I would like to give credit where credit is due. Videos are from YouTube and other sources such as NicoNico while Oricon rankings and other information are translated from the Japanese Wikipedia unless noted.

Friday, August 14, 2020

Pierre Porte -- Cri D'amour/Mariko Tone -- Yoru kara no Tabidachi(夜からの旅立ち)

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".


  1. I have quite a fondness for those early TV idents and bumpers. There's a warmth and charm to them which is no longer present in modern TV. Networks such as ABC would budget made-for-TV movies, working with some of the best actors from the era, some of which would go on to become sought after cult classics like When Michael Calls and Bad Ronald.

    Those brief jingles were typically produced in three ways:
    by in-house composers such as Ferdinand Jay Smith,
    sampled from artists such as Ramsey Lewis' song Skippin' which was used for the Channel 7 movie,
    or borrowed from library music labels such as KPM.

    Burt Bacharach's music was instantly recognizable and therefore a perfect fit for to accompany the ABC Movie of the Week specials. The graphics for that particular intro were accomplished using slit-scan, a technique perhaps most notable from Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey.

    1. Hello, Michael.

      Yes, I have some hazy memories of those "Movies of the Week". At least some of those were pretty much in "Outer Limits" territory, such as Barbara Eden having a supernatural baby with two hearts, and a woman perpetually dreaming being buried alive. Y'know...themes to have a kid going into fetal positions for the next several nights. :)

      It's a pity that we've not had these wonderful theme tunes in the last several years. The current trend seems to be for the show just to roll right into the story with the cast of characters being presented. I think the NCIS-verse cadre of shows is the last group of programs with actual opening credit sequences.

      Yup, I did read about the fellow behind the slit-scan technique being responsible for the dramatic opening sequence for "Movie of the Week". Kinda wish that would come back somehow.

  2. Hi J,

    TV network programming has changed drastically from the past to the present. Networks no longer allow openings or endings to finish without interruption and even during shows they shamelessly plug ads at the bottom of the screen. Same for the film channels which shrink/crop the credits sequences and mute the audio so that they can advert some other show or movie. Obnoxious. If somebody wants to hear the end theme or find the name of a specific cast member, well, they're outta luck. All of the new TV idents are done using CG, which is fine, or would be if they were accompanied by some nice music or something, like some of those '80s Channel 11 idents were. For various reasons it seems that organic, hands-on stuff is treated with greater attention to detail and quality.

    1. Generally, I don't even watch scripted TV programs anymore. I even gave up on superhero shows a couple of years back.

      The end credits shrinking and simultaneous advertising is definitely one of my pet peeves. I definitely do miss those theme songs and credit sequences. I enjoyed themes such as the ones for "The Rockford Files" and "Hill Street Blues".


Feel free to provide any comments (pro or con). Just be civil about it.