Quiz: Can You Name the ’70s TV Show From Its Theme Song Lyrics?: HowStuffWorks
Can You Name the ’70s TV Show From Its Theme Song Lyrics?
By: Bambi Turner
7 Min Quiz
Image: subjug/E+/Getty Images
About This Quiz
Remember the story of a man named Jed, a deluxe apartment in the sky, or who sat next to the piano to croon "Those Were the Days"? Know which series opened with a "Schlemiel, Schlimazel," a little bit of country, or a knock on our door? Take our quiz to test your '70s TV theme song IQ!
Considering that '70s music charts were ruled by disco - sorry Bee Gees - and folksy singer-songwriters, it's easy to forget that the decade also produced dozens of catchy TV theme songs. As viewers tuned in week after week, these songs earwormed their way into the consciousness of fans, so while you probably can't remember every episode of "The Brady Bunch," it only takes those few opening notes of the theme song for you to know what show is about to start, and you might not remember the name of Mary's boss or where she worked, but you probably know instantly "who can turn the world on with her smile."
But what if we took away the tunes and just gave you the words? Are you such a '70s TV expert that you can identify the series from only the theme song lyrics? Take our quiz to find out!
"Once upon a time, there were three little girls who went to the Police Academy."
Seventies drama "Charlie's Angels" didn't exactly have a theme song, but each episode did begin with a mysterious man named Charlie telling viewers how he met his angels. The show featured three beautiful detectives and looms so large in pop culture it inspired a 2000 film starring Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore and Lucy Liu.
"We're moving on up, to the East Side, to a deluxe apartment in the sky."
With '70s sitcom "The Jeffersons," viewers got to see Sherman Hemsley as George Jefferson, a successful dry cleaner who made enough money to move his family to a high-end apartment on the East Side. Looks like George and Weezie finally got their piece of the pie.
"Come and listen to my story 'bout a man named Jed, a poor mountaineer, barely kept his family fed."
When Jed Clampett strikes gold in his own backyard, he and the family pack up and head to Beverly ... Hills that is. Viewers of this '60s and '70s sitcom were treated to hilarious antics as the Clampett family struggled to adjust to life among the moneyed class.
"Keep Manhattan, just give me that countryside."
In "Green Acres," a New York tycoon and his wife leave the big city behind for rural living - she less willingly than her hubby. As Oliver and Lisa settle into Green Acres, they are forced to adjust to country living, including a surprisingly human pig named Arnold Ziffel.
"Give us any chance, we'll take it. Read us any rule, we'll break it. We're gonna make our dreams come true, doin' it our way."
You may not know what a schlimazel is, but you probably recognize these lyrics from "Laverne & Shirley." This series about two single girls living it up in the city and working at a brewery ran from 1976 to 1983. (By the way, a schlimazel is an unlucky person.)
"Now the world don't move to the beat of just one drum. What might be right for you may not be right for some."
When their mother dies, Arnold and Willis Jackson are sent to live with the wealthy Mr. Drummond on "Diff'rent Strokes." The show includes plenty of lessons about life, race and childhood, but let's be honest - it's probably best remembered for a certain catchphrase, "Whatchoo talkin' 'bout, Willis?"
"Who can turn the world on with her smile? Who can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?"
"The Mary Tyler Moore Show" was a game changer, featuring an unmarried woman working alone in the big city. While the series was both entertaining and revolutionary, the average viewer probably has the strongest memories of the theme song, which ends with Mary jubilantly throwing her hat in the air.
"Here's the story of a lovely lady who was bringing up three very lovely girls."
"The Brady Bunch" introduced viewers to a happy blended family in the form of the Bradys in the 1970s, as the lovely Carol met a man named Brady and they raised their six kids together. Despite footballs to the nose and a dog that mysteriously disappeared after a season or two, the lighthearted show was a huge pop-culture hit, spawning spin-offs and TV movies for decades after it aired.
"Makin' their way, the only way they know how. Well, that's just a little bit more than the law will allow."
Premiering in 1979, "The Dukes of Hazzard" featured a couple of good old boys. Though Bo and Luke Duke never meant no harm, that didn't stop them from getting in plenty of scrapes and wrecking countless cars before the show ended in 1985.
"Hello world, here's a song that we're singin'. Come on, get happy."
Be honest - did you watch "The Partridge Family" for the great storylines and velvet jumpsuits, or were you just crushing on David Cassidy? The show about a family who forms a traveling band and rides aboard a psychedelic bus ran for four seasons, from 1970 to 1974.
"Set a course for adventure, your mind on a new romance."
"Come aboard, we're expecting you." Premiering in 1977, "The Love Boat" swept viewers away on matchmaking cruises aboard the Pacific Princess. The silly series featured lots of laughs, great guest stars and a cheesy yet fun premise that kept viewers tuned in from the '70s all the way through 1987.
"You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both, and there you have..."
A "Diff'rent Strokes" spin-off, "The Facts of Life" told the story of Blair, Jo, Natalie and Tootie as they navigated life at a boarding school. It was Mrs. Garrett, played by Charlotte Rae, who taught the girls and their classmates all about the facts of life in this beloved series.
"Fighting for your rights, and the old red, white and blue."
The '70s take on this classic superhero character starred Linda Carter as the scantily clad Wonder Woman. In the series, an Amazon princess named Diana rescues a fallen pilot. With her golden lasso by her side, she flies to Washington, D.C., in an invisible plane and uses her special powers to beat up bad guys.
"Come ride the little train that is rolling down the tracks..."
Who wouldn't watch a show about three beautiful young ladies who swam naked in the local water tower and a petite hotel owner who pretty much ran the local train lines? "Petticoat Junction," which ran from 1963 to 1970, was part of the rural revival that also included shows like "Green Acres" and "The Beverly Hillbillies."
"Marshall, Will and Holly, on a routine expedition, met the greatest earthquake ever known."
On the air from 1974 to 1977, "Land of the Lost" was an adventurous sci-fi series about a family who got sent back in time to the age of dinosaurs. Fans got a nostalgic treat when it was remade into a major 2009 film starring Will Ferrell.
"Keeping your head above water, making a wave when you can."
J.J. and the rest of the Evans family had a hard time surviving in the projects of Chicago. The family made it through "temporary lay-offs," "hanging in and jivin'" - and downright child abuse of a young Janet Jackson - with plenty of family togetherness and love.
"I'm so glad we had this time together, just to have a laugh or sing a song."
"The Carol Burnett Show" was a beloved sketch comedy show that ran from 1967 to 1978. Though it didn't exactly have an opening theme, Burnett ended each episode by crooning, "I'm so glad we had this time together," a tune penned by her husband.
"Hey you guys! We're gonna turn it on. We're gonna bring you the power."
"The Electric Company" was the fun-yet-educational show for kids who were no longer interested in Big Bird and the gang on "Sesame Street." This '70s sketch comedy was designed to both entertain and educate, teaching kids everything from reading to grammar to social skills and more.
"See her tug her ear, we'll see her disappear."
Archie Comics have been entertaining fans for decades, and the character of Sabrina Spellman was introduced to the series in 1962. The teen witch got her own animated series in 1971, which ran for four seasons and inspired some spin-offs of its own.
"Come and knock on our door. We've been waiting for you."
"Three's Company" ran from 1976 to 1984. The funny series introduced the world to Jack Tripper, a man forced to pretend he was gay so he could live in peace with two platonic female roommates. The series starred the late John Ritter in one of his most beloved roles.
"Truer than the red, white and blue ... That's me and you."
While best remembered now as the show that inspired "Happy Days," "Love, American Style" was actually a huge hit in its own right in the '70s. This series featured a blend of comedy and drama, with an ever-changing cast of characters and a theme song performed by the Cowsills during the first season.
"Ladies and gentlemen, the story you are about to see is true. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent."
Though not exactly a theme song, "Dragnet" did have a very memorable opening theme. After the sound of a ringing telephone, viewers were informed in a somber tone that the story to come was true. This classic stars Sargent Joe Friday - and he's just looking for the facts, ma'am.
"It's time to put on makeup. It's time to dress up right. It's time to raise the curtain..."
It's hard to believe how long the Muppets have been delighting viewers. The '70s series "The Muppet Show" premiered in 1976 and ran into the '80s, featuring favorites like Kermit and Miss Piggy interviewing a series of guest stars, both live and puppet.
"There's a new girl in town with a brand new style. She was just passing through, but if things work out, she's gonna stay awhile."
When her husband dies, Alice packs up her life and heads to Hollywood. When her car breaks down in Arizona, she is forced to make a life for herself and her son, working as a waitress at Mel's Diner. This classic '70s comedy ran from 1976 to 1985 and used the theme song "There's a New Girl in Town."
"Well the names have all changed since you hung around, but those dreams have remained and they've turned around."
When Gabe Kotter returns to school, he's given the difficult job of teaching a group of less-than-eager kids called the Sweathogs. John Travolta appears in the '70s series as Vinnie Barbarino, leader of the Sweathogs on "Welcome Back, Kotter."
"I'm a little bit country, and I'm a little bit rock and roll. I'm a little bit of Memphis and Nashville, with a little bit of Motown in my soul."
After the Osmond family made it big in the '60s, siblings Donny and Marie hosted their own variety series from 1976 to 1979. In addition to the country/rock opening theme, the pair sang, danced and performed sketch comedy.
"This is life, the one you get, so go and have a ball. This is it, straight ahead and rest assured you can't be sure at all."
Seventies sitcom "One Day at a Time" focused on a single mom trying to raise two teen girls. The show, which starred Mackenzie Phillips and Valerie Bertinelli, was so popular that it got a Netflix reboot in 2017 with an all-Latino cast.
"Friends forever, ask anyone in this town. When you're in a tussle, need some muscle, I'll be there at your side."
"The Good Guys" only aired from 1968 through 1970, but it was memorable for two major things; first, for its pure pop theme song with sweet lyrics of friendship; and second, for the fact that it starred Bob Denver. Though he never replicated the success of "Gilligan's Island," seeing him on "The Good Guys" allowed viewers the chance to visit an old friend.
"Hey there, where ya goin'? Not exactly knowin'. Who says you have to call just one place home?"
From 1979 to 1981, "B.J. and the Bear" took advantage of the CB radio trend sweeping the nation, resulting in a show about a long-haul trucker named B.J. McKay who takes a partner on the road. His partner? A chimpanzee. Named Bear. Yeah, it's probably no surprise the show only lasted three seasons.
"Everybody shout! Come on now, sing out!"
"Groovie Goolies" was a "Sabrina the Teenage Witch" spinoff, which was itself a spinoff of "The Archies." This very silly series focused on a gang of animated monsters living in a boarding house and playing music in their spare time.
"Baby, if you ever wondered, wondered whatever became of me."
"I'm living on the air in Cincinnati. Cincinnati WKRP." This '70s sitcom features a boring radio station that makes the switch to Top 40, taking Les Nessman, Venus Flytrap, Jennifer Marlowe and other classic characters along for the ride.
"Lady Godiva was a freedom rider, she didn't care if the whole world looked. Joan of Arc with the Lord to guide her, she was a sister who really cooked."
"Maude" premiered in 1972 and starred Bea Arthur as a strong and outspoken woman living in New York. The show's theme song "And Then There's Maude," attempted to capture her bold spirit by comparing her to Joan of Arc, Lady Godiva and Betsy Ross.
"Boy, the way Glenn Miller played, songs that made the 'Hit Parade.' Guys like us we had it made, those were the days."
From 1971 to 1979, "All in the Family" was one of the most loved, yet most controversial, shows on TV. Fans tuned in to watch Archie Bunker and his wife, Edith, who opened each episode sitting at the piano singing the show's theme song.
"Sweepin' the clouds away, on my way to where the air is sweet."
Move over, Elmo! When "Sesame Street" premiered in 1969, it featured a much smaller cast of puppets performing skits and songs. At the time, Oscar the Grouch and Big Bird were the only regulars. The show has since expanded, with new friends like Abby Cadabby and the Count joining the crew.
"Goodbye gray sky, hello blue. There's nothing can hold me, when I hold you."
After using "Rock Around the Clock" as its theme song for a few years, "Happy Days" switched to this tune, with its chorus of "These days are ours." Airing from 1974 to 1984, the series introduced viewers to Richie Cunningham, his friends Ralph, Potsie and Fonzie - oh, and Scott Baio as Chachi.
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