In June 1996, I was fortunate enough to appear on the syndicated game show Jeopardy!. I did pretty well, and it was by far the most fun experience I've had in my whole life. Here are some words, pictures, and sounds (that means it's "multimedia," right?) from the show.


Material list
A letter from a $72,000 winner from my season

Show aired Friday, June 21, 1996

Here I am being introduced. There are a few seconds just before tape begins to roll where you're lined up offstage with the other contestants. It was probably my most nervous moment. I wanted to look happy when I first appeared on camera, so I kept telling myself to think, "Hey! I'm on Jeopardy!" the second the camera hit me. I hope my enthusiasm and joy at that moment came across.

My opponents and me. Champion Mary Hirschfeld was a four-time winner, with $56,000 in winnings -- so she was a pretty tough opponent and I had a hard time ringing in during the first round. Her success was also pretty intimidating. Just before we went on I said to her, "I don't know if I want to marry you or kill you!"

A lot of people remember me for my unusual cross-armed posture. Months earlier I saw a contestant do it and thought it looked kind of imposing, so I tried it. After the show, when the contestants chat while the credits are rolling, Alex mentioned he thought it might have helped me ring in, because of the way it kind of "primes" your muscles for action. I have no idea whether or not it was a factor.

The dreaded "interview." It kind of sneaks up on you because you're concentrating so hard on the answers and questions. Alex asked me about my work at Bass Player magazine. As a contestant you know what the general topic will be, but Alex's followup question can be a surprise. In this case he asked me to name a famous bass player, and I said, "Flea?" (from the Red Hot Chili Peppers). That didn't seem to ring a bell with him!

The scores at the end of the first round. Even though I was way behind, honestly it did not faze me. I was having so much fun being on TV and actually playing for real after years of "pretend" playing at home, I hardly looked at the scores at all. I think this is an important factor for doing well on the show (much more than crossing your arms!). Plus I knew how much more important round two is, so I just got ready to buckle down.

On to Double Jeopardy!

The pictures and sounds offered here are copyrighted 1996 Columbia Tristar Television. I have placed them on the World Wide Web in a good-faith effort to share an experience and spread useful information. I receive no monetary benefits from this page nor believe to be damaging Columbia Tristar or Merv Griffin Productions in any way. All visitors to this page are strongly urged to watch Jeopardy! and to tell their friends, relatives, teachers, physicians, and clergy to do the same.