Sunday, December 22, 2013

Music Bingo (TV)

Johnny Gilbert

Like most kids growing up in the 50s and 60s, I was addicted to television.  But in the early days, we only had two stations --  CBS and ABC – so our options were limited.  For many years, that meant the only thing on when we got home from school were game shows.  And one that was my favorite was Music Bingo*.

The show’s board was a Bingo card, with the letters “M-U-S-I-C” at the top.  Two contestants would listen as the band would play a song.  The first to answer correctly, got to place their symbol – a sharp or a flat – on the board.  Five in a row, and you won the game.  Here is the opening:

The host was the first network gig for game show legend Johnny Gilbert, best known today for “This  . . . is Jeopardy,” which he has been doing since the show was revived with Alex Trebek.**

Something about the show fascinated me.  I rarely knew the songs (at eight, my music knowledge was limited), but I enjoyed the challenge.

What really stuck in my mind was one of the champions.  I don’t recall his name, but he was always introduced as the father of quadruplets, a term I had never heard before.  What I also remember was that remained as champion forever.  I actually stopped watching for several months and the same guy was still champion the next time I watched.  I often wonder if that had anything to do with the rules that limited the number of times you could win.

I moved on, and the next time I checked, it was gone.  There’s very little information on it online, but it was a favorite of mine.

*The show started on NBC, but was later moved to ABC, where I saw it.

**Replacing an ever bigger game show legend, Don Pardo.

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