Face the Music (game show)

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

"Face the Music" was hosted by Ron Ely and also featured the Tommy Oliver Orchestra and vocalist Lisa Donovan. Dave Williams, today the morning anchor at KNX-1070 in Los Angeles, was the announcer for the first (half-)season; during the second season, he was replaced by John Harlan, 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.


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.

The 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, for a grand prize and the right to return for the next show.

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 $10,000 (originally a prize package, later it was changed to straight-forward cash). 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, or Chrysler Cordoba - towards the end - a 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). In the second season, champions stayed on until defeated.

Episode Status

Face the Music still exists and has been seen on USA Network, CBN and The Family Channel, where the show stayed in constant reruns from 1983 to 1995.

Band members

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

External links

* [ Rules for Face the Music]
* [http://www.angelfire.com/wa/gsjackpot/facethemusic.html Face the Music Rules @ Travis' Game Show Jackpot]
* [http://sandyfrankentertainment.com/ Sandy Frank Entertainment (Containing clips of a typical episode of the show)]
* [http://www.lisadonovan.com/ Official Website of vocalist Lisa Donovan]
* [http://thegstemple.bravehost.com/interviews/sarabeth.htm An interview with Sarabeth Rothfeld, the only retiring champion on "Face the Music"]

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