JOHNSTOWN — Jason Radalin, his wife, and two kids watched Jason Radalin on TV Tuesday night.
“It was fun … it was strange,” the Fulton-Montgomery Community College assistant professor said Wednesday about watching himself compete on “Jeopardy!.”
The episode was taped two months ago in a Los Angeles studio. Since then, Radalin has remained tight-lipped about the results, an act of courtesy for fans of the TV quiz show.
And Radalin chronicled all of it from his Johnstown living room.
“I’m not big on [Twitter], but I figured that this might be my chance to say something that some people might actually read,” Radalin said.
Watching faulty or missed answers on screen was like thinking of an insult two hours after an argument, Radalin confirmed with a laugh. He tweeted on Tuesday: “I have literally no memory of some of these questions. It is like being in a trance when you are in the moment…”
At 50 years old, Radalin has been a self-described “Jeopardy!” super fan since his childhood in the Putnam County town of Mahopac. Out of boredom, he took an online test to appear on the show in 2020 and performed in a mock Zoom match-up against other potential competitors several months later.
“When I first got the call to be on “Jeopardy!” my wife said to me, ‘Just getting on the show is winning’ and I kept that with me this whole time,” Radalin said. “It’s true.”
Radalin had a slow start, but gained momentum during Double Jeopardy, a round in which prize amounts are increased twofold. A humanities specialist at FMCC, he was particularly excited about his response to a question regarding Greek instruments.
All three contestants lost Final Jeopardy, reducing the score for Canadian scenic artist Ray LaLonde from $20,100 to $10,500, Washington D.C. project manager Kim Aagaard dropped from $14,800 to $9,800 and Radalin went from $10,800 to $800. Tuesday’s victory marked Lalonde’s fourth consecutive win, raking in $95,300 total. He won again Wednesday.
Radalin described his opponents as “really cool people.”
“I was happy to come in third to both of them,” Radalin said.
Radalin alerted his students at FMCC about his then-forthcoming game show appearance about a week before the semester ended. Most of them were ecstatic, albeit some were unfamiliar with the show because “a lot of Gen Z people don’t really watch television.”
Since the Recorder, Daily Gazette and Leader-Herald first reported on Radalin’s “Jeopardy!” appearance, he’s experienced an outpouring of support from the Johnstown area community. Radalin was proud to be the only contestant in that episode representing a small city.
The assistant professor spent much of his early life moving around from Albany to St. Louis to Boston. He’s lived in the city of Johnstown for 25 years.
“Ray, who is the current champion, is from Toronto,” said Radalin. “There’s people from New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, and I feel like it’s been a little bit of a different experience for me being from a smaller community and running into people at Rite Aid, having them recognize me from my picture being in the Gazette.”
A number of “Jeopardy!” contestants have hailed from the greater Capital Region, including Empire State College Saratoga Springs campus professor Cindy Conaway in 2012, Kate Logan of Hoosick Falls in 2017, and Troy high school teacher Conor Quinn in 2019.
If ever given the opportunity, Radalin would compete again. Earlier this fall, the program debuted a Second Chance Tournament for almost-winning contestants.
“I don’t know if they’re going to do the Second Chance tournament again this year, but if they call me, I will be ready and willing to play,” Radalin said.
Tyler A. McNeil can be reached at 518-395-3047 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @TylerAMcNeil.