NTV's ritual on Friday nights was to broadcast movies between 9 and 11. The show was called "Kin'you Road Show!"（金曜ロードSHOW!...Friday Night at the Movies） and it was hosted by the late movie critic and TV personality Haruo Mizuno（水野晴郎）who reminded me in personality to Canada's own Elwy Yost who hosted his own show for the longest time "Saturday Night at the Movies". But instead of having the equivalent of a cinema class with "Saturday Night at the Movies", "Kin'you Road Show!" was simply the movie and that was it. Or almost it...I saw a few of those movies and didn't appreciate the fact that the network sliced key scenes from the movie just so that it fit those two hours. Another observation was that at one point during my days and nights in Ichikawa, "Kin'you Road Show!" loved to show Hayao Miyazaki（宮崎駿）flicks so much that I felt like re-naming the broadcast "Studio Ghibli at the Movies!"
"Kin'you Road Show!" started its run in 1985 and that opening must have really sent me for a loop since the song and opening sequence still resonate within me right to this day, despite the fact that those finished their time in 1997 to be replaced with a new sequence. The combination of dusk-filled contemplation and that melancholy melody with trumpet had me wondering about my life choices and whether I bought enough life insurance...and Geritol. Man, that was a dramatic theme song for what was basically a movie slashed for two-hour broadcast!
But then again, I shouldn't really be one to talk. When I was much younger, American networks also had their movies of the week, and ABC had some pretty newfangled graphics for the time and a lush theme tune that I only found out very recently was by none other than Burt Bacharach. Titled "Nikki", it was named for his daughter.
Then, there was the theme for a similar program by CBS, "So Young, So Old" by Morton Stevens, the same fellow who created the "Hawaii Five-O" theme. For me, there was a particular sense of old Hollywood in this song. These themes by Bacharach and Stevens haven't been used in decades and yet as soon as I heard them again through YouTube, nostalgia just washed over me as I remember being told to get to bed by my parents since of course the movies of the week came on just as bedtime was upon me.
Now, getting back to our regularly scheduled song, I was wondering what this song was all about, and it turned out to be titled "Cri D'amour" (Cries of Love) by French pianist/composer Pierre Porte with trumpeter Dominique Derasse. I couldn't find out the exact year when the song came out, therefore, I will go with the year when it was first made known to Japanese audiences, 1985. Actually, the title in Japanese for the piece is "Friday Night Fantasy" (which is why I'm writing it tonight) which I think makes it sound like a title of a porn movie so for Porte's sake, I decided to go with the original title. In any case, it seems as if Porte's fame grew in Japan because of this song.
However, as they say in commercials, wait there's more. I didn't know about this until last night, but apparently the following year in 1986, singer Mariko Tone（刀根麻理子）performed a sung version of "Cri D'amour" under another different title, "Yoru kara no Tabidachi" (Travel From Night) which is available on her 3rd album "Naturally". Unfortunately, I couldn't find out who provided the Japanese lyrics. That trumpet is largely supplanted by Tone's vocals but it does make an appearance, and it sure sounds like Derasse here, too. The difference is that listening to this version, I no longer felt that I had to go over my life choices.
To finish off, here is the original form of Bacharach's "Nikki" which came out in 1966, according to an article in "The Independent".