The Question Is

I have a nightly
date with my husband, Ron, to play along with Jeopardy!. Frankly, we’re terrible players—either because we don’t
know the answers or because the answers are secured in our brain lock box and we can’t find the keys fast enough. We do a little better with the
final Jeopardy! question—we have a bit more time to hack the lock. When the game
is over, we take our dog, Davy, for a walk. Davy reminds us of his walk by
barking, spinning, and running around when he hears the music accompanying the final Jeopardy! question.

A few weeks ago, I
learned that Jeopardy! was taping shows in
Washington, DC. Tickets were free, so I grabbed two. On April 13, 2016, Ron and I attended
the “Jeopardy! Teen Tournament” at
DAR Constitution Hall.  We watched three shows over the course of two hours. The episodes will be broadcast this fall, date
TBD.20160413_135824

Alex Trebek is as
charming and gracious as he appears on TV. And funny, too! Several times during
each game, the taping paused to allow for insertion of commercials. Alex used the
opportunity to answer audience questions. Based on those exchanges, I’ve
drafted some clues in the category “Alex Trebek.” Can you answer in the form of a question? The answers appear at the end of this post.

a.      46

b.      55

c.       Ford’s
Theatre

d.      Haworth,
England

e.      The
Pope’s

Before the show
started, the audience was entertained by full-screen montage of Jeopardy! moments in movies and
television. It’s amazing how embedded Jeopardy! is in our pop culture.

We were introduced to the Clue Crew: Jimmy, Sara, and Kelly.  Afterward, dance music sounded throughout the
concert hall. The Jeopardy! staff
surrounded the anxious teens and danced, encouraging the teens to join them. Alex
entered the stage and greeted the players and the audience.

image

By the time the game
started, the contestants were relaxed and ready to play. And play they
did—without exception, they were poised, smart, and funny. The audience was fully
engaged. We groaned when a player risked it all, and whooped when the risk paid off.  My hands hurt from clapping.

One high school
freshman was obviously disappointed by his performance against two seniors.  After the game, Alex told the audience about
his conversation with the player. He’d told the student that he’d played well against
the seniors and predicted, when he was a senior, he would be amazed at how much more he’d learned. I was touched by Alex’s kindness.

The voice-overs
surprised me. Sometimes Alex would misspeak a word, jumble a sentence, or puff
the letter “P” a little too forcefully. After the game, he would return to the
podium and repeat the question, later to be dubbed into the broadcasted
version. The TV audience wouldn’t notice—during the questions, the television
screen shows only the question, not Alex reading from a card.

At the end of each game, Ron and I had the
same reaction as the music played during the final Jeopardy! question: why wasn’t Davy barking? I could hear him yapping in my head, but not in my ears. A reverse Pavlovian conditional training,
perhaps?

As promised, here
are the questions to the above answers:

a.       How
many days is Jeopardy! taped each
year? Answer: 46. Jeopardy! tapes five episodes a day for 46 days. The show is
broadcast for 46 weeks.

b.      How
many suits does Alex Trebek own? Answer: 55

c.       What
is Alex’s favorite place to visit while in Washington, DC? Answer: Ford’s Theatre. He finds the theatre and museum
filled with emotion.

d.      What
is Alex’s favorite vacation spot? Answer: Haworth, England, the home of the Bronte
sisters.

e.       What
job would Alex like if he weren’t the host of Jeopardy!? Answer: the Pope’s. I told you he was funny.

Tonight was a good night–I got the final Jeopardy! question: What is Idaho?

Ellen

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