JEOPARDY! withdrawal syndrome

Alex Trebek’s memoir

Alex TrebekIt appears I must be going through JEOPARDY! withdrawal. For the past several years, the game show would air for 46 weeks. There would be six weeks off, in late July and August, during which they’d rerun the Tournament of Champions and/or other highlights.

But because of the coronavirus, the season ended early. Even before the last show, which aired June 12, they reran the Greatest of All Time tournament in early May that had aired on ABC primetime back in January.

Now what? The JEOPARDY folks have gone into the vaults to show, among other things, the first two episodes from 1984. Game #1, airing September 10 showed Greg Hopkins, an energy demonstrator from Waverly, Ohio, with an insurmountable lead after Double JEOPARDY. Greg had $8,100, Lois $3,800, and Frank $2,500.

After everyone got the HOLIDAYS question correctly. “The third Monday of January starting in 1986.” Frank’s wager was revealed: $300, a quite rational choice. Anything up to $499 made sense. But Alex said to Greg about his wager, “Chicken!” BTW, the question, “What was Martin Luther King Day?”

Guess what? The episode was a hit!

On the second day

Game #2 pitted Greg against two players that caused Alex to ask if the information cards were switched. Yes, Paul WAS a registered nurse. Lynne WAS a carpenter because she was good at it and made money. Alex learned to curb his assumptions, at least openly, somewhat over the years.

Paul went into Final JEOPARDY with $1,100, Lynne with $5,000, and Greg with a not quite insurmountable lead at $9,500. In the category THE CALENDAR, “Calendar date with which the 20th century began.” Paul wrote, “What was Jan 1, 1900?” WRONG. He had bet it all. Lynne also answered incorrectly and had also gone all in. Greg, as we now understand the game’s wagering, really only needed to bet $501. If Lynne had gotten it right and Greg got it right, he’d win. If they both missed it, with a conservative wager, Greg still wins.

Greg gave the same response as his opponents. And bet the whole $9,500. I have to wonder if Trebek’s “chicken” comment affected his wagering. Alex said, “Oh, boy. What… I’m at a loss for words in a situation like this. {Whistles}. Hey folks, easy come, easy go.” Audience members joined in with the “easy go” part. “Because all of our contestants wound up with nothing, we have consolation prizes for each of them.” Paul got an exercise machine. Greg and Lynne each received a range and cookware.

“Tomorrow on JEOPARDY, we’ll be bringing in three new players to play the game.” As Alex was about to sign off, voices from offscreen yelled, “The answer!” Trebek replied, “You mean, ‘What is the QUESTION?’ The question is: What is January 1, 1901?”

There have been only a handful of games with three players at zero, which includes some players not even making the Final because their score was zero or below.

The answer is

Unsurprisingly, on these episodes there were ads for The Answer Is, Alex Trebek’s memoir. It has reviewed well. The audiobook is read by Trebek and Ken Jennings. Maybe Ken WILL succeed Alex?

Back in April, Sarah Jett Rayburn, a returning champion, decided to explain her incorrect answer in Final JEOPARDY to Alex. I thought it was goofily endearing.

Finally, Alden Shoe Company sues Bianca de la Garza for $15 million. “Lawsuit alleges former Alden CFO Richard Hajjar embezzled funds and funneled them into the TV personality’s television and beauty companies.” I note this only because de la Garza, then a reporter for WTEN in Albany, interviewed me in the moments before I appeared on JEOPARDY in 1998.

Hey, if you ever see ads for the reruns for “first regular JEOPARDY shows recorded outside of the studio” or “first shows filmed in Boston,” please let me know! I may have a vague interest in them.

R.I.P., Regis

Regis Philbin died recently. I watched Who Wants To Be A Millionaire a couple of decades back religiously. And just a couple months ago, I saw Reege pass the mantle to Jimmy Kimmel on the celebrity edition.

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

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