Musical Chairs (1975 TV series)

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This article is about the 1975 CBS TV game show Musical Chairs. For the 1955 NBC game show of the same name hosted by Bill Leyden, see Musical Chairs (1955 TV series).
Musical Chairs
Musical Chairs.jpg
Title card for the 1975 Musical Chairs.
Created by Don Kirshner
Jerry Schnur
Presented by Adam Wade
Narrated by Pat Hernon
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 95
Running time 30 minutes
Production company(s) Jerome Schnur/Don Kirshner Productions
Original network CBS
Picture format NTSC
Original release June 16 – October 31, 1975

Musical Chairs is a game show that aired from June 16 to October 31, 1975 on CBS. Singer Adam Wade hosted, making him the first African-American game show host. Wade was pedigreed, having had three Billboard top ten hits in 1961. The series was recorded at the Ed Sullivan Theater (CBS Studio 50) in New York City and sportscaster Pat Hernon was the announcer.[1]

The series aired at 4:00 PM (3:00 Central Time) against NBC's Somerset and ABC's Money Maze (and later You Don't Say!); it was not successful in the ratings against that competition.

Usually appearing on each episode were guest singers and musical groups, among them The Tokens, The Spinners, Larry Kert, Margaret Whiting, The New Christy Minstrels and Sister Sledge as well as up and coming singers and stars such as Alaina Reed, Kelly Garrett, Marilyn Sokol, Jane Olivor, and Irene Cara.


Four contestants competed, one usually a champion. Three rounds and nine songs were played. A singer (host Wade and/or one of the guest performers) would begin to sing a song, but stop at a certain point. The singer then sang three different lyrics for the next line of the song, which were displayed on back-lit panels (the third panel occasionally contained humorous or absurd lyrics, written by songwriters/lyricists that were on the show's staff). On occasion, the performers would sing an entire verse and/or chorus and Wade would ask a simple trivia question related to the song, with three possible answers. The players then picked which of the three options s/he thought was correct by pressing a button on their console.

For the first question in each round, the first three players to lock in the correct answer won the money for that question. On the second question, only the first two correct answers won the money, and for the third question, only the first correct answer won the money. The questions were worth $50 for the first round, $75 for the second round, and $100 for the third round. However, after each question in the third round, the player with the least money was eliminated from the game, although they did get to keep any winnings up to that point.

Later in the run, the first song in each round paid $50 each to the first three players to lock in with the right answer. The second song paid $75 to the first two players to be correct, and the last song in each round paid $100 to the first player with the correct song line. The player with the lowest score after each round would be eliminated from further play, but kept all winnings up to that point. As before, the player with the most money after the final round won the game.

Bonus round[edit]

Originally, the contestant had to name each song that was sung (with the singer humming through any part that uses the song's title, much like the "Sing-A-Tune" round of Name That Tune). Getting a stated amount in 60 seconds won a bonus prize.

Later, the bonus round was dropped and the winning contestant simply had his/her maingame total doubled.

Beginning in mid-September, a new bonus round was introduced – the day's winner chose one of three categories, then heard the melody of a song. The lyric was then shown with ten words missing; each time a word was correctly placed the contestant won $100. Getting all 10 in the proper places within 30 seconds won $2,000.

Episode status[edit]

The show's status is unknown, as CBS had ceased wiping its daytime games in late 1972.[citation needed] One episode exists with musical guests Irene Cara, soap star Mary Stuart, and the Spinners.

A partial audio recording of an episode featuring musical guests Buddy Greco, Hattie Winston and Dick Roman is known to be in the collection of Roman's daughter Miel.