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What Do ‘The Crown’ and ‘El Chavo del Ocho’ Have in Common? Beethoven!

At the height of its popularity, “El Chavo del Ocho” regularly pulled in more than 350 million viewers every week. Over the course of 324 “El Chavo” episodes, the show’s signature theme song has become iconic. However, you might not know it’s actually a riff on Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Turkish March.”

How did “El Chavo del Ocho” get its iconic theme?

The producers chose “The Elephant Never Forgets,” a track by French musician Jean-Jacques Perrey, as the show’s theme. At that point, Perrey was most well-known for his use of the Moog synthesizer. The track in question comes from his 1970 album “Moog Indigo.”

Perrey’s track reflects the goofy tone of the popular series, mostly because of how he incorporates the Moog. By incorporating Beethoven’s melody, Perrey accidentally created one of the more recognizable theme songs in TV history.

Recently, an episode of Netflix‘s “The Crown” that features Beethoven’s original piece had some viewers doing a double take. Beethoven’s “Turkish March” is not one of the more popular tracks we hear time and time again in movies and television. That’s probably why it stuck out so much to fans of the Netflix series.

The artist behind the song wasn’t crazy about how Televisa used it…

To that end, “Elephant” isn’t the only Perrey track in “El Chavo,” but it is the most popular. Surprisingly, the networks that produced “El Chavo del Ocho” — including Televisa, Univision, and Galavision — found themselves caught up in a lawsuit Perrey filed for unauthorized use of his music.

Perrey and the companies finally reached a settlement in 2010, requiring them to feature Perrey’s name on all promotional materials. Perrey also required the companies to guarantee ongoing compensation for the use of his work in the series.

Against all odds, Chesperito himself was never involved with the lawsuit.

Side-by-side, can you hear the similarities?

First, listen to Beethoven’s “Turkish March.” The “El Chavo del Ocho” melody comes in at around 1:49.

Now listen to “The Elephant Never Forgets” by Jean-Jacques Perrey.

What do you think of the theme song now knowing part of it came from one of the greatest composers of all time?

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