On Alex Trebek’s Last ‘Jeopardy!,’ Johnny Gilbert Gives a Final Introduction


For elevated than 36 years, Johnny Gilbert has talked referring to the an equal 10 phrases, with the an equal combination of razzle-dazzle and lofty cadence of a practiced showman: “And now, here is the host of ‘Jeopardy!’… Alex Trebek!” Trebek would seem with a wave and a smile, and the sport would start.

He has delivered some model of that acquainted warm-up elevated than eight,000 occasions, ever since Trebek’s first episode, which aired on Sept. 10, 1984, when the newly minted host strode onto the stage sporting a darkish, bushy mustache and a pale pink pocket sq.. But on Friday, tv audiences will see Gilbert’s remaining introduction of a longtime colleague who had develop to be a pal, as a outcomes of the final word phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase phrase episode that was filmed ahead of Trebek’s dying in November is broadcast.

“As much pain that he was in, I just never thought he was actually dying,” Gilbert talked about. “The day I heard that, part of me left this world.”

Wearing one of his many “Jeopardy!” branded varsity-style jackets, Gilbert would warm up the audience before the tapings, urging them to talk to Trebek during commercial breaks and ask him any questions that they might have. When the time came, Trebek would talk with audience members endlessly, Gilbert recalled, adding that more than once Trebek’s involved chats with members of the studio audience would outlast commercial breaks.

Gilbert recalled how Trebek continued to work through his illness. When Trebek was receiving chemotherapy treatments, Gilbert said, there were times when he was clearly in great pain. Sometimes he was too unwell for the usual banter between episodes with the production staff.

Trebek wrote in his memoir that there were days during his illness where he could barely walk to production meetings. But after Gilbert delivered his trademark introduction — “And now, here is the host of ‘Jeopardy!’… Alex Trebek!” — Trebek wrote that he would feel like himself again, and be able to walk out onto the stage.

That transformation was apparent to Gilbert, too.

“Regardless of how he felt when he walked out onstage,” Gilbert said, “when I introduced him, there was Alex Trebek.”



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