Jeopardy! has survived just about every change in the TV landscape over the years. After more than 7000 episodes though, one has to imagine it can be hard for anything truly surprising to happen on the show. But recently, returning champ Manny Abell won Jeopardy with just $1 left at the end of the game in a stunning conclusion. This marks only the second time in the history of the show that has ever happened. Here's what he had to say about the insane victory.
"It was kind of like that shellshock scene at the beginning of 'Saving Private Ryan.' Things move slow, sound is muffled. I seem to remember the words 'still alive' being uttered, but that's about it. I know I could have bet smaller. But, I guess I just figured that after the last game, I had sort of earned the right to act a little recklessly. I just want to say that the experience was amazing. All of the competitors, to a person, were some of the most interesting, intelligent and downright likable people I have had the pleasure to know even if it was briefly."
Even host Alex Trebek, who has certainly seen it all over the years, was very surprised. Entering the final question on Jeopardy, Manny Abell had $1000 to his name. His competitors had $12,300 each. So his odds of winning were slim. They were prompted with, "it's the only country that borders the Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf." The answer was Iran, but nobody got it right. Contestants Fran Fried and Carlos Nobleza Posas lost every dollar of their winnings with incorrect answers. Since Abell only wagered $999, he was left with $1 and, by default, won the game. He's just as surprised it worked as anyone.
"There was no way I was going to win that thing. When I watch at home, I always get a chuckle when someone bets all but a dollar and loses it, leaving them with that single, lonely '$1' on the podium. This was my chance to be that guy and laugh at myself. I just trying to fight the pressure and remind myself of the maps I've been looking at my whole life, but I moved the Caspian Sea to the southwest a bit."
The last time this happened was when Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Darryl Scott did it back in 1993. So it's been a while, to say the least. Manny Abell's three-day total earnings are $42,799, after adding $1 to his total in his landmark win. HIs comments to Huffington Post really help paint the whole picture, which is pretty amazing. You can check out the full Jeopardy clip, as well as some of the social media reactions to the big win, for yourself below.