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Looking back: Mike Randall goes behind the scenes of 'Jeopardy!' with Alex Trebek in 1987

Posted at 11:43 AM, Nov 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-09 12:24:32-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — This week, people around the world and in Western New York are mourning the loss of beloved game show host Alex Trebek.

The "Jeopardy!" host passed away on Sunday following a battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 80 years old. Trebek first announced his diagnosis in March 2019, and continued to tape new episodes of the show throughout treatment.

Trebek's influence on pop culture spanned decades. Back in 1987, 7 Eyewitness News reporter Mike Randall went behind the scenes of "Jeopardy!," when Trebek was just three years into his 36-year tenure on the show.

In an interview, Trebek told Randall, "I enjoy seeing people make money the old fashioned way, by earning it, demonstrating how bright they are. That individual usually walks away with $9-10,000 in cash."

Mike Randall worked with Ed Reilly to produce the story. He shared his memories:

Ed Reilly and I had a blast shooting this. It was right after they started using the TV Screens on the Jeopardy board and they had a lot of technical difficulties. A half-hour episode took a couple of hours to shoot. We shot the interview in Alex Trebek's dressing room. He had so many ties, shirts, and suits laid out it looked like a department store! A couple of years later when Alex visited our station, we showed him the piece. He said it was the best Jeopardy story he ever saw done. He also gave me his agent's phone number. Which I lost.

You can watch Mike Randall's full story from 1987 in the player above.