Alex Trebek is a quizmaster without equal

So after we’ve had plenty of time to digest the latest news – that Jeopardy! game show host Alex Trebek has disclosed that he currently has Stage 4 pancreatic cancer – I wanted to take a fresh moment to look back at Trebek’s career as a game show host.

And we’re not just talking about Jeopardy!.  Trust me on this.

Because long before Alex Trebek asked that you provide your response in the form of a question, he starred in a game show in which you needed to know the amount of probability of a question.  That show, The Wizard of Odds, ran for about a year on NBC’s daily game show lineup.

These are barely fragments of a complete episode, but hey you find what you can on YouTube.

The Wizard of Odds was culled after one season, but Trebek stayed on with NBC as the host of a new game show, High Rollers, in which players shot dice to win prizes.  Here’s a full episode of that show, in which Trebek’s co-host Ruta Lee almost gets knocked down when an errant prop goes awry.

I want to embed this next clip, but unfortunately all I can do is provide a link.  In 1978, Trebek hosted the meeting of two Canadian academic quiz shows, Reach for the Top and Genies en herbe, in which he demonstrated his bilingual abilities by asking questions in both French and English to the contestants.

Since I can’t embed that clip, I can at least link to it here.

Okay, then there’s Jeopardy!.  How long has he hosted that show?  Heck, I was watching it as a college student.  Way back in the early 1980’s.

But here in 2010, Trebek is hosting a different kind of quiz show – an academic geography be.  Sponsored by National Geographic, no less.

I will show a Jeopardy! clip, if for no other reason than to show that Alex Trebek has a sense of humor.  This is actualy an episode of Cheers, in which one of the barflies – know-it-all mailman Cliff Clavin – actually gets on the show and “Clavins” the final question.

And in a bit of meta-storytelling, I couldn’t do this without including at least one appearance by Alex Trebek on Saturday Night Live, as he meets up with “Alex Trebek” (Will Ferrell) and has a quip or two with “Sean Connery.”  That, and the SNL Jeopardy skits are funny as hell.

So yeah, Alex Trebek is still going strong.  And he’s not going down without a fight.

Besides … who would they hire to replace him?  I mean, realistically, there’s only one other person that would be capable of asking the questions on the big board…