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Face the Music (game show): Wikis


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Face the Music
Format Game Show
Developed by Buddy Piper
Presented by Ron Ely
Narrated by Dave Williams (January–September, 1980)
John Harlan (Season Two)
Art James (substitute, Season Two)
Country of origin United States
Running time 30 minutes
Original channel Syndicated
Original run January 14, 1980 – September, 1981

Face the Music was an American television game show that aired in syndication from January 14, 1980 to September 1981. The show tested contestants' knowledge of popular music songs, and association of song titles with famous people, places and things.

The show was hosted by Ron Ely and also featured the Tommy Oliver Orchestra and vocalist Lisa Donovan.

Dave Williams, now the morning anchor at KNX-1070 in Los Angeles, was the announcer from January to September, 1980. For the second season, John Harlan announced with Art James occasionally filling in.

The show was produced by Sandy Frank Productions. Game show fans remember the show for its cheesy production values (broken lights on the set, bizarre sound effects, etc.) and the sometimes overenthusiastic hosting job by Ely. Both these aspects make it a cult favorite today.

At the 1988 NATPE Convention, there was a possible syndicated revival available for the taking, but not enough stations signed on.



On each show, three new contestants compete for the right to face a returning champion in the end game. The first part of the show was played in three rounds.


Main game

  • Round 1—The contestants are shown six pictures. Most are faces of famous people, although places and even fictional characters could be shown. The Tommy Oliver Orchestra (with Donovan sometimes providing vocals) played a song. The first contestant to ring in and guess both the song title and the "famous face" it related to earned 10 points. Failure to identify a song disqualified that contestant from the next song. Contestants who identified the song but not the face it corresponded to did not score any points, but were not penalized.
  • Round 2—Songs were played as clues to the identity of a famous person, place, thing, title, event, fictional character, etc (similar to the puzzles on Password Plus and Super Password, but with songs used as clues instead of words). Up to four songs were played for each category.
Example: the category is "fictional character". The songs are:
  • "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction"
  • "The Teddy Bears' Picnic"
  • "Go Away, Little Girl"
  • "Band of Gold"
Answer: Goldilocks

The first contestant to ring in with a correct song title was entitled to guess the answer. A correct guess to the puzzle earned 20 points. An incorrect song title guess incurred a penalty (as it did in round 1); contestants who guessed incorrectly for the puzzle were not penalized.

When time expired for this round (generally, five minutes), the lowest-scoring contestant was eliminated.

  • Tiebreaker—In the event of a tie for second place, a shortened version of Round 1 was played. Three pictures were shown, and the first contestant to answer correctly advanced to Round 3. If all three players were tied, a second song was played to determine the second contestant for Round 3.
  • Round 3—Same as Round 2 except correct answers are worth 30 points. Instead of a penalty, the opposing player was offered the chance to identify a song if a contestant failed to do so. After time expired (generally, three to five minutes), the highest-scoring contestant advanced to the championship game to meet the day's previous champion.

Championship round

In the championship round, contestants faced a board concealing six portraits of a famous person, arranged from "early childhood to maturity." The first picture – depicting the famous person as a baby – was revealed, and the first "musical clue" was played.

The contestant who gave a correct song title was allowed to identify the person after being given 10 seconds to think it over. A correct guess was worth a $10,000 prize package (later changed to an all-cash prize). If a wrong answer was provided, or if no one guessed the song title for that picture, the next face was revealed, and the jackpot decreased to a $5,000 prize package. Subsequent pictures/songs were worth $1,000 less than the previous jackpot prize packages.

At any point, if a correct answer was provided, all of the portraits were revealed, and viewers were treated to a chronological montage of the famous person from birth to a present-day photo. However, if the person was still not identified after the $1,000 clue, the winner was determined by playing a tiebreaker "Round 1"-type game for the $1,000 prize package.

A five-day champion won a new car, usually the Datsun 510 (or in later episodes the Plymouth Reliant, Dodge Aries, Chrysler Cordoba or Chevrolet Citation). A 10-day champion won a trip around the world, or in later episodes, a camping trailer.

In the first season, champions stayed on for up to ten games or until defeated. Sarabeth Rothfeld was the only contestant to retire at that point in the first season[citation needed]. In the second season, champions stayed on until defeated.

Episode status

Face the Music still exists in its entirety and has been previously rerun on:

Band members

The band members included pianist Michel Rubini, drummer Evan Diner, guitarists Tommy Tedesco and Tom and John Morell (brothers), sax player Fred Selden, bass player Lyle Ritz, and trombonists Lew McCreary and Gil Falco.


  1. ^ The Intelligencer – January 2, 1989
  2. ^ The Intelligencer – September 8, 1989
  3. ^ The Intelligencer – March 26, 1990
  4. ^ The Intelligencer – September 14, 1990
  5. ^ The Intelligencer – January 2, 1995
  6. ^ The Intelligencer – September 29, 1995

External links


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