May 26, 2005

"How did you prepare for the role?"

Merv Griffin reveals that when a talk show host asks that question, he's "in terrible trouble." Griffin's proud of never asking that. But he did, he reveals, deliberately ply guests with drink to get better interviews.

He also reminisces about "his chat with Salvador Dalí, who brought along paintings to Mr. Griffin's show":
"I said, 'Mr. Dalí, I don't understand your work,' " he recalled, "and he said: 'Yes, that is it! Dalí is confusion!' "

Hmmm... that reminds me of my stock response to law students who say they've found a case confusing. That confusion ... that is understanding! Because the case is confused!

And did you know Merv Griffin wrote that thinking music that's played during the final question on "Jeopardy!"? He's made "probably close to $70-80 million" from that little snippet. Fair enough! Much of the charm of "Jeopardy!" comes from the feeling you get from that music -- happy and nervous! -- at the end of the show.

I see that DVDs of his old shows are coming out. I'm eager to see these. I watched the show back in the 60s and especially remember how funny and appealing regular guest Richard Pryor was back then.

13 comments:

Pancho said...

I have fond memories of watching Jeopardy every day in some older friends dorm room at Trinity Univ before we went to lunch. Don Pardo and Art Fleming were our hosts. I haven't thought of that in decades, yet Don Pardo's name came to mind in an instant. What an influence it must have had on me.

Bruce Hayden said...

I actually got to see one episode of Jepardy live. Great memory.

Also, Ann, be realistic. Some of those law students might not understand the case because they haven't yet learned to do what you are trying to teach them - to think like lawyers.

You may be one of the lucky ones who didn't start out in law school confused. But, IMHO, most do. And, unfortunately, one of the things that we had to learn was how to correctly interpret that confusing case.

Ann Althouse said...

Thanks, Bruce. My point is to get students to deal with that feeling of confusion, so they can get past it. Seeing that the case is confusing is a first step toward understanding. Students saying they are confused sometimes let that feeling get them down, so that it's an emotional barrier. I recharacterize that as a form of understanding, so students can feel that even the confusion is progress. You have to learn to overcome the uneasiness that comes with seeing confused things.

Rick Lee said...

FWIW, you didn't mention that Merv was the actual creator of Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune. What a franchise. He sold the shows sometime in the 80s as I recall for hundreds of millions.

For many years I faithfully watched those shows... Jeopardy for intellectual stimulation and Wheel for mindless fun. Can't bear the thought of watching them now. Don't ask me why.

Ann Althouse said...

Rick: Those facts are in the article.

Tom McMahon said...

For Merv's daytime rival, The Mike Douglas Show, a young Roger Ailes was the Executive Producer.

And on Jeopardy, does anyone else still think of Alex Trebek as "the new guy"?

DNR Mom said...

Ann: Thanks for reminding me of Merv. He taught the young me to appreciate oldsters, entertainers their industry had labeled has-beens, like Jackie Mason & Myron Cohen. He also brought on youngsters who hadn't made it yet, like Arnold Schwartzenegger. In those days, who knew?

Muckish said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Muckish said...

The young me also enjoyed Merv Griffin, but I didn't always recognize the oldsters at the time. I wish I could remember the Orson Welles interview mentioned in the article. All I remember about Orson Welles on Merv Griffin is wondering why the guy who sold Paul Masson jug wine was a semi-frequent guest.

Sean E said...

Am I the only one who thinks of I'm a Little Teapot everytime I hear the Jeopardy theme?

. said...
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BugMeNot said...

You're not the only one, Sean E!!

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