Editor keeps winning on 'Jeopardy!'

March 29, 2001

Editor keeps winning on 'Jeopardy!'


Bob Fleenor's lead on "Jeopardy!" Thursday night was so large that the final question didn't matter.


Fleenor, 49, of Martinsburg, W.Va., knew the correct response to Final Jeopardy: Tatum O'Neal was on the cover of People magazine on April 22, 1974, holding an Oscar. He finished with $10,500, more than double the second-place contestant's total.

As a two-day champion on the popular nationally syndicated quiz show, Fleenor has won $22,900. He will be back on tonight's show, which airs at 7 p.m. on WMAR-TV2 and at 7:30 p.m. on NBC25 and WJLA-TV7.

Fleenor, an editor for The Daily Mail in Hagerstown, taped his appearances in California in December, but was required to keep the results secret until each show aired. He has been watching the broadcasts at home with friends and family. Last night, about 20 people were with him.


Afterward, the calls came in.

"I was on the phone with my ninth-grade algebra teacher, who I haven't spoken to in 30 years," Fleenor said shortly after his second straight win aired.

Past co-workers and teachers are among those keeping his phone ringing and his e-mail in-basket full. "It's been a madhouse," he said.

Fleenor thinks he has tied the best "Jeopardy!" showing by a Martinsburg resident. He remembers Ron Lindsay, who was a year behind Fleenor at Martinsburg High School, also winning twice on the show several years ago.

In high school, Lindsay and Fleenor ran against each other for student council vice president and Fleenor won, he said.

Fleenor said he hasn't spoken to Lindsay in a while, but he's trying to contact his fifth-grade reading teacher, Dorothy Friddle, who appeared on the show back when Art Fleming was host.

On Thursday night's show, Fleenor and Paul Kalomiris of Germantown, Md., battled for the lead early on. Fleenor jumped ahead by correctly answering four questions about the U.S. $1 bill, but Kalomiris came back in a modern music albums category.

At the end of the first round, Kalomiris led $4,200 to $3,800. Nancy Goldstone from Brookline, Mass., was in third place with $600.

Fleenor shot past Kalomiris in the Double Jeopardy round, in which he found both "Daily Double" clues.

In the first one, Fleenor knew the American Revolution ship that John Paul Jones captained was the Bonhomme Richard.

He failed to get the second question: "This unfinished Rodin work depicts scenes from Dante's 'Inferno' on two bronze doors." Fleenor guessed "The Gates of Turin," but the correct response was "The Gates of Hell."

At other points in the show, Fleenor correctly said that TV's "futuristic talking head" was Max Headroom, the lower leg bones are the tibia and fibula and Ed Wood's 1953 film was "Glen or Glenda."

Heading into Final Jeopardy, Fleenor had $10,300, while Kalomiris had $5,000 and Goldstone had $1,200.

"Jeopardy!" tapes five half-hour shows a day. When Fleenor won the first time, it was the third taping, after which the show takes a one-hour break. The last winner is treated to lunch.

"It gave me about an hour to savor being a champion," Fleenor said.

It also gave him time to change his clothes for the next taping, which was Thursday night's show. Normally, the breaks are about 10 minutes.

Many people have asked Fleenor in the last 3 1/2 months how he did. He hasn't cracked and he has toyed with people trying to trick him into giving away clues.

"The fact that I knew I was going to win made it easier," he said.

So, what can we expect from Fleenor tonight?

"I show up," he said coyly.

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