For reasons that are awesome but that I can’t tell you about yet, I was reminded the other day of the short-lived but jaw-droppingly wonderful late-’90s TV show, Cleopatra 2525.
If the year in the title sounds familiar, it’s because it is taken from Zager & Evans’ dystopian, misanthropic, Luddite, environmental-apocalyptic sixties anthem, “In the Year 2525.” The song was a huge hit in 1969, endures on oldies radio, and has been covered several times, but not everyone loves it. In a column about bad music based around submissions from readers, David Barry notes “VIOLENT hatred for this song.”
That Zager & Evans allowed a variation on “In the Year 2525” to be used as the theme to Cleopatra 2525 is one of the most glorious sellouts in the history of music. The very-much tongue-in-cheek show was about a stripper from our time who is put into suspended animation following complications arising from a boob job and wakes up in the title year. Taking Zager & Evans’ “message” song and turning it into the theme for a science-fiction show about three hot chicks who kick ass was a stroke of trashy genius.
Cleopatra 2525 was paired with Bruce Campbell’s Jack of All Trades in a syndication package as the Back2Back Action Hour. Jack of All Trades has the most relentlessly catchy theme song in the history of TV–the Rembrandts’ song in Friends may come close, but you’ll feel a lot less guilty getting the Jack of All Trades theme stuck in your head all day since it’s based on the Marine Hymn and not some pussy ’90s easy-listening shit.
This song was nominated for an Emmy!
I should add that Campbell’s co-star, Angela Dotchin, is about the prettiest darned thing I’ve ever seen and she was charming as all get-out on the show. Pity she hasn’t had much of a career after Jack. Get on it, movie and TV making people!