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Answer: He will put your win in jeopardy

Talk About Town


Staff Writer

"We’ll take Game Show Inventors for a thousand, Alex."

"This talk show host created ‘Jeopardy!’ in 1964 in the dining room of his apartment. Yes, Talk."

"Uh, who is Joey Bishop?"

"No, sorry, the correct answer is Merv Griffin."

That’s how it would go for us if we ever made it to the "Jeopardy!" set. Talk’s pretty good sitting on the couch in front of the TV at home, but we’d be in real trouble if we ever had to face a player like Ken Jennings.

The Utah software engineer made an unprecedented 29th appearance Monday night. His record earnings are approaching $1 million and generating renewed interest in the show.

Jennings is the contestant everybody playing along at home wishes they could be. He doesn’t just win; he obliterates the competition. He runs the board on everything from history to politics to pop culture. And he’s very skillful with the buzzer.

Jennings has proven to be the ultimate showman for what makes "Jeopardy!" the best game show of all time. You have to be smart and quick. There are no gimmicks. There is no element of luck. You either know the answer -- phrased in the form of a question -- or you don’t.

Now don’t get us wrong. There are plenty of other wonderful game shows. We still love figuring out the puzzle on "Wheel of Fortune" before Vanna White turns all of the letters over. We still love to see Bob Barker whip the studio audience into a frenzy on "The Price Is Right." We used to love Paul Lynde’s snappy answers as the center square on "Hollywood Squares." And we always loved watching Gene Rayburn kibitz with cheesy celebrities on "Match Game."

But it’s "Jeopardy!" that remains the benchmark for testing real knowledge on game shows.

"OK, Alex, we’ll take Game Show Hosts for 800."

"This former spokesman on TWA commercials hosted the original daytime version of ‘Jeopardy!’ from 1964-75. "

"Who is Art Fleming?"


See, we don’t choke on every question. As a lifelong fan of the show, we’ve gone from watching the staid Fleming to watching the more flamboyant Alex Trebek. We can remember when the electronic game board was manual, featuring stagehands pulling out printed cards with the dollar values, which, by the way, were one-tenth as much.

Of course, "Jeopardy!" is a way of life for many people. The syndicated version with Trebek began in 1984 and has ranked first in the Nielsen ratings for the genre for over 1,000 weeks.

That same year saw parody singer "Weird Al" Yankovic hit the charts with "I Lost On Jeopardy," a takeoff on the Greg Kihn hit, "Jeopardy." His first verse perfectly summed up the experience:

"I was there to match my intellect on national TV,

Against a plumber, oh, and an architect, both with a Ph. D.,

I was tense, I was nervous, I guess it just wasn’t my night,

Art Fleming gave the answers,

Oh, but I couldn’t get the questions right,

I lost on Jeopardy, baby, ooooh."

Another sign of the impact "Jeopardy!" had on pop culture came in a 1990 episode of the sitcom "Cheers." That’s when bar regular Cliff Clavin, the mailman who spouted those "little known fact" trivial asides, became a "Jeopardy!" contestant.

Remember how he ran the board and amassed big dollar totals when the six initial categories played to his strength? They were Stamps of the World, Bar Trivia, Beer, Mothers and Sons, Civil Servants, and Celibacy.

Naturally, Cliff blew it all in Final Jeopardy. When the answer was "Archibald Leach, Bernard Schwartz, Lucille LeSueur," Cliff posed the following question: "Who are three people who have never been in my kitchen?"

(The right answer? What were the real names of Cary Grant, Tony Curtis and Joan Crawford?)

But it’s not easy to come up with the right answer in the form of a question when the show’s "think" theme music -- also written by Griffin -- is playing.

Especially if you’re standing next to Ken Jennings.

That's an article about Ken Jennings and includes Weird Al lyrics! Awesome!

When I first saw the newspaper's name (The State) I thought of the comedy group who had a show on mtv 15 years ago or sommit.

On the Monday, July 12TH edition of JEOPARDY! Ken Jennings inched closer to hitting the one million dollar mark. With $972,960 in his bank, can he reach seven figures? Tune in to see!


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 14th, 2004 11:41 am (UTC)
Yeah! :D:D:D
He's so awesome!
He would have set the one day record had he got the final jeopardy question right. :(
But he's so awesome that he could get it wrong and still break a million dollars!!! :D:D:D
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )


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