On a recent “Jeopardy!” episode, one of the contestants, Mike Nelson, alighted upon a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Nelson — “an actor originally from Chesterton, Indiana,” as the “Jeopardy!” announcer Johnny Gilbert introduced him — selected an $800 clue that triggered a Daily Double.
It was Anderson Cooper’s first night guest-hosting the show, but Nelson had a different man in mind as he made his wager. “I’ve always wanted to say this,” Nelson said. “Let’s make it a true Daily Double” — and here Nelson closed his eyes and lifted his hands as if to signal for some kind of celestial field goal — “Alex.”
Today, we say Happy Birthday to the original man behind “Jeopardy!” — Art Fleming.
Born on May 1, 1924, Fleming is remembered for being the host of the first version of the television game show “Jeopardy!,” which aired on NBC from 1964 until 1975.
He was born to parents William and Marie Fazzin, who immigrated to New York City from Austria. In high school, Fleming was a successful athlete on his high schools’ football team. He later attended Colgate and Cornell Universities, where he had a spot on the football and water polo teams at both colleges.
Relive the birth of an “American Institution” as we celebrate the debut of ‘Jeopardy!’ on this day – March 30 – way back in 1964.
Today, game show titan ‘Jeopardy!’ is synonymous with the late, great Alex Trebek. Yet the show had existed for a full two decades before his celebrated tenure began. And at the heart of it all was producing mastermind, Merv Griffin.