One of the most overlooked composers, whose tunes permeate our culture more than fifty years after they debuted, is Vic Mizzy. Mizzy’s themes, such as “The Addams Family” or Green Acres are heard constantly in short refrains at sporting events, commercials, in films and on television shows. His “haunting” melody from “The Ghost and Mr. Chicken” constantly plays in other works. Others have tried to duplicate Mizzy, but none have succeeded.
Author Mark Dawidziak ( several books including the classic: The Columbo Phile: A Casebook (The Mysterious Press, 1989) and The Night Stalker Companion: A 25th Anniversary Tribute (Pomegranate Press, 1997), also appears nationwide doing a re-enactment of Mark Twain AND he is also the television critic of the Cleveland Plain Dealer -is a Vic Mizzy expert (having known him for many years).
Mark recently wrote to us: “I once stumped an expert on TV themes by asking him what group sang Vic Mizzy’s theme song to “The Addams Family.” It’s a trick question. The “group” is Mizzy, who tripled tracked the theme, singing with himself, except, of course, for Ted Cassidy’s dubbed line.”
Mizzy was an original, one of a kind.
Victor “Vic” Mizzy was born January 9, 1916 and passed away 7 years ago on October 17, 2009. Beyond his fame as a television/film composer he had also penned top-20 songs from the 1930s to 1940s.
Mizzy was born in Brooklyn. As a child, he played accordion and piano, and was largely self-taught as a composer. In the late 1930s, Mizzy was based in his native New York City and began composing a string of popular songs. These would include Doris Day’s 1945 hit “My Dreams are Getting Better All of the Time,””There’s a Faraway Look in Your Eye,” an Andrews Sisters hit called “Three Little Sisters” that they sang in Universal Film’s Private Buckaroo. He also wrote songs for the Mills Brothers and the Harry James Orchestra.
In television Mizzy was prolific writing the Addams Family theme and music, Green Acres, Kentucky Jones (Dennis Weaver), The Double Life of Henry Phyffe (Red Buttons), one of my favorites (linked below) The Pruitts of Southhampton (Phyllis Diller), Temperatures Rising (Paul Lynde), the Don Rickles Show, Captain Nice (William Daniels) and even Shirley Temple’s Storybook.
Mizzy did five of Don Knott’s films- most notably the Ghost and Mr. Chicken, How to Frame a Figg, The Love God, The Reluctant Astronaut and The Shakiest Gun in the West. Somehow, Mizzy’s music made those films which were made cheaply- so much better.
Mizzy rewrote and conducted The Addams Family Theme with a slightly different melody for the 1977 television special Halloween with the Addams Family, which reunited most of the original cast of the 1964–1966 TV series.
For more on Mizzy- in his own words- here is the link to the Archive of American Telebision interview (by Karen Herman)-