hear a song played by a studio band and attempt to...well...you know...
The first season of Name
Tune aired on NBC, with Red Benson as host. It ended in June,
1954. The show resumed the following fall on CBS with Bill as
His version lasted just over six months. The show returned once
in the fall of 1955 with George DeWitt, and only then did it become a
Fans of the seventies and
versions, or younger viewers with no memory of the classic game at all,
might be surprised at what a simple contest the original Name That
actually was. Two contestants at a time competed, and after the
interviews with Bill, sat in chairs about twenty feet away from two
suspended near Bill's podium. When the band played, the
raced across the stage to ring their bells and name the tune.
After four songs of escalating value ($5, $10, $20 and $40), the player with the most money won the game and faced a "Golden Medley" of songs submitted by a home viewer. The player won $25 for correctly identifying the first tune in the medley, then doubled her winnings for each one after that up to $1600 for seven right answers, all within a thirty second time limit. It all moved very quickly. In the surviving episode at UCLA, they played three full games in the half hour.
Unlike George DeWitt, Bill was not much of a singer. "I've got five good notes," he once admitted, "but I can't get above middle C." Vocal chores on the show were handled by Vicki Mills, who sometimes confused contestants by singing familiar songs in exotic foreign languages.