Trivia / Wheel of Fortune

General trivia:

  • On March 6, 1986, Wheel of Fortune became the first Game Show to have Closed Captioning.
  • The Wheel was designed by Ed Flesh and was built from cardboard, paint, and light bulbs. The current Wheel weighs 2,400 pounds, is made of stainless steel, and is framed with Plexiglas.
  • The Shopper's Bazaar puzzle board originally consisted of 60 pull cards, only 45 of which were used for gameplay (the last set acted as a "Wrong Letter Board"). In 1974, this changed to 39 trilons on three rows and no "wrong letter" spaces. The board changed on December 21, 1981, to 48 trilons on four rows as part of the set's overhaul; four more trilons were added to the corners in 1982, but Vanna couldn't interact with them. On February 24, 1997, the board changed to 52 touch-activated monitors, which themselves became flat-screen LCDs on September 10, 2007.

Specific trivia:

  • Accidentally Accurate: On October 27, 2011 (an episode with a Fictional Family puzzle), Pat joked that the category had only been used eight times. At the end of the show, he was told that it actually had been used only eight times...except that was wrong as well — it was the category's tenth appearance.
  • Blooper:
    • At least twice, a puzzle was thrown out but the blanks for said puzzle were still visible for a few seconds.
    • The prize wedges (including the $10,000/Million-Dollar Wedge) and/or Free Spin have often been in the wrong spots. This is a pretty major mistake to make, particularly with the Million-Dollar Wedge, as it has skinny Bankrupts on itnote . At least twice, one was on the top dollar amount; the Surprise wedge on October 26, 1992, and the Free Spin on May 1, 1995 (which was picked up, but no cash was given with it as per the rules at the time).
      • On a November 2008 episode, the $3,500 wedge and the Bankrupt next to it (both of which are add-on wedges that are attached to the Wheel itself during a commercial break) were each placed one wedge clockwise, putting the Bankrupt where $3,500 should go. In Round 3, a contestant picks up the Million-Dollar Wedge...and on the next spin, lands on that Bankrupt that should have been the big money. Thankfully, he had a Free Spin, which he used...and hit Lose a Turn (meaning he could have eventually used the Free Spin on that had the wedges been placed correctly).
      • On a November 2009 episode, the Million-Dollar Wedge was accidentally placed on the red $800 space next to Lose A Turn. This resulted in a contestant losing $11,350 and the prize wedge to Bankrupt in Round 1. In Round 2, another contestant landed on the edge of the orange $800, meaning she would have lost $27,600 to Bankrupt.
      • On January 9, 1997, they had the $10,000 Wedge's reverse used for Round 2. A contestant lands on the edge and calls a correct letter for $10,000 (treated as a cash wedge instead of a prize). However, the contestant does not solve the puzzle.
      • On a May 2011 episode, they somehow forgot to use the Million-Dollar Wedge. In Round 2, a contestant lands on the orange $800 and later fills in the puzzle entirely...and wins the game by $400, meaning that this error technically caused the wrong player to win.
      • On January 13, 2014, the Mystery Wedge came loose from the blue $300, leaving 2/3 of that and only 1/3 of the red $700 exposed. A contestant landed on the blue $300 but did not land on the Mystery Wedge and thus could not flip it. Pat even noticed and went on to "correct" things by placing the wedge on the red $700.
      • On a November 2014 episode, the Gift Tag and Prize Wedge were accidentally switched. One contestant ended up winning the Gift Tag and finishing in second place. Despite the potential difference of several thousand dollars, the contestant still would have finished second had she won the Prize instead.
    • On a few occasions, the outer edge of the Wheel went out of alignment, leading to at least one spin that Pat incorrectly identified.
    • In the '80s and early '90s, a contestant in the Bonus Round might accidentally call a letter twice (or in the case of RSTLNE, call one of those six letters), but the chyron would display the letter again as part of their choices. Other times, the chyron would display a different letter from the one they called.
    • At least two Bonus Rounds where a letter was revealed that shouldn't have been: in 1996, a contestant called H G K I but the A in the answer THE KING AND I was also revealed; and in March 2005, the B was revealed in SUBWAY depsite the contestant calling M P D A (which was even shown correctly on the chyron). Both contestants solved their puzzles and were later told that they would retain their prizes due to the errors.
    • The 1996-97 season had many errors in placing the Wheel templates. For the first two weeks, they managed to have an entire round where the only Bankrupts on the Wheel were those on the $10,000 Wedge. (It should be noted that three weeks into the season, they gave up on the extra templates and just used the Round 3 template for the entire game, changing only the top dollar amount and adding a second Bankrupt in Round 2.)
    • After they changed the Wheel templates, the aforementioned second Bankrupt was Off Model for about a month afterward.
    • Several graphic errors. These include:
      • A Prize Puzzle bug showing up in a round that wasn't a Prize Puzzle.
      • The "fireworks" effect (used for Jackpot wins) being used when the Jackpot wasn't won.
      • Spins from wrong rounds or even different episodes being dubbed in (most likely because the Wheel camera didn't catch the actual spin). In some particularly obvious cases, these dubbed-in spins give the impression of, say, a Prize Wedge suddenly reappearing on the Wheel. On one episode, the post-production "over the Wheel" shot was obviously a different Mystery Wedge than the one the contestant had just landed on; another post-production shot showed the red arrow despite the yellow contestant being in control at the time.
      • The category name at the bottom of the screen disappearing, or the wrong one being put up. This even happened in a Bonus Round once.
      • There was a "Get Out of Town" week in October 2010. Except for the title card, it used the same opening animation as a later "Road Trip" week in April 2011. Two of the "Road Trip" episodes had the "Get Out of Town" title cards left in by mistake.
    • Sometimes, the electronic board has its problems:
      • On many occasions, a letter will fail to reveal after Vanna touches it. Sometimes it takes her a few tries to get it right.
      • On an episode not long after its introduction, Vanna had trouble lighting up a letter in the puzzle, and even resorted to hitting it with her fist before it cooperated. Later on, the unsolved Bonus Round answer filled in very slowly.
      • Unsolved bonus puzzles light up one letter at a time, whereas any puzzle that is solved will have the whole answer fill in at once and the board's border will flash. On several occasions, the opposite of both has happened.
      • On at least one episode, after a bonus puzzle was solved, one of the letters did not fill in until about two seconds after the others.
    • The lights went out after the Bonus Round on April 20, 2012. Surprisingly, this was left in.
    • Several sound effect errors. These include:
      • Sounding the buzzer on a correct letter.
      • Failing to sound the buzzer on a wrong letter.
      • Sounding both the buzzer and "ding" on a correct letter.
      • Sounding the "ding" in the Speed-Up, which normally does not use any sounds (except for Think Music from the early 2000s onward).
      • On a 1978 episode, the "ding" sounded on a wrong letter, and later a buzzer sounded just as a contestant began to spin.
      • On a 1988 episode, with a puzzle where only vowels were un-revealed, the Bankrupt slide whistle accidentally sounded instead of the four beeps used to indicate that only vowels are left.
      • On a 2002 episode, the "ding" for a correct letter sounded when a contestant picked an envelope from the bonus wheel, instead of the separate ding normally used there.
      • On March 3, 2014, a contestant landed on a 1/2 car wedge, but the Bankrupt slide whistle sounded instead of the car horn sound.
    • November 21, 2013: Rebecca buys I, which is in the puzzle, but all of a sudden, Jessica is spinning on the very next turn. Going by Rebecca's scoreboard later in the round, it appears that they accidentally edited out Rebecca buying a wrong vowel immediately after the I.
  • The Cast Showoff:
    • Vanna can sing, and she's shown off her chops several times (most notably a week in December 1996 where she promoted her Christmas album Santa's Last Ride and sang a song from it every day).
    • Pat Double Subverted this on the December 23, 1988 nighttime show, where he gave an intentionally off-key rendition of "White Christmas"… with Vanna accompanying him on piano.
    • ...But he played it straight on a December 1994 episode where, after a contestant failed to solve the bonus puzzle ZORRO, he gave a somewhat hammy (if perfectly in-key) rendition of the 1957 Zorro TV theme, even writing a "Z" in the air with the Bonus Round envelope.
    • A promotional video for Christmas 2015 had Jim Thornton sing a "12 Days of Christmas" takeoff themed after the show. Turns out that he is a pretty good singer too.
  • Channel Hop: The daytime version went from NBC to CBS and back again in just under 18 months. There was a time when both versions taped at CBS but didn't (necessarily) air on it.
    • In Canada in 2011, The show moved from CBC to City TV after CBC's contract expired.
  • Cowboy BeBop at His Computer: The Million-Dollar Wedge led to a couple of instances in Season 31.
    • On September 17, 2013, a contestant was penalized for improperly pronouncing the puzzle CORNER CURIO CABINET and could not keep the Million-Dollar Wedge. In the media firestorm that ensued, many news sources claimed that he was denied a million dollars since he had the Million-Dollar Wedge when he tried to solve although claiming said wedge is only the first step of many in getting that prize. Even The Today Show got this rule wrong when covering the round, even though they previously got it right when they did a story on the last million-dollar win.
    • Then on April 11, 2014, another contestant with the Million-Dollar Wedge was penalized for mispronouncing the fully revealed puzzle MYTHOLOGICAL HERO ACHILLES. Again the media still went on about how he "lost a million dollars" (some even stating he lost $4 million because he called four L's on the wedge), or made a big deal about losing the wedge despite it technically having no value at that point (he also lost out on the 1/2 Car and over $12,000 in another round, plus two trips). This did not affect the outcome, as the same contestant won the game anyway but did not solve the bonus puzzle, and he landed on a $30,000 envelope, meaning that he would not have had the million had he taken the Million-Dollar Wedge to the Bonus Round.
  • Creator Backlash: Pat hated the "Megaword" category, and made this known when a 2014 contestant mentioned it in his interview.
  • Fan Community Nicknames: "Wheel Watchers". The term was coined in 1987 to go along with an ad campaign that Sajak supposedly disliked ("I'm a Wheel watcher!"), and the show created a "Wheel Watchers Club" in 2003 to make prizes and cash available to home viewers.
  • Fan Nickname:
    • The Prize Puzzle is often referred to as the Trip Puzzle because with only three known exceptions, the Prize Puzzle has always offered trips. As the writing for such puzzles deteriorated, fans have called it the Trippin' Puzzle.
    • The minimum cash prize for solving a round and the house minimum, both $1,000, has been called "pity money" or "pity thousand" by fans. One contestant ever referred to it as the former on the actual show.
    • "Free Vowel" for the Free Play wedge since almost everyone calls a vowel whenever it is landed on.
  • He Also Did: Just about everyone associated with the show:
    • Chuck Woolery was originally one-half of a psychedelic rock duo called The Avant-Garde, who hit Top 40 with "Naturally Stoned". He had a couple entries on the country music charts during his Wheel tenure, and in the 2000s, has started a popular conservative video series on YouTube.
    • Pat Sajak, also a conservative, frequently contributes to pro-Reublican blogs. He also owns two AM radio stations in Maryland.
    • Vanna White also has her own line of yarn.
  • Hey, It's That Sound!:
    • The original Bonus Round timer beeps had previously been used on ABC's unsold Beat the Odds revival pilot in January 1975 and CBS' Give-N-Take at the other end of the year.
    • The original Final Spin bells were previously used as a time's-up bell on the Art Fleming version of Jeopardy!.
    • The current "wrong letter" buzzer was recycled from Bumper Stumpers.
    • Any category that came with a bonus question (such as Clue, where the puzzle described an object that the contestant could then identify for a bonus) was accompanied by a set of chimes. This chime was an abridged version of the chimes used on the Wink Martindale version of High Rollers when someone rolled doubles.
  • Hide Your Pregnancy:
    • Averted with Vanna's two pregnancies. As there was simply no way to conceal it due to all the walking around that she does, she just wore maternity clothes throughout.
    • A more tragic straight example occured when a round with the puzzle VANNA'S PREGNANT had to be edited out of a 1992 episode due to her miscarriage shortly before the episode aired.
  • In Memoriam: On November of 2010, Pat Sajak and Vanna White pays a tribute to the announcer, Charlie O'Donnell (who died on November 1st, 2010).
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: Almost all daytime episodes through about spring 1985 were recorded over as per company policy, with GSN holding everything afterward. All three pilots and the premiere exist, as do various episodes in private collections, although Benirschke's and Goen's daytime runs haven't been rerun and are very rarely seen otherwise. An extensive, but likely not comprehensive, list of what's known to exist (and what's known to circulate from 1985 to 1991) can be found here.
  • Missing Episode: At least three episodes had entire puzzles edited out.
    • On November 2, 1992, they edited out the Round 2 puzzle VANNA'S PREGNANT because she miscarried between taping and airing. Viewers instead saw a three-minute spiel on San Francisco (where they were taping at the time) narrated by Charlie. It ended with a post-production shot of Pat standing at the puzzle board, announcing that a contestant won $1,350 that round.
    • After Hurricane Katrina hit, two episodes that taped in New Orleans and aired in November 2005 each had one puzzle edited out because it was thought that the answers might be insensitive to hurricane survivors. In their place were clips of Pat and Vanna asking for Red Cross donations. When the episodes reran the next summer, one puzzle was restored, but the other was replaced with a clip of Pat and Vanna thanking those who donated.
    • Katrina also caused another type of missing episode. They were supposed to tape a family week in New Orleans, but had to cancel it because of the hurricane. The contestants who were supposed to show up on that week ended up appearing on a week of episodes taped in Culver City later in the season.
    • There are possibly other episodes where puzzles were edited out and replaced. These were usually due to technical glitches that happen during gameplay of that particular puzzle or an inadvertently revealed solution (partial or full). The announcer will give a disclaimer at the show's end if said incident occurred.
    • At the end of Season 29, the show taped a "Lottery Experience" episode for people who had won the chance to be on the show through a special Wheel-themed lottery ticket in certain states. Although never intended to air, the episode showed up on YouTube in April 2014.
  • Name's the Same:
    • CBS had a game show in 1952-53 also called Wheel of Fortune, but it awarded prizes to people who had done good deeds.
    • There were two different categories called Fill In the Blank, the second debuting around January 1994. The two overlapped until December 9, when the original version was renamed Next Line Please. While Fill In the Blank was retired around 2001, Next Line Please continued until April 17, 2008.
  • No Budget: Both daytime Wheel and the syndicated version have shown signs of budget problems.
    • Daytime Wheel became very cheap after moving to CBS in July 1989, abandoning shopping in favor of the "play for cash" format of the syndicated version. Rounds 1-2 had $50 and $75 return to the Wheel, and the top value in Round 4 was $1,250; the cost of vowels was lowered to $200 and then $100 to compensate. Bonus round prizes included subcompact cars and $5,000 cash, compared to nighttime prizes that rarely dipped below $20,000. To be fair, they got better: $50 and $75 were gone between August 24 and September 18, and larger prizes began to be offered.
    • An early Season 1 syndicated episode had a very paltry (announced) $55,000 prize budget, which was about in the upper range of normal for the daytime show in the late summer of 1983. A puzzle solver named Cindy took the show for $25,100 after she landed on $5,000 three times and solved "THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA" with still a good portion of the puzzle unrevealed … and given her luck, had she continued (by landing on $5,000 again) she could easily have won virtually every prize available on that day's show. Although there was at least one late 1983 show that had just $66,000 available, the prize budget was never that low again, with – by early in the second season – a majority of shows topping $100,000, and just about every one of the rest topping $90,000.
    • In the syndicated version, the top-dollar value has been made harder to access over time.
      • In Season 20, the second Bankrupt wedge was placed beside $3,500 in Round 3 while room was made for the Mystery wedges.
      • In Season 25, the same applies to Round 2, although this was no longer the case for the Jackpot wedge, which was retired in Season 31.
      • In Season 27, the second Bankrupt became permanent, making the $2,500 and $5,000 wedges harder to access.
    • For roughly half its life, the Jackpot Wedge was adjacent to Bankrupt. In Season 27, the wedge was moved to Round 1, further reducing the value of potential wins. The Jackpot Round was finally retired in Season 31 after its high win rate the previous season.
    • The decline in road shows. Themed episodes, such as Vegas and Disney, were at one point taped on location but since the early 2010s, they have been produced at home base with stripped down sets. Wheel has produced road shows at least once a year since Season 9 but none will be taped outside of Culver City for Season 33.
    • Also in Season 33, the 1/2 Car tags were removed from Round 1 after the 1/2 Car had a high win rate the previous season.
    • Interestingly, despite signs of budget problems, the Prize Puzzle is still a regular element on the show which currently offers a $6,000+ trip to the player who solves the puzzle.. However, they stopped giving out the $50,000 cash award to Sony Rewards card holders in Season 29. In Season 30, they switched to awarding a flat $5,000 to Spin ID members.
    • From about the mid-2000s onward, the bonus round has become increasingly contrived and often seems set up with an obscure answer that would be nearly impossible for anyone to figure out. Many have speculated that the tougher bonus puzzles are a means of budget control.
  • Old Shame: A special case. The show seems to forget its roots as each anniversary or episode milestone reflects the syndicated version with no reference to the daytime version. Justified since the syndicated version is more familiar to viewers.
    • Played straight with the Megaword category. When a contestant brought it up on April 30, 2014, Pat was none too pleased to hear about it.
  • Orphaned Reference: Typically, the producers will edit out a cycle of turns if it had no effect on the score or puzzle (e.g., a cycle consisting of only wrong letters, Lose a Turn, and/or Bankrupts when the player has no money or cardboard).
    • There have also been cases in which a cycles of turns was edited out despite it affecting the score (such as an incorrect vowel or a Bankrupt resulting in a loss). In both cases, Pat has made reference to such edited-out turns.
    • On at least two occasions, a correct letter call was edited out by mistake:
      • September 6, 2004: In the puzzle LATHER RINSE REPEAT, a contestant calls the P on one of the Gift Tags. This one was more obvious in that she ended up solving the puzzle, and was clearly seen holding both of the Gift Tags when she solved.
      • October 14, 2008: In the puzzle TORONTO'S SPECTACULAR SKYLINE, a contestant buys the U.
    • Also at least four times, a cut cycle included a wrong letter that would be repeated in an aired turn, leading to Pat saying it was called even though by broadcast it was not:
      • September 11, 1997: A contestant's bad vowel purchase is edited out, resulting in a $250 inconsistency in her score. Later in the same round, she is said to have repeated an A despite it not being called on-air.
      • May 8, 2008: On the fourth aired turn of Round 1, the red team is said to have repeated a T with the only aired calls being N and M.
      • March 28, 2013: On the fifth aired turn of Round 1, the red contestant is said to have repeated an S with the only aired calls being A, T, and E. This led to several posts from confused viewers on the show's Facebook page.
      • October 15, 2013: A contestant's bad vowel purchase is edited out, as first seen by her scoreboard reading $950 after finding two consonants on $600. Later on, said contestant loses her turn by buying O at a point when I was the only vowel that was not revealed in the puzzle CRISP CHILLED CUCUMBERS. Pat references the lost turn indirectly by saying that the contestant had "two choices" upon buying O, even though home viewers never saw A get bought.
    • October 21, 2013: At the end of one round, Pat tells the contestants, "We'd like to make the Bankrupts disappear, right?" even though no one actually hit Bankrupt on-air. This is because the round started with three consecutive Bankrupts which were edited out as they did not affect the outcome. (However, the round did still end up with Lose a Turn being hit four times…)
  • Outlived Its Creator: The show has continued to run long after Merv Griffin's death in 2007 from prostate cancer.
  • The Pete Best: Unless you're an older fan, you probably don't know that the show was originally hosted by Chuck Woolery and Susan Stafford. Chuck is a strange zig-zag of this trope, as he is well-known by even younger fans for hosting Scrabble, Love Connection, and Lingo among other shows, but his Wheel tenure is comparatively lesser-known.
  • Prop Recycling:
    • The Jackpot design introduced in Season 26 was recycled from the previous season's later Big Money Wedge.
    • In 2005-06, some shows taped on location in Las Vegas had a giant slot machine prop behind the contestants, with video walls for each tumbler. The prop was recycled in 2007 for an unsold pilot of The Joker's Wild.
  • Screwed by the Network: Very nearly happened twice during Chuck's era alone, both in 1980.
    • The first ousting nearly came when NBC was trying to figure out what three games would be canned to make way for The David Letterman Show. Mock schedules were drawn up, one of which had Wheel ousted after six-and-a-half years. Slightly smarter heads prevailed, and the victims ended up being Chain Reaction, High Rollers, and The Hollywood Squares. Chuck and Susan went so far as to address the rumors on May 7, stating that the show was not canned.
    • The second (more info here) was even worse because NBC president and CEO Fred Silverman had actually issued the order — this time to make room for an Another World spinoff named Texas. The intended farewell, featuring an appearance by Chuck's then-wife Jo Ann Pflug, was taped for air on August 1...but during the interim, Silverman took another look at the ratings and realized that the last third of The David Letterman Show was struggling, so he cut it to an hour and Wheel managed to progress unharmed (although Chuck had some fun about the situation on August 4). Charlie O'Donnell, by this point committed to the soon-to-debut Toni Tennille Show, was replaced by Don Morrow for the following week and Jack Clark on August 11.
  • Scully Box: Contestants are placed on risers that may be raised or lowered in order to make reaching the Wheel easier relative to their height. This doesn't always work, though, so contestants who still can't be elevated via the risers (e.g., little people or wheelchair-bound contestants) are allowed to bring someone to spin for them.
  • Technology Marches On: Even though Wheel switched to an electronic puzzle board in February 1997, people still refer to the letters being "turned" as if they were still trilons.
  • Throw It In:
    • The mere presence of a letter-turner on the show. While Ed Flesh and Marty Pasetta were designing the 1974 set, they didn't have time to finish motorizing the puzzle board, so the finished parts were gutted out and Susan was hired to turn the letters.
    • On several occasions, a letter has refused to reveal after being lit up, leading to Vanna repeatedly touching it until it finally lights up. This rarely gets edited out.
    • On January 29, 2007, the paired contestants playing hit Bankrupt with a Wild Card in tow. Hitting Bankrupt means forfeiting the Wild Card, but Pat often forgot this rule for most of the card's first season. Somehow, nobody realized this team still had an undeserved Wild Card, and they even went to the Bonus Round with it...but then failed to solve the bonus puzzle even with the help of the fifth letter that the Wild Card gave.
  • Too Soon:
    • They managed to use ROBERT BLAKE AS BARETTA on an episode that wound up airing after he was accused of shooting his wife.
    • THE CROCODILE HUNTER was used on one that aired right after Steve Irwin's death. In both instances, Pat appeared in a post-production segment to say that the episodes were taped before any incidents.
    • Two episodes taped in New Orleans right before Hurricane Katrina had puzzles edited out that were deemed insensitive to hurricane victims. One, THE LOUISIANA SUPERDOME, was restored in reruns.
    • After Vanna became pregnant for the first time, they announced it in one episode (November 2, 1992) with the puzzle VANNA'S PREGNANT. However, she miscarried between taping and airing, so the only viable option was to edit out the puzzle. The problem is that, rather than explain this, they aired a video about the San Francisco tapings and had Pat claim they played a puzzle while the viewers watched that.
    • THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS was used as a puzzle on December 2, 2013, just days after the death of Paul Walker.
  • Un-Canceled: The daytime version, three times.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • The letters on the puzzle board were originally planned to be mechanically turned for the 1974 pilots, but time ran out before the board could be motorized and Susan Stafford was hired to turn the letters. Would we have seen Vanna if the show was given extra time to complete the puzzle board's mechanisms?
    • If Wheel were indeed canceled (remember, it had escaped at least three attempts to cancel the show, in favor of a daytime talk show by David Letterman and an expanded one-hour Another World) ... would the show have even been proposed for syndication? The show's closest brush with death came in the Another World expansion, where Fred Silverman – stemming already hemorrhaging ratings of Letterman - cut back the overly long show to 60 minutes (from the original 90).
    • If Chuck Woolery had accepted the modest raise Merv Griffin offered him in 1981, he likely would have presided over the syndicated version as well. Speculation abounds as to whether Susan Stafford would have stayed as well.
    • Pat Sajak almost didn't get the host's position. Although he was already employed by NBC as chief meteorologist for their Los Angeles station, KNBC-TV, Fred Silverman actually rejected his hiring, claiming he was "too local." In response, Merv Griffin imposed a moratorium on new episode tapings until Sajak was allowed to host, but Silverman refused to budge. Later on, however, Silverman was abruptly ousted at NBC for repeated instances of mismanaging the network and was replaced by Grant Tinker, who promptly permitted Sajak to host. Amusingly, Tinker previously knew Griffin when he worked at NBC as a junior assistant in the mid-1960's and, in fact, had previously persuaded Mort Werner, NBC's then senior vice president for programming and talent, to green light Jeopardy! in the first place.
    • If contestant Terri had been able to solve "THE THRILL OF VICTORY AND THE AGONY OF DEFEAT" for no less than a $63,000-plus jackpot, not only would she hold what would be still a one-round record, but would have led to the purchase of several large prizes (cars, trips and so forth) and perhaps an entire showcase in addition, plus (along with hearing at least two prize cues in full) a six- or seven-minute prize copy. More than likely the episode would've had some very heavy editing. Furthermore, it is very unlikely that any player will ever reach that amount in one round again, especially without the help of a $6,000 Final Spin (the one-round record is $54,000, which was achieved through such a round), because the show currently has an unwritten rule that all puzzles from Round 4 onward (also all rounds with the $5,000 wedge on the Wheel) must fit on only two rows of the board (the above puzzle used all four rows), a total of only 28 monitors.
      • Several recollections (on various game show discussion boards) have also claimed a similar incident happened earlier in the fall of 1985, when a contestant mis-solved "STAR LIGHT STAR BRIGHT FIRST STAR I SEE TONIGHT" — by forgetting the "I" — for another $60,000 jackpot in a nearly filled in puzzle. After the loud gasps and moans from the audience (and Pat explaining that the solution was incorrect), the next contestant immediately solved for the $200 house minimum, getting only polite applause.
    • The "Big Month of Cash" would lead to the play-for-cash format used today, but what if it never happened?
    • Among those who tried out for host after Pat left were tennis player Jimmy Connors and ESPN sports reporter Tim Brando, the latter of whom reportedly did so well that Merv stated, "[Tim] could host the show tomorrow." Then-announcer M.G. Kelly also auditioned.
    • Two episodes have had the Million-Dollar Wedge lost (one through a wrong letter, the other through a Bankrupt), only for the player(s) who had it to win the $100,000 in the Bonus Round, which is replaced with the $1,000,000 if the wedge survives the game after being claimed. Conversely, other contestants have lost the $100,000 after losing the wedge. To date, only one person has lost the $1,000,000 in the Bonus Round.
  • The Wiki Rule: (ding)
  • Word of God:
    • Edd Byrnes said he was drunk when he hosted the 1974 pilots. It shows. note 
    • Pat's (now-defunct) website once had a Q&A section in which he explained several things about the show, including the reason they stopped having the Wheel spin automatically during the open and close in early 1997 (because he thought that it could give the false impression that they could rig the Wheel, even though the automatic spinning had been done for the past 22 years without incident).
  • Written-In Infirmity:
    • Pat and Vanna traded places for one Bonus Round due to Pat having laryngitis. The next day, Pat used hand signals throughout a round as a further means of resting his voice.
    • Contestants who are physically unable to spin the Wheel on their own (typically wheelchair-bound contestants or little people) are allowed to have a friend or family member spin the Wheel for them. Obviously, unless it's a Best Friends or Family Week with two-person teams, the spinner can't play along.
    • On a Best Friends Week in 1997, one team consisted of a deaf contestant and his friend, who doubled as a sign-language translator.

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