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I’m a sucker for a great TV title tune. Every Monday at 10 p.m. my wife and I used to turn on Northern Exposure, check out the opening sounds, groove with the moose, and switch off the box before any of those insufferably “quirky” twits from Cicely, Alaska, opened their self-actualizing yaps. But the golden age of TV themes ran from the early ’60s to the mid ’70s, which by happy coincidence was also the heyday of the Ventures. America’s most prolific cover band reigned for so long because it rarely failed to do a ditty justice, its performance sometimes transcending the original version, and never mucked up a good melody with unwelcome vocals. Having the benefit of hindsight, the Ventures also knew how to pack an album with hits. This compilation of telethemes is chock-a-block full of chicka-chicka-wah, funk-in-a-bottle ’70s favorites, from the triangle-driven “Baretta’s Theme (Keep Your Eye on the Sparrow)” to the heavily orchestrated (and just plain heavy) “Theme from S.W.A.T.” There are mid-’60s wang-bar excursions such as “Secret Agent Man” and reverb-heavy trem-toners like “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” Anyone who yearns as do I for the forbidden adventure once promised weekly by the intro to The Six Million Dollar Man (today’s youth will be surprised to learn that as a third-grader I was prohibited such violent fare) will take this collection to heart, albeit a heart saddened by the inexcusable omission of that most celestial of little symphonies for the tube.

—Glenn Dixon