This happened in late August 2004.
At about 10:45 I joined about 175 people in line for the Jeopardy Brain Bus at Nationwide Arena and contestant pre-test. By noon the crowd had swelled to about ten times that, good thing arriving early. It was really freaking hot out. So by the time we got into the arena the air conditioning was a great relief.
Lots of people of all ages showed up for a chance to be Ken Jennings' bitch :)
Me, I welcome the challenge of trying to beat his ass.
I took a pre test of ten questions, fill in the blank. It's a bit of a blur to me so I don't remember al the questions. The first was threw me. The category was 'Starts With F'. It was about the word for orphan that appears in the title of Fielding's 'Tom Jones.' I skipped that and correctly id'ed the Dow Jones Industrial Average, FDR, Tony Soprano, Sun City, Barbra Streisand and a few more. The only one I blew, it seems, was the first question. I found out later, by someone else who took the test, that the answer was 'Foundling'
Ah, never would have got that one.
After handing my test in, it was instantly looked at. I asked if I needed to get all ten right to move on. The guy said I did good enough, and handed me a piece of paper that says I go to the Great Southern the next morning for the next round of testing.
This is a 50 question quiz. I believe if I get a certain percentage of those questions right I go on to another audition, in which I am hammered with questions and expected to give an instant answer.
The tough part is coming.
But, as I mentioned earlier this week. This is the ice cream. It doesn't matter if the monkey is there. I'm having a blast.
I also got in line to play in a five question game with two other people. The Jeopardy 'Clue Crew' gave out the question. It was fun. Sarah, of the Clue Crew, is very attractive. I got to answer both questions I buzzed in time for correctly. Got a t-shirt that my son uses as a night shirt these days. Also scored a Jeopardy pen and keychain. Merv can afford it.
This was way cool. Never got to the second round for the Millionaire audition, but for Jeopardy I have.
The grand ballroom of the Great Southern is a spiffy room. I arrived in the lobby around 10:45, there were others I recognized from yesterday milling about. When the coordinator called down to us, "Jeopardy people please come up.", A couple of dozen heads looked up. Funny.
While milling outside the room, who walks in but Eric, one of my managers from B&N. Cool! He arrived at noon yesterday and waited in the hot sun longer than I did, but he got nine out of ten on the pretest as well.
We filled out a form, five interesting things about ourselves and waited for the room to open. Very well organized. No real waiting. We got in, Eric and I took our seats and were warmed up by Maggie, who told jokes and read us some sample questions.
Then Alex came via tape on the big screen and told us more about what was going to happen.
The test was fifty questions, and we had eight seconds to write down the answer. Then the next question was read and displayed on the big screen. No review. You could not leave notes on the paper. You either knew the answer, or didn't. THIS WAS REALLY, REALLY HARD. The questions themselves weren't necessarily killer, mostly 600-800 dollar questions, it was the bombardment. Just not my board either. I was in Chipotle later and out of the blue "Fiberoptics" came to me. Shit!
After our tests were done, they were quickly collected and the Clue Crew came out for a Q&A. Very nice, very pleasant.
Maggie came back with the test results, fourteen names were read. I was not one of them. But Eric got in!
Out of about 80 people in our session, 14 moved on. Eric came into B&N later. Very excited and happy, as he should be. THE TEST WAS HARD.
He's in the contestant pool. He could be called as early as next month, or not at all. It's a bit of luck now.
It was great fun and good experience for the next time.
Our scores weren't given to us, but Alex told us all we could say we only missed by one.
I do have to say, one more time that, THE TEST WAS HARD!
(Back to present day 2009)
As it turned out Eric did get on the show and won 11K. Eric was the fourth person I've known to appear on the program. Jon was an attorney from Columbus who won four nights, Melissa won three and a guy I knew in college made an appearance.
A few months later a friend of mine let me know that she thought she saw me on a promo for the Jeopardy contestant search that ran right before final Jeopardy. That night we watched and for a split second, there I was. They shot the footage at Arena the day before. So for many months, I was on television.
Over the next couple of years Jeopardy started an online contestant search. The test is similar to the one we took at the Great Southern. I've taken two of these tests and did not receive any form of a call back.
On the 27th of this month I'm doing it again.