Theme Song Graveyard #1: “Sweepstakes” – Ron Dante (NBC 1979)

Greetings from Delta flight 101, seat 33C, 32,000 feet in the air and currently over Lubbock, Texas. I am a little less than two hours from destination Atlanta and my extended weekend with the Wild Granberries. I neglected to charge my laptop so I’m blogging from my phone. That makes listing recipe ingredents and explaining preparation techniques too tedious to attempt, so instead I bring you one of the catchiest television theme songs from the tail end of the disco era, “Don’t Be Afraid to Dream” from the late 1970s NBC mega-flop, Sweepstakes.
Is there anyone else out there who remembers this show? Having landed in our living rooms several years before the Reagan prosperity bomb went off, one would think American tv audiences would have been hungering for a weekly one hour drama about the lives of finalists in a million dollar sweepstakes featuring new celebrity guest stars each week, but apparently the only one who tuned in was me. And to be honest, I wasn’t as into the show as I was its theme song and opening titles featuring piles of cash and lucky lottery tickets showering down from a sunny blue sky. The song is performed by Ron Dante, best known for singing the lead for the cartoon rock band The Archies and producing and singing back-up for Barry Manilow through most of the seventies. Knowing that, you should not be surprised at this song’s super slick production, infectious melody and uplifting key change towards the end. Wow! A television theme song long enough to afford time for a key change. Is it possible? Find out for yourself below.

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10 thoughts on “Theme Song Graveyard #1: “Sweepstakes” – Ron Dante (NBC 1979)

  • July 22, 2010 at 10:34 pm

    Hello Gary
    Thanks for posting this TV Theme.
    I had a great time singing it.
    It was written by Charles Fox who wrote the Happy Days and Laverne and Shriley theme among many others.
    This is the first time I’ve seen the opening of the show.
    All the best to you.
    Ron D.

  • July 23, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    This is very cool. I’d heard the ‘Sweepstakes’ theme music before, thanks to Ron Dante, but had never seen the TV show or this opening segment. Thanks so much for posting this!

  • July 23, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    @Ron – I am looking for your e-mail to thank you for your comment. You can e-mail me above if you’d like. I’d love to find out more about your work.

    @Laura – I agree that this is some great tv theme music! Glad you found it. I had been looking for the opening segment for years.

  • September 12, 2010 at 10:08 pm

    I have been looking for this song since I was a kid. I grew up in the philippines and remembered this show when it went on air.( Yes , it was shown in Asia and you’re not the only one who tuned in) I was about 8 years old when it came out on air , but for some reason this song got stuck in my mind. I remember even taping it from the television with a microphone. But then a few years later, we moved to the united states and I lost that tape. Ever since then I have been obsessed in trying to find a copy of this song. So thank you very much for posting this and now I’m going to see if it’s ever released on cd ,tape or even an LP. That’s how obsessed I am with this song.

  • September 13, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    My pleasure, Chirs. I too did the whole tape recorder against the tv speaker thing as a kid, but I never got this theme and before I knew it, it was gone! Took a lot of sleuthing to track it down. Glad you found it. – Gary

  • September 16, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    In case you’re interested, I got an email from Ron Dante himself about this song :

    “Hello Chris
    Sorry to say but this song was never commercially released.
    It’s only around on You Tube.
    Glad you like it.
    I had a great time singing it.
    All the best to you
    Ron D.”

    Guess I’ll just have to use the old microphone bit
    thanks again,

  • May 29, 2011 at 12:10 am

    I was 3 years old in 1979 when I heard this song with my parents! I am thrilled that 32 years later I have a copy of this song that took me at least two decades of research to finally track,it down at 3:08 a.m, but it was worth it! Thank you!!!

  • January 19, 2014 at 3:21 pm

    Thank You!

  • April 25, 2015 at 6:21 pm

    That song has been in my head for 35 years. Thank you.

  • April 26, 2015 at 1:43 am

    My pleasure, Rick. I was the same way for several decades myself. It really gets into your head, right?

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