Most folks know the ridiculously catchy instrumental theme song for the 1960s classic TV comedy “I Dream of Jeannie.” But how many can recite its lyrics — “Jeannie, fresh as a daisy!/Just love how she obeys me” — or even knew it had any?
The theme for “Bewitched,” another ’60s favorite, briefly had its day: Peggy Lee, among others, recorded a jazzy vocal version in 1965. The lyrics weren’t used in the series, however, and over many decades of reruns faded from public consciousness.
The original lyrics for both songs, and countless others, are preserved in Library collections as submissions to the U.S. Copyright Office, which is part of the Library. Such submissions for registration help preserve mostly forgotten stories about pop culture staples: They chronicle the creators’ original ideas and, sometimes, the subsequent histories of their works.
In 1966, Alexander Courage composed the theme music for a new show, called “Star Trek,” and submitted it for copyright under his name that Nov. 7.
Fifty days later, the Copyright Office received a second registration for the same music — with two additions. Beneath Courage’s name, another had been written — that of series creator Gene Roddenberry — in a different ink and handwriting. Below that, lyrics had been scrawled alongside the music.
The “Star Trek” theme, Courage had understood, would be instrumental. But a clause in Courage’s contract allowed Roddenberry to add lyrics if he chose. So, he did: “Beyond the rim of the starlight/My love is wandering in starflight.”
The lyrics never were used in the show and weren’t intended to be. Roddenberry had other motivations: He received a co-writer credit for the lyrics — and 50% of the royalties. Courage’s share, meanwhile, was cut in half.
The financial ramifications, it turned out, were enormous.
“Star Trek” ran for only three seasons but lives on in syndication (the Associated Press once dubbed it “the show that wouldn’t die”). It also spawned other TV series, video games, novels, comic books and, to date, over a dozen films.
Courage’s original theme, in some form, has been heard in every film — living long and prospering.
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