So if you want "I'm Dickens He's Fenster," and remember it as an amusing blend of old-school slapstick and more modern sitcom stylings ("The Dick Van Dyke Show" was around at the same time) stick a crowbar in your wallet and buy it.
The show's intent was instantly apparent from the theme song, the "I'm Dickens He's Fenster March," styled after Laurel and Hardy's "Dance of the Cuckoos" with a dash of "Mr. Ed" cadence thrown in. Laurel & Hardy's theme was by Marvin Hatley, who never had a bigger hit. The closest would be 'Honolulu Baby,' used in Laurel & Hardy's "Sons of the Desert." Fortunately for Fenster theme writer Irving Szathmary, his royalty check was fattened by the other theme song he wrote: "Get Smart," used as Don Adams marches (and eventually drops) into CONTROL headquarters. Both sitcoms were produced by Leonard Stern, who knew catchy music when he heard it.
Szathmary was a big band arranger in the 30's (when he was in his 30's) and he helped to score some of Raymond Scott 's zany instrumentals (which ironically have been recorded by The Beau Hunks, a group that has also issued CDs of Laurel and Hardy background music). Irving eventually had his own band, and dabbled in songwriting, too. One of his tunes, "Leave it to Love," was covered by Dinah Shore and Peggy Lee among others.
Irving's brother Bill was also in show biz, but changed the last name from Szathmary to Dana (their mother's name). Bill Dana (aka "Jose Jimenez," star of several best-selling comedy records) wrote for Don Adams, and knew Leonard Stern, who was both a TV producer and novelty book publisher. Dana got Irving his first theme song assignment: "I'm Dickens He's Fenster." Then came "Get Smart" and then…Irving retired from the music biz. While his brother Bill moved to Hawaii, Irving took it a step or two further…and moved to Malta.
You get two versions of the Dickens and Fenster march…the original TV soundtrack, and Nelson Riddle's expanded version. Here's to Irving Szathmary, whom Jose Jimenez would have noted, was a very talented Jungarian Hew.
Original TV THEME Just as it was heard on the sitcom soundtrack
Dickens and Fenster in STEREO Nelson Riddle and his Orchestra.
Now, what about SIMONE?
Loosely translated, she's singing about looking at "the sea through a window." In other words, in Europe they think it's "I'm Dickens, He's a Window." It's been a while since this blog's offered a foreign language pop oddity (that wasn't sung in French). It's also been a while since it promoted a still-living and performing female vocalist, so here's a piece of Danish for you to discover. Simone Egerlis became a pop sensation in Denmark via the "Scenen Er Din" talent show in 2004, and "Im Fenster das Meer" is a typically bright and catchy number that might recall Abba and other visually pleasant and musically mild cheeses.
Sample a Danish Pop Tart SIMONE