough to see him a few times at the Festival Theatre in Stratford, Ontario. He performed in a lot of different plays, but the performance that always sticks in my mind was King Lear. Just through the skill of his acting, he made Lear a once-clever and respected king who was now losing his mind through Alzheimer’s. The symptoms were all there and you could practically track the disease’s progress as the play went on. It was amazing.

It’s a great theme song, and Frank Bonner played a great foil. I’m sorry he’s gone. It seems like we’re at that age where more and more stars from our youth are staring to pass away. He seemed like a genuinely good guy. I’ll have to watch a few episodes of the show in his memory. For what it’s worth, every memory I look back on that makes me cringe I try and stop and think how it helped me to be a better person today. (Can I ask what are the other 2 TV themes that come to you?)

Knight Rider & Magnum PI are the ones that get stuck in my head at the same level of regularity as WKRP’s.

I would have to say the theme from Greatest American Hero is the one that sticks with me most from my childhood.

If some have to get stuck in your head, those are certainly as good as any. I try to push out The Facts of Life or Small Wonder by thinking of Get Smart instead

I loved that series, I think Barney Miller came on before or after it. Wow, I just remembered the infamous Turkey Drop episode. Good times when I was a kid. Oh Shoot! Good Times was the name of another show I watched. Man now I am going down a nostalgia trip…

We’ll miss you Frank.

Frank Bonner played a smarmy salesman like no one else. It’s a shame he had such little work. But he was part of something much greater than himself, and he has a legacy that will live on. Good news, all told.

(Would have edited to add if I could) I remember taking a training course for a job selling radio advertising back in the long-ago; Herb Tarlek was mentioned by name as a “don’t” example.

That was a very good show at the time. Bonner cheerfully pulled off a character who sported the worst menswear available in a decade noted for bad menswear and regularly got shot down like a flaming zeppelin by Loni Anderson.

For many of us at this point, the price is paid and the ticket bought. You just gotta make the most out of what is left of the ride.

For some reason I stumbled upon the theme song for WKRP in Cincinnati recently, and I thought again, “what did the song have to do with the TV show?” It IS a nice little story ballad, but other than the call letters (btw, VERY similar to an actual station in Cincinnati, WKRC), it didn’t reflect anything about the program or the story of any of its characters. Most TV theme songs (a long-gone genre) had SOME relationship to the show’s story or characters.

In the first episode Andy comes in as the new station director. The implication is that he is starting over in a new place, which is revealed over the course of the series to be something he did regularly until coming to WKRP. The song is a passive backstory for him.

Often times theme writers were given only vague hints as to what went on in the show, maybe even just the pilot episode. John Sebastian went about writing a theme song for an ABC show that had the working title of “Kotter” and was told it was about a teacher returning to his old high school to teach troubled students. After working hard on rhymes for Kotter and making them sound good in song, he gave up and focused on the basic premise, he liked it enough that he released a full version of “Welcome Back” which, after hearing the theme caused the ABC execs to change the show’s name to “Welcome Back, Kotter”.

The best thing a theme song should be is memorable. There’s even the case of “Peter Gunn” where the theme song which had no lyrics was very memorable (showing up in the Spyhunter video game), but the TV show was not.

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