1 9 7 5 (USA)
27 x 30 minute episodes
Musical impresario Don Kirshner was co-executive producer of this wanna-be-hip CBS knockoff of Name That Tune which premiered in June 1975 and was broadcast daily from New York’s Ed Sullivan Theater.
A quartet of players heard parts of songs sung by guest performers, who stopped singing in the middle of the song and then had to guess which lyrics – from three available choices – came next.
During a few rounds of increasing payoffs starting at $50 and increasing to $1,000, the lowest-scoring contestants were removed from view by having their “musical chairs” pulled back behind a panel one by one. The final remaining player won the day’s competition.
Guest singers on this New York-based series were mostly little-known talent, although several actors on CBS soap operas at the time (such as Michael Noun, Mary Stuart, and Don Stewart) appeared. The most familiar names to turn up were Lou Rawls, Irene Cara, The Spinners, The Stylistics, Bobby Rydell and – for some odd reason – children’s performer Shari Lewis.
Host Adam Wade (born Patrick Wade) – the first black host of an American daytime television show – had, in fact, been a moderately successful vocalist in the early 1960s, with such Billboard chart hits as The Writing on the Wall (#5) and Take Good Care of Her (#7).
The novelty of a black television host was not universally embraced: A CBS affiliate in Alabama refused to carry the show, and hate mail poured in, including – Adam Wade told Connecticut Public Radio in 2014 – a letter from a man “saying he didn’t want his wife sitting at home watching the black guy hand out the money.”
CBS cancelled the show after less than five months with the final episode airing on 31 October.
Adam Wade died at his home in Montclair, New Jersey in July 2022, aged 87, due to complications of Parkinson’s disease.