‘Jeopardy!’: Why Alex Trebek Framed a Bounced Check

by Will Shepard

The great Alex Trebek will be fondly remembered forever for his work on Jeopardy!, but before that, he was working for a different show. He joined the famous game show in 1984 and had an incredible run of 37 years at the helm.

There was a time when the late game show host wasn’t on Jeopardy! Before joining the famous show, Alex Trebek was bouncing around game shows in the early part of the 1980s. Most of the shows he was doing were in Canada. One show, in particular, was a show called Pitfall.

Pitfall was a show where he was asking trivia questions to people walking across a bridge. The goal was to answer the questions correctly without falling off of the bridge.

However, while Alex Trebek was crushing episodes for the Catalena Productions show, there was a massive hiccup. Unfortunately, the company ran into major financial problems during the filming of the series. Eventually, the company was forced to file for bankruptcy.

Alex Trebek Had a Check Bounce Working for a Game Show in Canada

After the show finished and Alex Trebek was moving on, he was supposed to get his final paycheck. In an interview for David Baber’s book, he talks about the experience.

Pitfall was not a pleasant experience. They bounced my payment check. It came at a bad time because my father had died and my marriage had dissolved. I was in bad, bad straits and could have used the money.”

According to IMDbTV, Alex Trebek took this experience in a comical way. He decided to frame the check, perhaps as a reminder that not everything works out in life the way you hope it will.

Even up until the day he passed away, he never saw any of the money from that bounced check. But, two years later, he began hosting Jeopardy! and was quickly able to make up that lost money. He was supposed to be under contract until 2022. So, it is safe to say that he never ended up needing that money in the long run.