‘The X-Files Theme’ – Mark Snow’s Iconic Anthem Reveals Hidden Truths in My Life

The moment I hear the eerie echoes and whistles I’m instantly transported to another dimension.

The dimension I’m entering is “The X-Files,” which features the iconic TV theme developed by composer Mark Snow in 1993.

“The X-Files Theme” represents the hidden paranormal world I find so fascinating throughout the beloved sci-fi series.

It’s only in the last year “The X-Files Theme” has played loudly in the foreground of my life. The theme was always there. I just had to listen closely enough to hear it.

In the late ‘90s, I heard quiet whispers of the theme, but it wasn’t enough for me to stop and listen.

In June 1998, I heard the TV theme and entire score for “The X-Files: Fight the Future” while watching the movie. My husband Brian and I went to see the movie since a college friend was a diehard fan. I enjoyed the movie, but for some reason my interest in the show didn’t stick.

In May 1999, Brian and I played “The X-Files Theme (DADO Paranormal Activity Mix)” during our wedding dinner from “Pure Moods,” a 1997 new-age music compilation album.

Again, it didn’t stick. Not until June 2015.

Last June, I received a copy of Entertainment Weekly in the mail that featured David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson on the cover reprising their famous Mulder and Scully roles for the brief return of the series in January.

After nearly 20 years, it was time to watch this TV show before the new episodes returned.

Ironically, Brian is the one who should have been hooked on “The X-Files,” not me. He’s the one who loves sci-fi and fantasy TV shows, movies, video games and books. As my sci-fi and fantasy media curator, I rely on him to find the cool things to see and do.

Last Fourth of July weekend, we watched the pilot episode of “The X-Files” on Netflix before we went to New Hampshire to see his brother Todd and family.

“This seems like a good show,” I said highly intrigued, yet disappointed I couldn’t binge watch a few more episodes before going to bed.

“We’ll watch more when we get back,” Brian said.

 And, so we (or actually I) did.

I spent the next eight months watching the entire series from beginning to end. I relished the moments when I could come home after a long day at work and escape into “The X-Files” dimension.

The dimension allowed me to join Mulder and Scully in their quest to find the truth and uncover federal government conspiracies about alien life.

While unraveling the mysteries about alien life, I felt like a junior agent unofficially tagging along on their adventures. For me, it was a way to bring camaraderie back to my life. In a sense, I felt like I belonged somewhere again.

As I joined along vicariously through Mulder and Scully’s adventures, I knew I wouldn’t finish the original series in time for the new episodes that premiered in January.

Right before the first new episode aired, Brian and I were driving around Orlando listening to a Jan. 22 NPR story, “As ‘X-Files’ Returns, Meet The Man Behind The Theme Song,” about Snow’s creation of the theme.

To create the theme, Snow tested different sounds to get the right effect for the theme. He included the famous echo delay and a combined loop of his wife and a synth machine whistling.

Snow also drew inspiration from The Smiths’ “How Soon is Now?” single, which features guitars reminiscent of whistles from “The X-Files Theme.”

And so an iconic TV theme was created.

Today, “The X-Files Theme” has become an anthem in my life. It was time to experience that camaraderie in person this time.

Mitch Pileggi
Mitch Pileggi discusses his days on “The X-Files” during a Motor City Comic Con panel.

 I heard the theme pounding in my head as I approached Mitch Pileggi during a May 14 Motor City Comic Con autograph signing session at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi, Mich.

Once again, I was a junior FBI agent reporting for duty to Pileggi’s stern, but tough-loving Associate Director Walter Skinner on “The X-Files.”

“What did you think when Mulder ripped the ‘I Want to Believe’ poster?” Mitch Pileggi asked with a laugh as he signed my cheap replica copy scrolled out in front of him.

“I have to admit it made me cringe a bit,” I said with a smile and glanced over quickly at Brian.

 I instantly recalled the scene from My Struggle” in my head while we chatted with Pileggi.

Like hardcore X-Files fans, I saw that poster as a sacred symbol of the hugely popular TV show. Who would ever dare rip it?

Pileggi’s talkative, outgoing demeanor was a welcome surprise. In real life, Pileggi is completely different from his famous alter ego. I felt like I was talking to an old friend.

William B Davis
William B. Davis talks to Motor City Comic Con attendees during an X-Files panel discussion.

After receiving Pileggi’s autograph, I headed over to the next table to meet William B. Davis, who plays the brilliant, but evil Cigarette Smoking Man on “The X-Files.”

Again, I heard the theme song playing over and over again in my head like a skipped record.

For some reason, I entered hardcore negotiator mode as I approached Davis. I felt like Scully negotiating for the release of Mulder from one of Cigarette Smoking Man’s covert alien testing facilities.

Luckily, I was wrong.

“It’s a real honor to meet you,” I said to Davis as I shook his hand.

Davis slowly unrolled my poster and calmly asked, “So Mitch is giving you a lot of love over there?” I nodded and smiled trying not to laugh.

“Well, I’ll have to give you some love over here,” he quietly laughed as he signed my poster.

Brian and I join Mitch Pileggi, left, and William B. Davis for an X-Files team up photo at Motor City Comic Con.

Intuitively, I sensed Davis would be an exceptional mentor to have in your life. His professional and personal experiences would help point you in the direction to be your best self.

Meeting two “X-Files” friends three days before my birthday was a welcome escape before turning 40.

 

As I left Motor City Comic Con that day, “The X-Files” theme pulsated in my head. It was as if the theme were preparing me for another big moment in my life – meeting Mulder.

 

 

 

 

 

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