Techland Interview: Alex Trebek

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Jeopardy host Alex Trebek has been dishing out answers in the form of questions since 1984. Trebek recently made a guest appearance in an online episode of NBC’s FCU: Fact Checkers Unit. Who better to check facts than the Father of Facts, himself?

In an interview with Techland, Trebek discusses his career, his thoughts on technology, and what sorts of flying objects we may or may not expect to see once Jeopardy starts being filmed in 3D.

Techland: In this episode of Fact Checkers Unit, you’re referred to as the Father of Facts. Do your friends and family expect you to be a walking encyclopedia in real life?

Alex Trebek: I’m not sure if they expect that. However, in a subtle way, that might be the case because my children–my daughter is now a senior in high school and my son is a sophomore in college–whenever they run into problems researching material for an essay, for a test, whatever, they quite often come to me and ask me about it to fill in some gaps.

Even though they’re more computer literate than I am and they know where to find stuff on the internet, they will come to me to get color background.

TL: I always imagine an obscure question coming up at a dinner party and everybody says, “Oh, well, let’s ask Alex. He knows everything because of Jeopardy.”

AT: Yeah, well, that doesn’t happen at dinner parties. I’m too busy drinking [laughs].

TL: Most people know you as the host of Jeopardy, but you’ve been a TV host since 1963. What was your first hosting job like?

AT: Music Hop in 1963 was my first hosting job of a variety program. I also hosted a high school quiz show called Reach For The Top for the CBC in Canada. That was good training for all my future hosting work in game shows and quiz shows because you had to be fast, you had to make judgments quickly, and the right judgments in regards to a response given by a contestant or a student. So that was good training.

But Music Hop was neat in many ways. It was a precursor, if you will, to Shindig and Hullaballoo, which came later in the United States.

There was a lot made about those two shows being, “Hey, this is avant-garde stuff for kids.” Nonsense. Music Hop was first, and we did our show live.

And that was, in many ways, a scary proposition because on a number of occasions, I was asked to sing. I’m not a singer. And if problems arose, as they did on a couple occasions, I had to adlib to get out of a difficult situation.

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