Tuesday 30 November 2021

Space 1999: most exciting opening theme and titles - ever?


Space 1999 was a live action show by the puppetmeisters Gerry and Sylvia Anderson with music by the great Barry Gray 

The theme alternates grandiose-epic orchestral chords with a guitar-driven rock tune. The arrangement is typically Gray-esque: no-holds-barred and completely over-the-top!

But it is the way that the music is rapidly cut in time with snippets of action and reaction from the show which makes it classic.

Can you imagine the excitement generated in the mind of a kid of the right age, confronted by this? Sadly, my recollection is that the show itself was rather turgid. 

The basic idea of this music and fast, rhythmic cutting is so good that it has since been applied to the early Star Wars movies, with equal success:


Dr. Mabuse said...

OK, it's the duel of the Gerry Andersen/Barry Gray openings! Which is better, 'Space 1999' or 'UFO'? I'd say the music is more thrilling from 'Space 1999', but the visuals are much more exciting for 'UFO'. I was a fervent fan of both shows. 'Space 1999' was really only good for the first season. 'UFO' was good all the way through, but much more slow-moving, and it never really reached a conclusion by the end.

Doktor Jeep said...

I wanted one of those space ships so bad. :-(

ted said...

I use to love Space 1999. I always thought a good creative team could recreate it much like they did with Battlestar Galatica 2004-2009 (a great reboot by the way!).

Bruce Charlton said...

@DM - UFO - yes indeed. I had already blogged on this - https://charltonteaching.blogspot.com/2017/03/the-best-tv-theme-and-introductory.html - although I see the link has gone dead. I'd say UFO had the better music, qua music - I often return to it.

You may enjoy these: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJbj-ZZFUDs - background mood music from the series (different orchestrations and tempi of the main theme) and:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23I8sD4WMqY - four rehearsals/ takes from the recording session of the main theme - amazing this survived!

In retrospect, I am not sure how much of my enjoyment of the UFO was from appreciating the show, and how much was simply due to watching Gabrielle Drake - because she is pretty-much all I remember now.

BTW - I once met Ed Bishop - star of UFO (and voice of Captain Blue), when he acted in a music-drama I once wrote for the radio: https://solitude-exile-ecstasy.blogspot.com/2013/06/solitude-exile-and-ecstasy.html

Todd said...

Loved Space 1999 as a kid.
I got one of their ships (the Alphas? What were they called?) as a Christmas toy.
Not sure why the show was so compelling. But I found it so.