From Big Band Hits to ‘The Addams Family’ Theme Song
By John Alexander
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Anyone who grew up in the ’60s or ’70s is familiar with “The Addams Family” theme song. In fact, it’s probably stuck like chewing gum in your head — “Buh-buh-buh bump, snap, snap,” and the opening line, “They’re creepy and they’re kooky / Mysterious and spooky / They’re altogether ooky /The Addams Family.” Well, what you might not know is that that song and other popular TV theme songs were written by a guy from Brooklyn named Vic Mizzy.
In a 2008 interview on CBS’ Sunday Morning Show, Mizzy said that since he owned the publishing rights to “The Addams Family” theme, he made out pretty good. He said at the time, “That’s why I’m living in Bel-Air: Two finger snaps and you live in Bel Air.”
Remember “Green Acres,” the spin-off series from the hugely popular “The Beverly Hillbillies?” That series found stars Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor leaving their New York penthouse apartment to live in rural Hooterville. Well, that show’s theme song that begins “Green Acres is the place to be / Farm living is the life for me,” was also composed by Mizzy. And the song is almost as famous as Hooterville’s most popular resident, Arnold the pig.
Mizzy was born in Brooklyn on Jan. 9, 1916. As a child, he taught himself how to play the accordion and piano, and ultimately, to compose music. He graduated from New York University and joined the Navy during World War II. It was during his time in the service that he began writing songs.
In the late 1930s, he started gaining recognition as a songwriter. In 1942 Mizzy’s co-written song “Three Little Sisters” was featured in the film “Private Buckaroos.” It was recorded by the Andrews Sisters, and reached No. 8 on the Billboard chart. That same year band leader Horace Heidt’s rendition made the Top 20, and in 1943 pop vocalist Vaughn Monroe reached No. 13 with his cover.
In 1944, Guy Lombardo and his Orchestra reached No. 11 with Mizzy’s co-write “Take it Easy,” and the vocal group the Merry Macs made it to No. 7 with “Pretty Kitty Eyes,” which Mizzy wrote with songwriter Manny Curtis.
In 1945, Mizzy scored his biggest hit, “My Dreams Are Getting Better All the Time,” another co-write with Curtis that climbed all the way to No. 1 for Doris Day with Les Brown and His Orchestra. The song also made it to No. 3 twice that year, when it was covered by Johnny Long and the Phil Moore Four.
In the late 1950s, Mizzy began composing music for film and television, including the scores for “Shirley Temple’s Storybook,” and a series of Don Knotts films including “The Ghost and Mr. Chicken.”
For television he wrote the theme songs for a number of series such as “The Don Rickles Show,” in 1968, in which he also appeared as a regular, and “The Pruits of Southampton,” Phyllis Diller’s 1966-’67 sitcom that tried to capitalize on the “Beverly Hillbillies” success, this time having a poor family pretending to be rich while living in a mansion on Long Island.
Mizzy died on Oct. 17, 2009 at his home in Bel Air, California. Trivia buffs take note: Mizzy appeared in an uncredited role in an episode of “Green Acres” playing an organ salesman, which seems appropriate for a Brooklyn boy who parlayed his love of music into a versatile career in nearly all facets of the entertainment industry.