MARCH’S LOST LEGEND OF THE MONTH: THE UNSOLVED MYSTERIES “UPDATE” THEME.
If there’s one thing our corrupt world can all agree on, it’s that the Unsolved Mysteries theme is the most haunting three minutes of music ever recorded. Almost thirty years after the show’s 1987 debut, I figured I’d be a little desensitized by now — but here I sit still severely creeped out and unable to move. This is also long after classic horror soundtracks have infiltrated my eardrums for decades but still…nothing and I mean nothing can top this devastating theme. If you’re in need of a revisit, do that here — then report back to Uncle T’s immediately.
What people tend to forget is that beyond the intro music was MORE music. Composer Gary Malkin created every bit of sound on the show, including those little cues both during dramatic scenes and after episodes that were just as deadly as the main theme. As a serial killer was lurking around a bus station or a strange species was killing chickens in some poor farmer’s backyard, little shrieks of unnerving synth music would pummel through your TV sets. The sounds were icy, abrasive, trancelike and unforgettable.
If you were an avid Unsolved Mysteries disciple like me, the paramount moment was seeing a red ‘UPDATE’ title flashing on the screen at the end of a segment, which meant you were about to hear a new clue or lead regarding the ‘mystery’ at large. More importantly though, was that this ‘UPDATE’ message was synched up with forty seconds of nauseating synth music which has haunted me since the 1st time I heard it. It was surprising and caught me off guard. Wasn’t this supposed to signify a glimmer of hope in the story? Instead, a brooding blast of eeriness played over the scene, one which I’ve never been able to forget.
Now we have the opportunity to announce March’s Lost-Legend-Of-The-Month, the elusive ‘UPDATE’ theme music from Unsolved Mysteries!
After the first few seasons of the show they scrapped the music so unless you recorded episodes from TV like a genius, the ‘UPDATE’ theme remained floating in oblivion. Well, after thirty years of exhaustively searching everywhere for evidence of this dark memory of my mind, we finally located the theme by summoning Robert Stack’s corpse and performing a traditional VCR-revival-ritual. I cannot express in words how much of an achievement this is. Turn off all the lights and strap on a pair of headphones:
There it is, just as I remembered it. Those cold, industrial-Terminator synths pound away until a breezy-hypnotic drone sets in, dropping you in an abandoned alley with Robert Stack emerging from the foggy darkness to smother you with his trenchcoat.
We’re lucky to finally have it, but the remainder of music from the show remains a mystery. It’s still massively underrated in the TV & film score world with no apparent attempt at a release ever happening. So how do we get this beast unleashed? I’m ready to get a group of frenzied Unsolved Mysteries fans together with handmade signs, pitchforks, burning torches, cabbage heads and tomatoes to storm the streets until this happens. Revival soundtrack and score labels are hot stuff right now and I just imagine companies like Death Waltz and Waxwork Records putting together a glorious package for this music.
Maybe I’m alone with this thought, but growing up watching this show on the LIFETIME channel in a way added to it’s creepiness. All we knew about the Lifetime network was that it was for bored, stay-at-home Moms. Then the sun went down and a television show about Abductions, Ghosts, Wanted Fugitives, Crop Circles, Fraud, Unexplained Deaths and Missing People came on nightly. Weird.
[Lost-Legend-Of-The-Month is a heartwrenching chronicle of forgotten iconic warriors who were wiped off the face of the planet for some reason or simply never got the chance to “peak” during their short-lived careers. We cherish these individuals and devote an entire month to celebrate their impact on society. To see the rest of em’, go here.]
Good god, I have the chills. Excellent sleuthing Uncle T.
“There it is, just as I remembered it. Those cold, industrial-Terminator synths pound away until a breezy-hypnotic drone sets in, dropping you in an abandoned alley with Robert Stack emerging from the foggy darkness to smother you with his trenchcoat.”
Holy hell, you just took the words out of my mouth! Shared this post with everyone I know. I can’t believe this missing tune has been lost in my mind for so many decades! YES! I remember the “Update” theme! The whole tv series was everything a child growing up in the late 80’s and early 90’s could secretly ask for. To be able to open our minds at such a young age, unlock the hidden treasures and see past the normal reality we were all living in. Everyone would talk about last nights episode at school. Some kids even walked away from the conversation because they were still freaked out. Even our substitute teacher reminded us to watch it on Sunday night. I remember her exact words… “The theme is just so frightening”! God damn I have a good memory.
The”Update Theme” is now officially my mobile ring tone. Tnuc you’re the man!
Sadly while I know all about it, I never did watch this show as a kid. But nonetheless can appreciate your the fear associated with it. Good stuff as always,