A Paean to Trivia


  • This TV game show, which debuted in March, 1964, was created by Merv Griffin [who also composed its theme song “Think” as a lullaby for his son] & hosted by Art Flemming.  After eleven years on the air, the show was canceled by NBC.  Although it enjoyed a brief, one-season revival in 1978, it was once again canceled due to poor ratings.  In 1984, CBS picked up the show & transformed it into a prime time syndicated program with a new host.  The show has been on the air ever since, airing on local CBS affiliate stations & in various international versions in over 25 countries.

“What is Jeopardy?”

  • This popular Canadian-born game show host graduated from the University of Ottawa (founded 1848 by the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate as the College of Bytown) with a degree in Philosophy. He has won several Emmy Awards; has his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (located at 6501 Hollywood Blvd – near Ann Margaret & Vincent Price); once owned a thoroughbred horse ranch & winery in Creston, Calif.; & in 1996 carried the Olympic Torch in Jacksonville Fla, en route to Atlanta for the Summer Games.

“Who is Alex Trebek?”

  • This Jeopardy contestant holds the record for greatest amount of prize money won in one day ($75,000, on 23 July 2004) as well as the longest winning streak (182 calendar days) & g


    reatest overall amount won ever ($2,522,700).  [Prior to 2004, a contestant could win a maximum of five games. From 1984 to 1990, contestants’ winnings were capped at $75,000].

“Who is Ken Jennings?”

  • Instead of “What is Fedex?” the correct response that Ken Jennings should have given in Final Jeopardy to the statement: “Most of this firm’s 70,000 seasonal white-collar employees work only 4 months a year?”

“What is, ‘What is H&R Block’?”? [Jennings was in the lead going into the final round, but contestant Nancy Zerg answered correctly.  Her wager was just enough to beat Jennings, ending his consecutive win streak.]

On one show, the category was “Tool Time” & the question was, “This term for a long-handled gardening tool can also mean an immoral pleasure seeker.” Jennings buzzed in & answered, “What is a hoe?” Alex quipped, “Is that what they teach you in school in Utah?” The correct answer was, “What is a rake?”

The map below shows where Jeopardy! was most popular at the time of its 35th anniversary in 1999.  In the key to the map, those designated “Trebekkies” (after the host Alex Trebek) watch the show most avidly.  [note high correlation to “red” states]

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