Secret Stuff: Trivia on Trivia

SmartyPants 2004

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Ever wonder what would happen if some of the greatest players from Jeopardy squared off against their counterparts from Millionaire? And Twenty-One? And Ben Stein?

On August 16, at Game Show Congress 2004 in "beautiful downtown Burbank," some of the greatest players in game show history met for the first time in the first annual SmartyPants competition.

  • Kevin Olmstead's $2.16 million on Millionaire is a game show record, and he was a two-day Jeopardy champion
  • Ed Toutant's $1.8 million on Millionaire makes him #2, and he also won a game on Jeopardy.
  • David Legler is #3 in game show history, thanks to his run on Twenty-One.
  • Jerome Vered held the one-day record for Jeopardy winnings for 10 years, until they doubled the money.
  • Leszek Pawlowicz was once called the "Michael Jordan of game shows" and is widely considered one of the greatest players Jeopardy ever had.
  • Ben Tritle was a five-time Jeopardy champion, a Twenty-One player and now works for Street Smarts.
  • Bob Harris was a five-time Jeopardy champion as well, and appeared on the Million-Dollar Masters tournament
  • A rotating "eighth chair" was shared by such players as Dan Avila, Jason Bloch and Matt Ottinger, each of whom is formidable in their own right.

The game lasted an hour and was hosted by Paul Paquet, your quizmaster here at Trivia Hall of (TM), using questions from the database he sells to clients.

So who won?

left to right: David Legler, Ben Tritle, Ed Toutant, Jerome Vered, Paul Paquet, Dan Avila, Leszek Pawlowicz, Bob Harris, Kevin Olmstead

Ed got off to a quick start, but soon he and Leszek were up battling it, with the lead changing hands several times. Bob and Kevin put up a tough fight, too, with Bob providing many of the evening's best moments. In the end, Ed pulled out a last-minute win, beating back a surging Leszek. Ed is already keen to defend his title next year, hopefully against a certain Utah computer programmer.

SmartyPants 2005

For SmartyPants 2005, the format was Jeopardy vs Millionaire with Ed Toutant, Kevin Olmstead and Tim Hsieh vs Steve Chernicoff, Bob Harris and Jerome Vered. Bob stomped into an early lead and was a crowd favourite with his hilarious answers. But in the end, Ed snuck up on him, winning 35-32. Also this year, more audience members got to take part, for their chance to test their wits against game show greats.