Well, the show has aired and the secrets can all be revealed – I won $25,000 on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire! It still seems shocking and unreal. I taped in late October (just a few days before Hurricane Sandy hit), and for 7 months I have been waiting to be able to answer everyone’s burning question – “how did you do?” So here it is…I did great!
I promised in my previous post Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? – This Girl Right Here! (How I Became a Contestant on a Game Show), I would discuss the details of my game after in aired. So here is a rundown of the questions I faced, the money I earned, and finally the outcome of it all. You’ll see my format is abbreviated by listing the question, my answer and the money I earned or missed out on per question; the “lifelines” I used are in bold. If you want to read the transcript verbatim you can click this link here.
Cue the dramatic Millionaire music and lights…”da na na na NA!” Crowd is clapping, I walk on stage, greet Meredith Vieira and…
First off was my introduction. I knew we were going to talk about my son being a big fan of the show and watching with me, so I brought his picture to share…awwww. (The pic was from his 5th birthday which we celebrated in Jackson Hole, WY at a cowboy chuckwagon.)
Then it was “time to play Millionaire”:
1. For a 2012 ad she taped in Brazil, who evoked a former tv role by donning a red swimsuit?
- I would say that it’s probably Pamela Anderson, from her Baywatch days.
2. The Wisconsin Historical Society displays a banjo-ukulele used to compose “the Wiener Song,” the famous jingle for what company?
- I’m guessing it has to do with the same people with the Wienermobile, and that’s Oscar Mayer.
3. “Movember is an annual international charity event in which men voluntarily do what to raise cancer awareness?
- I know this for a fact because my brother started this with his group at work, and then, I mean, look at my husband. It’s grow moustaches, Meredith.
4. Translating from Farsi to mean “land” or “place of,” at least 7 countries in the world end in what common suffix?
- Farsi is an Arabic language, and there are sure a lot of “stans” in the Arabic countries. I feel pretty confident with -stan.
5. In 1911, J.M. Barrie adapted his play “Peter Pan” into a novel that was originally titled what?
- Well, Wendy is clearly the heroine in Peter’s world, in Peter Pan, but it was Peter’s mother–or Wendy’s mother that was the original love of his life. I’m gonna ask the audience. 84% believe it is Peter and Wendy – I go with them.
(*I got kind of tripped up on this because we had recently finished reading Peter and the Starcatchers which is a Peter Pan prequel and features Molly Aster as Peter’s main heroine.)
6. After 107 attempts, film critic Roger Ebert fulfilled his dream of winning the cartoon caption contest of what magazine?
- I know the New Yorker has a big contest where they ask people to caption cartoons, and it’s pretty prestigious, so I can imagine that 107 attempts would be pretty fair. So I’ll go ahead and say the New Yorker.
7. With highlights like “Bust Out,” what famed event has featured Louisiana State Penitentiary’s “well-behaved” inmates since the 1960s?
- I want to jump this question
- Rodeo was the right answer. Missed out on $1000
8. Which of these animal names is redundant because its first word has the same meaning as its second word?
- I have my doubts, I’d like to go ahead and jump the question.
- Tsetse fly, it actually means “fly” in several African languages. Missed out on $100.
9. In addition to being a common insult, the word “jerk” is used to describe someone who works where?
- Well, I definitely know the answer, and that would be soda shop.
10. Expressing longevity in fruity terms, people are often said to live a what?
- I’m gonna say ripe old age!
At this point I have completed Round 1 and all the money in my bank is mine to keep if I walk away – $67,500. Additionally, I have hit my mark for the show to donate $10,000 for Children’s Miracle Network.
On to Round 2 – classic Millionaire. My first question is worth $100,000, or if I don’t know the answer I can walk with my full bank; if I get it wrong, I walk with $25,000.
- Sri Lanka
At this point I debate about which to go with. Before the choices were given on the board my gut said, I bet it is Indonesia. So when that came up as an option I got excited. I would say I felt an 80% pull towards that answer. I also knew that regardless I would walk with $25k and the charity would still get their $10k, so it seemed like a calculated risk.
- “I came to have fun, and I’m gonna do it. I’m gonna say “b,” Indonesia. Final answer.”
- Meredith – “Oh, it’s not Indonesia. Philippines was the right answer. But I love your attitude from beginning to end. You came to have fun. You’re walking away with $25,000. Phenomenal.”
And so it goes. Do I kick myself a bit when I think about it…of course. But really, I walked away with $25,000 of free money for going on TV to play a game – that seems like a big win to me! I was particularly excited that I got to win the money for the charity too. I also liked knowing I was able to prove to myself that I could do it. From watching the show on TV and thinking “Oh, I think I am good at this,” to getting there and being successful, was definitely a confidence booster. My brain still works – even after 5 years of Mommyhood – woo-hoo!
Meredith was so nice and easy to work with. She seemed really genuine too. About a week or so after taping she sent me a personal handwritten note congratulating me on my winnings – saying I did a great job and “William will be so proud of his mom.” What a classy lady!
I have watched the show a few times since it aired and it was pretty hard for me to do. It is like listening to your own voice on tape…but to the nth degree! The feedback I have gotten from friends and family has all been very supportive. I was worried that people would be disappointed that I didn’t just walk with all that money I had earned, and would maybe tease me about it. But everyone has just had nice things to say about my confidence, ease on stage, and general fun attitude with it all. I also have been given kudos for actually going for it and “living a little.”
So there it is, my big network television debut is complete. My game has been played and my story has been told. I have no big plans for my winnings, although I can see a little treat or two coming our way. (William just wants candy – done! Thank God he isn’t a teenager yet, right?!?!) For the most part the money will just go into savings for our family’s future; of course Uncle Sam will get a generous cut as well. William is pretty sure he is officially “famous” now because his picture was on TV and everyone saw it. Otherwise, our adventure is complete and I am so glad I auditioned and tried something that was outside my normal comfort zone. It worked for me, just by believing in myself, and that is awesome. I hope soon you get a chance to do something where you get to “live a little” too!