Throwback: Henry Mancini-What’s Happening Theme Song
What’s Happening was the first African-American teen show to have Nielsen ratings after it debuted in 1976. Eric Monte, the show’s creator, was one of the few African-American screenwriters in the business and based the show on his other creation Cooley High. The cast of Ernest Lee Thomas, Haywood Nelson, Fred “Rerun” Berry, Danielle Spencer, Shirley Hemphill and Mabel King played a group of friends with ordinary lives in Watts, California. Henry Mancini was a legendary film composer who had scored dozens of films and TV shows as well as recording over 90 albums as a leader. He became known for incorporating jazz into his work including the Pink Panther films and the Peter Gunn TV show. He created the theme song for What’s Happening which showed his versatility because he was not known for using jazz and R&B. The show ended in 1979, but its sequel, What’s Happening Now ran from 1985-88 and the storyline was a continuation of the previous show and it retained Mancini’s original song.