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November 13, 2012

Who doesn't enjoy a game show?  My favorite is Wheel of Fortune.  Hands down!  It's a classic that everyone knows how to play and all ages can enjoy.  If you've lived under a rock and/or in the woods your entire life, I'll give you a quick run down of the rules...

  • A puzzle is listed on the board in front of you, but all the letters are blank.  You're only able to see how many words and how many letters are in each word... plus they give you a category to help you out.  The category is very basic (i.e. Thing, Place, Before & After).
  • You spin the wheel with various dollar amounts and prizes listed on each wedge.  Once the wheel stops, you guess a letter to fill in the blanks.  Guess correctly and you're awarded the dollar amount or the prize your spin landed on.
  • If you guess correctly, you can spin again or buy a vowel.  Each vowel (A, E, I, O, U) costs $250.  If you guess incorrectly, your turn is up.  If your original spin landed on 'bankrupt' or 'lose a turn' your guess is forfeited and the next contestant gets to spin (or buy a vowel/solve the puzzle, if applicable).
  • Once you've filled in enough letters or racked up enough money/prizes, you can choose to solve the puzzle.  Only the contestant that solves the puzzle correctly is awarded the money and/or prizes they've accumulated during that particular round; everyone else's scoreboard is wiped clean.
  • The contestant with the most money after all rounds have been played moves on to the bonus round where they spin a mini-wheel of envelopes full of bigger prizes (a car or $25,000 for example). 
  • A puzzle fills the board and you're automatically given the letters R, S, T, L, N and E. Then you're allowed to guess 3 consonants and 1 vowel in effort to fill in the blanks.  Once Vanna has revealed any letters eligible you have 10 seconds to guess the puzzle.  Guess correctly and you win whatever is in the envelope plus everything else you've won during the previous rounds. If your guess is wrong then you leave with whatever you've won during the rounds excluding the bonus.
Simple, yet fun... unless you're watching an episode where a contestant wastes all their money on buying vowels!  Why?  Originally, the blocks had to be turned manually each time someone guessed the correct letter; however, over time the puzzle board was upgraded to touch screens.  The show started in 1975 with Pat Sajak and Vanna White joining in 1982... before my time.  I only remember Pat and Vanna -- they're irreplaceable, in my opinion.  Vanna never, as Taylor Swift would say, never ever ever ages.  It's crazy.

My childhood is packed full of memories watching Wheel of Fortune with my grandparents.  I remember staying with them while my parents worked late or attended various meetings or functions and at 7pm, like clockwork, my Papa would turn the volume up as soon as the news went off.  My Grandma would put her word search book down or come in from the kitchen after washing dishes and joined my brother and me as we attempted to guess along with the contestants.  I got better with each puzzle and before long, I was out-guessing my grandparents.  Watching it now instantly takes me back to being a little boy sitting 2 feet from the big box of a television they had and screaming answers at the screen.  Good times.

Now that I think about it, I'm not sure if I love the show so much for the challenge or the entertainment value or because of the nostalgic memories I recollect while watching.  It's interesting how we find ways to incorporate those that have passed back into our lives so that their spirit can still live on.  Consequently, I've added being a contestant on Wheel of Fortune to my...

If there's anyone out there that has (or knows someone that has or knows someone that knows someone that has) a connection -- hook up your boy.  Please!  I promise not to say "your boy" on air.  Or ever again, for that matter.

Image Sources:  Logo, Pat & Vanna, Puzzle Board


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