Musical Chairs

Last Update: December 14, 1999 -- photo added.

Airing: 4-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday, June 16 through October 31, CBS.

Personnel: Adam Wade, host; Pat Hernon, announcer. A Don Kirshner-Jerome Schnur Production. Taped in New York City.

Description: Name That Tune played on the set of Remote Control.

Game Play: Four players competed in a series of three rounds, with three songs per round. A song was sung by either Wade or one of the celebrity singers with the singer stopping in the middle, with the host then offering a multiple choice of three options as to what the next verse was. (Some of the choices were fairly easy; the writers occasionally put in gag lyrics as the third choice, such as this lyric that had to end with a rhyming word for "good": "íCause Robert Wagner knew that Natalie Wood.") In the first round, the first three players that rang in correctly (their podiums would light up in front with the letters A, B, or C, corresponding to their answers) received $50. In the second round, the first two players that answered correctly received $75, and in the third round, the first player that answered correctly won $100. The third round was also when the low-scoring player was eliminated after each question by having their "chair" (and desk) removed from the game via a breakaway wall (similar to what was used on MTVís Remote Control). The high scorer at the end of the third round was the dayís champion.

End Game: Several different bonus games, according to various memories of the alt.tv.game-shows newsgroup. The first had players matching the first line of a song with the second line on a board, with a 60-second time limit. For awhile after that, the winning contestant in the main game had their total winnings doubled, with no true end game. About a month before the end of the run, a new end game was added: champions chose one of three categories, heard the melody of a song, and then had to put ten lyrics to the song in order on a board within 30 seconds. The payoff was $100 per correct answer and $2,000 for all ten.

Background: Musical Chairs had quite a pedigree. Don Kirshner was the impresario behind the first two albums by The Monkees, only to be dumped by the studio after moving ahead with single releases without the producersí permission (thus allowing Micky, Davy, Mike and Peter to play their own instruments and choose their own music). A few years later, he became the mastermind behind The Archies (cartoon characters are less rebellious than real people). In the 1970s, he ran Don Kirshnerís Rock Concert in syndication, and his label served as the home for the group Kansas. It was his first game show, however, which bumped G-Tís Now You See It, with Tattletales moving to the mornings in NYSIís place.

Host Adam Wade had three hit singles in 1961: "Take Good Care of Her" (#7), "The Writing on the Wall" (#5), and "As If I Didnít Know" (#10). Besides being the only singing host on a Ď70s musical game show, he was the first black host ever. Wade also is the only game show host to work on the polio vaccine with Dr. Jonas Salk (he did this while attending Virginia State College), and appeared as a contestant on To Tell the Truth.

Musical Guests: The music connections of the producers allowed for a number of name guests (Lou Rawls, The Spinners, and The Stylistics). CBS also cross-promoted by getting soap stars like Michael Nouri, Mary Stuart, and Don Stewart on the program. Then there were also the acts whose best years were 1) ahead of them (Irene Cara), 2) behind them (The Tokens), 3) never really to happen (Kelly Garrett), and 4) spent with a sock on her hand (Shari Lewis).

No Chairs at the Table: All the charm, background, and preparation meant nothing. While not an awful game (unlike, say, Spin-Off, it was at least amusing, and Wade had a certain charm), Musical Chairs was a show out of its element Ė it aspired to be a hipper Name That Tune, but in fact could have easily fit into a daytime schedule from 1965. Additionally, it seemed a strange flow for viewers who watched Match Game í75 and Musical Chairs back to back (in New York, it aired at 1 p.m., between Search for Tomorrow and As the World Turns). Despite weak 4 p.m. competition from NBCís Somerset and ABCís You Donít Say!, Musical Chairs was removed from the lineup after four and a half months in favor of Give-n-Take, which itself was bumped from the early morning hours so that The Price Is Right could expand to an hour.

This was Adam Wadeís one and only game show, but he is remember fondly by several members of the aforementioned game show newsgroup (including one frequent studio audience member for whom Wade hosted a high school talent show a week after the show was cancelled). He may still be living and working (in a non-entertainment capacity, possibly in the medical field) in New York City. Based on the glowing impressions fans of this brief show have retained over the last 20-plus years, I can only wish him the best, no matter what heís doing.

The Home Game: None was issued, and thatís no surprise. One could do a variation of this game with the board game Songburst, I suppose.

Reruns: Musical series are hard to rerun because obtaining permission to reuse the music is difficult, so why go through it for 95 episodes?

Revivals: Never say never, but I canít see this happening unless it was on a cable nostalgia channel.

Curt Alliaume, Executive Producer: Hello, VH1. Of course, with Rock & Roll Jeopardy! airing, this is hardly a necessity. And this show really needs a workable end game. Iíd rather try to revive Name That Tune.

My Grade: C. Raised a notch for taping in New York.

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Musical Chairs is a copyrighted title of Don Kirshner-Jerome Schnur Productions. This page is in no way affiliated with or endorsed by Don Kirshner-Jerome Schnur Productions, their subsidiaries, affiliates, or successor organizations. No challenge to their ownership is implied. Adam Wade LP cover copyright Don Kirshner Records, a subsidiary of CBS/Sony Records. Photos originally appeared on eBay.