What's in a Signature? A Look at Penmanship of 'Jeopardy' Contestants
Our personalities are conveyed by the clothes we wear, how we style our hair, the diction we use, etc. Another indicator is how we write our name. Some friends tell me that their first impression of someone is created by the condition of their shoes. As for me, I sometime make a snap judgement from they way someone scribbles their name on a name tag. And this applies to my perception of contestants on Jeopardy, as I'm fascinated by how they write their names on the screen that's on the podium they stand behind.
For the most part, these signatures are nondescript, but a few stand out. Some contestants use all capital letters, others write in cursive, some mix these two styles, while others embellish certain letters or draw a slash or squiggle underneath to add some pizazz to a name like John or Sally. If I were a contestant, this is how I'd sign my name:
One thing I've learned is that a standout signature isn't predictive of how a contestant will do on the show. For example, Amy Schneider's wasn't the least bit flashy, nor was Cris Pannullo's; James Holzhauer was always changing his in amusing ways; and Matt Amadio had a winsome curlicue to start his 'M', but the overall presentation of his name belied the manner in which he bulldozed over his fellow contestants for 38 matches.
In the nearly 40 years of Jeopardy telecasts in the "modern" era (i.e., since Alex Trebek) there have been approximately 22,000 contestants, so I've barely scratched the surface with the signatures I've seen. Of course, this is an absolutely subjective exercise (and opens a window into my personality). Sometimes my aesthetic radar is activated by the overall look, in other cases my interest comes from the design of one or two letters. With that said, here are some of my favorites:
- Neat & Simple -
- Cursive -
- A Flourish or Two -
- A Man With Different Signatures -
Then we come to contestant Jake DeArruda from the winter of 2023 who competed on four nights and displayed a different style for each night's signature. It’s a shame we couldn’t see his creativity extend further.
- Uninspiring -
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