Watching Wheel of Fortune with my parents every night is one of my favorite childhood memories. It was on right before Jeopardy and I always considered it to be the more "fun" of the two shows.
But even though I've watched the show for years, there are some things I really didn't know about Wheel of Fortune.
1. Shopper's Bazaar
Before it became the iconic show we all know and love, Wheel of Fortune was originally going to be called Shopper's Bazaar. Contestants would win fake money from guessing puzzles and then spend that money on items "for sale" on set.
This shopping aspect was a part of the show for a few years, but eventually the segment was cut as producers wanted to speed things up.
2. One Wheel
Despite traveling around the country, there is only one famous wheel the show uses. It gets assembled at each location and then disassembled to transport it away. It's not an easy task, though. The wheel weighs 2,400lbs.
In total, the show travels with one million pounds of equipment.
3. That's...not the answer.
Vanna White has been asked what her favorite Wheel of Fortune "fail" is, and her answer has remained consistent. In both 1991 and 2014 when she was asked, White had the same answer.
''My favorite was 'Gone With The Wind.,'" she said. Most of the letters were filled in, but not quite all, and a man guessed, Done With One Hand.' How can you not crack up? You’re on live TV, and you just crack up."
4. Finger Boys
It's a weird job, but someone's gotta do it. When Pat Sajak says "there are six Ds!" he's not just doing that math in his head.
There are workers who stand off camera and hold up fingers in reference to how many times a certain letter appears in each puzzle. They're called "finger boys" which is a super uncomfortable title, but there's an intern somewhere looking for their big break.
5. Wardrobe Wizards
The wardrobe choices on Wheel are never an accident, and they're also never repeated. Vanna White has never worn the same dress twice, which is impressive when you think about how the show has over 6,000 episodes.
Pat and Vanna also coordinate their outfits for each taping. His tie always matches her dress, which is a pretty cute gesture after working together for decades.
6. Pat's Time Off
Hardcore fans of the show will remember that Pat took two years off from the show in 1989 and tried to start his own show. After eight years of hosting Wheel, he wanted to try something different.
While he was gone, Bob Goen took over hosting duties. It didn't last that long, however, and Pat has been a staple behind the wheel ever since.
7. Longest Puzzles
There are some truly dedicated fans out there, and they've managed to track the longest puzzles the show has ever seen (to the best of their ability).
MOST CHARACTERS, INCLUDING SPACES:
SHE JUST WON A SEVENTH U.S. FIGURE SKATING CHAMPIONSHIP
This puzzle featured 47 of the 52 monitors on the board.
MOST CHARACTERS, ONLY LETTERS:
HERSHEY BAR GRAHAM CRACKER GOOEY ROASTED MARSHMALLOW
This puzzle featured 46 letters, and was the answer to the only category of "What are we making?" ever used on the show.
8. Biggest Prize
In May of 2013, Autumn Erhard won the largest prize in Wheel of Fortune history, taking home $1,030,340. Autumn correctly guessed the phrase "tough workout" with only four letters on the board.
Not bad for a day's work!
9. If You're Happy And You Know It...
Vanna White currently holds a Guinness World Record, and I think it's fair to say that no one will top it. The Book of World Records credits Vanna as "Television's Most Frequent Clapper."
Each show she averages more than 600 claps, which means over the past 34 seasons she's clapped more than four MILLION times. I don't know that I've done anything in my life four million times besides breathe and complain about not winning the lottery.
10. Spell Check
Despite the show being all about spelling, they've had their fair share of errors. Thanks to that same group of fans who determined the longest puzzles, they've also found some spelling mistakes.
- BLUE BIRD OF HAPPINESS (should be "Bluebird")
- BACHELOR'S-BUTTON (should not be hyphenated)
- SWEAT SHIRT (should be one word)
- FOG HORN (should be one word)
- JINGLE-BELL ROCK (should not be hyphenated)
- AMUSEMENT-PARK FUN HOUSE (should not be hyphenated)
- CANDLEWICK (should be two words)
- BABY'S HIGHCHAIR (should be "high chair")
- WAIT A WHILE (should be "awhile")
- COFFEE-TABLE BOOK (should not be hyphenated)
- BABYPROOFING (should be hyphenated)
- WIND-CHILL FACTOR (should not be hyphenated)
- SALTED PUMPKINSEEDS (should be "pumpkin seeds")
- COLLECTING PINECONES (should be "pine cones")
11. Drunk Days
Pat and Vanna need to have some fun of their own, and according to Pat, that used to happen in the earlier seasons. He told ESPN that he and his co-host would sometimes get a little tipsy before a shoot.
"When I first started and was much younger and could tolerate those things," Pat said. "We had a different show then. Vanna and I would ... have two or three or six and then come and do the last shows and have trouble recognizing the alphabet. I had a great time. I have no idea if the shows were any good, but no one said anything, so I guess I did okay."
Their drink of choice? Margaritas from the Mexican restaurant across the street.