The Good Guys

Bob Denver, Herb Edelman and Joyce Van Patten starred in this low-key CBS sitcom that premiered in September 1968. After renewing it for a second season, the network made changes in an attempt to improve ratings, but nothing worked. CBS cancelled the show half-way through the 1969-1970 season.

Finding A Place On The CBS Schedule

In mid-December 1967, months into the 1967-1968, CBS held a commanding lead in the Nielsen ratings. The network was running 11 percent ahead of NBC and 26 percent ahead of ABC [1]. That meant it wasn’t going to be making a whole lot of changes in its schedule for the 1968-1969 season. Certainly, some low-rated programs would be cancelled but only a handful of new shows would be needed. Because it would be making so few changes, CBS hoped to have its 1968-1969 schedule set as early as the middle of January [2].

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One of the sitcom pilots in contention was Good Guys, to star Bob Denver, formerly of Gilligan’s Island, which had aired on CBS for three seasons from 1964-1967. Other sitcom pilots included Harry and David, Stanley Against the System, Blondie and Missy’s Men [3]. In its February 12th, 1968 issue, Broadcasting reported that CBS would announce its 1968-1969 schedule on February 22nd and added another sitcom pilot to the list, Rome, Sweet Rome [4]. The New York Times published the CBS schedule on February 19th [5]. Four programs (He and She, Good Morning, World, Lost in Space, and Cimarron Strip) had been cancelled and were replaced by five news ones: The Doris Day Show, Blondie, Lancer, Hawaii Five-O and The Good Guys, which had been given the 8:30-9PM time slot on Wednesday evenings following Daktari.

Jack Rose created the series, which would be produced by Talent Associates with Leonard Stern executive producing. The pilot was written by Rose and directed by Stern. Others involved in the production of The Good Guys were story editor Milt Rosen and scriptwriter Mel Tolkin, who had both also worked with Stern on He and She, one of the CBS series cancelled after the 1967-1968 season.

Who Are The Good Guys?

In the series, Bob Denver would play cab driver Rufus Butterworth. Co-starring was Herb Edelman in his first series role as Bert Gramus, owner and cook for a diner called “Bert’s Place.” Rounding out the main cast was Joyce Van Patten as Bert’s wife, Claudia. Rufus and Bert were life-long friends who spent much of their time trying to strike it rich through hair-brained schemes that inevitably fell apart in the end, much to Claudia’s eternal chagrin.

Bob Denver and Herb Edelman as Rufus and Bert

Bob Denver and Herb Edelman as Rufus and Bert – September 14th, 1968
Copyright © TV Guide, 1968 [1]

Claudia, who worked as a teacher, spent her days trying to keep “Bert’s Place” running smoothly, her husband grounded in reality and their money intact. Rufus spent his spare time — which seemed to be all of it — hanging around the diner, brainstorming outrageous ideas that he then convinced poor, gullible Bert were sure-fire ways to make millions. He very rarely was shown actually being a cabbie. His bizarre, yellow taxi — it had a special pets entrance, horns, luggage rails and signs for Bert’s on the sides — was designed by George Barris, who also designed the Batmobile and whose company also designed and built vehicles for The Munsters, My Mother, The Car and The Beverly Hillbillies.

Morris Gelman, in the June 1968 edition of Television Magazine, referred to the series as Two Good Guys, perhaps an early working title. He suggested that the series was hoping to bring back the comedy duo and quoted executive producer Leonard Stern as saying “it’s a comedy of losers so there’ll be plenty of identification” [6]. According to Gelman, a pilot had been completed in January and the series would be filmed live using the three-camera style [7].

The Good Guys would be Denver’s third regular series, following The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis and Gilligan’s Island. In a July 1968 interview, Denver explained that critics had not been fond of either of those series and yet they had been successful (running four seasons and three seasons, respectively) so he hoped critics wouldn’t like The Good Guys either [8]. Edelman, in an August 1968 interview with The Chicago Tribune‘s Clay Gowran, promised that the series would “involve itself with issues of our day” like credit cards, while also involving “slapstick in the W.C. Fields tradition, only more contemporary. We’ve got slapstick routines which have been as carefully choreographed as many dances” [9]. Gowran had a hard time believing that any sitcom with Bob Denver could have any sort of message but was willing to give The Good Guys a chance based on the involvement of Stern and others from He and She, which he called a “more sophisticated comedy” [10].

Cynthia Lowry, writing for the Associated Press in late August, called The Good Guys “one to keep an eye on” because every season come a few shows that either get little attention or aren’t critically acclaimed yet become sleeper shows that succeed with viewers [11]. In early September, Edelman discussed the production schedule for the series, which started with a run-through of the script on Monday, a revised script made available on Wednesday and culminated with filming in front of a live audience on Friday nights [12].

The Critics

The Good Guys premiered on Wednesday, September 25th, 1968 (the first episode broadcast was not the pilot, which aired as the third episode on October 9th). In the series premiere, Bert buys a new grill for the diner which promptly catches fire. Bert, who purchased insurance from a friend, soon finds himself under investigation for insurance fraud. Claudia doesn’t react well to any of this. Some critics were appalled by the premiere, others more indifferent. George Gent called the premiere “a waste of precious air time” in a brief review for The New York Times, writing that “every television season presents its candidate for the year’s Idiocy Award” and suggesting that The Good Guys fit the bill for the current season [13]. Herb Kelly of the Miami News wrote “the comedy material is shallow, the near-slapstick carries no surprises” but admitted “juveniles may get some fun out of this one” [14].

Other review snippets, as excerpted in Broadcasting‘s September 30th issue [15], including a few backhanded compliments:

“…it’s pretty inane.” Aleene MacMinn, The Los Angeles Times
“…does manage to get laughs…” Ben Gross, New York Daily News
“…wouldn’t bet on this one not catching on…” Eleanor Roberts, Boston Herald Traveler
“…a simple-minded comedy exercise.” Bernie Harrison, Washington Evening Star
“The taxi…may turn out to be the star of the show” Bill Irvin, Chicago’s American
“…impoverished sufficiently to become a TV hit” Lawrence Laurent, Washington Post

One fairly positive review came from The Chicago Tribune‘s George Cohen, who praised Edelman as “a comedian with a great sense of timing and a pliable face” and insisted that if the series lasted the season it would be because of him; the premiere, however, was “not as funny as the laugh track would have you believe” [16]. Wade H. Mosby of The Milwaukee Journal was practically gushing in his review, which acknowledged the fact that the premiere was “corny and full of sight gags and laugh tracks” while arguing that it “offered a few good belly laughs in its premiere Wednesday night, and that’s enough to keep the customers coming back” [17]. Mosby also took note of Edelman’s comedy talent, calling him “a delightful practitioner,” writing that together he and Denver “might be the new season’s comedy click” [18].

The Ratings

Competing against Peyton Place on ABC and the final half-hour of The Virginian on NBC, the premiere of The Good Guys ranked second its time slot according to Trendex ratings, drawing a 31.8 share (compared to a 36.1 share for Peyton Place and a 24.3 for The Virginian and was first according to early New York City Nielsen ratings with a 28.1 share (compared to a 27.8 for Peyton Place and a 21.0 for The Virginian) [19].

Based on “fast” national Nielsen ratings for the week of September 23rd through September 29th (rather than the traditional report that averaged two weeks worth of ratings), the premiere ranked 16th making it the third-highest new series debut behind The Doris Day Show, which ranked sixth, and Juila, which ranked 10th [20]. The second episode again ranked second in its time slot based on Trendex ratings and first in the New York City Nielsens [21]. By the third episode viewers in New York City had apparently begun to lose interest in the series, which fell to third place [22].

Certainly, three week’s worth of preliminary ratings information offers little more than a snapshot of the overall ratings performance for the series as the 1968-1969 season got underway. However, after a strong start The Good Guys did begin to fade. Although additional national Nielsen numbers are not available, in early November, CBS announced it was dropping Daktari and was rumored to be considering cancelling either The Good Guys or Blondie as well [23]. For the network to be thinking about pulling the series means it had to be under performing.

Cyntia Lowry reported in early December that The Good Guys was doing better in the Nielsen ratings after having “started out dismally” and was in the top third of the latest Nielsen report [24]. Ultimately, Blondie went off the air following its January 9th, 1969 broadcast while The Good Guys was picked up for the remainder of the 1968-1969 season.

The Episodes (Season 1: 1968-1969)

As critics were quick to point out, The Good Guys relied heavily on relatively low-brow comedy. And as the stars of the series were equally as quick to note, there was a lot of slapstick. Many episodes saw Rufus come up with a wild and wacky plan to make money, convince Bert to get involved, and wind up facing a slew of unexpected problems. Other episodes involved Rufus getting himself — and by association Bert — into trouble and Claudia coming to the rescue.

The pilot episode, which was broadcast as the third episode on October 9th, involved Rufus convincing Bert to represent a struggling musician. To do so they turn to Claudia’s former boyfriend, now a record executive, but in order to get him on board Bert must convince him that Bert’s Place is part of a chain of successful restaurants. An order for 3,000 rolls is placed as part of the ruse and the two struggle to hide them all before Claudia finds out.

Bob Denver as Rufus Butterworth
Bob Denver as Rufus Butterworth

Other episodes saw Bert and Rufus attempt to film a television commercial for “Bert’s Diner” only to argue over production (Bert also developed stage fright); Bert signing up for a credit card despite warnings from Rufus, spending like crazy, and then the card getting lost; Rufus and Burt trying to find the perfect recipe for pancakes made with Japanese wine and going overboard on the wine; a film company asking to use the diner as the setting for a movie and casting Rufus, Bert and Claudia; Rufus buying a toupee for Bert and then being hurt when Bert won’t wear it; Rufus injuring himself in a fall outside the diner, forcing Bert to pay for a hospital stay involving some very pretty nurses; Rufus accidentally buying the diner after Bert is forced to put it up for auction; Bert and Rufus deciding to keep Bert’s Place open 24 hours a day; and Rufus and Bert having a falling out when Rufus falls for a waitress and Bert tries to keep them apart.

During the second half of the season, Alan Hale appeared in three episodes as a trucker named Big Tom. He and Rufus were old friends. Pairing Hale and Denver was obviously an attempt to recapture the chemistry the two shared on Gilligan’s Island. Hale insisted on performing his own stunts during the first episode he appeared in and both Hale and Denver agreed that The Good Guys was a far more comfortable working environment than Gilligan’s Island. Hale: “I always had sand in my teeth from your kicking it in my face;” Denver: “And you knocked me into the lagoon so much my sneakers were always damp” [25].

In the January 8th, 1969 episode Rufus convinces Claudia to transform herself into Frisco Fritzi, a sexy waitress, an an attempt to appeal to truck drivers. It works and the truckers, Big Tom included, descend on Bert’s Place, leaving Bert stuck trying to cook for them all while also keeping them away from Claudia. Later, in the January 30th episode, Big Tom gets cold feet before his wedding to Gertie (played by Toni Gilman), which isn’t good news because Gerti has three brothers who will blame Bert and Rufus if Big Tom doesn’t show up at the alter. Finally, in the March 5th episode, Big Tom moves in with Rufus after getting into a fight with Gertie. But Rufus can’t stand living with the boisterous Big Tom so he and Bert begin planning to get rid of him. Their plan require Rufus to romance Gertie.

Alan Hale wasn’t the only Gilligan’s Island cast member to appear on The Good Guys. Jim Backus also appeared in three episodes during the second half of the season (none of which coincided with Hale’s appearances) playing Claudia’s stuffy father, Henry. In the February 19th episode, Henry comes for a visit and can’t believe his little girl is working at a diner. In the March 12th episode, Bert tries to play matchmaker for Henry and a lady astrologer but everything goes wrong when the astrologer sends Henry after Rufus’ mother (played by Marjorie Reynolds). And in the March 26th episode, Bert gets the wrong idea when Henry gets Claudia invited to a party thrown by an old boyfriend.

Herb Edelman as Bert Gramus
Herb Edelman as Bert Gramus

In addition to Hale and Backus, The Good Guys featured a few other recurring characters during its first season: Titos Vandis as a Greek handyman named Tito, Oscar Lane as Harry the mail man, Ron Masak and George Furth as Andy and Hal, two diner regulars, Jack Perkins as Mr. Bender, a drunk, and Liam Dunn as D.W. Watson, who worked for a restaurant change competing with Bert’s Place. Guest stars during the first season included William Daniels, Gary Burghoff, Sherry Lansing, Angel Tompkins, Michael Constantine, Tom Poston and Herb Voland. A total of 26 episodes were broadcast during the first season, which ended on March 26th, 1969. Repeats were shown throughout the summer.

Renewed And Revamped (And Cancelled)

In mid-February 1969, Broadcasting reported that the networks were hard at work revising their schedules for the 1969-1970 season. Among the shows CBS was reportedly considering cancelling was The Good Guys, although it was said to have “at least a fighting chance to make the new schedule” [26]. Shortly thereafter, Broadcasting revealed an unofficial CBS schedule that would shift The Good Guys to Fridays from 8-8:30PM between Get Smart (which was moving from NBC) and Hogan’s Heroes [27].

Rick Du Brow of United Press International revealed in July 1969 that he was happy The Good Guys would be returning for the 1969-1970 season, explaining that “good slapstick comedy, and
good slapstick comedians, are hard to find, and I personally would rather enjoy a belly laugh than most of the heavyhanded social humor that passes for sophisticated nowadays” [28]. In August, Cynthia Lowry reported that changes were in store for The Good Guys. Rufus would give up his cab and go into business with Bert in a “new, more attractive diner” [29]. The new diner was really the old diner, literally picked up and moved to the beach, and rechristened Bert and Rufe’s Place.

Production changes were made for the second season. The theme song was rewritten and the live studio audience was dropped. Gone, too, was most of the supporting cast from the first season, including Alan Hale and Jim Backus. Lew Perkins was retained, however.

TV Guide Advertisement for the Season Two Premiere

TV Guide Advertisement for the Season Two Premiere – September ??, 1969
Copyright © TV Guide, 1969 [2]

In its new Friday time slot The Good Guys competed with The Brady Bunch on ABC and the second half-hour of High Chaparral on NBC. Its second premiere was broadcast on September 26th, 1969. Based on New York City Nielsens, it ranked second behind High Chaparral with a 14.2 rating and a 25 share [30]. The following week the series dropped to third in New York City with a 12.2 rating and a 23 share [31].

On November 3rd, after six episodes had aired, The New York Times reported that CBS was planning on replacing The Good Guys with The Tim Conway Show at some point after January 1st, 1970 [32]. The following day Rick Du Brow lamented the cancellation of what he called a “rather good slapstick series” and reported that the final episode would air on January 23rd with The Tim Conway Show taking over the time slot on January 30th [33]. He also revealed that the October 24th episode had ranked a mediocre 66th out of 88 programs for the week [34].

The Episodes (Season 2: 1969-1970)

In the second season premiere, Bert places Rufus in charge of moving the diner to its new beachfront location while he takes Claudia out for a night on the town so he can surprise her. She’s definitely surprised. With Rufus now a full partner with Bert, most episodes during the second season revolved entirely around the diner. In the October 3rd, episode, for example, the two get into a dispute and decide to divide the diner in two, with Bert taking on all of Rufus’ responsibilities. In the October 10th episode, Bert can’t believe Rufus has been stealing money from the cash register but sets out to trap him in the act anyway.

A few episodes did feature plots that only incidentally involved the diner. In one, Bert and Claudia learn Rufus comes from a long line of cowards but decide to fake some heroic ancestors to up in confidence so he can confront a neighbor. In another, Bert and Rufus run into their former Army captain and, thinking he’s down on his luck, decide to stage a benefit. In reality, he’s a millionaire. And another episode saw Bert, Rufus and Claudia searching for gold using an old treasure map, with Bert convinced Rufus is going to double-cross him and Claudia.

Joyce Van Patten as Claudia Gramus
Joyce Van Patten as Claudia Gramus

Other stories during the second season involved the police mistaking Claudia’s innocent seeding of flowers as an attempt to toss illegal drugs; Rufus and Bert applying to be firemen and Rufus only getting the job because the firehouse dog is fond of him; Rufus accidentally dropping a contact lens belonging to Claudia into a pie; Rufus undergoing hypnotism to get over his addiction to candy and becoming stuck in a trance; and Claudia losing her wedding ring and the ensuing battle over the insurance money.

Two high-profile guest stars made appearances during the second season. In the October 17th episode, Vincent Price played a health inspector whose threats force Bert and Rufus to give the diner a makeover so it will pace inspection. And in the November 21st episode, Phyllis Diller played a famous restaurant magazine editor named Lilli who Bert and Rufus hope will give the diner a good review. Bert even wears a toupee. But it is Rufus who charms Lilli and she agrees to sample a picnic lunch. Perhaps the most ludicrous episode was broadcast on December 5th. In it, Rufus takes care of a chimpanzee and discovers he’s a talented waiter. So talented, in fact, that he is offered his own restaurant.

I like your write-up on the “GOOD GUYS” which is one of those shows that I thought that only I had any memories of.

Only 17 episodes were broadcast during the second season, for a total of 43. The final episode aired January 23rd, 1970. It involved an artist drawing portraits for food and driving off all other customers. Guest stars during the second season included Yvonne Craig, Hamilton Camp, Frank Campanella, James Gregory, Eddie Mayehoff, Richard Deacon and Danny Bonaduce. Because CBS cancelled The Good Guys partway through the 1969-1970 season, the network never aired repeats of any Season 2 episodes.

The Theme Songs

Jerry Fielding composed the theme song to The Good Guys (called “Two Good Guys”) while Jay Livingston and Ray Evans penned the lyrics. Who performed the actual song is unknown.

Listen to the Opening Theme Song to The Good Guys (Season 1)

Opening Theme Song Lyrics (Season 1)

We’re the good guys
Who never let a friend down.
Friends forever, ask anyone in this town.
When you’re in a tussle, need some muscle,
I’ll be there at your side.
And if you’re hung up, pal
I will see that you’re soon untied.

If you want my shirt,
I will give it with pride.
When you’re up the creek, I’ll swim out
And then will paddle up.
When you shout, I will saddle up.
Blow by blow, I’ll be with you, mate.
And I know, you’ll reciprocate.
Head to toe, we’ll be two good guys.

The lyrics were changed for the second season.

Listen to the Opening Theme Song to The Good Guys (Season 2)

Opening Theme Song Lyrics (Season 2)

I’m a good guy, hey, you’re another one, too.
Like a brother, each to the other one, true blue.
When there’s trouble, we’re a double
Stickin’ out a double nut chin.
But when our ship comes in,
Then we’re gonna be fat, not thin.
Even if it’s just by the teeth of our skin.

When you think of those heroes who,
Things are said about.
Good guys you mighta read about.
Very few had a magic touch like I do.
And I’ve gotta put faith in you.
‘Cause you’re a good guy too.

Quickly Forgotten

The Good Guys never aired in local syndicated in the United States. It may have been broadcast internationally. There were no tie-in novels or comic books published. A 1/25 scale model of the Rufus’ taxi was released in 1968 by MPC (Model Products By Craft Master). The UCLA Film & Television Archive has a copy of the pilot episode in its collection. At least nine episodes circulate among private collectors, although many are sourced from black and white prints.

As noted earlier, the pilot episode was completed in January 1968 but was not aired as the series premiere, instead being shown as the third episode on October 9th. The opening and closing credits featured in this article are from a black and white print of the pilot. Notice that the taxi depicted in these credits is a very traditional vehicle, nothing at all like the outrageous, yellow taxi Rufus used. The music also sounds slightly different. It is possible these are from an alternate version of the pilot. Or perhaps new footage featuring the yellow taxi was filmed and used for all other episodes.

Works Cited:
1 Gent, George. “Few C.B.S. Shows Will Be Replaced.” New York Times. 14 Dec. 1967: 76.
2 Ibid.
3 Ibid.
4 “TV networks hurry plans for fall.” Broadcasting. 12 Feb. 1968: 50-51.
5 Dallos, Robert E. “Few Changes Due in C.B.S. Programs.” New York Times. 19 Feb. 1968: 80.
6 Gelman, Morris. “On Location.” Television Magazine. June 1968: 4-12.
7 Ibid.
8 Pearson, Howward. “Bob Denver in Series.” Deseret News [Salt Lake City, UT]. 20 Jul. 1968: A9.
9 Gowran, Clay. “TV Today: CBS Series to Offer Slapstick in W.C. Fields Tradition.” Chicago Tribune. 15 Aug. 1968: C23.
10 Ibid.
11 Lowry, Cynthia. “‘Good Guys’ May Be Sleeper Show.” Sunday Times [Spencer, IA]. Associated Press. 25 Aug. 1968: 2.
12 Witbeck, Charles. “Small Town Folks Look for ‘Good Guys’.” Toledo Blade. 3 Sep. 1968: 34.
13 Gent, George. “TV Review: The Idiocy Award.” New York Times. 26 Sep. 1968: 95.
14 Kelly, Herb. “‘Good Guys’ Isn’t.” Miami News. 26 Sep. 1968: 8-B.
15 “The laurels and brickbats.” Broadcasting. 30 Sep. 1968: 39.
16 Cohen, George. “TV Today: Two More Fall Series Make Bows on Big Tube.” Chicago Tribune. 26 Sep. 1968: B29.
17 Mosby, Wade H. “‘Good Guys’ Cavort in High-Low Comedy.” Milwaukee Journal. Section 2. 26 Sep: 1968: 13.
18 Ibid.
19 “First showdown at the ratings corral.” Broadcasting. 30 Sep. 1968: 33.
20 Gowran, Clay. “Only 3 New Series in Top Ten in Nielsen Count.” Chicago Tribune. 8 Oct. 1968: B21.
21 “NBC takes 6 of 7 in NTI rankings.” Broadcasting. 7 Oct. 1968: 58-60.
22 “CBS goes to front in latest NTI.” Broadcasting. 14 Oct. 1968: 74.
23 “Jelling: an obit list of network shows.” Broadcasting. 11 Nov. 1968: 64.
24 Lowry, Cynthia. “‘Poor Health’ Shows Are Easier to Spot.” Ocala Star-Banner [Ocala, FL]. 4 Dec. 1968: 3C.
25 “Throws 280 pounds into his acting.” Geneva Times [Geneva, NY]. 4 Jan. 1969: 12.
26 “Network program gears grind.” Broadcasting. 17 Feb. 1969: 76.
27 “‘Get Smart’ switches networks, nights.” Broadcasting. 24 Feb. 1969: 64.
28 Du Brow, Rick. “TV Critics Not Snobs; They Have Favorite Programs Too.” Times Record [Troy, NY]. United Press International. 7 Jul. 1969: 22.
29 Lowry, Cynthia. “Overhauling the shows for fall.” Geneva Times [Geneva, NY]. Associated Press. 5 Aug. 1969: 12.
30 “Advantage of an early start.” Broadcasting. 6 Oct. 1969: 42-43.
31 “NBC-TV clings to Nielsen lead.” Broadcasting. 13 Oct. 1969: 46-47.
32 “C.B.S. Set to Cancel Miss Uggam’s Show.” New York Times. 3 Nov. 1969: 95.
33 Du Brow, Rick. “Glen Campbell Moving to Sunday Competition.” Times Record [Troy, NY]. United Press International. 4 Nov. 1969: 4.
34 Ibid.

Image Credits:

1 From TV Guide, September 14th, 1968, Page 51.
2 From TV Guide, September ??, 1969, Page ??.


-Lee provided a clear version of the first season theme song.
-Greg provided a TV Guide advertisement for this article.
-Greg and Matt sent along interpretations of the lyrics to the first season theme song.

Originally Published October 14th, 2003
Last Updated April 21st, 2018

31 Replies to “The Good Guys”

  1. I believe “THE GOOD GUYS” was a slight reworking of Leonard Stern’s “I’M DICKENS- HE’S FENSTER” (1962-’63), with Bob Denver in Marty Ingels’ role- and Herb Edelman in the “John Astin” straight man part, and Joyce Van Patten in the Emmaline Henry role. It was funny, though.

  2. Thank you for your edifying study on “the Good Guys”. Thanks to you ( after 40 years of wondering! ) I finally know the 2 lines haven’t been able to figure out from 1rst season theme. Bless you, friend. Highest regard, Guy.

  3. I’d like to add my two cents to the discussion on what are the proper lyrics to the show’s theme song. There is a video on YouTube of the first season opening which has a slightly higher quality audio track than the version on this site. After listening to both versions, I think the line “And if you hung yourself, I will see that you’re soon untied” sounds more like “And if you’re hung up now, I will see that you’re soon untied.” The line “If you’re up the creek, I’ll swim out, and then will paddle up” sounds like “If you’re up the creek, I’ll swim out, and hand the paddle up.” (Doesn’t this make more sense in context?) And finally, in the second season lyrics I think the line “Stickin’ out our double nut chin” should be “Stickin’ out our double-tight chin.” Any way you interpret them, this show’s theme has got some of the catchiest lyrics ever written!

  4. Thanks for posting both them song versions. I was so hooked by the theme song when I first heard it I recorded it on my old reel-to-reel Wollensack. It was the first of many themes I recorded…my collection now numbers well over 700! But it was THE GOOD GUYS that got me started. I still find the theme song to be one of the catchiest…and most melodically and harmonically complex…ever written for TV.

  5. Today I was looking through craigslist and saw an ad for a Willys-Knight, a vehicle which reminded me of the taxi Bob Denver drove in The Good Guys. I think there was even a scale model of it available in stores at the time. I was amazed that I remembered the title of the show. I used to watch the show, I must have been 12 or so. I don’t remember the theme song though, and listening to it didn’t help, unfortunately. If you have a picture of the taxi, would you please post it? Thanks

    1. Don’t count on it; the show’s pretty obscure, and is not well remembered enough for its primary owner Warner Bros. Television to authorize it to be on DVD (although you could ask Warner Archive if it would ever consider putting it on DVD.)

  6. I recently discovered ”THE GOOD GUYS” opener & closer themes on You-Tube as posted by some other folks above. AND I TOTALLY AGREE!!…The theme song for this program was GRRREAT! Its very catchy & bouncy with terrific harmonies! And the lyrics are quite touching too! I think it may be MY favorite 60’s theme song of all! ( and with all the CLASSIC shows of that era, thats something to brag about!)

  7. *additional note* The FIRST season theme song is MUCH better than the revised SECOND season song! ( I believe it was re done because its hard to HEAR the singing on the first season song…but the first one is a terrific song!)

  8. *one more additional note* Its hard to believe that in the ORIGINAL 1rst season theme song, the line…”If you HUNG yourself” would have been written. ( It seems far too gruesome for a bouncy, 60’s tv theme tune, no? )

  9. Thanks much for the write-up. I enjoyed this show back when I was 9 and 10. I would love to be able to see it again, especially interplay between Bob Denver and Alan Hale, Jr.

  10. I was around 8 or 9 years old when The Good Guys was on prime time TV but I remember it. One thing that really sticks out in my mind was when they showed Bert and Rufus as babies while the opening theme was playing. Even at that time Bert was baldheaded and Rufus had hair. And now back as middle aged adults they’re back to Bert having hardly any hair and Rufus with a full head of hair…LOL. But I always liked the show and thought Bob Denver, Herb Edelman and Joyce Van Patten were good in their roles.

  11. I was 10 years old when this show first aired. I sent 2 letters to the network trying to get the words or music to the theme song. Each time, I received a signed photo, Herb Edelman and Joyce Van Patten and not music or lyrics.
    This is my all-time favorite theme song. Thanks for posting the lyrics!

  12. In our area, it was shown on Sunday afternoons, at least for the first season. Our local CBS affiliate ran “The Big Show,” an old movie, on Wednesday nights from 7 to 9, pre-empting the network programming. I wonder if this was a widespread practice; if so, it could have affected the show’s ratings. (I also remember watching “To Rome With Love” and the later seasons of “The Beverly Hillbillies” on Sunday afternoons.) I remember watching it a couple of times; as I remember, it was nothing special. (This must have been during the first season; I have no memory of the second season at all.) The theme song, which I remembered after all these years, was probably the best thing about it.

    1. You don’t see Saturday/Sunday afternoons used as much for pre-empted programming as there used to be, but that’s largely due to a changed dynamic in network-affiliate relations (nets have greater leverage today) and as a result, there are higher levels of affiliate clearances of programming today.

      One program that I remember seeking out on Sunday afternoons was ‘The Bob Crane Show’ which my local NBC affiliate never broadcast on Thursday in primetime. Because I liked Mr Crane from his ‘Hogan’s Heroes’ stint, I made a point to watch the program which was quite good, about an older guy in a mid-life crisis trying to re-invent himself by going back to school.

  13. I did an hour long interview with Bob back in June of 1994. I recently turned a portion of that interview into a YouTube slide show. I was also lucky enough to not only interview Bob, but later I worked with him when I hosted a special tribute to Sherwood Schwartz, the creator of “Gilligan’s Island,” when they both came to Montreal for Just For Laughs.

    Here is the link to the YouTube video. Feel free to share it with Bob’s myriad of fans.

    Peter Anthony Holder
    The Stuph File Program

  14. It’s nice to know I was not the only kid who so enjoyed the theme song to The Good Guys (2nd season) that I went out of my way to record it on my old portable reel-to-reel way back when. Listening to it again here was a real treat.

  15. I, too, was captivated by the theme song of this show as a ten year old kid and have had it in my head all these years. I recorded it on cassette at the time but have long since lost it. I thought I was alone in my fondness for this song but thanks to your site, I see I’m not. I also loved the theme to “The Governor & JJ” which is of course by the same composer, Jerry Fielding. Thank you for the theme clips-they’re fantastic! I agree that the first season lyrics are outstanding, much superior to the second season version. I wish someone would upload a good copy of the closing credits to Youtube. The one that’s there now is chopped up and misses the best part.

  16. I watched this show when I was five years old and remember most of it! The music is catchy and stuck in my mind after watching it on youtube. It was wonderful to match the images in my mind with the video after not seeing it for 46 years. It would never make it on tv today, but then 1968 was a more gentler time and the music clearly reflects that. It would have been wonderful if the series lasted a couple more seasons, but the times were changing quickly even then. America was about to learn the bitter realities of war and social change.

  17. I liked this show. I remember when Rufus objected to the way Bert cut bread, saying it was against the grain Rufus reflexively replied “There is no grain in bread.” The winced as he realized what he had said. :-)

    Yeah, I was a kid when I saw it. :-)

    1. That gag has also stuck in my head for close to 50 years now, the only piece of that show I recall at all; a very Steven-Wright-like surrealism.
      Til now, I’d had no idea at all where it came from.
      Thank you for keeping it alive on the web.

  18. thank you so so much for taking the time to write such a detailed informative piece on this wonderful show. i remember the horror at realizing the second season just had a laughtrack and no live audience.

    it makes all the difference. look at the non-live episodes of “the odd couple” and “happy days”.

    and BOTH theme songs. this is my lucky day coming acros this site via wikipedia. thank you again for all your information and fantastic writing style.

  19. KIRO-TV Channel 7 CBS Affilliate Aired The Thursday Night Movie At 7 PM Until 9 PM Followed By The CBS Thursday Night Movies. At 9 PM CBS Affilliate KIRO-TV Channel 7 Aired The Good Guys On Friday At 7 PM Followed By Get Smart At 7:30 PM,Family Affair At 8 PM,Hogan’s Heroes At 8:30 PM When I Was A Kid. I Recall That And I Do.KIRO Aired The Good Guys On Wednesday At 8:30 PM.

    1. Yes, “stickin out a double-type chin” is also how I’ve remembered it for the last 47 years…

    2. Yes, it IS “Double-type chin”.
      I was 13 at the time and also Joyce Van Patten’s step-son. I got to go to the set one day and watch them film parts of S02E13 with Yvonne Craig. The rest of the time I got to wander freely around the studio. Pretty big gig for a 13 yo.. Joyce said that if anyone were to ask, just say I was with her and there wouldn’t be any problem. No one asked! I got to see Gilligan’s lagoon, denuded. Most the plants had been in pots! I got to wander into The Chief’s office from Get Smart. No the Cone of Silence wasn’t there at the time. (I looked). And the indoor set for Gunsmoke. I was enamored with TV at that age. Now it’s on for background sound only. But I’m glad to have found this page. Thanks to whomever keeps it going!

  20. The one thing I remember about this show was the first episode was shot on videotape. Subsequent episodes were shot on film. There wasn’t another sitcom shot on tape that I can remember until All in the Family. Too bad they didn’t shoot the rest of the programs on tape. It really stood out from the filmed shows and it was so unique back then.

  21. I’m pretty sure it was The Free Design, a family group from Canada, who performed the vocals on The Good Guys first season theme song. Their voices and harmonies are unmistakable!

  22. Something I didn’t see mentioned about the theme song for the first season, I seem to remember seeing written in the opening and maybe the closing credits that the name of the theme song was “Two Good Guys.” This may account for some confusion as to some of the actual lyrics, though there’s no confusion about the fact that the show was named “The Good Guys.”

  23. I was a cab driver extra on a couple of episodes.. Fun smoking weed with Bob off set…

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