For more than 36 years, Johnny Gilbert has said the same ten words, with the same mix of dazzling and loud rhythm to a seasoned showman: “And now, here is the host of Jeopardy! “… Alex Trebek!” Trebek will appear with a wave and a smile, and the game will begin.
He’s performed a version of this fashionable warm-up more than 8,000 times, since the first episode of Trebek, which aired on September 10, 1984, when the new host walked onto the stage wearing a thick, dark mustache and a faded pink as a pocket square. But on Friday, television viewers will witness Gilbert’s final introduction to a longtime colleague who became a friend, as the last episode filmed before Trebek’s death airs in November.
“As painful as he was in, I never thought he was really dying,” Gilbert said. “On the day I heard it, part of me left this world.”
Next week’s “danger!” He would return with Gilbert introducing a new name: Ken Jennings, The record-breaking former contestant, who will be the first in a series of new interim hosts.
“It was a very strange feeling,” Gilbert, 92, said in an interview on Wednesday. “I never thought of anyone as host for the show except Alex.”
After the death of Trebek, Gilbert, who was almost 70 years old A career in entertainment, he said he wonders if this is the right time to leave. At that point, due to the pandemic, he was not working in the studio, in Culver City, California, but he was recording his ads from the bedroom of his Venice Beach home.
“I thought, Gee, can I keep doing this? Can I still do what the show needs?” “And I decided, yeah, I’ll continue. I’ll continue because Alex wanted the show to continue.”
when Trebek died at the age of 80 In November after fighting stage 4 pancreatic cancer, the show’s producers made it clear that there would be no rush to fill the role of the man who was the face and voice of “Danger!” For a long time. Just 10 days before his death, Trebek was filming the studio, and the show had enough episodes to end the year. Instead of ending in the last week of 2020, a messy week for TV and viewers, the show decided to push Trebek’s last five episodes into this week.
The show also admitted Gilbert He was among many Feeling unstable by a new host presenting “Danger!” clues. Instead of choosing a permanent heir right away, they chose a series of temporary hosts. Jennings, Only guest host A spokeswoman for the show, which was officially announced, said it had already recorded 30 episodes. (In recent days, Jennings has received some criticism on social media for posting Insensitive Tweets In the past, for him I apologizeAnd the Raise questions About whether he’d be in the role permanently.) The Los Angeles Times reported this week that Katie Couric Signed As another guest host, but the show didn’t confirm this.
Gilbert and Trippick, who both worked in television in the early 1980s, met at a party in Hollywood two years before Merv Griffin decided to produce a new movie called “The Danger!” Gilbert was already a well-known entity on daytime television, having served as a golden-voice anchor on “The Price Is Right” and the daily talk show Dinah Shore.
at Posted notes Last summer, Trebek wrote that he recommended Gilbert to Griffin: “How can you forget a voice like that?” (Gilbert’s voice wasn’t just used for advertising; he was a singer early in his career and recorded two albums in the 1960s.)
Gilbert said what resulted from this was a friendship that included loads of locker room chats, gentle bullying in front of a studio audience and a deep mutual respect. On the set of “Jeopardy!” Trebek was often making fun of Gilbert’s life, joking that he was the broadcaster of Abraham Lincoln.
Trebek wrote of Gilbert in his diary: “We spent more time than any of our marriages, and we never had a crossword.”
Wearing one of the many “danger!” Branded jackets, Gilbert would warm the crowd before the recordings, urging them to speak to Trebek during their commercial breaks and ask any questions they might have. Gilbert recalls that when the time came, Trebek was talking to members of the audience endlessly, adding that Trebek’s involved conversations with members of the studio audience would last longer than commercial breaks.
Gilbert recalled how Trebek continued to work during his illness. Gilbert said that when Trebek was receiving chemotherapy, there were times when he was in excruciating pain. Sometimes he was very sick due to the usual inter-episode banter with the production crew.
Trebek wrote in his diary that there were days while he was ill when he could barely walk to attend production meetings. But after Gilbert made his trademark introduction – “Now, here’s the” Jeopardy! “Host. “… Alex Trebek!” – Trebek wrote that he would feel himself again, and be able to take to the stage.
This shift was evident to Gilbert, too.
“No matter how he felt when he came out on stage, when I introduced him, there was Alex Trebek,” Gilbert said.