Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Skeptical about James Lipton

There's a meme going around that James Lipton, the host of The Actor's Studio, wrote the theme song to The Thundercats. It has the air of plausibility to it as Lipton has had a long and very varied career. In addition to his enormously popular TV interview show, Lipton has:

A. Written a Broadway Musical
B. Produced Carter's presidential inauguration for TV
C. Voiced a central character on radio's "Lone Ranger"
D. Wrote for and acted on Soap Operas
E. Is a published novelist

So is it hard to think that somewhere in his career he might have written the theme song for one of the most popular and beloved cartoons of the '80's?

I did some research on the internet on (the all knowing internet) and Lipton is indeed listed as a theme composer. I went to his Wikipedia page and he's also credited there. But looking closer I noticed something odd; namely that the Wikipedia page merely links to the IMDB page as proof. I did a general search on Google for "James Lipton + Thundercats" and other than lots of of links to the original meme (and other pages repeating it), I could find no other proof of James Lipton having written the Thundercats theme.

I don't know why I was suspicious to begin with, but it didn't seem...right somehow. My brain is just wired to be suspicious like this. Things that sound too good to be true, or too neat, just don't usually work out like that.

So along with James Lipton as the theme composer on Wikipedia, another name, Bernard Hoffer, was listed. My theory was starting to form that someone modified the page for James Lipton to give him composer credit, for the hell of it I assume, and it took on a life of it's own. I did more research on Hoffer and discovered that not only is he credited as the theme composer on multiple websites and fan pages, he's also the theme composer for Silverhawks, which was practically the same cartoon made by the same production company that came out the year after Thundercats.

So what's more likely, Bernard Hoffer who composed multiple times for Rankin and Bass (the production company) or James Lipton (who you'd think we would have heard of this years ago)?

Occam's Razor, dude. I'm going with Hoffer. All this underscores to me is that information can be fluid and getting the whole picture requires common sense. I take a lot of what I hear with a grain of salt to begin with, so this doesn't change my life all that much. Hopefully, though, this post may put a stop to this stupid ass rumor.

Unless, that is, I'm totally wrong and James Lipton actually DID write the theme to The Thundercats. Which would be AWESOME!

P.S. I'm too lazy to link to everything right now but I might later.

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