Monday, October 02, 2017

Long Road to Jeopardy

    I've been remiss in posting here.  Indeed, I've been absent from the blogworld for quite some time.   For much of the past month we've been on the road.  We visited our baby granddaughter and her family in St. Louis, Missouri, for part of that time.  Then we hit the road in our mini-van, touring the far west with stops in Seattle, Yosemite, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

    The climax of all this was our afternoon at Sony Studios in Culver City where we sat in the audience watching a taping of Jeopardy with Alex Trebec.  Wendy and I have long been fans of the show and watch nearly every night we can.  I reserved two tickets on-line (they're free) over a month before our trip so we planned our travels accordingly.

    Neither of us had been to the live taping of a TV show; well, unless you include the local Captain Muddy show where I was among a group of kids who were lucky enough to appear.  I was five or six years old at the time.  What I remember most is getting a confectionary treat afterwards.  Nothing about the show itself.

    First thing we learned upon being admitted to the Jeopardy studio is that there is a pecking order of sort for audience guests.  There are friends and families of the contestants, production guests, VIP passes and the ordinary visitor's pass.  We were the latter, of course.

   One lady who showed up at the security check-in with her husband announced haughtily, "We have VIP passes."  Instead of a wristband like we got, they got a patch to put on their pant leg with a comment that it would be less visible if the camera panned in their direction.  This couple wanted their VIP perks too, quickly securing a golf cart ride to the studio entrance when the gentleman seemed to be asking my wife if she wanted a ride--Wendy was limping a little with her bad knee.

    But they were seated in the same section we were, only a few rows closer to the stage.  Friends and families of the contestants seem to fill most of the other section which had better sightlines and got most of the attention from Alex and crew.  Wendy had a hard time seeing over the heads of the folks in front of her.

     Very busy studio.  All sorts of goings-on with make-up people, cameramen, technicians, judges, stage managers and Alex Trebec himself who appears much as he does when you watch him at home:  very personable and witty.

     But . . . something we didn't learn until we sat in the audience, Alex does screw up.  You just never see it in the show.  Bloopers are edited out.  Once he said somebody had earned $45,000 when he'd only earned $4,500.  Wendy thinks they'll keep that blooper in.  I think it'll end up on the cutting room floor.  Besides occasionally mis-reading a word in a question, which only requires Alex to do an off-camera voice-over correction, he once read the wrong question entirely.  That really messed things up and required a "cut" and lengthy taping delay.

     So the live taping in itself was a fascinating experience.  But what made it more special is that, without knowing it when I had reserved the tickets, we ended up at the annual Tournament of Champions.  Wow!  That's like going to a professional baseball game and finding out when you get there that it's the all-star game.  Awesome!

     However, an usher beckoned to us after we had been seated awhile.  They needed our seats to make room for more family of the contestants.  What????  After spending days checking on-line for Jeopardy tickets and driving 3,000 miles, we were being ejected?

     No.  As it turned out, the usher sat us in the section reserved for the tournament of champions contestants.  In the front row too!  Using the baseball analogy again, that's like getting pulled from the stands during the all-star game and being seated in the dugout with the players.  How cool is that.  We were in Jeopardy heaven.  The Jeopardy director himself came over to make sure the new seating arrangement was satisfactory for us.

     I SO wanted to turn around, locate that needy couple who stole my wife's ride and call out,  "Who's the VIPs now?" 


Blogger Lee said...

Hahahahaha! You sure you didn't call out "Who's the VIPs now?", Dave? :)

That sounds like it was a lot of fun.

6:40 PM  
Blogger Carine Nadel said...

sounds like a wonderful trip Dave! Since we come from OC and went to LA a lot, we've seen many a taping. It's interesting. And then there's Steve who was a winner on the old "Greed". He enjoyed it and we reaped the rewards for 5 years on the annuity.

Nice to travel!

10:21 AM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

LEE--I was unfortunately tight-lipped, particularly since I was sitting with the contestants who very much respect the game and its decorum. I didn't even ask Alex a question I'd saved up for him (he takes questions from the audience during taping breaks). Too worried I might embarrass myself.

CARINE--Never heard of "Greed" though announcer Johnny Gilbert mentioned other game shows, like "Supermarket Sweet" that I'd never heard of either. We were three numbers away from winning the prize package raffle, a collection of board games.

3:17 PM  
Anonymous Mrs. Dike said...

How about a football analogy, Dave?


6:01 PM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

MRS DIKE--Hmmm, in the form of a Jeopardy question then? OK, what Big Ten team finished 3-9 in 2016, this after their storied basketball team lost to Middle Tennessee State in one of the greatest basketball upsets in NCAA history?

By the way, on the road to Jeopardy I think we passed through your neighborhood. At least the highway signs said "Issaquah" and "Tiger Mountain" which I believe might be near where you're holed up.

7:29 AM  
Blogger Mrs. Dike said...

Yes, we live on Tiger Mountain, where bears and cougars also reside. I could have sworn I heard some Lions roar yesterday!

We came out of our bunker to join the Seattle Spartans cheer SPARTY on to victory over Indiana!

In other college football news, we're always happy when Appalachian State wins!

11:47 AM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

MRS DIKE--You were probably doing a lot of cheering for Appalachian State last year if you like winners. And are you implying there are more Spartan fans in your neck of the woods? On our travels out there we saw folks wearing Michigan apparel and would get the occasional "Go blue" when we wore our own. We NEVER saw anyone wearing any MSU apparel. But if, as you say, you Spartans have a bunker mentality, then that would explain it.

We did love Seattle and the people there. Our favorite place out west on our travels.

3:10 PM  

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