Jeopardy with Alex Trebek
History of Jeopardy
This is Jeopardy! How many times have you heard that? I would wager every man, woman, and child in America has watched Jeopardy at one time or another. For forty-seven years Jeopardy has been the show where contestants are given the answer and have to ask the question!
When created by Merv Griffin back in 1964 the format was different from other game shows and caught on quickly. The Board of Categories could contain anything from answers about the ABC's to Zoology and anything in between. Originally Jeopardy was a daytime game show and it wasn't until 1974 that it became a nighttime show. Imagine, 47 years! That's a long time for any show, never mind a game show. Originally, Art Fleming was the host of Jeopardy. Hard to remember that, after all it does seem like Alex Trebek and Jeopardy go hand in hand. Alex Trebek and announcer Johnny Gilbert started in 1984.
Jeopardy has seen many changes and revisions over the years. One of those revisions included the Tournament of Champions. The year's top fifteen winners compete against each other over ten shows and the winner walks away with $250,000...not a bad take for playing a game show.
Other gimmicks used on Jeopardy included the Senior Tournament for those over 50, Teenage Tournament, Celebrity Jeopardy, College Jeopardy, Teacher Jeopardy, Million Dollar Masters, Kids Week, and I'm sure I'm forgetting some.
Jeopardy has won 29 Daytime Emmy Awards for both Outstanding Game/Audience Participation Show and Outstanding Game Show Host. According to Wikipedia in 2009 TV Guide ranked Jeopardy as number two in the 50 Greatest Game Shows. (I'm going to have to try to find out what number one is!)
Would you believe there is a fan created archive of Jeopardy? It is created by fans for fans and can be found here You can also create your own Jeopardy computer game using templates found on the Internet and using MS PowerPoint so you can have your own Jeopardy PowerPoint. Many school teachers have done just that. The quick action and participation is a great classroom game that generates interest along with education.
Trivia Facts About Jeopardy
Five shows are taped on Monday and five shows are taped on Tuesday. That would be two weeks worth of shows in ten days!
In the first show contestants could buzz in at any time. In the second season with Alex Trebek it was changed so that contestants had to wait until Alex finished giving the answer. If a contestant buzzed in too soon he was (and is) locked out.
In the beginning after winning five episodes a contestant was retired.
On the 19 January 1993 program, then Air Force Lt. Col. Daryl Scott won a game with only $1. He won another $13,401 the next day.
The most common Jeopardy category is Before & After followed by Literature, Science, World Origins, American History, State Capitols, World History, Business and Industry, Potpourri and World Geography, in that order.
Final Jeopardy's top category is U.S. Presidents.
Most of the above trivia was taken from (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0159881/trivia)
Everybody loves Alex! He's been in our homes so many times and we play Jeopardy with him almost every night. As everyone knows, Alex is from Canada (born 1940, in Ontario) and became a naturalized American Citizen in 1998 and now lives in Studio City, California.
His career started with his first job at the Canadian Broadcasting Company where he reported national news on radio and tv, but it was his job as game show host on "Pitfall" that led to others and Jeopardy!
Alex has appeared on many tv shows, mostly as himself, all due to Jeopardy. He was even on the Simpsons. Interesting Alex trivia...when did he shave his mustache? That would be 2001 after 30 years!
In addition to his Emmy Awards, Alex has been awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
In addition to game show host, Alex is a just an all round good guy. He is active in World Vision, a charitable organization helping children, in 1995 he and his crew became involved with the USO to boost soldiers morale, he promotes the learning of geography to children both here and in Canada. He also hosts the National Spelling Bee in Canada each year.
Alex owns a racehorse and a winery called Creston Vineyards
Johnny Gilbert, born in 1924, was an entertainer and nightclub singer, before he began hosting game shows. He was the host of Music Bingo and Words and Music. In 1963 he was chosen to replace Don Pardo as the announcer on The Price Is Right. He did other game shows and even hosted a local TV show in Ohio.
In 1984 when Alex Trebek began hosting Jeopardy Johnny was selected to be the announcer and audience host, a job he's held ever since. Can you imagine anyone else saying, "This is Jeopardy!"
As with everyone, there is an official Johnny Gilbert web site. You can see it by clicking here.
What article about Jeopardy would be complete without Ken Jennings! Ken holds the record for the longest wining streak on Jeopardy, 74 games.
According to Wikipedia:
His total earnings on Jeopardy! are $3,172,700, consisting of $2,520,700 over his 74 wins, a $2,000 second-place prize in his 75th appearance, a $500,000 second-place prize in the Jeopardy! Ultimate Tournament of Champions, as well as half of a $300,000 prize in the IBM Challenge.
Ken, a computer scientist, was born in Washington in 1974. He was living in Salt Lake while taping the Jeopardy shows and commuted back and forth (remember ten shows are taped in two weeks so he didn't go back and forth daily).
Ken attributes his success on Jeopardy to reading and curiosity.
Jeopardy Watson Video
What about Watson?
Probably one of the most talked about events on Jeopardy was the appearance of Watson. Watson is an artificial intelligence computer system consisting of 90 servers, that can understand natural language and answer a question.
Watson had access to 200 million pages of disk space. According to Wikipedia, The sources of information for Watson include encyclopedias, dictionaries, thesauri, newswire articles, and literary works.
So Watson, an IBM computer was set to go on Jeopardy. The best contestants to play against Watson included our own Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter. (Brad didn't play as long as Ken on Jeopardy but holds the record as the most money awarded on a game show).
The game was played as usual with Watson receiving his clues electronically. It was interesting to watch and there were times when it looked like Watson might lose. While the human players were often faster than Watson. Watson didn't recognize human responses and at one point repeated a question asked by Ken Jennings. However, Watson still won the first game with a lead of about $25,000. In the second game Watson bested the other two by winning a two day total about $50,000 more than each of them.
Another interesting and innovative Jeopardy moment!
Humor in Jeopardy
From Stupid Game Show Answers:
Hedda Tesman, Helen Alving, Knut Brovik
Response: Who are three people that have never been in my kitchen?
[In craps, the numbers you will need to roll an]Easy 10.
Response: What are 9 and 1?
If a Japanese "isha" (doctor) asks you to stick out your "shita", he means this.
Q: What is your behind?
This nursery rhyme was based on actual events at a 1900 schoolhouse.
Response: What is 'There once was a man from Nantucket?'
George Bernard Shaw called this condition "the greatest of evils and the worst of crimes."
Response: What is marriage?
Saturday Night Live loves to parody Jeopardy with it's famous Celebrity Jeopardy. You can find video clips of almost all of their parodies on many websites including YouTube.
I've only scratched the surface of this great show and some of its stars and components. You have to watch it to appreciate not only Alex but the contestants. I haven't delved into the contestants but believe me you can find a cross-section of people and children from all over America. You can sit in your living room and tell them what the right question is or be amazed when you find out you have no clue what they're talking about. It is a truly entertaining half hour.
I can only hope Jeopardy continues for another forty years. Then the answer might be "the game show that's been on TV for almost 100 years"....response: What is Jeopardy.
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