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Series / Musical Chairs (1975)

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"Let's play a game of Musical Chairs / and give ourselves a round of applause!"

Short-lived Game Show hosted by singer Adam Wade that ran on CBS in 1975. Four contestants competed to guess the next line (from three choices) of a song performed by Wade or one of several guest vocalists; alternately, the players had to name the film it was composed for or who sang a particular version of a song, again from three choices. Much like Split Second, the players locked in their answers and were called on in the order they did so.

Three songs were played in each round, and the contestants scored money for correct answers...but there was a limit: the money ($50 in Round 1, $75 in Round 2, and $100 in Round 3) was awarded to the first three correct answers, then the first two, and finally the first. Round 3 was the elimination round, where the lowest-scoring player after each song was eliminated from play, and the winner (who had to give a correct answer when there were only two players remaining)...well, see below. It got a bit confusing.


In September or October, the rules were altered to use the aforementioned payout structure for the three songs of each round ($50/first three, $75/first two, $100/first), and the player with the lowest score after each round was eliminated. The redistribution of money didn't make any real difference, though, since $675 was still the maximum.

Musical Chairs debuted June 16 at 4:00 PM (the "death slot") against the ailing Somerset on NBC and the insanely-expensive The Money Maze on ABC. Maze went into repeats on June 30 and was replaced on July 7 by the return of You Don't Say!. These and frequent pre-emptions resulted in Chairs ending on October 31, and CBS shoved the ailing Give-n-Take to the slot.

Regardless of this and its relative obscurity today, it holds a notable place in the genre as being the first game show hosted by an African-American. It is also notable for having a lot of high-quality musical guests, though that's probably because the show was co-produced by Don Kirshner.


Game Show Tropes in use:

  • Bonus Round: Three were done. Or rather, two and a cop-out.
    • The first gave the winner 60 seconds to name a certain number of songs that were sung, with the singer humming any instance of the title being used in-song, for a prize.
    • Later on, the winner simply got their winnings doubled. Given that nine songs were played with a $50/$75/$100 payout structure (in both formats; the money was just shuffled around later on), this meant a player could win a staggering $1,350 for one episode, which paled in comparison to most other shows that were on the air in '75.
    • By about September 8, the bonus changed again to have the winner pick one of three categories, then hear the melody of a song. The lyrics of that portion were then shown, and the player had 30 seconds to put them in their right places. A correct placement won $100, and getting all ten won $2,000.
  • Consolation Prize: Other than the standard parting gifts, players who were eliminated in the front game kept any money they accumulated.
  • Personnel:

This show provides examples of:

  • Couch Gag: At least once per show, the third choice in the front game would be an obviously-wrong answer created by songwriters that were on the show's staff.
  • Visual Pun: The "h" in the show's logo resembled the side of a chair.


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