Tuesday, May 2, 2023

"Jeopardy!" superfans have struggled for years to find out why a contestant's 1986 five-episode win streak has been erased from history

Claire McNear gets to the bottom of it for the Ringer:

[Her] legend ... might have begun with the mystery of her absence from the 1986 Tournament of Champions, but it grew ever larger after top Jeopardy! brass began to disparage her in the press.


Sleuths hunted for bread crumbs, celebrating each minuscule find. They turned up a Sacramento Bee story from 1986 written by Clint Swett, the Jeopardy! champion who immediately followed Lowe and described her as “so bubbly you could almost hear her fizz.” They found a clip from a 1980s segment on game shows for a Buffalo TV station that featured a few shots from Lowe’s winning streak, with her ringing in from the champion’s lectern. “When I was a little girl, I wanted to go on Jeopardy!” Lowe tells the camera, grinning. “My lifelong ambition was to go on Jeopardy!”

In 2021, a fan noticed that a fragment of her second episode had been uploaded in a six-hour-long clip compilation from the archives of a game show tape trader. It offered confirmation, seemingly, that the recording still existed somewhere—and provided J! Archive with a blurry image of Lowe’s face. The fan pulled the segment into a video of its own, adding the caption: “This is probably going to be the only clip that surfaces for a while.”

She has a book about Jeopardy.