What I Did On My
(C-Note: It's cold
out, I know. Nothing like the thought of summer to warm
you up. And this summer, I had the pleasure of attending
the Game Show Congress. I had planned on going threesies
with Jason and Gordon, but they never got back to me
about it, so because I wanted to share a warm memory -
and the fact that we have zero material... I'm saving
Cash Cab and Deal or No Deal opinions for tomorrow's
Numbers Game - here it is, dug up from the archives that
is my memory key... Game Show Congress Week... Day 1)
Chapter 1: 40 Hours in Hell
Los Angeles... The last time I was there, I was eight years old (technically
eight years, 11 months, and 12 days). Needless to say that it's been a while
since I have been out to the west coast.
Not for Gordon, though. He went out last year with Jason Block for Game Show
Congress 3. This year, there were four of us: Gordon, Jason, myself, and Ryan
The flight from Raleigh-Durham to LA (with a layover in Dallas) left in the
wee hours of Wednesday the 17th, but the adventure began some 18 hours earlier
where, after a bout with packing, getting as much sleep as I could given my
hectic schedule, and of course finding someone to keep my mom out of trouble for
a week or so, I headed to work, with the plan that afterwards (I get off of work
at 11p) I was going to drop my car off at my girlfriend's in Chapel Hill, then
taxi over to RDU after sneaking in four hours of sleep.
Of course, such is not the case. I ended up in the parking lot, paying $80
for the week in parking fares and keeping awake since noon the previous day. Oh
At around 7a that morning, I was off, six hours away from meeting up with
some of the people that I have had the infinite pleasure of working and writing
with for the last five years that this site was in existence. A quick layover in
Dallas and I was headed for LA for my first Game Show Congress.
Upon arrival, I noticed a) some guy that looked like some other guy that I
went to high school with, b) a dude in a TPIR ballcap that I instantly
recognized from his episode of Russian Roulette, and c) a placard with my name
and the WLTI logo on it (there was another placard with GSNN handwritten on it
as well, just in case I happened to be asleep from jetlag). Immediately I
thought... Joe and Ryan.
After what Jack Barry would term "a most cordial welcome" and bag claim, the
three of us returned to the gate to welcome the final two players in our
weeklong party, Gordon and Jason. Joe had the WLTI placard. Ryan had the GSNN
placard. I had "Casino Night." Surprisingly, I wasn't killed by either Gordon OR
Jason when they arrived. Gordon I recognized as looking like Bren from "The
Apprentice", and Jason... well, his $125,000 win on "Millionaire" spoke for
So the five of us were off, ready to begin our adventure. Along the way, we
played an interesting find indeed. Earlier this year, we reported on a series of
CD games written and produced for the Canadian market by Jeopardy! superchamp
Ken Jennings. The CD series Quizzology plays in about 90 tracks, each
track either a question or a series of short questions. Not a bad little setup,
especially with some words of (trivial) wisdom from the almighty Ken himself.
After leaving LAX, the unofficial "Ewie" count began, having made two wrong
turns to get to the Avis to rent our car. We hadn't any time to waste, though.
Shortly after we secured the Chevy Impala, which we dubbed "Texas Justice" due
to its Texas license plate, we were on our way to our first GSC excursion: a
taping of two "Jeopardy!" shows at Sony Pictures Studios.
The myth is true... the set really IS smaller in person.
Making our way to the right side of the studio, we noticed several things,
such as the play-testing of the buzzers, the "hometown howdies" (for those who
don't know what one is, I'll demonstrate... ahem. "Hey, Raleigh! I'm Chico
Alexander of Fayetteville. Carolina is known for more than just basketball and
barbecue. Watch me prove it tonight on Jeopardy!"), and the new season title
graphics (which, by the way, are probably the best I've seen since Sony began
yearly title changes). Of course, given that the five of us - one being a former
Jeopardy! champion himself - were high arbiters of useless knowledge, we had to
control ourselves during the taping. To that end, every time we knew the
answers, we just slapped our knees.
Our knees were very tired that day.
Unfortunately, Alex could not make it to the Congress, as he would be away on
business that weekend, but he did comfort me in knowing that he listens to
Sinatra. Just great... Something ELSE that he and my sister have in common.
As for the shows, I refuse to play
spoiler, but the GSC episodes of "Jeopardy!" will air Thanksgiving weekend.
Expect two very good games. (C-Note: These were the Bill MacDonald games)
From there, the Ewie count reached about six until we got to the Hilton
Glendale, home of GSC4. After checking in and validating parking, we made our
plans for that night: a) head to the Acme Comedy Theatre for "What's My Line?
Live on Stage" with former "Beat the Geeks" host J. Keith van Straaten, and b)
the Commerce Casino to pester Joe on the job.
First, though, the live show. Here, Jason, Gordon, Ryan, and myself met up
with other GSNN semi-regs Jason Hernandez, Travis Schario, and Mike Klauss. Also on hand (and if
I forgot your name and you're reading this, e-mail me telling me how bad of a
person I am) were Matt Martin, "Lingo" champion Ben Ziek, prominent webmaster
Matt Ottinger, and "Jep!" host Bob Bergen. I started talking to
him about that missing second season of UPN's anime drama "Teknoman/Tekkaman Blade" which he
voiced, but that's another story for another day.
But back to the show itself. The panel was a mix of current and old school
game show favorites. There was Andy Zax (of "Beat the Geeks"), Teresa Strasser
(writer for "Win Ben Stein's Money", host of "While You Were Out", and frequent
guest on "Pyramid"), Frank Nicotero (the "Street Smarts" dude), and Teresa
Ganzel (of the Carson "Tonight Show" and numerous "Pyramid" appearances). First
thought through our minds: the years were not kind on panelist number 4.
The main games played featured a tap dancing teacher (as in one who teaches
tap dancing) and a man who makes fake teeth for movies, but the REAL treat for
us gamers was game 2, which featured as guests three of the writers for
"Jeopardy!" Jason couldn't put the names together at first, but after I noted to
him that "we saw their work today," the lightbulb came on.
And another treat was the mystery guest, none other than Ed Asner. Probably
the ice water on a very amazing show. We met many of the cast later that night.
Frank (who by the way is probably the exact same person off-camera as he is on)
admitted that he should've recognized us by the way we introduced him (for the
record, we gave Frankie Mic the Wayne's World "We're Not Worthy" Salute). Andy &
J. Keith said that they would put in an appearance at the Congress over the
After the show, we headed over to Commerce Casino and started on a mission,
make enough money to afford to go to Disney the next day. Gordon got wild with
"wild Asian women" at the Pai Gow tables, while I managed to double up playing
no-bust blackjack with the help of Ryan, who was, at the time, designated "my
lucky Canadian". After a while on an upswing, I would turn to Ryan and just
utter, "Mr. Vickers... we're done here." Three or four "Mr. Vickers, we're done
heres" later, I managed to double, more than what was needed for the next GSC
excursion: Disneyland/Disney's California Adventure, where the four of us would
meet up with fellow GSNN cohort Julie and her two girls. But that's tomorrow's
For now, we end on this note of some relief... At around 12:55a PT, after
40-some-odd hours of straight activity getting from North Carolina to California
and around the Glendale area, making no less than six wrong turns... I finally
Chico Alexander's memory, Christmas joys all around him.
E-mail him the rest of the lyrics to "Somewhere in My
Memory" at firstname.lastname@example.org.