The invention of Jeopardy!

Interestingly, the exclamation point at the end of the word is part of Jeopardy!’s official name. Here, see?

Jeopardy! will turn 50 this year and the version hosted by Alex Trebek will turn 30. Ken Jennings, one of the all time biggest winners on any game show ever, won more than $3 million on the show. In the linked post, Jennings interview the mother and creator of Jeopardy, Julann Griffin. Julan was married to Merv Griffin, who created Wheel of Fortune. Just saying.

My favorite bit:

Merv and I were coming back from my folks’ place in Ironwood, Michigan and we were going to our home in New York and he pulled out a paper with some clips and notes and things on it. And I said, “What is that, another game show?” and he said, “Yeah.” And I said, “I’m getting so tired of these game shows with people jumping around and doing pantomimes and acting like fools. What happened to the knowledge-based games?” And he said, “You know, since The $64,000 Question, the network won’t let you do those anymore, because they suspect you of giving them the answers.” So I said, “Why don’t you give them the answers and make people come up with the questions?” And he said. “Like what?” I said, “Okay, the answer is ’5,280.’” He said, “The question is ‘How many feet in a mile?’” I say, “The answer is ’52 Wistful Vista.’” He says, “The question is, ‘Where did Fibber McGee and Molly live?’” I don’t know if you know about Fibber McGee. Of course you do, you know everything. Fiber McGee and Molly was a radio show and they lived at 52 Wistful Vista and evey time they opened the closet everything fell out for about five minutes.

I said, “Okay, the answer is ‘Kathy Fiscus’?” and he said, “What is the name of the little girl that fell in the well in the 1940s?’” It was a big event because it was on radio and people stayed up and listened to see if she was being saved. She wasn’t, incidentally. But it was one of those stories of the little girl who fell in the well. So anythow, we kept going and I kept throwing him answers and he kept coming up with questions. And by the time we landed the plane, we had an idea for a show.



  • Moeskido

    Knowing a lot of things is only the first requirement to play. Being able to use that knowledge under game conditions is the bigger one.