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Jeopardy! announcer Johnny Gilbert warms up the audience on the set of the iconic game show. If you don't recognize his name, you will recognize his opening signature line, “This is Jeopardy!” Gilbert has been with the show for over 30 years and wears custom-made jackets with "This is Jeopardy!" embroidered on the back. (Sy Bean / Seattle Refined)

Meet the folks who make Jeopardy happen, every day

Our Refined team headed to Los Angeles for a VIP visit to the Jeopardy! studio, and it is seriously one of the coolest experiences we've ever had. But one of the highlights - hands down - was chatting with two longtime legends of the popular quiz show.

And we're not taking about Alex Trebek.

If Trebek is the face of Jeopardy, then the executive producer Harry Friedman is the brain, and announce Johnny Gilbert is the voice.

Believe it or not, Gilbert is in his early 90s, and still going strong.

"I started back in 1959," he said "I really was a singer. I started as a professional singer, and a fella heard me singing on stage one night and said 'I think you would be good in TV.'"

He moved to New York, did some auditions and the gigs started coming! From 'The Price is Right', to 'Words and Music' and his own show - 'Music Bingo'.

"So its been my whole life," said Gilbert. "And I've been yelling at these people for a long time."

But we don't mind!

"I look forward to it!" said Gilbert. "I look forward to getting here and meeting the people. [They] come from all over the world, but it's not talking to strangers. I feel like I know everyone! When I get in to talk to them - well they certainly know you...thank God for that."

And the bond between Trebek and Gilbert - the only two left standing from the good ol' days - is pretty tight.

"He and I are the only ones who have been with Jeopardy since the very beginning," the host said. "I take a great deal of pride in that. We are friends and we have great respect for each other."

But you can't talk about Jeopardy without also bringing up Harry Friedman. For years, he worked alongside game show king Merv Griffin, before taking over both 'Wheel of Fortune' and Jeopardy. And just days ago, his peers honored him with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Daytime Emmys.

"I don't know what the line of demarcation is when you've done enough to say now you've qualified," said Friedman about the award. "It's very subjective. It's terrific! It's a great opportunity to look back and acknowledge and thank all the people who helped me get this far."

Friedman says the nicest part about coming to work every day is that everyone on both sets seem to honestly like each other.

"You have a lot of people who've been year a lot of years," said Friedman. "It's not just Alex up here on the set. It's not just you - it's a whole family making Jeopardy! successful. It's a family, and it's really rooted in knowing the importance of these shows. That's not to say we are self important! But certainly with Wheel and Jeopardy! the viewers rely on us to be consistent. They rely on us to be entertaining - to be a break from whatever is going on in the world or in their own lives."

But, can it last?


"We sure hope so!" he laughs. "I remember when Jeopardy went on the air originally in the 60s on NBC daytime - and I thought - wow this is tough. This is a tough show so it was dormant for a while, and then came back a year after Wheel of Fortune - and into syndication."