I have loved Wheel of Fortune since it debuted in 1975 with Chuck Woolery as host and Susan Stafford as hostess. Now Pat Sajak and Vanna White serve similar roles.
I watched Wheel when the letters actually had to be turned
instead of turned on and when you were required to shop with your
winnings instead of just banking the cash and that makes the game
faster and richer for the contestants.
The game has changed in the last
30 years in many good ways. The prizes are better, the puzzles are more
creative. “RSTLNE” is given you to in the final puzzle and you then get
to add three more consonants and another vowel — and that adds great
pressure and intrigue to the endgame. The one thing that has never
changed is the sound of the wheel as it clackity-clacks between $10,000
mystery prizes and bankruptcies.
The sound of the spinning of the wheel
of the Wheel of Fortune
is as natural and recognizable as my own heartbeat.
Pat Sajak — who never should have had his excellent CBS late-night
show cancelled — is always funny and charming.
You know after a hard
day of work Pat will be there to bump up your spirits with a bad pun or
a disconnected aside.
Vanna White — who fought hard a few years ago not to be forcibly
retired from the show because of her advancing age — has sometimes
been on the blunt end of mean jokes from comedians who do not
understand the delight of the woman or her show, but Vanna has always
endured and demurred and sustained a career as she pokily reveals the
letters in the puzzle.
I enjoy Wheel more than Jeopardy because I can let the Wheel
wash over me without having to be exactly correct in my guessing.
a sign of a genius mind or of a terrible player that I can always seem
to fit three solutions into the Wheel puzzles when the actual
contestants are only allowed to give one? On a cold and wintry day in
New Jersey like today where you can’t see out the windows because a
blizzard is embedding itself in the screen and 14 inches of white stuff
is sleeping — and still falling — right outside your door, seeking
warmth and comfort in memories as near as your local television creates
an inner glow that cannot be condemned or collapsed by Mother Nature’s
current freezing blanket.