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Wheel of Fortune - All-Time Best Game Show

Updated on September 14, 2009

A Revolution in Game Shows

Most people think of hangman as a childhood game that you play with a pencil and paper.  Merv Griffin took that idea, added a giant spinning wheel, an attractive hostess and a ceramic Dalmatian and created the longest running syndicated game show in television history.

Fun Facts & Sarcasm About Wheel of Fortune

  • A "T" was the first letter Vanna ever turned on the show. Thanks to technological advances on the set, Vanna is no longer required to turn the letters, so now she just pretends to touch them.
  • The wheel weighs 4000 pounds.
  • In 1992, the Guinness Book of World Records declared Vanna White the world's most frequent clapper. She claps an average of 720 times per show and is grossly underpaid.
  • Wheel of Fortune was the first game show to be broadcast with closed-captioning.
  • Chuck Woolery was the original host of the show. He left in 1981 after a contract dispute with Merv Griffin. Chuck reportedly wanted a higher salary and the right to start charging for Y's.
  • More than $162 million in cash and prizes has been awarded in the history of the show.
  • For the first several seasons the theme song was "Big Wheels," written by Alan Thicke. Thicke also wrote and performed the theme song for Diff'rent Strokes and still found time to portray the coolest dad ever, Growing Pains' Jason Seaver.
  • The original title of the show was Shoppers' Bazaar, and players originally used their winnings to shop for prizes in the prize showcase. The shopping segment was dropped for good in 1989 when they ran out of $23 Service Merchandise gift certificates.
  • Susan Stafford was the first letter-turner/hostess for the show and was nominated for an Emmy for her groundbreaking work.

Wheel of Fortune Video Games

Play Wheel of Fortune on your PC or Mac.

Wheel Of Fortune Deluxe for PC - $17.99

Wheel of Fortune for PC - $9.99

Wheel of Fortune Deluxe for Mac - $19.99

The Stars of the Show

Pat Sajak

Pat was a weatherman at KNBC-TV in Los Angeles when Merv Griffin asked him to take over as host on Wheel in 1981. In addition to his Wheel hosting duties, he currently designs and promotes original games and puzzles in various formats and has won three Emmy awards and a People's Choice award and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Vanna White

Vanna joined the show in 1982 after making her television debut as a contestant on The Price Is Right in 1980. Her 1987 biography, Vanna Speaks, was a bestseller, and she was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2006. "Vannamania" has been credited with being a large part of Wheel of Fortune's success, and promos for the show have often focused on her.

What Would You Do?

You have $8600, a $1000 XM Satellite Radio gift tag, and no idea what the answer is. What are you going to do?

See results

Cheesy 1980s Wheel of Fortune Commercials

Vanna White Crochet Books

Vanna has written several very successful books of crochet patterns.

Vanna's Choice Heartfelt Gifts to Knit and Crochet (Leisure Arts #4433) (Vanna's Choice)

Vanna's Favorite Crochet Gifts

Vanna's Choice Color It Beautiful Afghans (Leisure Arts #4432) (Vanna's Choice)

Vanna's Favorite Gift Afghans (Crochet Treasury.)

Wheel Of Fortune Handheld Electronic Game

Deluxe 25th Anniversary Wheel of Fortune

25th Anniversary Wheel of Fortune

Completely Inappropriate Behavior

Pat gets mischievous.

Pat Sajak's Lucky Letters Deluxe

Pat Sajak's Code Letter Cross'd Words and More

Pat Sajak's Super Sudoku Featuring Code Numbers

Reader Comments

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    • EditPhotos profile image

      Edit Photos 

      9 years ago from Earth

      This is a really fun lens - love the trivia. 5***** and something you can't buy on the show - an angel's blessing.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Great lens, really well presented and laid out, well done... I'd like to buy a vowel please LOL - Kathy

    • MrNoodles LM profile image

      MrNoodles LM 

      11 years ago

      I really enjoyed your lens. I have always been a big Pat Sajak fan.


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