So, all that effort to get on could come to naught, even though I passed the test?
I thought to keep a journal of my JEOPARDY! experience at the time, but, as it turned out, I made only one entry. Rob Owen was the TV/radio columnist for the (Albany) Times Union:
5-22-98: Read Rob Owen’s column about the successful Boston JEOPARDY! tryout contestants. On one hand, I was pleased that the Capital District fared so well. On the other hand, I regret not having made the T-U web page list. [Apparently, the people who passed the test in Boston were listed on the Times Union web page.] Also, the greater number of contestants (50) from the area minimizes my chances of getting on. (How generous of spirit, eh?) I believe the 50 contestants who passed were out of 150, rather than 75, as listed in the original ad, but it didn’t change the math.
After I got through the DC test, I tried to keep a good thought. I called my office, and told the folks that I had passed.
That was a mistake.
Nearly every weekday in the rest of the month, someone (and there was one person in particular) asked me whether I had heard anything from JEOPARDY! I had not. The same thing went on for all of June.
Meanwhile, WTEN did a story on a couple people who tried out at Crossgates Mall, went to Boston and passed the audition. The station went to their respective places of employment and surprised one man and one woman with the news that they would be on JEOPARDY! (Unfortunately, I do not remember their names or their JEOPARDY! fates.) I get through July and I hear NOTHING.
Thursday, August 13, I’m sitting at my desk, when our secretary Jeanette buzzes my phone. “It’s JEOPARDY!” The next thing I hear is: “Roger Green? ” “Yes?” “I’m Grant Loud from JEOPARDY! This is the call!”
“This is the call.” What an interesting choice of words. It was almost like he considered it a metaphysical calling. And maybe it was.
Grant explained that this would be a special series of programs filmed in Boston. They were taking only people who resided in the original 13 colonies for this week of programs. Would I be available on September 17 and 18? Yes! Would I be available for October 2 and 3 in Los Angeles? (If I had won the Friday game, I would need to continue in LA. I had to check. I was scheduled to be in a conference in San Diego sometime around then.) “Call me back in five minutes.”
OK, the conference was on October 6. I could fly to LA and have time to get to San Diego. OK, call me back, Grant.
And I waited. OK, it was only 22 minutes, but it seemed like an eternity before he called again. Grant and I talked about the logistics, how I would need to get myself to Boston on the 18th.
OK. I’m going to be on Jeopardy! I’M GOING TO BE ON JEOPARDY! I sat my desk, wanting just to savor the moment, absorb it, perhaps wallow in it a bit. This wallowing lasted perhaps four seconds.
“Well? Well?” hollers my colleague Anne, almost before she got to my office door. Undoubtedly, Jeanette had told her about the two calls. I told her the news. Rejoicing ensued.
Soon, I got in the mail a thick contact. (I’m sure I made a copy, but I can no longer find it.) It said stuff like they can use my likeness in their promotions, I can’t market the fact that I was on the show before it aired. I gave it to my friend Janna, who is a lawyer. She said it was standard release language.
I receive tickets for the show tapings. (I think I asked for three; I could have gotten six.)
I also got the JEOPARDY! Information Sheet that asked for five items that they would use for their “chat cards”. I wrote:
1. I own 1200 LPs, 1000 CDs, a few hundred cassettes, (but zero 8-tracks.) I had a 33 1/3 birthday party.
2. I introduced Rod Serling -almost. I met Earl Warren.
3. In our office, we used the JEOPARDY! calendar for team building. [I figured they might glom onto this one. They LOVE JEOPARDY!-related stories.]
4. I need to avoid mountains – I tore out my knee on one mountain and almost got blown off another.
5. The Heimlich maneuver works.
I return the form.
And now, I figure, I’ll just relax, study and wait.
But the next week, something happens quite distressing, which made relaxing nearly impossible.
Continued on Saturday, June 18.