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Face the Music (U.S. game show)

Face the Music is an American television game show that aired daily in syndication from January 14, 1980, to September 1981. The show was hosted by actor Ron Ely, with Dave Williams as announcer for the first season and John Harlan the second with Art James as a substitute. The Tommy Oliver Orchestra, with Lisa Donovan as vocalist, was also featured. Face the Music was produced and distributed by Sandy Frank Productions.

Face the Music
Face the Music.PNG
Onstage logo of Face the Music
Created by David Levy
Buddy Piper-Beverly Piper
Developed by Buddy Piper
Directed by Lou Tedesco
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
Executive producer(s) David Levy
Producer(s) Sandy Frank
Ray Horl
Peggy Touchstone
Running time 30 minutes
Production company(s) Sandy Frank Productions
Original network Syndicated
Original release January 14, 1980 – September, 1981

The basic premise of Face the Music was a musical guessing game in the same vein as Name That Tune, which Sandy Frank was also distributing when Face the Music premiered and for whom Tommy Oliver had been the orchestra director during the mid-1970s. The twist, however, was that in addition to identifying the songs that the orchestra played, the contestants had to link the song titles to famous people, places, and things.



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

Main gameEdit

Round 1Edit

The contestants were shown six pictures, mostly faces of famous people, although places and even fictional characters were shown at times. The band played a song, and the first contestant to buzz-in, give its title, and identify the face associated with it scored 10 points. The idea was to link the title with something closely linked to the famous face, such as "Happy Talk" for talk show host Johnny Carson. In another example, an actor (such as Rob Reiner or Carroll O'Connor) who appeared on a certain television series would be linked to the theme song from that series (in this case, All in the Family).

An incorrect guess carried no point penalty. However, a contestant who failed to correctly identify a song after buzzing-in was locked out of the next one. The round ended after one song had been played for each of the six famous faces.

Round 2Edit

In the second round, each song served as a clue to the identity of a subject. The subject category was given to the contestants (person, place, thing, fictional character, etc.), after which the band (or on some occasions, Donovan) played/sung the first song. A contestant buzzed-in and attempted to correctly name the song. Doing so gave the contestant the opportunity to name the subject to which the song applied. If the contestant was wrong or did not guess the subject, another song was played and the process repeated. As in round 1, if the contestant failed to identify the correct song, they would be locked out of the next tune. Up to four musical clues were played for each subject, and correctly identifying the subject earned the contestant 20 points.

For example, in the category of "fictional character", the songs "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction", "The Teddy Bears' Picnic", "Go Away Little Girl", and "Band of Gold" all pertained to Goldilocks from "The Story of the Three Bears".

The round was played until time was called, with the two highest-scoring players advancing to the third round.

In the event of a tie for second place, a shortened version of the first round was played. Three pictures were shown to the tied contestants, after which a song played. The first contestant to name the song and identify the picture to which it applied advanced to round three. If all three contestants were tied, a second song was played to determine the second contestant who advanced.

Round 3Edit

In Round 3, the remaining two contestants again tried to guess subjects through use of song titles. This time, if a contestant did not correctly identify a song title the opposing player was given the chance to do so. Identifying the subject in this round was worth 30 points.

The player in the lead when time was called advanced to the Championship Round to face the champion while the other player won a consolation prize for advancing to the third round. As before, a tie was broken with a shortened version of the first round.

Championship roundEdit

In the championship round, the reigning champion and the surviving contestant competed to become the first to identify a famous person.

Six pictures of a celebrity were concealed onstage, ranging from childhood through maturity, and each was revealed one at a time with an accompanying musical clue. A contestant had to correctly name the tune and identify the celebrity pictured to win the game and return on the next episode.

For the first picture only, after providing a correct title to the tune, a contestant was given ten seconds to ponder their guess before verbally attempting to identify the celebrity. Contestants who correctly named the celebrity won a cash prize of $10,000 (originally a prize package during the first two weeks). If neither contestant correctly named the tune or identified the celebrity, play continued with a second tune and picture, and contestants won a $5,000 prize package for correctly identifying both. The process continued with additional tunes and pictures, each reducing the potential jackpot by $1,000. The sixth and final picture was in full color.

If neither contestant correctly identified both the tune and famous person after the sixth musical clue, a tiebreaker similar to the ones used in rounds two and three was played for the $1,000 prize package and to determine a champion.

Any champion who won five consecutive championship rounds received a new car as a bonus prize. A ten-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. In the second season, champions stayed on until defeated, regardless of the number of wins.

Episode statusEdit

Face the Music still exists in its entirety and has been previously rerun on CBN (July 2, 1984 to September 27, 1985 and January 6 to August 29, 1986), USA Network (January 2 to September 8, 1989 and March 26 to September 14, 1990),[1][2][3][4] and The Family Channel (January 2 to September 29, 1995)[5][6]

Band membersEdit

Face the Music featured band members who also appeared on another show by Sandy Frank Productions, Name That Tune. The band members included pianist Michel Rubini, drummer Evan Diner, guitarists Tommy Tedesco and brothers Tom and John Morell, sax player Fred Selden, bass player Lyle Ritz, and trombonists Lew McCreary and Gil Falco. Tommy Oliver played electric piano in addition to conducting the group.

External linksEdit


  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