Wednesday, May 19, 2004

The Brain Bus is Coming

The Jeopardy "Brain Bus" is coming to Kansas City at 4pm, May 24th at Union Station. I'll be there attempting to audition for the program. This will be my second audition for the show.

Back in 1988, I unsuccessfully auditioned for the program. One day Channel five flashed an address for interested parties to send in a postcard for a random drawing to gain admission to an audition. I sent in 25 postcards and got the call. The audition was at the Hyatt Regency hotel and I took time off from my job at Audio Reader in Lawrence to attend.

The format in those days was different than it is now. About 100 of us took a written exam. The format was roughly 50 fill-in-the-blank questions. What kind of animal is the mascot for the U.S. coast guard? (It's a goat). Who was known as the Swedish Nightingale? (Jenny Lind). After the exams were graded they took three people to the next round, a mock game of Jeopardy. The equipment was on display at the front of the room. I didn't make the cut. I don't know what the cutoff line was, or what my grade was on the exam. That information was a secret. They also said there was no quota. They would take as many as qualified. Exactly three people qualified and that's how many you need for a game of Jeopardy. It was a fun experience, except I got a parking ticket.

The new Jeopardy purgative elixir side show promises the first 1000 people will have a chance to take a ten question quiz. If you pass, you may be asked back for another audition the following day. Presumably, if you pass that audition, your information, including a photo, will be added to the contestant pool. Prospective contestants in the pool may be called to the show anytime in the next six months to a year. But it's not a guarantee. Once you're invited to the show, it's up to you to get yourself to Los Angeles for the taping. I'm not complaining. I'll do it. I love trivia. And there's nothing trivial about matching wits with others for a chance at winning tens of thousands of dollars.

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