As a long-time Jeopardy! fan, I was saddened to hear of the passing of Alex Trebek. It prompted me to read his new autobiography And the Answer is…, a delightful potpourri of his life story, reflections and insights about the quiz show.

In the book, I learned that the show’s creator Merv Griffin adapted a song he wrote as a lullaby for his son to become the theme song for the show – you know, the one we all know by heart: do, do, do – do, do, do…  Everyone can begin instantaneously humming it.

This little tune has become the iconic music anytime there is a lull while someone is waiting to provide an answer. We sang it in training programs as we quizzed new board members on facts about the association and played it during trivia games while waiting for teams to respond. Millions of others have used it in sporting events, classrooms and game nights. It has become the de facto music to play in anticipation of a reply.

One of the more fascinating tidbits is that whenever it is performed officially, Merv Griffin (now his estate) receives a royalty. Those few notes have earned Griffin nearly $80 million over the last 24 years!

With all the multiple media channels and diffused messaging, we don’t have many shared experiences these days, but the theme from Jeopardy! is one of them. During your next meeting, have a little fun with your team by humming the tune during a lull and requiring people to phrase their replies in the form of a question. What is team bonding for $200 Alex?

Source: And the answer is…Reflections on my life by Alex Trebek, 2020

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