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Technical Glitch Causes 'Jeopardy!' Contestants To Appear Clueless About Who Tom Hanks Is

Technical Glitch Causes 'Jeopardy!' Contestants To Appear Clueless About Who Tom Hanks Is
Sony Pictures Entertainment/YouTube, @marshlands/Twitter

On Monday night's Jeopardy!, viewers witnessed the unthinkable.

None of the contestants had a clue as to who Tom Hanks was.

Host Alex Trebek read the clue for the $200 question under the “Biopics" category.

“In 'A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,' beloved children's show host Mr. Rogers is played by this beloved actor."

Sadly, the visual clip accompanying the clue of Tom Hanks playing Mister Rogers from the anticipated biopic did little to warrant a buzz from contestants Kevin Jones, Beverly Randez and Andrew Thomson.

An awkward silence filled the air as the stoic faces from the clueless contestants were frozen for what seemed like an eternity.

How could anyone not recognize Tom Hanks, the avuncular Oscar winner known for such iconic films as Saving Private Ryan (1998), Sleepless In Seattle (1993) and A League of Their own (1992)?

You could hear jaws hitting the floor across the country.

To put it in perspective, this user commented on the magnitude of failing to recognize the beloved celebrity, who is also known for lending his voice to an extremely popular animated franchise.

Randez appeared to have Hanks' name on the tip of her tongue but failed to buzz in before the allotted time expired.

Trebek enlightened the contestants with the correct response.

"The film opens Friday. That's Tom Hanks. Not quickly enough, Beverly."

Even Trebeks' expression conveyed what most of us were feeling.

The genius of Hanks's performance as Mister Rogers was solidified.

It is safe to say that Tom Hanks is a pop culture icon with a recognizable face that is easy to love.

So what went wrong?

Fortunately for the stumped contestants, Andy Saunders—who runs the Jeopardy! blog fan site, The Jeopardy! Fancame to their rescue with an explanation suggesting that what played out for home viewers likely wasn't what it seemed.

Saunders, who chronicles each episode's play by play, wrote:

“Before anyone accuses the three players of not knowing Tom Hanks (the BIOPICS $200 clue), it has been reported by audience members from this game that the lights on the signaling system malfunctioned (failed to activate properly) and the contestants were unable to buzz in."
“Since the judges determined that no one player was advantaged or disadvantaged, it was ruled as "no harm, no foul", and the game would continue without a clue replacement."

Over on the Jeopardy! subReddit, user jmt613 also vouched for the contestants, saying:

"The lights that flash after Alex reads the clue malfunctioned, so contestants weren't able to buzz in."
“The game was paused, and the judges eventually determined that since no players were penalized by the error, they would continue on with the game."

Not to mention, it can be a challenge focusing on the distant grid of screens.

While the explanations make perfect sense, the moment of confusion made for good television as it shocked viewers.

We're hoping that without the technical malfunction, the contestants were savvy enough to know the actor whose films domestically grossed $4.9 billion at the box office, including in Canada.

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is about how a journalist's life is enhanced after taking on an assignment to interview Fred Rogers and is based on the real-life friendship between journalist Tom Junod and Rogers.

Rogers delighted generations of American children through his half-hour education series, called Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, by addressing his viewers about various topics through the interaction of friends and puppets.

You can watch the trailer for A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, starring Tom Hanks, below.


Perhaps the Academy might recognize Hanks's portrayal with his third Best Actor Oscar after previously winning for Philadelphia (1993) and Forrest Gump (1994).

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is directed by Marielle Heller and will be released in theaters on November 22.

Hanks is well known for his acting, but he's also an author. His book of short stories, Uncommon Type, is available here.