Don Pardo, what a great life
While Don Pardo, who died last week at age 96, will most likely be remembered for his 38 years as the announcer for "Saturday Night Live", I'll always remember him as the announcer for the original Jeopardy TV series, 1964-1975. Back then, the contestants would actually walk into the studio as Don intoned, "Now entering the studio are today's contestants."
I'll never forget it.
Each introduction concluded with the announcement of "your host, the star of Jeopardy". And truly a star he was. Jeopardy has always been my favorite TV show (I must have been watching for that first month back in March, 1964), but truth be told, I've never been an Alex Trebek fan.
However, oh how I loved the man Don Pardo introduced those 11 years.
That "star of Jeopardy" used to enter every day with the words, "Thank you Don Pardo; thank you friends". He also delivered a particularly crisp, "The answer is..." as the clue was revealed. For final jeopardy, there was none of that electronic gadgetry of today. The host would actually walk over and hold up each board on whch the three contestants had written an answer (or question, of course).
Who was this first (and in my opinion best by far) host of Jeopardy, the man Don Pardo introduced for 11 years?
"The answer is Art Fleming"; he lived only to age 70 (he died in 1995). By the way, his entire name was Arthur Fleming Fazzin (of Polish heritage).
For a clip, I've chosen the final show (their 2753rd one together) in which the camera pans to Don Pardo for the final introduction of the great Art Fleming. Alas, by then, they'd given up the drama of the contestants "entering the studio".
Bill Cullen was the original Price Is Right host; Wink Martindale Name That Tune; Jack Barry The Joker Is Wild (among other things); and Tom Kennedy a show called You Don't Say which I used to watch just as I got home from high school every day; it aired at 3:30 on NBC. As I recall, the Pardo/Fleming version of Jeopardy aired around noon time, not so good for school kids.