MELISSA BLOCK, host:
A man who made a lasting contribution to 1960s TV culture has died. Vic Mizzy wrote the theme songs for "Green Acres," and "The Addams Family." He was 93 years old.
NPR's Neda Ulaby has his story.
NEDA ULABY: Vic Mizzy was a practitioner of a lost art, writing TV theme songs with lyrics that sum up the premise of the show.
(Soundbite of theme song, "Green Acres")
Mr. EDDIE ALBERT (Actor): (As Oliver Douglas) (Singing) Green acres is the place to be. Farm living is the life for me. Land spreading out so far and wide. Keep Manhattan, just give me that countryside.
ULABY: Vic Mizzy's themes were upbeat, jazzy, and they still influence TV theme songs today.
Mr. JEFF RICHMOND (Musician): Vic Mizzy, I read your playbook.
ULABY: Jeff Richmond wrote the theme song to "30 Rock." He says Mizzy knew the secret to a great theme song.
Mr. RICHMOND: You want to be able to hear it in the kitchen and know, oh, my show's on.
(Soundbite of song, "The Addams Family Theme")
Mr. VIC MIZZY (Musician): (humming) Bah bah bahm…
(Soundbite of clapping)
Mr. MIZZY: (humming) Bah bah bahm…
ULABY: In an earlier interview with the Archive of American Television, Mizzy said he wanted the timing in "The Addams Family" opening sequence to be perfect. So he insisted on using a tool called the click track.
Mr. MIZZY: Well, the director, Sidney Lanfield, he didn't know from click track. He said, look, Vic, you wrote it, you said it. Why don't you just do it? So, I directed the main title on camera.
(Soundbite of theme song, "The Addams Family")
Unidentified Man: (Singing) Their house is a museum, where people come to see them. They really are a scream. The Addams Family. Neat. Sweet…
ULABY: For "The Addams Family" theme song, Mizzy recorded his own voice and overdubbed it three times. He's playing the harpsichord, too. Vic Mizzy used to joke that he bought his mansion in Bel Air with a couple of finger snaps. That's where he died on Saturday. The cause was heart failure. Mizzy's funeral was held today in California.
Neda Ulaby, NPR News.