A Classic Game Show Comes to Heritage Village



Scorekeepers are, left to right, Alan Mael,Barbara Mechler and Joe Bilello.

On Friday, Feb. 14, my photographer and I headed down to Room D in the Activities Building to watch the second taping of “Jeopardy,” a game show with a twist. The answers are given, and the contestants have to supply the questions. Jeopardy was first seen on television on March 30, 1964, and many have watched it over the years. The questions are tough and often viewers feel very proud of themselves if they have a successful evening keeping up with their television counterparts. Now the show appears on Channel 14, and the contestants have familiar faces. The first show featured contestants Sandy Gould, Barbara Mechler and Matt Lesser. Matt Lesser was the winner of the first televised show and returned to participate in the second show.

The audience for Heritage Village Jeopardy watched attentively.

Putting a light bulb that lit up in one’s mind into production is a monumental job. The Village population is a melting pot of humans with many interests. There is a place for you if you are willing to help out. For this to continue, assistance in a variety of ways is needed. Doris Sommers is a member of the Communications Committee, which includes FOCUS. Sommers was recognized by her peers for her contributions to the creation of the program. Her work began in the fall of 2019. “We have had a lot of positive feedback and people are viewing it on Channel 14, the Heritage Village website and You Tube. It is important to rev up viewers. If you like working at home, you could be a category creator and then put together the question and answers,” said Sommers. It sounds challenging and interesting.

This is the board for the Jeopardy Round. Can you answer all of these?

There were seats for the audience, and most of them were taken. Many Villagers braved sub-freezing temperatures and came down to participate. Being in the audience is the easy part. Before the taping it was mentioned that everyone wants the show to continue on, but it is difficult to find contestants. People are afraid of appearing “stupid,” a word mentioned at the event to describe feelings one might have when you don’t give the correct answer or draw a complete blank. Unintelligent might be more appropriate. Mechler who has life experience as a contestant said it was survivable. For this show she was one of the scorekeepers along with Alan Mael and Joe Bilello.

Three cameras were set up and manned by Ed Edelson and Marcia Brooker. Brooker also warmed up the audience. “Let me hear your most enthusiastic applause,” she said. During the actual taping, Brooker had a huge sign that she held up to give the cue when to

Isabel Burk (left) and Suzanne Nassar are the keepers of the board.

applaud. Karen Lampiasi was at the piano and played the Jeopardy theme song, and the audience had to sing along. I bet you can hum the entire song! Try it at home, and come on down next time and sing along. Lampiasi also played the piano for some questions that required listening to music. The Jeopardy board was manned by Isabel Burk and Suzanne Nassar. Each show has a sponsor.

This Jeopardy event was sponsored by the “Blues Cafe.” The Blues Cafe is not the blues nor a cafe. It is an independent music project located in Southbury. The volunteers are music enthusiasts and strongly believe in providing independent talent with an intimate, up close and personal crowd. Talented people will play on Sundays, and there will be three more events this year presented on April 20, Oct. 25, and Dec. 13 in Southbury.

The contestants were introduced by host Doris Sommers and included returning champion and “IT” man Matt Lesser, Leo Ditkoff, a retired CFO of a public company, and Caroline Bernard, a very pleasant member of the Southbury Public Library staff. There was a coin toss and Ditkoff started the first round and chose inventors. Check out the questions about inventors:

25 points: He invented the printing press in 1440 in Germany.

50 points: Medical researcher who invented polio vaccine in 1953.

75 points: He was the Corn Flakes inventor in 1894 for Battle Creek Sanitarium patients.

100 points: He invented the modern ice rink resurfacer.

200 points: He invited dynamite in Sweden in 1876.

Marcia Brooker gives the audience a cue: applaud!

Here is the category for the second round. Answers for both rounds will be at the end of the article. The points earned for this round are higher. This category is about Connecticut:

50 points: These two are Connecticut’s longest rivers.

100 points: This Hollywood star won four Oscars, and lived in Hartford and Old Saybrook.

150 points: Born in West Hartford, he created a popular dictionary, speller and grammar book.

200 points: In Groton, workers built the first one of these in the world.

400 points: In 1937, Connecticut became the first state to issue these.

The final Jeopardy question had to do with cartoon characters that had speech impediments. Pictures of them were shown to the contestants. Who were they?

Lesser had 900 points, wagered it all and ended up with 0. Ditkoff entered final Jeopardy with 1,850 points, but didn’t list any answer. Bernard entered final Jeopardy with 1,425 points and wagered 300 points and was the winner with 1,875 points. Wow! She will not be able to return next month and there will be three new players. Will one of them be you?

Here are the answers to the questions.

First round:

25 points: Johannes Guttenberg

50 points: Jonas Salk

75 point: William Kellogg

100 points: Frank Zamboni

200 points” Alfred Nobel

Second Round:

50 points: Housatonic and the Connecticut Rivers.

100 point: Katherine Hepburn

150 points: Noah Webster

200 points: A nuclear submarine, USS Nautilus, constructed between 1952 and 1954

400 points: Permanent license plates for cars.

Cartoon Characters were Porky Pig, Elmer Fudd, Tweety Bird and Sylvester.

“It was a fun experience to be in the audience. I mentally tried to guess the answer each time the contestants were questioned and was quite elated when I nailed the grand jeopardy question. You could feel the excitement in the room, and we, the audience were part of it as we clapped and hummed the Jeopardy song,” said Debby Eisenman.

Participation is the key word. The show will go on only if there are contestants, an audience, viewers at home, and those that help with the various tasks described in this article. Let’s keep Jeopardy going!