My National Television Debut
August 1, 2002
When I got the phone call from Linda the producer on September 19, 2002 at 7:30am, this time, I was ready for it to happen. I was probably the only contestant they ever had who had more than a week to prepare for the Travel Trivia game (actually, I did not do any additional research than I had done before). Because it had been so long since their last show, though, I asked Linda what kind of question I would get for the Travel Trivia contest. She said it would be the same question they would have asked if they had the show on September 11th. So I went back to the notes I made from my research of the guests from September 10th.
Finally, it was time for the show to begin at 9am. I was watching the show on my television with the volume turned all the way down while I was listening to the show on the telephone. I was so nervous that I could feel my heart beating loudly and my hands were getting sweaty. I even noticed every breath I was taking was very deliberate and shallow. The time seemed to go by extremely slow as I awaited my opportunity to be on national television. Obviously, I was getting excited because I knew I was only seconds away from having the chance to win a trip to a popular vacation spot.
Around 9:15am, it was time for Travel Trivia. The big wheel of prizes came down from the ceiling as the theme music for the game was being played. Then on the television screen was an outline of South Carolina with a big red star in the Upstate, signifying that I was from Spartanburg, SC. My name was also plastered across the screen as Regis said, “On the phone is Jimmy Moore (he pronounced it Moooore, like a cow!) from Spartanburg, SC. How ya doin’ Jimmy?” At that moment, the phone was screeching really loud as I was saying hello to both Regis and Kelly. Regis said that they must be having some technical difficulties with their phone. Regis said “Can we hear Jimmy?” About that time, I said very clearly, “Hello?” Regis responded, “Oh, Hi Jimmy, how you doing?” I retorted back, “I’m here buddy!” Regis, Kelly and the studio audience burst into laughter.
Regis made the only connection he had to South Carolina: Lou Holtz. He started bragging about Holtz’ South Carolina Gamecocks and their 2-0 record at the time. Kelly inquired about how Regis knew so much about college football, but Regis explained that he likes to keep up with certain teams, such as South Carolina. Kelly then says, “South Carolina, isn’t that the Tarheels?” Regis chimes in that the Tarheels are actually the North Carolina team. He explained that South Carolina are the Gamecocks. Then he said in a matter-of-fact manner looking at the camera, “Right, Jimmy?” Then I said, “I’m not a big fan, but yeah!” Again the audience and Kelly burst into laughter as Regis looked exacerbated by my statement. I tried to explain to him that I am a fan of the Tennessee Volunteers, my alma mater, but the phone started acting up again.
Regis quickly began describing a new prize to England valued at $14,000 that was added to the wheel that day. Then Regis asked what I did for a living. I explained that I was a student working on my Master’s Degree in public policy and that I would be graduating in May from Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He wished me well in my career endeavors. Regis asked if I was married. I told him that “I am married to my beautiful wife, Christine, for six years. No kids yet, though.” Regis said that “this would be a nice trip for the two of you.”
Finally, after all the small talk was finished, it was time to play the game. Regis spun the Travel Trivia wheel to see what trip I would be playing for. As it spun around and around, I was hoping it would land on a really nice vacation spot. As it slowed down, you are never going to believe what the destination for the trip I was playing for landed on...MYRTLE BEACH, SC!
Regis started shaking his head and said, “Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy, you won the prize, Myrtle Beach, SC!” Kelly perked up and said, “Hey Jimmy, you could walk there, right?” I responded that it was only a few hours away. Regis then asked me if I played golf and I responded, “Uh, no!” Regis replied, “It’s still a lovely place to visit because you could walk on the beach and watch those great sunsets.” Kelly jokingly said, “You can call home, it wouldn’t even cost you anything.” Regis got a big kick out of that comment as everyone in the studio laughed. Regis explained that it was a week’s stay and included two rounds of golf.
Then Regis got this bright idea look on his face as he explained that this would be the perfect opportunity for me to learn how to play golf while I was in Myrtle Beach. He said that if I learned how to play golf, I would always remember that Regis and Kelly were the ones who made it happen for me. Regis then said that in order for me to win, though, I have to answer the trivia question correctly first.
The question was about professional tennis player Lleyton Hewitt, who had just defeated Pete Sampras in the 2001 U.S. Open. The trivia question asked “What country is Lleyton Hewitt from?” Being a sports fan and looking at my sheet of notes from my research, I knew the answer right away. I said the answer emphatically -- “Australia!” Regis said “You got it, Jimmy!” The announcer came on and described my vacation, which he said was valued at $4000.
Before I hung up the phone, Regis said, “Jimmy, have a wonderful time down there in Myrtle Beach. Will you do me a favor?” I said, “Yes, sir.” He continued, “Will you write me after you take advantage of this vacation and tell me that you took golf lessons while you were there?” Thinking quickly, I told Regis that he would have to come with me. Regis retorted that his back problems prevent him from playing anymore. He then wished me well again as they went into a commercial break.
So, Myrtle Beach, SC is where I have been all this week. The ironic twist to this story is that I was NOT able to take advantage of those two rounds of golf. I broke the nevicular bone in my left wrist in May and it has not healed well enough for me to swing a golf club yet. Oh well, maybe next time! At least I can always say that Regis Philbin paid for my vacation!