The Quiz Biz

| May 29, 2001

As any fan of the show knows, the questions start easy and get harder. But even with the heat on, under the spotlight, Brown stayed cool. “I was very calm,” he says. “I don’t know why. It all went very smoothly.”

Brown also got by with a little help from strangers, not friends. Contestants are allowed three “lifelines.” One is to poll the audience, another is to “phone a friend” for help, and a third one is to have two of the four answer choices eliminated.

Brown polled the audience on the question of how much postage you need on a post card. “I knew it was either 15 cents or 20, but I had to ask the audience,” he says. The audience answered correctly-20 cents.

Brown took his “50/50″ on the question of what dominoes spots are called, answering correctly with “pips.”

Meanwhile his brother was waiting at a computer in Minneapolis, ready to type in an answer for the “phone a friend.” When Brown was stumped, he called. The question was: “Which of these actors released a CD called, ‘Vincent LaGuardia Gambini Sings Songs Just for You?’” The choices were four Italian-American actors. The problem was that Brown’s brother tried typing the question into the computer, but it was too long for the 30 seconds allotted.

Fortunately, Brown remembered that Vincent LaGuardia was a character’s name in the movie “My Cousin Vinnie.” The actor, and Brown’s final answer, was Joe Pesci. His brother, now off the hook, wrote a column about his national-spotlight failure for his employer, The Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Finally, Brown met his match. The question was: “What level of the atmosphere are clouds formed at?”
“I knew it was either ‘troposhere’ or ‘thermosphere,’ but I didn’t know which one,” he says. “I’d wasted all my lifelines earlier.” He had $125,000 already. A correct answer would have given him $250,000. A miss would have dropped him to $32,000.

“I didn’t want to risk that kind of money,” he says. The answer is “troposphere.” “I said on the show I would have answered ‘thermosphere,’ but I’m not so sure. The first thing that came to mind was ‘troposphere.’”

That’s a question that will stay with Brown for a long time, since $250,000 is a lot more money than $125,000, he says. “But, then again, $32,000 is a lot different from $125,000,” he adds.

It’s hard not to look back on the final question with 20-20 hindsight. “In retrospect, I wish I’d prepared a little more,” Brown says. “I looked at a few almanacs. But that’s something I could have known if I’d looked at a science book.”

But, overall, Brown is thrilled by his good fortune. “I was shocked that I actually got to play,” he says. “It was nice to get a trip to New York, and getting on the show was just icing on the cake.”

Even if he’d hit the jackpot, this trucker wouldn’t have lost his passion for the road. “I’ve been in trucking my whole life,” he says.

The Quiz Biz

| May 29, 2001

As any fan of the show knows, the questions start easy and get harder. But even with the heat on, under the spotlight, Brown stayed cool. “I was very calm,” he says. “I don’t know why. It all went very smoothly.”

Brown also got by with a little help from strangers, not friends. Contestants are allowed three “lifelines.” One is to poll the audience, another is to “phone a friend” for help, and a third one is to have two of the four answer choices eliminated.

Brown polled the audience on the question of how much postage you need on a post card. “I knew it was either 15 cents or 20, but I had to ask the audience,” he says. The audience answered correctly-20 cents.

Brown took his “50/50″ on the question of what dominoes spots are called, answering correctly with “pips.”

Meanwhile his brother was waiting at a computer in Minneapolis, ready to type in an answer for the “phone a friend.” When Brown was stumped, he called. The question was: “Which of these actors released a CD called, ‘Vincent LaGuardia Gambini Sings Songs Just for You?’” The choices were four Italian-American actors. The problem was that Brown’s brother tried typing the question into the computer, but it was too long for the 30 seconds allotted.

Fortunately, Brown remembered that Vincent LaGuardia was a character’s name in the movie “My Cousin Vinnie.” The actor, and Brown’s final answer, was Joe Pesci. His brother, now off the hook, wrote a column about his national-spotlight failure for his employer, The Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Finally, Brown met his match. The question was: “What level of the atmosphere are clouds formed at?”
“I knew it was either ‘troposhere’ or ‘thermosphere,’ but I didn’t know which one,” he says. “I’d wasted all my lifelines earlier.” He had $125,000 already. A correct answer would have given him $250,000. A miss would have dropped him to $32,000.

“I didn’t want to risk that kind of money,” he says. The answer is “troposphere.” “I said on the show I would have answered ‘thermosphere,’ but I’m not so sure. The first thing that came to mind was ‘troposphere.’”

That’s a question that will stay with Brown for a long time, since $250,000 is a lot more money than $125,000, he says. “But, then again, $32,000 is a lot different from $125,000,” he adds.

It’s hard not to look back on the final question with 20-20 hindsight. “In retrospect, I wish I’d prepared a little more,” Brown says. “I looked at a few almanacs. But that’s something I could have known if I’d looked at a science book.”

But, overall, Brown is thrilled by his good fortune. “I was shocked that I actually got to play,” he says. “It was nice to get a trip to New York, and getting on the show was just icing on the cake.”

Even if he’d hit the jackpot, this trucker wouldn’t have lost his passion for the road. “I’ve been in trucking my whole life,” he says.

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