The 1970s saw a big shift in animation, away from the more violent superhero, funny animal and action cartoons of the 60s. An example of this is the top superhero cartoon of the decade being “Super Friends,” where the heroes weren’t allowed to punch villains the way they would’ve a decade earlier. Many of the cartoons were knockoffs of “Scooby-Doo” or “Josie and the Pussycats,” or based on a live-action sitcom. Despite this, the theme songs were often the most memorable aspects of the shows.
Here’s a list of my top 10 cartoon theme songs from the 1970s.
The Pink Panther Show
The Pink Panther was DePatie-Freleng’s most popular cartoon effort during the 70s, staying on the air for the entire decade, though it went through various names and several theme songs. The iconic “Pink Panther” theme by Henry Mancini was used for the late 70s incarnation of the show.
I’ve written about the “Super Friends” before, as they made my “best 70s superhero themes” list, too. While the 70s run went through various themes, “The All-New Super Friends Hour” and “Challenge of the Super Friends” are to me the best ones.
Hong Kong Phooey
“Hong Kong Phooey”‘s bumbling hero got a memorable theme, thanks to Scatman Crothers’ voice.
Josie and the Pussycats
“Josie and the Pussycats” managed to get animated by Hanna-Barbera, instead of Filmation like the other Archie Comics-based TV series (“The Archie Show,” “Sabrina the Teenage Witch”) of the time. The spinoff “Josie and the Pussycats in Outer Space” was just as the title says. The lead vocals on the song are by Patrice Holloway, the voice of Valerie in the series.
The New Scooby-Doo Movies
The first of the various spinoffs of “Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?” was 1972’s “The New Scooby-Doo Movies.” Besides the hour long format, the theme song here became the default theme song for the franchise through the late 1970s and most of the 1980s. These days, it’s usually either original music or variations on the original “Where Are You?” theme.
The “Peanuts” specials
Normally I’d avoid listing specials in these lists, but the “Peanuts” specials, or at least the early- to mid-70s ones, stand out as one of the high points of 70s TV animation. “Linus and Lucy” gained fame as the franchise’s theme song from the classic 60s specials, “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” particularly. However, the sound track for the various specials, composed by Vince Guaraldi, also stand out as excellent listening. Guaraldi composed the music for the “Peanuts” specials until his death in 1976.
See my post on “Schoolhouse Rock.”
See my post on “Groovie Goolies.”
The Godzilla Power Hour
See my post on “The Godzilla Power Hour.”
The Scooby-Doo/Dynomutt Hour
See my post on “The Scooby-Doo/Dynomutt Hour” and its various versions, including “The Scooby-Doo Show.”
- Speed Buggy
- Inch High, Private Eye
- The Galloping Ghost
- Yogi’s Space Race
- The All-New Popeye Hour
- The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan
- The Roman Holidays
- The Great Grape Ape Show
Image from "Josie and the Pussycats." (Archie)