Then N said she had an extra ticket, and I was happy to take it. Her family wanted to get there early and we hadn't made plans for when and where to meet, so she mailed me the ticket. I called 10 am Sunday to make more specific plans and got no answer, so they were already en route. I didn't have her cell number (or a cell phone myself), so I just aimed to get there by noon for the 1 pm door opening for the 2 pm start time.
When I emerged from the subway just after noon, a few people were going in, but I was told that was only handicapped, and the line was around the corner. The line was LONG and I didn't see N (but they could have been near the front where people were bunched up and not always visible from the street) so just walked to the end. An usher checked tickets at one point, but it was pretty loose and when we finally were let in, the tickets weren't collected. They kept saying to line up 2 by 2 and I felt momentarily bad not having a 2. Not having a 2 got me a better seat, though, as the usher put me several rows up from the others coming in with me, in a single seat at the end of a row. I was on the left fairly far back.
Radio City is just gorgeous. We used to go for special occasions (in the days they ran movies, with a stage show beforehand), and the last time I was there was another "Jeopardy!" event - the masters tournament in 2002. That time, I sat in the contestant family area because a puzzler knew one of the participants; the show lawyer was seated with us and we chatted about his show and my ex-show.
The people near me weren't particularly talkative; the two mothers next to me had their hands full with their impatient young kids. The hall was PACKED, including the balconies, and I had no hope of finding my friends (according to the blogs, pauer was going, too) but that was OK.
Things got under way with a rehearsal game. I was too far left to see the board but had a direct view of the contestants. The first celebs were Neil Patrick Harris, Bebe Neuwirth, and James Denton from "Desperate Housewives." Omigod, Denton was gorgeous! All of a sudden the two mothers and I were bonding in our mutual swoondom, as was every other female (and probably some males) in the vicinity. Uh, where was I? Was there a game? Oh yeah. Alex answered questions during down time, nothing I didn't know before. Besides the masters tournament, I had been to another Celeb "Jeop!" at Madison Square Garden theater in 1999 (including our co-star Jon Stewart), not to mention my own taping in 1991, so I was an old hand at this.
There was a long intermission while press swarmed the stage for interviews. The mothers and kids next to me cut out, as well as many others. I dunno, it was fun and it was free so why leave? A woman in front of me turned around and asked if I was in a documentary. Bingo! She and her companions had seen the movie at Jacob Burns, but they're not really random strangers since her college roommate is a frequent Stamford competitor and told her to go. I gave them buttons, and now have just 2 left.
Ushers had us fill in the empty seats, and I moved up and to the right, but still couldn't see the board. However, I was just right enough to see the blinking lights around the board and involuntarily pushed my finger trying to anticipate the lights even though it has no use since I've already been on (maybe for Virtual Jeop! where I still haven't mastered buzzer timing).
The next rehearsal game had different questions (thank goodness), and the last set of celebs was Michael McKean (whose wife Annette O'Toole was shown onscreen dancing in her seat to the theme music), the Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, and Hill Harper. One contestant was clearly ahead of the rest, but you'll have to watch to see the outcome.
So that was a fun afternoon. N called later and said they got there super-early, around 10:30, looked for but failed to find me, and were also on the left but up front, right behind the VIP seats.
The program listed all the celebs. It might have been nice to see our IFC premiere pal Isaac Mizrahi (who I didn't talk to though he was sitting directly behind me), the real Susan Lucci, or former co-worker Regis (who I met a few times back in the day), but this was fine.