I grew up watching Wheel of Fortune because my mom would turn it on every evening at 7 p.m., saying, “Yay, my show is on!” So, yeah, I kind of grew to like it. Calling out the answers at home in front of the TV set is part of the fun, right? But what about when contestants get them wrong?
Now, what if the puzzle is so obvious to us, yet the contestants have absolutely no idea what the answer is? Take, for example, this recent Wheel of Fortune “incident.” The final puzzle was a phrase, which became “TH_ Q_ _STION R_ _ _INS.” None of the contestants figured out. Even Pat Sajak, who always remains professional, was shocked that all three of them couldn’t solve the puzzle.
Let’s look at some of the funnier wrong answers over the years.
A Real Love for Fish
Wrong Answer: fish love
Right Answer: wish list
Let’s just assume that this contestant has an impressive aquarium at home because he shouted out “fish love” when the actual answer was “wish list.” Hey, a love for fish transcends all logic.
A Little Magic Goes a Long Way
Wrong Answer: magic fand
Right Answer: magic wand
When it comes to being a contestant on WoF, having a certain sound in your mind when you’re trying to solve a puzzle can be a problem. Look at this guy, who guessed that the answer was, among all things, “magic fand,” instead of the correct “magic wand.”
Is That Even a Thing?
Wrong Answer: popsicle bike
Right Answer: honeysuckle bush
This may not be the easiest of all puzzles to solve, but I can’t seem to figure out what a popsicle bike is. Where did this person grow up? In my neighborhood, we have ice cream trucks.
Wrong Answer: self potato
Right Answer: self portrait
Sure, we’ve all heard of self-portraits, but have you ever heard of self potatoes? They’re the next best thing, and this contestant was convinced it was the right answer.
Those Aren’t the Lyrics
Wrong Answer: surf clay, where we go
Right Answer: Surf City, here we come
We all know the song that goes, “Surf City, here we come,” right? But maybe we missed the chorus that says, “Surf clay, where we go” as this man guessed it.
You Gotta Believe
Wrong Answer: It’s make believe
Right Answer: It’s hard to believe
One of the more common ways contestants mess up is by forgetting to read what’s right there on the board. Like this man, who guessed that the answer here was, “It’s make believe.” Poor fellah.
Train Going Up
Wrong Answer: elevator train platform
Right Answer: elevated train platform.
Even those who never took public transportation could probably guess that “elevator train platform” wasn’t going to be the answer to this puzzle. For anyone scratching their head, the answer is “elevated train platform.”
Some Pill Problems
Wrong Answer: a group of pill pushers
Right Answer: a group of well-wishers
This man must have had some issues with people who take pills because he shouted as his guess of “a group of pill pushers” as the answer. But “a group of well-wishers” would have raised fewer eyebrows.
A Magician Never Reveals His Secrets
Wrong Answer: Marvin the Magician
Right Answer: Merlin, the Magician
What’s worse than guessing, “Marvin the Magician” instead of “Merlin, the Magician?” Two contestants answering that same incorrect thing, one after the other.
The Man in Black and a Bottle of Red
Wrong Answer: I have the wine
Right Answer: I walk the line
According to this woman who clearly never listened to Johnny Cash’s famous song, he sang, “I have the wine,” rather than the famous line, “I walk the line.” Not to mention the movie about him by the same name.
The Unknown Comic Book Heroine
Wrong Answer: Superman and Spider Woman
Right Answer: Superman and Wonder Woman
Look, it happens. We know the answer, but we blurt out something else. Case in point: this guy who guessed the answer to this puzzle as “Superman and Spider Woman” instead of “Superman and Wonder Woman.”
Wrong Answer: miners and hoes
Right Answer: fingers and toes
This man guessed “miners and hoes” instead of “fingers and toes.” It sounds like he has some ideas as to how mining work should be done.
Wrong Answer: start in the right way
Right Answer: stars in the night sky
While “stars in the night sky” is indeed the correct answer here, this woman really believed that “start in the right way” was just as popular of a phrase.
The Uglier Side of WoF
Wrong Answer: an ugly child
Right Answer: an only child
Ouch. This one isn’t so pretty (pun intended). What’s worse? The fact that this lady guessed that the answer was “an ugly child” instead of “an only child?” Or the fact that she’s a school teacher…
Wrong Answer: flamingo dance lessons
Right Answer: flamenco dance lessons
The good news is that this contestant solved the puzzle. The bad news is that he thinks the dance mentioned is called “the flamingo” instead of “the flamenco,” so he lost the round.
The Naked Truth
Wrong Answer: A Streetcar Naked Desire
Right Answer: A Streetcar Named Desire
We’ve heard of the famous movie by Tennessee Williams called A Streetcar Named Desire, but “A Streetcar Naked Desire?” Never heard of that film. Maybe it’s a parody.
He Made His Point
Wrong Answer: The Pointed Desert
Right Answer: The Painted Desert
Have you ever been to Arizona’s Painted Desert? It’s a great place to visit on vacation. “The Pointed Desert,” however, is something you won’t be able to find on the map.
Wrong Answer: eKclusive nightclub
Right Answer: exclusive nightclub
Spelling words correctly is pretty much half the battle on WoF, which made it extra cringe-worthy when this woman asked for a K instead of an X to spell “exclusive nightclub.”
A New Dwarf
Wrong Answer: Dopey, Grumpy, Doc, Bashful, Happy, SneeKy, and Sleepy
Right Answer: Dopey, Grumpy, Doc, Bashful, Happy, Sneezy, and Sleepy
The seven dwarfs are listed as Dopey, Grumpy, Doc, Bashful, Happy, Sneezy, and Sleepy. But since there are seven of them, we’ll cut her some slack for guessing “Sneeky” instead of Sneezy.
Girl Scouts in the Army
Wrong Answer: Girl scout troop
Right Answer: Girl scout group
Usually, when referring to Girl Scouts, we use the word “group” and not “troop,” but this Wheel of Fortune contestant had to find out the hard way.
Vacation Done Right
Wrong Answer: boozing my shore excursion
Right Answer: booking my shore excursion
I think we can all assume how this woman spends her vacations. She guessed, “boozing my shore excursion” instead of “booking.” She knows how to enjoy a shore excursion.
Don’t Cut Class, Kids
Wrong Answer: it’s my turn to play hooCy
Right Answer: it’s my turn to play hooky
This guy must have played a lot of hooky during English class because he guessed the letter C would fill in the puzzle. The answer being “it’s my turn to play hooky” means the obviously correct letter is K.
Wrong Answer: Styrofoam hats
Right Answer: Styrofoam cups
Despite what this man guessed, Styrofoam cups more of a thing than Styrofoam hats. But who knows; maybe the parties he went to were full of Styrofoam hats.
Flying at Night
Wrong Answer: Sit back and enjoy the night
Right Answer: Sit back and enjoy the flight
I don’t know about this guy, but when I’m on a flight, I usually hear them say, “Sit back and enjoy the flight.” But maybe on the planes he rides, they say “Sit back and enjoy the night.”
Wrong Answer: mountain boats
Right Answer: mountain goats
Those animals climbing mountains are called “mountain goats” and not “mountain boats.” But this woman might have spent her life thinking boats were in the mountains.
Based on Childhood Memories
Remember Merv Griffin? Well, he conceived the idea for Wheel of Fortune based on his childhood memories of playing Hangman with his sister when they were on long car trips.
When he discussed the idea with his staff, they wanted to add a twist: a roulette-style wheel. This was also based on Griffin’s past, as he was always attracted to such wheels when he saw them in casinos.
Before Pat Sajak
From the show’s first episode from 1975 to 1981, Wheel of Fortune’s first host was a man named Chuck Woolery. And his hostess was a former model named Susan Stafford.
But both left the show because of salary disputes with Merv Griffin and NBC. To replace them, a man named Pat Sajak and another model named Vanna White came in.
A Local Weatherman
Before becoming the infamous host of Wheel of Fortune, Pat Sajak was a local weatherman for NBC’s Los Angeles affiliate. When Merv Griffin suggested that Sajak take the hosting role, NBC initially said no because he was “only a local weatherman.”
Griffin must have really believed in Sajak because he retaliated by refusing to tape more episodes of Wheel of Fortune. NBC finally gave in and allowed Sajak to host. And needless to say, the rest is history.
Vanna White was one of three finalists up for the role of hostess, next to Summer Bartholomew and playboy model Vicki McCarthy. White was only selected as the hostess after Merv Griffin became impressed with how she was activating the puzzle board during the show.
Bartholomew went on to be the hostess of another game show called ‘Sale of the Century’ from 1984 to 1989. McCarty has since become a lawyer.
Sajak Wanted His Own Show
Believe it or not, Pat Sajak wanted to venture off and make a show of his own. So, in 1989, he left Wheel of Fortune to host his own late-night talk show, ‘The Pat Sajak Show.’
Never heard of it? That’s because the show lasted for one year, until 1990, when it was canceled due to low ratings. No surprise there. Sajak was meant to be the host of WoF.
It Took Too Long
When the producer Harry Friedman first started working on the show in 1995, he was annoyed that it took an hour to tape a show that ran for only 30 minutes. It was because the letter board had to be reset manually after every puzzle.
Resetting the letter board took about ten minutes every time. Eventually, in 1997, a new electronic letter board was made with touch screens. After that, each episode took 30 minutes to tape.
Jim Thornton is now the current announcer of Wheel of Fortune, and he’s been the show’s announcer since 2011. But before him, the announcer was Charlie O’Donnell.
The beloved O’Donnell was once the show’s original announcer who sadly passed away in 2011, leaving a void that needed to be filled.
Vanna White is quite popular among the young female demographic. She gained herself a big fan base of women who tune in every evening to see what she’s wearing.
That’s right; there are fans who watch the show only to see Vanna’s daily wardrobe. This led to the phenomenon known as Vannamania.
1 Million Hopefuls
Wheel of Fortune has a 35-foot-long yellow recreational truck that has been driven over 300,000 miles around America to host search events for the show’s new contestants.
The truck has hosted close to 300 search events, including an “up close and personal” experience of what it’s like to be a contestant on WoF. Over 1 million people have applied for a chance to be a contestant on the show.
Moving On an On
When the show started airing in 1983, it was taped at NBC Studios in Burbank, California. Then in 1989, it was moved from NBC to CBS. It was then taped at CBS Television City in Los Angeles.
Yet another move happened again in 1995, returning back to NBC. And what do you know – the show moved once more to Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City, California. And it’s remained there ever since.
Changes on the Set
Since the show started, there have been lots of changes made to the studio set. From 1983 to 1989, they used a red, yellow, and blue backdrop. But when the show moved to CBS, they added golden spikes to the backdrop and a second score display.
In 1997, the original backdrops were replaced with a display based on the theme of that week’s tapings. A year later, a new video wall replaced the displays, and it remained that way since.
On April Fool’s Day in 1997, ‘Jeopardy!’s’ host, Alex Trebek, hosted a special episode of Wheel of Fortune. It made for a super fun episode for all the fans at home to watch.
Pat Sajak and Vanna White were the contestants! They were competing for charities. Trebek had his own hostess, too. Who was she? Leslie Brown, who is also Pat Sajak’s wife.
The whole crew on the Wheel of Fortune show helps out in making the puzzles. But Vanna White, who’s a major fan of crossword puzzles, especially loves to help out with the making of the show’s puzzles.
According to Pat Sajak, in his recent visit to the Paley Center, Vanna White’s puzzles get used all the time. She must be pleased.
37 Years and Counting
Can you believe that this game show has been on the air for 37 years? It’s such a simple premise, and it goes to show you that less is more!
For me, the show is nostalgic and, yes, quite enjoyable. What are you going to be watching this evening? How about turning on Wheel of Fortune? Add some popcorn to the picture, and you got yourself a good night.