The gold standard

    Welcome to the semifinals of the Battle of the Decades!
     I was so pleased to see Bill MacDonald when I arrived at the studio the morning these were taped. He was the guest of Maria Wenglinsky, who was the alternate from the 2000s decade! Since she didn’t come to the studio til the afternoon session, I had the pleasure of sitting next to Bill in the studio in the morning. “This is blog gold!” he kept saying. We were lucky to sit on the same side of the studio as the contestants this time. Remember I’d seen Colby Burnett at the pub the night before. Well when he walked in, he waved in our direction. Contestant coordinator Corina said loudly to Colby, “What did I just tell you?? Don’t do it!”
     A guy who I was told was Brad Rutter‘s roommate was also with the O’Brien’s crowd. He was very pretty hair and I almost said something to him about it. I have a gorgeous picture of him that Bill took, but I feel funny publishing it since I don’t know the guy.
     Producer Harry Friedman looked good dressed up in a light-colored suit! Later he was interviewed on the stage (but we couldn’t hear it), and I was told it was for the TV Guide Channel. I was told contestants were interviewed too!

Chuck Forrest
Ken Jennings
Russ Schumacher

     When Mr. Trebek gestured to the board to start the round, it didn’t fill in completely. John Lauderdale said, “Ohhhhh-kay.” The whole audience laughed. Already a malfunction! What a way to kick off the day!
     Ken found the first Daily Double in Broadway & Politics. Did you see Chuck looking into the audience then? He did that a lot, and sorry but it doesn’t sit well with me. He made no secret of communicating with his family members in the audience.
Ken 4400 (8 right)
Russ 800 (One right)
Chuck 1400 (2 right)
     Ken wagered it all on this brainless clue: “It’s Peter Morgan’s play about a revealing series of 1977 interviews.” It goes without saying, but I’d better: Ken got it. At the first break:
Ken 8800
Russ 1000 (One right)
Chuck 1400
     Ken was nodding in agreement when Trebek was heaping the praise on Chuck in his interview.
     This first clue after the break contained the same material as a clue in the January O’Brien’s quiz (from Going Out of Business): “In 2013 Variety reported ‘This is the End’ was the last movie rented from this once mighty chain.” Of course I gave a meaningful look to Jerome and Cliff but they didn’t notice the connection!!
     It’s the end of the round and Chuck’s looking at his family again.
Ken 15000 (11 right)
Russ 800 (One right and one wrong)
Chuck 2800 (2 right)
     Chuck found the first Daily Double of the round in 4-Syllable Words.
Ken 17800 (3 right)
Russ -1200 (One wrong)
Chuck 4800 (2 right)
     Chuck wagered it all on this easy clue: “Adjective for the perfect embodiment of something a Dionne kid must have.” Chuck got it.
     Ken found the next Daily Double in We Get Letters.
Ken 20200 (2 right)
Russ 400 (2 right)
Chuck 11600 (One right)
     Ken wagered on this harder clue: “This explorer wrote to his friend J.M. Barrie in 1912, ‘We have accomplished our object in reaching the pole.'” Ken didn’t get it.
     Today I thought Ken should’ve been asked to be more specific on this one in P.S.  I Love You, considering the category: “This justice said of pornography “I know it when I see it” and you’ll know him when you see him.”

     I notice I have that in my notes, too!
     Look how close it is at the end of the round considering Ken was playing:
Ken 18600 (7 right and one wrong)
Russ 1600 (One right and one wrong)
Chuck 15200 (2 right)
     Huh, and Chuck is looking into the audience! Didn’t I tell you he did that a lot?
     The Final Jeopardy category was 19th Century Poems.
     During the break, Mr. Trebek said that he doesn’t know if Ken knew that Trebek was tearful when he said goodbye to Ken after he lost in his original run. Ken looked surprised and blew him a kiss, but those of us who read his book know that Ken did know that.
     Also, remember Shane Whitlock’s entertaining kid? This time he told Mr. Trebek he wanted to be asked a question. Trebek thought about it and said, “What is your age, times 3?” I couldn’t see the kid, but the poor thing! I’m sure he doesn’t even know what that means. Later in the day Trebek came back to him on it, so I’ll let you know then what he came up with.
     This is the Final Jeopardy clue: “Written about the U.S. occupation of the Philippines a Kipling poem said ‘Take up’ this now-controversial phrase.” Look what I wrote to Bill.

     Ever the nice guy, Bill didn’t point out I left the ‘s’ off ‘knows.’ And it even looks like I made the ‘t’ an exclamation point at the same time. You can see how excited I was! You know what Bill said to me? “They’re all gonna know it.” Bill said Chuck was mad that it was so easy, because now he doesn’t have a chance. IIRC, Bill was surprised when Russ didn’t know it. Russ was wrong and lost it all. Chuck, as we can assume, was right, and he added 11000. Ken did know it, and he added 11801. Sorry but…GO KEN! GO KEN! GO KEN!
     Afterwards, the champs are interviewed by members of the Clue Crew. It is such a shame that these aren’t available online, because they are priceless. We were told these interviews
were meant for contestants’ home TV stations. I’d have taken notes on everyone’s if I’d known they’d never appear to the rest of us. Talk about blog gold! Ken said in his, his heart was in his throat playing Chuck. Jerome said, “Good.” Afterwards, Chuck and Ken sat next to each other in the audience.
One year ago: Two short forms
Two years ago: Lord have mercy, baby’s got her blue jeans on
Three years ago: Easy as one two three
Four years ago: The Tournament of Champions begins