Thanks for Playing!

bird, new, square, twitter icon



Previous Columns
The Magnificent Marble Machine
The Better Sex
Hot Potato
The Challengers
Rhyme and Reason
Second Chance
Catch Phrase
Trump Card
Caesars Challenge
Just Men!
Hit Man
Wipeout (1988)
Strike It Rich
Break the Bank (1976)
(The New) Battlestars
All-Star Blitz
The Rich/Money List
I'm Telling!
The Chair
The Chamber
Your Number's Up
The Guinness Game
My Generation
Name That Video

Copyright Statement

No infringement of copyright is intended by these fan pages; production companies of shows this site covers retain all rights to the sounds, images, and information contained herein. No challenge to copyright is implied. 

Web design by Jason Elliott. Logo by Chico Alexander. 
Full Copyright Statement

Powered by 1&1 Internet

with Chris Wolvie
You Bring the Knowledge, and They Bring The... Meh.
May 18
C'mon, Ted! Get it through your head! Don't you remember what the other man said?!

AIR DATES: June 30, 1990 to December 7, 1990
CREATOR: Chauncey Street Productions; MTV
HOST: Jordan Brady


Hot off the overwhelming success of "Remote Control" (and its brief syndicated run), MTV decided to try another different game show; one that had MUSIC trivia instead of mostly TV-based trivia. The result was "Turn It Up!", which, in a purely gameplay sense, was the first incarnation of "Rock 'N' Roll Jeopardy!" No, really; players faced a board with columns of categories and rows of ever increasing point values. It also borrowed a bit from "Name That Tune" as it had a LIVE rock band (Stuffi Schmitt and the Zombo Combo) helping things out. And, like "Remote Control", it had an up-and-coming comedian as a host...who never really got up and/or came. Interesting premise, to say the least, but could've done with a little more originality game-wise.

ROUNDS 1 & 2 
Three players start the game. They face a board with four columns of music-based trivia, each with three questions for 10, 20 and 30 points apiece. A player is randomly chosen to pick the first category for 10 points. A toss-up question is asked. Buzzing-in with the right answer gives the contestant points and control over the next category (for the least-valuable question not asked in that category). No penalty for a wrong answer; if the right answer isn't given, the contestant who chose the last question chooses again. The round continues until time expires or all twelve questions are asked.

The second round is like the first with a few tweaks. First, the categories are mostly based on videos played on the board. Second, the categories are usually the same in each episode with one or two changes. The most common categories were:
TOTAL RECALL: Twenty seconds of a video is played and questions are asked about what was seen. Once this category is chosen, the contestants must go through all three questions, with the one with the last right answer choosing the next category.
SING THIS: Like "Sing Along With Colin" on RC, a video is played and the contestants must buzz-in and sing the next line.
SAY WHAT?: Contestants have to repeat hard-to-understand lyrics sung during a video.
TALK RADIO: An audio clip of a musician is played and the contestants must identify the artist.
SPARE PARTS: Part of a photo of an artist is shown. With the host giving a clue, the contestants must figure out the artist.
PICK A PLAYER: The host picks a member of the band, who then asks questions about musicians who ALSO play their instrument. (Stuffi gives questions about lead singers, the drummer about drummers, etc.)

Again, the round ends when time expires or all 12 questions are read. At this point, the contestant with the least amount of points is eliminated.

The two contestants' scores are hidden for the duration and added back on at the end. The band then plays a song, starting with just one instrument and adding in another one every five seconds. The contestants have 30 seconds to identify the song. Doing so gets them a small prize and points: 25 for the first, 50 for the second, 75 for the third and 100 for the last. At the end, whoever has the most cumulative points from all three rounds wins a prize. If ONE contestant answers all FOUR Add-a-Tracks correctly, they win a BIGGER prize, like a trip.

Again, kudos to the set designers. It was made to LOOK like a rock concert, right down to the contestants standing behind what looked like keyboards. Just like RC, the budget was relatively small and, as such, the set had to be simple but STILL stick to the theme. And damned if they didn't pull it off.

Much like Steve Treccase on RC, the Zombo Combo did their best to put music to the right answers. And they were pretty good at improvisation. Not Paul Schaffer or Jon Batiste levels but...pretty good. And they were as into the show as the crowd seemed to be. That's what happens when you take up most of the middle of the set, I guess.

Jordan Brady...well,...he tried. But his question reading left a great deal to be desired. If he was trying to top Ken Ober, he missed by a mile. He always looked and talked like he was half-asleep and half-stoned...which, I guess, could describe rockers in the late 80s and early 90s so at least he was in character! But, still, coulda been better.

When you get down to it, the show was more like RC than R'n'RJ! except that you could see ALL the "channels" being played. You couldn't go to "Pick a Player" for 30; you had to start at 10 and work your way down. Imagine how much more interesting it would be if contestants get cocky - or desperate when time is running low - and shoot for the most difficult question.

The second round NEEDED to have different categories than the six or seven they had going over and over. This lesson was, apparently, NOT learned by Sande Frank for "Name That Video" (see previous GGB). It made the game repetitious and, thus, unwatchable.

Well,...maybe NOT on MTV. But...if they get a decent enough band who doesn't mind being paid below scale, maybe they COULD bring it back somewhere. But I would make it less RC and more R'n'RJ! More and more interesting categoric, maybe four questions per, let the contestants pick their value...and, obviously, SOME way to compensate for the lack of videos. Not sure what channel would take it...maybe one of the more obscure channels on your smart TV or your Roku device. But,...yeah, if they put a little more heart into, I could see it happen.

NEXT TIME: Go meets College Bowl meets Mastermind meets absolute insanity...

Chris Wolvie tried turning it up as a kid...and now he's three steps away from tinnitus. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisWolvie and e-mail him at