Ron Ely
Tommy Oliver
Lisa Donovan
Dave Williams
John Harlan
Art James (sub)
Syndication (Daily): 1/14/1980 – 9/1981
Sandy Frank Productions

Can you identify this baby picture of a famous person? Two contestants will try for $10,000 in prizes/cash on "Face the Music"!

From Hollywood, the entertainment capital of the world, it's time to "FACE THE MUSIC"! With Tommy Oliver and his orchestra, our lovely singer, Lisa Donovan, and now the star of our show, Ron Ely!

Face the Music is the early 80s game show where contestants identify famous people, places, and things by naming songs.


Main GameEdit

In the main game, three contestants compete for the right to face the show's returning champion for up to $10,000.

Round 1Edit

In Round 1, the contestants were shown a series of six pictures (usually) of famous people. Tommy Oliver & his Orchestra played songs connected to those pictures. On each song, the first contestant to buzz-in had a chance to name the song and then try to match that song with the right picture. A correct song title and picture earned 10 points, but a wrong song title eliminated that contestant from the next musical clue. Originally the round was played until time ran out, later the round ended when all the pictures were played.

Round 2Edit

In Round 2, contestants now tried to solve musical puzzles. Each one had four clues, which were all song titles. On each puzzle, host Ely announced the subject of that puzzle, and then Tommy & the Band (sometimes with the help of Lisa Donovan) played/sang each song one at a time. On each clue, the first contestant to buzz-in had a chance to guess the song, with a correct answer earning a chance to solve the puzzle, but getting it wrong eliminated them from the next musical clue. Each puzzle solved was worth 20 points. When time ran out in the round, the two highest scoring contestants moved on to Round e, and the lowest scoring contestant was eliminated from the game.

Round 3Edit

This round was played the same as the previous round except the survivors of the second round played on, and each puzzle was now worth 30 points. Plus whenever a contestant gave an incorrect title, the opposing player had a chance to guess the song. The contestant with the most points when time ran out went to the face the returning champion in the Championship Game.

Tiebreaker (Rounds 2 & 3)Edit

If either one or both of the last two rounds ended in a tie (for second place), an abbreviated version of round one was played in which three pictures were shown and the first contestant to buzz-in and name the right song and picture advanced to the next round.

Championship GameEdit

In the Championship Game, the winner of that day's competition faced off against the show's returning champion. The two contestants were shown six pictures of a famous person one at a time, from childhood to maturity. On each picture, Tommy & the band played a song and the first player to buzz-in and name the right song won a chance to guess the famous person.

On the first picture (which was always a baby picture), the contestant in control had 10 seconds to think it over. At the end of that time, he/she was asked for an answer. If the contestant could correctly identify the famous face with that baby picture, he/she won a $10,000 prize package, this was later changed to $10,000 in cold hard cash. But if a contestant identified the face on one of the other five pictures, he/she won a lesser prize package starting at $5,000 and decreasing by $1,000 for every picture revealed. So the longer took to identify the famous face, the less they would win. But if the famous face was not guessed after all six pictures and songs, the contestants could still play for a $1,000 prize package by playing the same tiebreaker from the main game. Upon guessing the right person, the entire album was revealed.

Players who won the Championship Game also won the right to return on the next show against one of three new challengers. Players who won five Championship Games also won a brand new car (usually the Datsun 510), and if they could win 10 days in a row, they would also win a trip around the world (later replaced by a new camping trailer). Originally champions retired after the 10th win, with the challenger they defeated in that game becoming the designated champion on the next show (similar to Now You See It); later it was changed to having champions stay on the show until they lose.



Host Ron Ely is best known for playing Tarzan on the 1966 NBC TV series of the same name.


The musicians on Face The Music included a number of renowned studio musicians from "The Wrecking Crew" as well as the lead trombone player from the Tonight Show orchestra. Many of these same musicians were also featured on Name That Tune, both the Ralph Edwards and Sandy Frank Productions incarnations.

Trombones: Lew McCreary, Gil Falco (only one trombone in season 1, mostly Falco. Both trombones were used in season 2)

Alto Sax: Fred Selden (first season only)

Piano: Michel Rubini

Electric Piano: Tommy Oliver

Guitars: Tom Morrell, John Morrell, Tommy Tedesco (sub)

Bass: Lyle Ritz

Drums: Evan Diner

In spite of their musicianship, the band was the object of many of host Ely's offhanded comments, especially in Season 2 when the band humorously went "on strike" for compliments from Ely during a game. The musicians were often identified by name on the show, particularly when one performed a solo.


"Join us again next time when once more, we Face the Music. TOMMY!" - Ron Ely, Face the Music, (1980)


Rules for Face the Music @
Rules for Face the Music @ The Game Show Temple
Another Face the Music Rules Page
Josh Rebich's Face the Music Rule Sheet