The query was inevitable. Throughout my temporary brush with fame 20 years in the past after my preliminary “Jeopardy!” look, it was practically all the time the primary one I acquired. It got here like clockwork proper after the popularity, the congratulations and my thanks.
“So, what’s Alex Trebek actually like?”
It’s comprehensible in a manner. Persons are naturally curious to know if the man they see each night time studying clues and bantering with contestants has the identical character and demeanor off digicam.
In that sense, it’s a tough one to reply. First-time contestants don’t truly meet the host till he walks on to the stage. Even then, we don’t have all that many alternatives to work together with him on the set.
That is, after all, by design. Following the quiz-show scandals of the 1950’s, it grew to become a federal crime to rig a present. Producers should make doubly and triply certain there is no such thing as a trace of tampering with the outcomes of any recreation, so any contact between potential contestants and members of the on-air workers is strictly managed.
Having stated all that, I used to be considerably lucky in that I had extra probabilities to see Alex than most gamers who get their shot. I’m, subsequently, capable of supply a considerably extra substantial reply to that query.
For probably the most half, he’s each bit the consummate skilled the viewers see night time in and night time out. His authoritative type, polished supply and impeccable cadence preserve the sport transferring, and even the occasional zinger he will get in is all in good enjoyable.
There was, nonetheless, slightly bit extra concerned with our encounter. As I stated, he wasn’t allowed to satisfy me forward of time. However he did should be briefed relating to my look, just because there have been a few minor procedural issues of which he wanted to remember.
As the primary completely blind contestant within the present’s historical past, I neither wished nor wanted a lot in the way in which of particular remedy. However Alex did should be informed that I’d want a verbal evaluation of the scores when a day by day double was uncovered. Additionally, I won’t choose a selected greenback quantity from the board each time however may simply say, “Subsequent within the class,” or phrases to that impact.
In brief, my presence on the set can be one thing of a brand new expertise. I’ve to suspect that Trebek was greater than slightly curious to see how the present may unfold. I acquired the distinct impression that after it grew to become clear that I may deal with the brilliant lights, which, in any case, didn’t have an effect on me, Alex himself was capable of calm down. I heard him say to the viewers throughout one of many industrial breaks that he was most likely extra nervous than I used to be at first. He couldn’t outright root for me, after all, as that will surely not have been truthful to my worthy opponents. However after my five-game run that certified me for a spot within the annual Event of Champions, Trebek admitted in interviews that he had hoped I’d do properly.
On account of my preliminary run of success in 1999, I used to be privileged sufficient to be invited again to the present for a few of their particular occasion tournaments through the years. I’ve to say each time I used to be capable of return to the set, it had the texture of a household reunion.
Whereas taping the Battle of the Many years event in 2014, Trebek took outing of his personal lunch break to introduce himself to my then-nine-year-old son. He was additionally variety sufficient to ship me a signed copy of his just lately revealed memoir, through which he included a brief chapter dedicated to my look on the present.
So I’m not exaggerating once I say the information of Trebek’s dying Sunday comes as a intestine punch to us. As my spouse aptly put it when he introduced his analysis of pancreatic most cancers in 2019, it felt like we’d acquired phrase a couple of member of the family.
All of that is to say that the reply to that almost all often requested query is, he’s a real man who’s excellent at what he does, and it was a terrific honor to have recognized him. I’m even now having problem referring to him previously tense.
Jeopardy! Will go on, after all. Earlier than Alex Trebek, the late Artwork Fleming acquired the nation into the behavior of claiming ‘What’s … ” earlier than answering. However Trebek will likely be missed, and he most definitely gained’t be forgotten.