Alex Trebek was above all a beacon of curiosity for me. After each part of Peril! I looked, I found myself more and more interested in the world around me. Everyone has a Peril! story, so I’ll spare you mine, but I’ll say that without a host like Alex Trebek we wouldn’t all have this beautiful shared experience – each of us sitting in our living room, mesmerized by the blue glow of the board game , yelling at him answers in the form of questions, and rarely, if ever, being right.
But what happened behind the game and what made Alex Trebek the spellbinding host that he was? This is what I began to wonder this weekend, after the announcement of his death Sunday morning. Fortunately, for his new book, Answers in the form of questions: a definitive story and an insider’s guide to the danger!, Claire McNear has spent countless hours immersing herself in the world of Peril!, “A World She Calls,” the pinnacle of the trivia world. “We talked about Trebek and the future of the game.
Answers in the form of questions
“I had the chance to meet Trebek and interview him in his dressing room in 2019,” she said. “That day they were filming the biggest ever panel, and while Brad Rutter, Ken Jennings and James Holzhauer were all there, Trebek was just the center of gravity.
When I asked her what she thought would make him the great host that he was, she laughed. “I think he showed it through the pleasure he felt Peril! but also, how much he prepared for it. Even though it only takes 22 minutes to film an episode, people don’t realize he’s out there scoring, following and pacing the game, not just reading cards. He showed up at the studio at 6 a.m. and had a dictionary, making diacritical marks because it was so important for him to honor the game and pronounce the words exactly.
Inevitably, the future of Peril! has come. What will it look like? She said: “Trebek was always the first to say that Peril! would continue long after him.
And while that doesn’t seem possible to most of us, McNear believes it will. “But I mean, how can you not be compared to him?”
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