New ‘Jeopardy!’ Champ Won Way More Than The $40 And A Set Of Encyclopedias She Took Home In Her First Game 50 Years Ago

Lots of people dream about competing on Jeopardy! For one contestant from the game show’s current season, that dream became a reality—twice! Martha Bath appeared on the original version of the game show 50 years ago. 

She Originally Competed On ‘Jeopardy!’ 50 Years Ago

Bath, a retired CPA from Seattle, Washington, got to share her story during the Q&A segment of the show. Host Ken Jennings started it off when he said, “This is not your first rodeo.” Bath then revealed her connection to Jeopardy!.

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“That is correct,” she replied. “Fifty years ago this spring, I was on the original daytime show with Art Fleming in New York. I won $40 and a set of encyclopedias, and I still have them.” Jennings then joked, “You still have the encyclopedias—or the $40? We’re gonna send you home with more than $40 tonight.”

Jeopardy’s Original Run With Art Fleming

Jeopardy! has had a very long run. The show initially started airing on NBC, premiering on March 30, 1964. It was hosted by creator Art Fleming and ran until January 3, 1975. The game show was revived in 1978 and ran for another year with Fleming returning as host. 

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The version of Jeopardy! that fans know and love today started airing in 1984 with Alex Trebek as host. Trebek hosted the game show until his death in 2020, though episodes that he recorded prior to his death ran into 2021. With Ken Jennings now at host, Bath could finally return to the game.

Martha Bath Won Big On Her Second Go-Round

Bath might have gone home with just $40 and a set of encyclopedias her first time around, but her latest performance on the show earned her some pretty big winnings. Bath beat out returning champion Emmett Stanton and sports journalist Christopher Pennant to take first place. 

She went into Final Jeopardy with just $15,400, but she answered the final question correctly after wagering her entire pot. Bath’s total winnings came out to $30,800. Or, as Jennings joked, “If we count 1972, $30,840.”

Fans of Jeopardy! were excited to see someone with a connection to the original version of the show get to return. “I was blown away to hear that a woman who only won $40 and a set of encyclopedias 50 years ago on #Jeopardy is now the FLIPPIN’ CHAMPION!” one fan tweeted. “My hat’s off to you, ma’am.” Bath’s successful second run on Jeopardy! just goes to show that it’s never too late to try again! 

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