Keeping The Faith In Hollywood!

Keeping The Faith In Hollywood!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

This Is Jeopardy!

I finally got to a taping of Jeopardy at Sony Studios after watching the show on TV for 26 years! Sony Studios is on the former MGM(Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer)lot(you know, the studio with the roaring lion) where The Wizard of Oz, one of my favorite movies from childhood, was filmed. The Jeopardy show guide walked us over what used to be the "yellow brick road to Emerald City" on our way to the Jeopardy's show studio and I sang songs from the movie the entire way.

The studio audience was made up of all races and ages from 10 to 70 plus and we were all stoked. It was actually 3 shows that they taped with us over 4 hours and I loved every minute of it. I had the best seat in the house; high enough to get an over view of everything and in the center aisle in clear sight of Alex's podium, the categories board and the judges table. The set was beautiful with sliding plexi-glass entry doors for the host and large hi-def TVs. We were all pumped by the staff to applause during the show but no hyping was needed when Mr. Trebek strolled unto the set. Mr. Trebek looked and sounded great and even did a little soft shoe to show that he was light on his feet. Many of the older women were crushing on him and he was very sweet and polite to them.

I had a sudden thrill when the category board lit up with all the answers and a similar wave of excitement rolled over the audience and contestants also. I enjoyed each category posted but tanked in the sports category. I had to hold my lips so that I wouldn't blurt out the answers when they did a Bible category called "Ecclesiastes". Studying God's word really pays off, guys! A few years ago, the Bible questions on Jeopardy! were the hardest for me to answer but now they are among the easiest.

The questions got increasingly harder throughout "double jeopardy" but I found that the "final jeopardy" questions were easy. It could have been my lucky day because all the questions seem related to something I either knew or had experienced personally. The current champ was on a winning streak and I was rooting him on but I was giving big love to all the challengers also. The champ looked confident as did some of the contestants but some of the others looked a bit scared. Alex and the staff did their best to keep everyone at their best. They talked frequently to the guesses, patting them gently to reassure them.

Mr. Trebek joked and talked with us throughout the taping breaks and he has a beautiful sense of humor. He mentioned his native Canada quiet a bit but in joking and self-ribbing tones and he answered any questions that we had for him. He also joked about Will Ferrell's impersonation of him and the spoofs of the show done on Saturday Night Live(SNL).

I asked him about the "how to"s of becoming a writer on the show but he pretty much dashed my hopes as they are up to their staff max of 8 writers right now and no one plans on leaving. He did mention that researcher slots were available as they usually fill the empty writers positions from the researcher ranks. He also made a quip that I might end up taking over his job as host before running back to tape the closing segment.

He teased an older lady from Puerto Rico about her "Charro-like" accent after she told him how handsome he was. He flirted back and rolled his "r"s as he spoke with a Spanish accent for a bit. We also talked lot about cars, traffic tickets and bad drivers including Alex's pet peeve, those who text as they drive. I didn't get to ask Mr. Trebek if he liked his turn as a race car driver at Toyota's Pro/Celeb Grand Prix in Long Beach this past April. The race was won, aptly enough, by Speed star, Keanu Reeves and all winnings went to the various stars' favorite charities. Instead, Alex talked about the tragic vehicular deaths and the Toyota car mat recalls that had just made headline news this week.

Johnny Gilbert, the show's announcer, gave us the "behind the scenes" scoop on how the show is run and the writers and judges chimed in often with jokes or commentary. They also raffled off free Jeopardy and ESPN sports trivia games but I didn't win any myself. I did get to talk to some of the contestants and I saw the various aspects of being on the show. Having your make-up applied, doing promo spots, the thrill of competition, the triumph of victory and thousand of dollars in cash winnings or the agony of defeat from a slow buzzer finger or slow neuro-synapses. I can't give you anymore clues than that but the shows will be airing 11/16-11/18/09.

The only downside was the long maze-like trek to the studio and bathrooms, as well as the narrow stairs to get to the studio seats. A studio guide gave me a ride back to the studio on one of their transport golf carts after I had managed to get lost on the lot during a bathroom breaks. As a result, I was the last person back in my seat before taping began and I found out that they had placed a studio APB out on me(lol). Many of the audience had limited mobility and the older audience members were also getting directions confused so I didn't feel too bad. However, I do feel that more could have been done to make the studios more safe and accessible to audiences including clearer signs for bathroom and rest areas on the lot.

Still, it was a landmark day for me to have accomplished something I've wanted to since I was a teen. Now if I can only get up the courage to take the Jeopardy contestant test...

Behind the scenes at Jeopardy!

SNL parody of Jeopardy!

Alex Trebek at Toyota's Pro/Celeb Grand Prix 2009

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