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5 Jaw-Dropping “Wheel Of Fortune” Moments From The Show That Continues To Amaze Us!

Image shows three panels with host, Pat Sajak in the left panel, and a wheel of Fortune puzzle in the two right panels. One (top) shows the puzzle before solution and the other (bottom) after.

Based originally on the children’s game of “Hangman,” “Wheel of Fortune” has been on the air since 1975. The show was the brainchild of Merv Griffin, who was also responsible for “Jeopardy.” The original version of “Wheel,” as it is frequently called, was a lot different than what we know today. The first host, Chuck Woolery, spun the wheel during the first pilot episode shot in 1973. Contestants selected prizes before each show and their earnings were applied to the list of prizes, moving up the list as contestants solved the puzzles. Two additional pilots were filmed in 1974, and the daytime version debuted on January 6, 1975.

The show, after receiving several tweaks, was a success. Chuck Woolery opted out in 1981 after contract disputes. Merv Griffin hired a virtually unknown weatherman named Pat Sajak. The rest is, as they say, history. Wheel was introduced as a nighttime show on September 19, 1983, which Pat continued to host while also working on a late-night talk show. Wheel is the longest-running game show in syndication. On May 10, 2019, there were 7,000 taped episodes and the show is still taping.

Image shows the hosts of Wheel of Fortune, past, current, and future. Chuck Woolery, Pat Sajak, and Ryan Seacrest.
Images from Wikimedia Commons, here, here, and here.

As Pat Sajak prepares to retire after the current season, we began thinking about some of the most memorable puzzles and moments from the long-running show. It was difficult to choose just five, but we did it. We hope you enjoy our choices!

1. This One-Letter Solution Is One Of The Most Incredible Moments Ever!

With the “R” ruled out by contestant Rick’s incorrect guess, the next contestant, Caitlin, guessed the letter “L.” With only one letter, Caitlin “had a good feeling” and acted on it. As a prize puzzle, Caitlin was rewarded with a dream trip to Granada. This episode aired more than 11 years ago, but remains one of the most memorable moments ever!

2. The Bonus Round Offered Laura A Glimpse.

In this clip, contestant Laura has advanced to the bonus round and selected “Phrase” as her category. With the letters placed on the board after the show’s input and her selections, Laura had a lightbulb moment. When she uttered the phrase “I caught a glimpse,” she had no idea what her prize would be. Pat opened the envelope to reveal that Laura had just “caught a glimpse” of her new home!

3. When You Miss A Word You Miss The Prize

Some of the best moments can also be a contestant’s worst moments. For Samantha, missing part of a word caused her to lose the puzzle after filling in all but one letter.

4. This Contestant Paid Her Dues To Win The Bonus Round

When Rebecca selected “Phrase” as her bonus round category, she approached the puzzle with her wallet open. After her letter selections were revealed by Vanna White, there were only four empty spaces. Making quick work of her guess, Rebecca won $39,000 for solving “Pay your dues.”

5. Final Spin Takes Contestant Sam Home

This clip from 15 years ago is still one of the ones for the annals of archive history! With only three letters showing during the final spin challenge, Sam solved the puzzle, “Country roads take me home.” Home indeed, Sam, that was pretty impressive!

As a long-time Wheel-watcher, I know there are hundreds of these amazing clips. I watched a man solve “I’ll be a monkey’s uncle” with one letter on the board! As Pat Sajak prepares to retire this year, remember all the great moments we have enjoyed. Pat will be replaced by Ryan Seacrest, and Vanna White will remain to reveal letters for the contestants.

You can find the source of this story’s featured image here and here.

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