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15 Badass TV Credit Sequences from the 70s6

By B.Z.

15 Badass TV Credit Sequences from the 70s

While the 70s often evoke images of roller skates, disco, and afros, they also bring back memories of classic television. Back then, the networks were the only game in town and they really worked at making those opening credits count. Everyone knew the music for their favorite show. When you heard the first bars of that opening sequence, you sat down on your plaid couch and were prepared for TV that kicked ass. The impact of those catchy 70s intros still resonates today. Whether it’s within the Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage,” Jay-Z’s “D.O.A” video, or webisodes of the KoldCast comedy series “Murder Squad,” the spirit of 70s TV is alive and well. With this spirit in mind, let’s take a look at 15 badass 70s credit sequences that made you want to watch TV. And then afterwards, who knows, maybe drink a 40, listen to some Jay-Z, and/or watch the “Murder Squad” hi-jinx the sh#t out of the procedural workplace. Just a thought.

Murder Squad: Episode 1 – Field Trip

1. “Chips” (1977-1983)

“Chips” revolved around the adventures of two California Highway Patrol officers. You’ve got to love this credit sequence for highlighting their awesome Kawasaki bikes and giving us a close-up of those Smith and Wesson guns strapped to their legs. It somehow made those dorky highway patrolmen seem pretty badass.

2. “The Jeffersons” (1975-1985)

“Movin On Up!” may be one of the best TV themes ever. Even those that never watched “The Jeffersons” know the lyrics. While the credits changed over the years, they never lost George Jefferson’s signature strut, not to mention some of his dance moves. And just singing along with the theme made everyone happy that this couple found their deluxe apartment in the sky.

3. “The Dukes of Hazzard” (1979-1985)

With Bo and Luke Duke tooling around in the General Lee, Waylon Jenning’s theme song playing in the background, and Catherine Bach sporting her infamous “Daisy Dukes,” watching the opening was, for many, even better than watching an entire episode of “The Dukes of Hazzard.” What else does an opener need besides car chases, a hot girl, and a killer song? Absolutely nothing.

4. “Charlie’s Angels” (1976-1981)

There is definitely a lot to digest in the opener to this 70′s hit. Explaining why three smoking-hot women joined the police force (and now worked covertly for “Charlie”) was no small task. However, it also allowed them to use lots of bikini shots of Jaclyn Smith, Farrah Fawcett and Kate Jackson. Producer Aaron Spelling was certainly a genius.

5. “Wonder Woman” (1975-1979)

Most 70’s shows were cheesy, but they don’t get much cheesier than “Wonder Woman.” In the intro’s most famous scene, a twirling Lynda Carter ignites a spectacular explosion just before her transformation. 70′s special effects are fairly entertaining anyway, but watching her bend that “metal” rod is out of this world.

6. “Bonanza” (1959-1973)

“Bonanza,” a popular Western, told the story of the Cartwright family and their ranch, the Ponderosa. The show was a hit with audiences and became one of the longest running Westerns in history. Could the intro have been responsible for its success? At least partially. With its map of the plains famously burning off the screen, few could ever forget the tune or the show.

7. “Hawaii 5-0” (1968-1980)

On this 70’s classic, the Hawaiian state police force, run expertly by ex-Navy officer Steve McGarrett, handled everything from jewel thieves to mafia syndicates. The show’s intro enticed audiences with exciting music, bikini-clad women, a couple of belly-dancers and lots of beach scenery. It looks like Michael Mann took some cues from the “Hawaii 5-0″ opener when he made “Miami Vice.”

8. “The Mod Squad” (1968-1973)

How do you fight crime amongst the heated racial and gender politics of the 70’s? With a white guy, a black guy and a blonde chick, of course! The members of “The Mod Squad” were juvenile delinquents who became cops to avoid jail time. The premise is both ridiculous and intriguing at the same time. “The Mod Squad” was quite a hit in the early 70′s, even if it was farfetched. Peggy Lipton, a cop? Um, okay. Luckily the intro kicks ass.

9. Kojak (1973-1978)

Few cops were as cynical, dark or as cool as Kojak. Who else could pull off investigations while sucking on a lollipop, or utter the phrase “Who loves ya, baby?” without seeming like a douche? Such an awesome character deserves an awesome intro, and this opening sequence certainly fits the bill. Even though he’s old and bald (and dead), Telly Savalas as Kojak will always be badass.

10. “The Six Million Dollar Man” (1974-1978)

Steve Austin (played by Lee Majors) was the man. Part human, part super-human, Austin’s secret agent couldn’t be cooler if he tried. Like all good intros, the opening for “The Six Million Dollar Man” gives you all the back-story you’ll need and a catchy song, as well.

We couldn’t find an embed, but click here to see “The Six Million Dollar Man” intro.

11. “S.W.A.T.” (1975)

“Special Weapons and Tactics,” or S.W.A.T., lasted only a season. But few can forget the funky, porn-sounding theme song that played as the officers geared up. S.W.A.T. was apparently taken off the air for being too violent, or as we like to say, too awesome!

12. “Starsky and Hutch” (1975-1979)

Never in the history of television were two partners more committed to car chases. There is hardly a moment in the show when these two cops aren’t sliding over the hood, jumping into their car, or chasing another car. Not to mention, they are driving a red Ford Gran Torino. The only thing more badass than their car is their intro.

13. “The Bionic Woman” (1976-1978)

“The Six-Million Dollar Man” worked. So why not make the Six-Million Dollar Woman? That was the question network executives must have been asking themselves when they made “The Bionic Woman.” It’s basically the same show except for a hot chick in the lead and a slightly different, yet no less badass, theme song.

14. “Ironside” (1967-1975)

The often forgotten “Ironside” was a successful show about Detective Robert Ironside. After being paralyzed by a sniper’s bullet, he still fought crime from his wheelchair. The graphics and the music from the opener are interesting and seemed to have influenced later shows. You can tell that Quentin Tarantino might have watched a little “Ironside” as a kid.

15. “Dallas” (1978-1991)

Sex, crime, deceit, and hot women: “Dallas” had it all. Few cities can pull off this type of bravado. The show cleverly exploits all the stereotypes about Texas. Steers, oil money, big hats, big hair and Texas pride all play a role, but we think it was the catchy intro that kept people coming back for more.

Murder Squad: Episode 2 – Sex Offenders

Murder Squad: Episode 3 – Testosterone Test

Additional Episodes

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Must Reads 8/23/2014