3- June 10, 1977
1974-78: Weekly Syndication
1977: NBC Daytime
1978-81: Twice-a-Week Syndication (Prime-time)
Ralph Edwards Productions
“From Hollywood, the music
capital of the world, this is..."
Tom was the master of the
music for seven superb years of a classic musical quiz that never seemed to
"Name That Tune" had begun
life as a radio game in 1952, roaring onto television as a big money prime
time game in 1953. Emceed for most of its run by George DeWitt (and briefly
by Bill Cullen), the original "Name That Tune" consisted of a band playing a
tune, and two contestants ran across the stage to ring the bell and name
that tune. The big winner had a chance to be an even bigger winner by
playing the Golden Medley (one of the first "bonus rounds" of the genre) for
up to $25,000 in cash. And that was all it needed for a healthy run before
disappearing like most quiz shows in 1959.
A revival popped up 1970
but disappeared after only 26 weeks. In 1974, legendary producer Ralph
Edwards ("Truth or Consequences" and "This is Your Life") fittingly took
control of the legendary game show, updating it for a new generation, and
aiming to keep it fresh and exciting by updating it constantly. Behold,
you'll find a series of pages examining the show and the various changes it
1974-76: THE FIRST TWO SEASONS
old favorite returns, with doses of old and new elements coming together
and building up to a possible $15,000 payday for a music lover.
1976-77: THE $100,000 MYSTERY TUNE
is new again. "Name That Tune" brought back the excitement and tension
of the '50s quizzers with a big cash prize and an isolation booth.
1977: DAYTIME TUNE
once a week wasn't enough, NBC added a daily version to their line-up.
Surprisingly, it fizzled in six months.
1977-78: THE TUNES KEEP COMING
season four, "Name That Tune" found a way to get viewers at home
involved in the winning, and a face that would become famous on daytime
TV was part of the prime time fun.
1978-81: ROCKING ON!
That Tune" finished out one decade and roared into another with a major
overhaul, including doubling the number of episodes per season, a new
set, and rock & disco music galore.
2002: ONE MORE TIME
Happily retired for 15 years, Tom dusted off his
microphone for another game of "Name That Tune" as part of a nostalgic
look at classic game shows on NBC's "Today."
Well, what can I say? During the show’s first five
seasons, this series had the perfect format, and all the needed
ingredients for a solid half-hour of classic television. The $100,000
Mystery Tune was a heart-pounder (I mean, did you read that description
of how it was done?)
Tom delivers the most energetic
performance of his career on this series, and why not? He's surrounded
by a live band and an energetic studio audience, feeding off their
energy as he spends 30 minutes listening
to music that he loves, and handing out a thick stack of cash
and car keys for correct answers. (On one episode in the trading
circuit, it's hard to figure out if the contestant or Tom is happier
when Tom announces, "Here are the keys to your brand-new car!")
Tom, executive producer Ralph Edwards, Executive in Charge of
Production Bruce Belland, and producer Ray Horl.
He plays up the Mystery Tune for all it’s worth, too. In the one episode
I have he does a very blatant clearing of the throat before reading the
information about the piece's history and copyright. And it's clear from
the way he can't help swaying back & forth during the songs or air-guitaring
the theme in later seasons that this is a music lover hosting a music
game. Tom found his nirvana with "Name That Tune," and it shows.
Tom became part of a show that imbued
itself into American pop culture, and even American vocabulary ("I can
name that tune in one note" is still an always-dependable sarcastic
quip). He also proved an indispensable part of the series, such a superb emcee
and so memorable here that years after the show ended its run, he
re-appeared as himself, playing the host of “Name That Tune” on an episode of the
sitcom “Cybil.” They could have randomly hired any actor to play a game
show host, but when they want Tom Kennedy himself to do the role, you
know he’s performed a memorable job. Tom also appeared on numerous talk
shows during the 90s, and although he had a large body of work to his
credit after all those years, he was almost always there to talk about
his seven memorable years on "Name That Tune."
I can name this show, and its
host in one word...CLASSIC.
Tom's biggest hit, and fondest
memories (2.81 MB, 7 min)