On September 10, 1984, a new TV star emerged. He was Alex Trebek, a Canadian who had been working as a radio and TV host in his country and then in the U.S. for years, hosting game shows like High Rollers and The Wizard of Odds. But that day, he took over as the host of Jeopardy!, a trivia show created by Merv Griffin that had previously been hosted by Art Fleming from 1969 to 1974.
Trebek’s “Sense of Gravitas” introduced himself to the viewers with the same calm and professional manner that he would maintain for the next 36 years. The show looked different back then — it had a more flashy 1980s style — and the rules would change over time, but Trebek was already a master of his craft, bringing a touch of elegance to the show.
Craig Loftin, a lecturer in American studies and an expert on U.S. pop culture history at California State University, Fullerton, says Trebek was different from other game show hosts.
He said, “Many game show hosts act like they’re trying to sell you something. They’re very upbeat, talk very fast, and create a lot of hype and excitement,” “They always have big smiles on their faces. Trebek was not like that on Jeopardy!. He was more reserved, more refined, more scholarly. He dressed modestly, moderated his voice and enthusiasm, and made you feel smarter watching the show. He was more like a professor than other game show hosts.