Question: Help! I've been trying to figure out the lyrics to the theme from Here Come the Brides. While we're at it, what's the history of this theme song? I know Perry Como sang a version with similar lyrics. He never sang the theme, did he? Also, I'd appreciate any of your brilliant insight into this show. Thanks for any info! — Barry

Televisionary: Don't thank me yet — I can only get you part of the way there, to be perfectly honest. When the ABC series launched in September 1968, it boasted only an instrumental version of Hugo Montenegro, Ernie Sheldon and Jack Keller's "Seattle." In October, Como did indeed record a version with lyrics and made out quite well with it; the single made it all the way to number 38 (number two on the adult contemporary chart). And Brides co-star Bobby Sherman, who launched a successful teenybopper-pop run with the show (he was David Cassidy before David Cassidy, essentially), later recorded his own version of it, too.

Neither, however, was used as the theme. A later version of the show's opening featured

The New Establishment's version, which, as you say, was different than Como's.

Now, here's the sticky part. I've got most of the series version's lyrics right here:

The bluest sky you've ever seen, in Seattle
And the hills the greenest green, in Seattle
Like a beautiful child
Growing up, free and wild
Full of hopes and full of fears
Full of laughter, full of tears
Full of dreams to last the years
In Seattle

When you find your own true love, you will know it
By his smile, by the look in his eyes
Scent of pine trees in the air
(Line missing)
Look out everyone, here come the brides

See that missing line up there? That's where I admit that I can't for the life of me figure out what the heck those people are singing. It sounds something like "and some stand around and stare" (and some Web pages have it that way), but that makes no sense since the show was about lusty lumberjacks and the women looking to love them, not shellshocked vets, murderous zombies or junkies. So if anyone thinks they really know what the line is, or believes I got it right and wants to explain it, by all means let me know.

As fans know, the setup of the show, originally created as a movie musical by Rainmaker playwright N. Richard Nash, was this: Manly logger and Bridal Veil Mountain landowner Jason Bolt (Robert Brown) ran his operation with the help of his two brothers, Jeremy (Sherman) and Joshua (Starsky and Hutch's David Soul). Problem was, his men needed women, and there were precious few of them in 1870s Seattle. So he cut a deal with no-good competitor Aaron Stempel (Star Trek's Mark Lenard). Stempel lent him the money to travel to Massachusetts, round up 100 potential brides and bring them back. But if any of the gals left within a year, the Bolt brothers forfeited their land and business. (Preposterous, you say? The story was loosely based on actual events, only in real life it was the women who paid to make the trip.)

With a cast that also included, among others, Joan Blondell, Bo Svensen, Susan Tolsky and Henry Beckman, ABC execs had a success on their hands. More important, they had a bonafide sensation in Sherman, for whom the series marked a comeback. In 1964 and '65, he'd already been one of the featured singers on Shindig!, a gig that launched a solid year of personal appearances. But soon after, the early bloomer who could play 10 instruments watched his career go cold. So when a guest shot on The Monkees and a few other jobs led up to his Brides role, he knew enough to appreciate what he had. "He wears me out," Bridget Hanley, who played leading bride (and Sherman's love interest) Candy Pruitt on the show, told TV Guide in 1970. "When Bobby is acting, he's totally committed. The minute that scene is over, he's totally committed to something else. One day I said, 'Bobby, you're always so busy. Do you have time for a private life?' He said, 'None.' I thought, 'That's so sad.'"

Sherman's response? "I've got to do it while I'm hot."

And boy, was he. Those of us who are old enough can recall Sherman magazine covers, lunchboxes and a whole host of other merchandise sold to legions of rabid young girls who couldn't get enough of him. (And to his credit, when things cooled once more, he left the business. An EMT, his most recent work has been training members of the L.A.P.D. and San Bernardino Sheriff's Department.)

Funny thing was, the woman working closest to him had the toughest time appreciating all that teen-idol charisma — visually, anyway. "To put it very succinctly, if I get caught driving without my glasses, I go to jail," said the actress, who tested 20/150 with one eye and 20/375 with the other." And she wasn't kidding, either — earlier in her career, while performing in a play, she headed for wardrobe sans eyewear and clothes, went through the wrong door and wound up out in the audience in only her bra and panties.

As for any other insight, I'll say my one big problem with the show was what some call the Twin Peaks effect. Just like that series rested on the unsolved murder of one girl, Brides counted on a deal that from the outset had a one-year limit. When the year was up — and the Bolts got to keep their land, by the way — Brides's main reason for being was gone. And after September 1970, the series was, too.