THAT GOING TO BE YOUR FINAL ANSWER?
Regis Philbin asked Norman Tripp
Payne 90C on ABCs
game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? last September.
final answer is Atari, answered Payne. In the dramatic
silence that followed, more than twenty million prime-time viewers
stared at the question on their television screens: The
name of what toy, literally translated, means play well?
If Payne was correct, he would safely reach the $64,000 level.
my gosh, Im sorry, said Philbin. The correct
answer is Lego.
was a ton of fun, says Payne, a professional crossword
puzzle writer, regarding his appearance on Millionaire.
It was an experience that, on some level, Ive been
dreaming about all my life.
to net some
he didnt walk away with a million dollars, he did earn
$32,000more than any previous contestantand snagged
his proverbial fifteen minutes of fame. He came home to fifty
messages on his answering machine after the show aired, forty
of them from strangers. For several months afterward, people
stopped him at the bank, the grocery store, and restaurants
to congratulate him.
by the popularity of Millionaire, other networks are
luring contestants and viewers to their own shows with the promise
of big money. Greed, Winning Lines, and Twenty-One
have been unveiled on Fox, CBS, and NBC,
respectively. As on Millionaire, celebrity hosts pose
high-stakes questions to contestants on glitzy, high-tech sets
awash in futuristic lighting and tension-building theme music.
It makes for good ratings and an opportunity to net some quick
cashespecially for alumni such as Payne who were members
of the Emory College Bowl team (now the Academic Team).
the two decades since the inception of the team, more than a
dozen alumni have drawn upon their Emory College Bowl experiences
to perform in the high-pressure environment of prime-time quiz
shows. Now, many of them are hoping to take their hair-trigger
recall to Millionaires hot seat.
G. Dupee 88C literally wrote the book about
winning on the game show Jeopardy! The 1996 Tournament
of Champions victor won $170,000 and subsequently authored How
to Get on Jeopardy! and Win. A lawyer in Gainesville, Florida,
Dupee is hoping to focus on his trivia web site full time within
a year. In the meantime, he says, I try pretty much every
day to get on Millionaire. He credits College Bowl
(the varsity sport of the mind) with teaching him
to deal with pressure when the game is on the line.
L. Leopold 86C, another former College Bowl
player, says of his appearance on Jeopardy!, My
heart felt like it was beating against the opposite wall. I
had to tell myself, You are not on national TV in front
of thirteen million people. You are back in college, playing
Busch (left) coached Payne, Dupee, Leopold,
and others for a decade during most of the 1980s, an era when
the Emory team consistently contended for regional and national
championships. He no longer coaches, but he hasnt left
the game. He now runs his own company that provides questions
for high-school quiz shows.
cant imagine anybody being more committed to the game
than he was, says another former College Bowl player and
Jeopardy! contestant, Ben A.
Stone 88C. He brought a passion that
treated it like a sport, Busch says. The players shared
not only a love of knowledge for knowledges sake, but
an intense competitive side as well. That competitiveness brought
a very diverse group of individuals together.
players shared not only
of knowledge for
sake, but an
its hard to meet people who are different from you in terms
of perspective and experience, Stone says. If it werent
for those people, my time at Emory would not have been nearly
as rewarding. The late nights spent together after practice
and tournamentswatching Hill Street Blues every Thursday,
for instancemade them friends.
drove through a blizzard oncearound
a blizzard actuallyto get to a tournament at the University
of North Carolina, Busch recalls. We drove due east
for about two hundred miles, then north, and came back westwe
came behind the blizzard to get there. We were insane! And the
trip was cursed all the way. We lost miserably. I locked the
keys in the van. We ate dinner in a 7Eleven, ten of us
standing around a microwave eating frozen burritos.
remember thinking, I should have joined the tennis team,
Stone says, laughing.
In retrospect, says Busch, it was a lot more
fun than the tournaments we won and dont remember.Richard