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Thinking, thinking, thinking hard. Think I've got it-- wait! Oh no, that's wrong...

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"Think!" is the title of the Think Music played on the game show Jeopardy! while contestants write their questions in its final round, "Final Jeopardy!", and was at one point universally recognizable. For readers who've never heard it here's one version.

Merv Griffin, the creator of Jeopardy! (and sister show Wheel of Fortune), composed the well-known "Think" music. He self-plagiarized it from "A Time for Tony", which he wrote as a lullaby for his son; the original "A Time for Tony" later became a prize cue on Wheel in the 1980s.

Using the Jeopardy Thinking Music, or a Musical Pastiche of it, is common when stupid characters are stumped by a simple question. Briefly replaced by the Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? stings.

The version of "Think!" in Final Jeopardy! is played at 136 beats per minute and is 17 measures long, including the "bum-bum" at the end. This makes it exactly 30 seconds long. This is one reason it's used on Jeopardy!: it's good for timing the round while sounding slightly more relaxing than a bare ticking clock.

For examples of "think" music in general, see Think Music.

Older shows, or those who can't afford to license "Think!", may substitute Leroy Anderson's "The Syncopated Clock". In the United Kingdom, the iconic theme from Countdown will usually be substituted. In Japan, the music from Time Shock is a common choice for timing 60 seconds.

Not to be confused with "I Lost on Jeopardy!"


Examples of Jeopardy Thinking Music include:

Film

  • In The Santa Clause, the theme plays while Scott Calvin's co-workers wait for him to finish eating.
  • In Music and Lyrics, Alex Fletcher plays the tune on the piano in hope of inspiring Sophie to write. It only makes her more nervous.
  • In the first Inspector Gadget movie (the live-action ones by Disney), when Gadget is being taught how to use his new abilities, one scenario is that he's supposed to stop a jewelry-store robbery by giving the robbers the slip. While he's thinking, a lightbulb rises from his hat and the first eight notes of "Think!" plays. When he gets an idea, the bulb lights up, and his next line: "Go, go, gadget oil slick." (buzzer sound) Toothpaste comes out.
  • Used to underscore The Beverly Hillbillies' naïveté/stupidity at one point in The Movie: Elly May mentioned something people had in Beverly Hills and the music started playing when someone asked her what that was.

Game Shows

  • Jeopardy! itself capitalized on this by changing its own theme tune to an upbeat remix of "Think!" in 1984. Various other themes had been used during the Art Fleming-hosted versions of the show (the original 1964-75 theme was called "Take Ten" and was written by Merv Griffin's wife at the time, Julann).
    • One year's college tournament was hosted at Yale University, and had Final Jeopardy for the tournament's finale accompanied by an a cappella performance of the song by Yale's a cappella ensemble, the Whiffenpoofs.

Live-Action TV

  • Mork and Mindy: Mork insisted on humming or singing it on several occasions while waiting for answers to questions.
  • The very last episode of ALF used this.
  • 3rd Rock from the Sun. At one point it even had several cast members mentally singing a little ditty along to the music. "Thinking, thinking, thinking hard..."
  • In an episode of Family Matters, Steve Urkel hums this aloud, in a very annoying fashion, while waiting for Carl to make up his mind about something.
  • The Daily Show: When Jon Stewart interviewed Betsy McCaughey regarding her opposition to President Obama's health care proposals, she trotted out a huge binder containing half of the proposed bill. Jon challenged her to show him the passage that she cited to prove her (made-up) points against the bill, and as she thumbed through the pages of the binder, he started humming the Jeopardy! theme. Later, when she searched for another passage, he started singing "Yakety Sax."
  • Used at least once in America's Funniest Home Videos, where it was dubbed into a home video of a man at the altar taking his sweet time thinking over the "Do you take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife?" question.

Magazines

  • An issue of Mad in the late 1990s featured lyrics for the theme, in an article entitled "11 ways to piss off Alex Trebek":
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This is Final Jeopardy!
Having trouble with this category
Today's champion won't be me
Don't know Greek mythology
Hope my friends don't watch the show
Then they'll say there's nothing that I know and
I'll look like a total Heel
Wish instead I'd gone... on... Wheel!

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Music

  • This shows up in a live rendition of Ray Stevens' "It's Me Again, Margaret". As the character in the song starts to dial the phone, he spends way too long doing so, and the first two bars of "Think!" play.

Puppet Shows

  • The shorts featuring the mascot of German children's station KI.KA, Bernd das Brot ("Bernd, the Bread"), often feature "Think!" whenever Bernd is trying get something across to his Too Dumb to Live "friends" or the producers, or whenever he is Deadpan Snarking about them not getting something which should be obvious.

Radio

  • Played on The Howard Stern Show when someone has been asked a tough question or is taking a long time to respond.

Video Games

Web Original

Western Animation

  • Ren and Stimpy episode "Out West" uses The Jimmy Hart Version of the tune twice.
  • In the Beavis and Butthead episode "Closing Time", Beavis and Butthead imitate the theme in a "rock" style while the health inspector checks on Burger World.
  • The Road to El Dorado used a sort of variant of the theme: when Tulio asks Miguel to think carefully about what Chel meant to both of them, a little bell can be heard as if symbolizing Miguel's thought process. When he comes to his conclusion ("Chel is... off-limits?"), a ding goes off like a game-show timer.
  • Appears in several episodes of Phineas and Ferb.

Real Life

  • Sports example: The tune is frequently played over the stadium loudspeakers during NFL instant replay reviews.
  • Honestly, is there one among us who hasn't been subjected to someone "singing" this just to be obnoxious?
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