Hearing veteran announcer Johnny Gilbert boom that phrase—LIVE—in Studio 10 at Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City, California, today (three times, for three taped episodes) had me beaming like an adolescent nerd champion of the Scripps National Spelling Bee*.
I had a ringside seat for the battle of wits in episodes 6331, 6332, and 6333 (which air the week of March 12) and it felt like I won the ultimate prize in the dorkdom lottery (not counting actually landing a spot as a contestant). I knew a lot of the answers (like this one, for $1000 in “Birthday Horoscopes”: "What is Virgo?").
I was excited to meet the one and only Alex Trebek, who has led America’s favorite quiz show for 28 years and counting….
Unfortunately, cameras are forbidden inside the studio, so all I got was this lame photo. But he did chat with us on the commercial breaks, and urged us to shout out questions. I managed to jot down a few of his quips [read these deliberately, with a dry wit]:
[In response to lady’s question: What’s your favorite dinner?] Fried chicken, rice, and broccoli. I’m not…a complicated eater.
[On his busted Achilles tendon and potential knee replacement] "I fall down a lot—my wife says it’s the Chardonnay. I don’t subscribe to that theory."
[On the holidays] "My mother is ninety and a half and she keeps her Christmas tree up all year. It’s something to talk about for the other eleven months."
[On friendly Wheel of Fortune rivalry] "I just did a shoot for Vanity Fair, and as I was walking to my truck in the parking lot, someone shouts, 'I love your show, Mr. Sajak!' It happens all the time. Nobody ever confuses Pat with me, it’s always the other way around.”
*One time I won my school’s spelling bee, progressed to the city-wide finals at the local museum, and ended up goofing on something silly because I spoke too fast.