Wheel of fortune secrets

13 Things You Didn’t Know About ‘Wheel of Fortune’

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” Wheel of Fortune” has been a fixture on American TV for 30 years, giving away more than $200 million in cash and prizes to contestants since its debut.

” Good Morning America” went behind the scenes to get the secrets of the beloved game show from none other than co-hosts Pat Sajak and Vanna White.

Whether you’re a game show fanatic or a casual viewer, here are 13 fun facts about the show that you probably didn’t know and are guaranteed to come in handy on trivia night.

1. The original name of the show was not “Wheel of Fortune.” It was called “Shoppers Bazaar” and the major difference was players didn’t win cash. They won fake money to put toward prizes on the set, Sajak explained, and there was a carnival theme.

2. The famous wheel weighs 2,400 pounds.

Yes, it’s that heavy. The wheel is equipped with more than 200 computerized lights, which can turn up to 2 million different colors. It gets its token sound from 73 stainless steel pins that fly past three hard rubber “flippers.”

3. Vanna White has worn more than 5,700 gowns on the show.

The sparkles, the pink, the sheer, oh my! “I’ve worn everything,” White said. “Everything from slinky to tight to sequins to satin – whatever it may be.” The co-host has never repeated a dress on the show.

While she loves to play dress up, White says she doesn’t get to keep the outfits.

Her favorites are the comfortable ones. And if one’s too tight? “I’m only wearing them for 30 minutes. I just hold my breath for 30 minutes,” she said.

4. Pat matches his tie to Vanna’s dresses.

Image credit: Brian Ach/Getty Images

5. They tape five or six shows a day.

6. More than 10,000 people try out each year, and fewer than 600 get on the show.

RELATED: ‘Wheel of Fortune’ Contestant Loses After Mispronouncing Word

7. Today’s puzzleboard is made up of 52-touch screen television monitors.

It’s changed over the years, but the board that Vanna White controls is a high-tech wonder, featuring 52-touch screen televisions turned on their sides. There are 12 across in the top and bottom rows, and 14 across in the two middle rows.

8. The first letter Vanna ever turned on the puzzleboard was a “T.”

9. There is only one wheel and one puzzleboard.

There’s only one famous wheel, and it must be broken down and put back together whenever the show goes on the road. The show travels with more than 1 million pounds of equipment to tape in locations all across the country.

RELATED: ‘Wheel of Fortune’ Designer Dies

10. The price of a vowel hasn’t been adjusted for inflation over the course of 30 years. It’s still only $250. A bargain, Sajak says!

11. The Bonus Wheel contains 24 prize envelopes.

12. There is a screen off-camera that indicates for Pat Sajak how many times a chosen letter appears in the puzzle. In the early days of the show, someone from the production sat off-camera and held up their fingers to signal to Pat. “They came to be known as ‘finger boys,'” Sajak explained, “because someone would say, ‘Are there any Bs?’ And someone would have the puzzle in front of them and go , and I would say, ‘There are two Bs!'”

13. The biggest payout was $1,026,080 in cash and prizes. Michelle Loewenstein is the lucky contestant with this distinction, according to the show. In October 2008, she won $1 million in the bonus round, upping her payout to over $1 million.

12 Interesting Facts about Wheel of Fortune

Dec 1, 2017 · 5 min read

Even after 35 seasons in syndication, Wheel of Fortune continues to entertain the American people.

Image via Wheel of Fortune

In 1975 Merv Griffin came up with the idea for a game show based on the simple word game known as Hangman and created Wheel of Fortune. Since then, Wheel of Fortune has aired over 6,000 episodes, making it the longest-running syndicated game show currently on television. Wheel of Fortune was also the highest-rated show in all of syndicated television for twenty-six years, averaging over thirty-million viewers each week, before being dethroned in 2010.

In commemoration of the show’s thirty-fifth anniversary, here are twelve interesting facts about the famed game show:

1) Merv Griffin conceived Wheel of Fortune based on childhood memories of playing Hangman with his sister on long car trips. When discussing the idea with his staff, they decided to add a twist: a roulette-style wheel. This was based on Griffin always being attracted to such wheels as a child when he saw them in casinos.

2) From the show’s debut in 1975 to December 15, 1981, Wheel’s first host was Chuck Woolery. His hostess was former model Susan Stafford. Both left the show due to salary disputes with Merv Griffin and NBC. In their place came Pat Sajak and model Vanna White.

3) Before becoming the host of Wheel of Fortune, Sajak was a local weatherman for NBC’s Los Angeles affiliate. When Griffin suggested Sajak for the hosting role, NBC initially said no due to Sajak being only a local weatherman. Griffin, in retaliation, refused to tape more episodes of Wheel of Fortune before finally NBC gave in and allowed Sajak to host.

4) Vanna White was one of three finalists for the hostess role of the show, alongside Summer Bartholomew and playboy model Vicki McCarthy. White was selected as the hostess after Griffin became impressed with how she activated the puzzle board used during the show. Since then, Bartholomew went on to be the hostess of the game show Sale of the Century from 1984–89. McCarty has since become a lawyer.

5) In 1989, Pat Sajak left Wheel of Fortune to host his own late-night talk show known as The Pat Sajak Show. The show lasted until 1990, when it was canceled due to low ratings.

Image via Chicago Tribune

6) When he first started working on the show in 1995, producer Harry Friedman was annoyed that it took almost an hour to tape a show that ran for thirty minutes. This was due to the letter board having to be reset manually after every puzzle. This process took about ten minutes to reset. Eventually, in February 1997, a new electronic letter board was introduced with touch screens. From then on, each episode took thirty minutes to tape.

7) Jim Thornton is the current announcer of Wheel of Fortune. He has been the show’s announcer since 2011, when he took over for Charlie O’Donnell, the show’s original announcer, who passed away that year.

8) Vanna White is popular with the young female demographic. She gained a big fan base of women who were interested in her daily wardrobe, which led to the phenomenon known as Vannamania.

9) Wheel of Fortune has a thirty-five-foot-long yellow recreational vehicle that has been driven over 300,000 miles across the country to host search events for new contestants. The truck has hosted over 275 search events, which include an “up close and personal” experience of what it is like to be a contestant on the show. Over 1 million fans have applied for a chance to be a contestant on the show.

10) When it started airing in 1983, the show was taped at NBC Studios in Burbank, California. In 1989, the show was moved from NBC to CBS and thus began being taped at CBS Television City in Los Angeles. In 1995, after returning back to NBC, the show moved once again, to Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City, California, and has remained there ever since.

11) Since the show began, there have been many changes made to the studio set. From 1983 to 1989, the show used a red, yellow, and blue backdrop. When the show moved to CBS, golden spikes were added to the backdrop and a second score display was added. In 1997, the original red, yellow, and blue backdrops were removed in favor of a display based on the theme of that week’s set of tapings. A year later, a video wall replaced the themed displays and it has remained that way since.

12) On April Fool’s Day in 1997, Jeopardy!’s Alex Trebek hosted a special episode of Wheel of Fortune. Pat Sajak and Vanna White were the contestants, competing for charities. Trebek’s cohost was Leslie Brown, who is Pat Sajak’s wife.

Bonus Fact!: The whole crew on the show helps out in making puzzles but Vanna White, an ardent fan of crossword puzzles, especially loves to help out. According to Pat Sajak, during his recent visit to the Paley Center, White’s puzzles get used all the time.

Image via Broadcasting and Cable

To mark the thirty-fifth anniversary of the syndicated game show, the Paley Center for Media in New York opened a special exhibition for Wheel of Fortune. The exhibit, Wheel of Fortune: 35 Years as America’s Game, is running from November 15 to December 3. Admission is free to the public.

The exhibit features interactive games and fan-favorite memorabilia such as the many gowns White wore as hostess of the show, the popular ceramic Dalmatian named Sheldon, and video facts about the show’s history.

9 Facts About Wheel of Fortune

It’s “Teacher’s Week” on Wheel of Fortune and WorldStrides is proud to sponsor a trip on the Wheel each night this week! As contestants spin the Wheel in hopes of winning big, here are 9 facts about Wheel of Fortune we bet you didn’t know.

  • There is only one Wheel, and it weighs 2,400 pounds! The Wheel noise comes from 73 stainless steel pins which hit three rubber flippers.
  • There is also only one puzzleboard. The current version is made up of 52 touch screen television monitors turned on their sides. There are 12 across in the top and bottom rows, and 14 across the two middle rows.
  • The first letter Vanna ever turned on the puzzleboard was a “T.”
  • The Bonus Wheel contains 24 prize envelopes.
  • Vanna White has never worn the same dress twice on the show. Pat matches his tie to Vanna’s dress each episode.
  • Everyone on the staff helps come up with the puzzles, including Pat and Vanna.
  • Alex Trebek hosted Wheel of Fortune on April Fools’ Day in 1997 while Pat and Vanna spun the Wheel for charity.
  • Wheel of Fortune was originally called Shoppers Bazaar and players didn’t win cash. They won fake money to put towards prizes on the set.
  • There is a screen off-camera that tells Pat how many times a chosen letter appears in the puzzle. In the early days of the show, someone from production sat off-camera and held up their fingers to signal to Pat. They were known as “finger boys.”

Tune in to “Teacher’s Week” every night this week – check your local listings for times!

Today In History: The Debut Of ‘Wheel Of Fortune.’ Fun Facts And Trivia [VIDEO]

Later this year ‘Wheel of Fortune’ will begin it’s 32nd Season on TV.

It’s gone on to become the longest-running syndicated game show in the United States.

Let’s spin the wheel and solve some of the secrets behind ‘America’s Game.’

  • The daytime version of the show debuted on January 6, 1975
  • The last daytime episode aired on September 20, 1991
  • Originally the show was called ‘Shopper’s Bazaar.’
  • Chuck Whoolery and Susan Stafford were the first host and hostess
  • The daily syndicated version debuted September 19, 1983
  • Pat Sajek and Vanna White tape 5-6 episodes per day
  • A full season consists of an average of 200 shows (roughly 40 days of work)
  • The Wheel itself weighs 2,400 pounds
  • Pat matches his tie to Vanna’s dresses
  • 30 years ago there were only 6 different puzzle categories – now there are 46
  • Pat Sajek debut as host in 1981 and Vanna followed as hostess in 1982
  • TV Guide ranked the show #2 in its list of ’60 Greatest Game Shows Ever.’

Here are some funny game show fails that start off with ‘Wheel of Fortune.’

When it comes to classic American game shows on television there are a few names that come to mind: Jeopardy, Family Feud and Wheel of Fortune. When you hear the names Vanna White and Pat Sajak you can’t help but be transported to a weekday afternoon sitting on the floor watching Wheel of Fortune with your family. It’s as American as apple pie and ratings continue to dominate even decades later.

WE RECOMMEND: Hulu Live

Hulu Live will have you covered if you want to stream Wheel of Fortune live without cable. Their service comes with a great free trial as well, so you don’t have to worry about signing up for any expensive contracts. Get access to the trial here:

Try Hulu Live Free

Wheel of Fortune has been on for more than 30 years and is syndicated almost everywhere. It currently lives on CBS with new episodes. This means you can get Wheel of Fortune streaming online with most of CBS’s available options.

Watch CBS Free for 30 Days

Is Wheel of Fortune on Netflix or Hulu?

Netflix and Hulu should probably attempt to get in on the American television game show scene sometime soon. Syndicated game shows represent some of the most highly watched programs in the world and they aren’t that expensive to produce. It would be interesting if Wheel of Fortune or something like it made its way to Netflix or Hulu but that hasn’t happened just yet.

So, no; Wheel of Fortune is not on Netflix or Hulu.

Stream Wheel of Fortune on CBS All Access?

CBS does promise most of their programming through CBS All Access. Unfortunately since Wheel of Fortune is syndicated content through Sony Pictures it is not included in that streaming package. We do think CBS All Access is still a great deal but Wheel of Fortune won’t be streaming there anytime soon. We’ll update this if that changes.

Watch Wheel of Fortune Clips & Backstage Commentary on YouTube

While there aren’t full episodes of Wheel of Fortune on YouTube (legal ones anyway) there is an official YT channel that features clips and interviews from the show. Maybe just watch Wheel of Fortune free with a OTA Antenna offline and then watch the clips afterward! We know, this isn’t helping you reach your goal of watching Wheel of Fortune online but at least it’s something. They also have an official website that has some online goodies there.

Sorry Folks, Wheel of Fortune is Pretty Much Locked Down

Much like Jeopardy (which is also owned by Sony Pictures) Wheel of Fortune is a difficult, if not impossible show to stream legally. There are some elaborate torrent sites out there that might get you there and in this case, since it isn’t anywhere else on the we might not blame you for taking that streaming option. But use caution if you do so! There are viruses, malware and fake video downloads galore.

We know this is frustrating but if you really feel strongly about it you should write Sony Pictures and ask them to get the show online! Grab the board game or video game if you’re super upset.

We also wonder why Crackle hasn’t taken the opportunity to put Wheel of Fortune on their streaming service since they’re both owned by Sony. It would be novel because the show isn’t anywhere else like Netflix or Hulu so maybe they could get a small edge in the streaming game show category. Some free advice to Crackle!

1. The ‘wheel’ looks bigger on TV

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You may have watched your fair share of the ‘Wheel of Fortune’ over the years, but you are never truly witnessing all that goes on during the show, before the show or after the show!

Here are some things that you probably didn’t know about the long time running popular show, the ‘Wheel of Fortune’!

CBS / TV Guide

I guess it’s true about what they say, TV adds a few pounds! The wheel is only six feet in diameter, now sure that’s big…not it looks so much bigger on TV due to the creative angels the cameramen use.

MentalFloss

The entire thing weighs 2,400 pounds, and it’s full of electronics including 200 lights that can shine in 2 million colors.

The classic ‘click-click-click’ sounds is very real too! The wheel is equipped with 73 stainless steel pins that hit the dial as it spins around! The entire set ways over 1-million pounds and takes 14-trucks to move when the show goes on the road!

2. The wheel is not rigged.

Over the years there has been a conspiracy theory that host Pat Sajak has a foot brake which will stop the wheel where he wants. This theory came about after viewers noticed that during the shows ‘final spin’ where Sajak himself spins the wheel – the wheel never lands on bankrupt or lose a turn.

Well folks, sorry to burst your bubble! As neat as it would be to find out that there has been a massive conspiracy going over for decades, it’s just not true. The truth is, the wheel does land on bankrupt and lose a turn during the final spin. Editors simply edit that out for timing purposes.

3. The hosts used to get drunk before taping the show!

Both Pat Sajak and Vanna White have openly admitted that in the early days of taping the show, they would often times enjoy one, two, three or four or more margaritas at a nearby Mexican restaurant before taping the show.

HuffPost

Vanna and I would come and do the last shows and have trouble recognizing the alphabet,” Sajak remembers. “I had a great time. I have no idea if the shows were any good, but no one said anything, so I guess I did okay.”

4. Vanna is a Guinness World Record holder

Vanna White holds the Guinness World Record for “Television’s Most Frequent Clapper.”. Vanna is always clapping after each spin of the wheel, after she’s completed the turning of the letters and after a puzzle is solved. Vanna claps roughly 28,000 times per season.

NBC

5. The Wheel and Jeopardy! hosts switched places once

April Fool’s Day, Alex Trebek and Sajak’s wife Lesly Brown hosted a special charity episode of Wheel, while Pat hosted the popular quiz show.

If Sajak has an issue with his voice, Vanna and he will often switch roles in order to keep the shows taping schedule.

6. Pat and Vanna only work 4 days each month

The duo usually tape 5 or 6 episodes in a row, typically only working one day per week. Vanna still shows up early to get her hair and makeup done, while Sajak doesn’t worry about his job that much!

Dat Nguyen

“It’s the closest thing you can do in pretending you have a full-time job,” he said. “In dog years I’ve only done this show about nine years.”

7. There’s a “dummy board” to help the contestants

If players need help remembering which letters have been guessed already, A helpful screen shows them. There’s another screen for Pat which tells him how many of each letter are in the puzzle. Originally, this was the job of an intern who held a finger for each letter (so two fingers for “two Bs”).

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8. Pat and Vanna share a favorite blooper

There have been hundreds of odd moments that Pat and Vanna have shared over the years regarding contestants, but one stands out to the both of them as the best blooper of all time!

Another favorite Vanna remembers is one player trying to solve “GONE WITH THE WIND” with the very inappropriate “DONE WITH ONE HAND.”

9. Players all start the game on equal footing

Ever notice how all players appear to be the exact same height? Clearly contestants are all different heights, so that’s why there is a platform which raises and lowers that each contestant stands on!

NBC

Vanna White reveals her secret to winning Wheel of Fortune: Buy vowels!

Gerardo Mora/Getty Images type

  • TV Show

Can you believe it’s been 35 years since Wheel of Fortune became the phenomenon it is today? Neither can longtime host Pat Sajak.

“We’re just playing hangman here!” said the bewildered host to the crowd of fans in New York Wednesday night when asked about the show’s tenure. The Emmy Award winner stopped by the Paley Center for Media alongside friend and costar Vanna White and Wheel of Fortune executive producer Harry Friedman to chat about the impressive history of the beloved television game show, its signature wheel, and the 25 million weekly viewers that love them.

Before “America’s Game” was syndicated on your TV screens every evening, it was a failing daytime game show with a loyal audience, including one familiar face fans would recognize. Oh, and did you also know that the prices of vowels haven’t always been the same?

Check out 11 highlights from the Wednesday night panel below:

1. Vanna White’s secret to success: Buy vowels!
It’s a little tip she always tells the contestants beforehand if they look nervous. Noted.

2. Pat Sajak was awe-struck to learn that Hollywood legend Jimmy Stewart was a huge Wheel of Fortune fan
At the end of Stewart’s career in the early ’90s, the late movie star once went up to Sajak to tell him that “ Gloria solves all the puzzles before I do!”

3. The two stars truly care about the integrity of the show
White and Sajak are so devoted to the show that executive producer Harry Friedman recalled one time where Sajak dropped the card with the puzzle answers on them. “We have to stop taping,” Sajak said to Friedman on set, worried that one of the contestants may have seen the answer, giving them an unfair advantage.

4. White makes puzzles all the time
All the crew helps out in making the puzzles, but it’s something that White, an avid fan of crossword puzzles, loves to do. Sometimes just for fun, but Sajak notes that his costar’s puzzles get used all the time. This makes sense because…

5. White once auditioned to be a contestant on the show
Before Wheel of Fortune became the syndicated Wheel of Fortune of today, it was a daytime game show with one huge fan in particular: Vanna White. The star loved the show so much she once even asked to audition to be a contestant. Although her hopes of being a shouting letters at Sajak never came to fruition, White landed the audition to be one of the stars. Out of 200 girls, she says she was visibly the most nervous one there. “My knees were quivering and my legs were shaking,” recalls White.

6. According to Sajak and White, this was the most surprising win:
Back in 2014, contestant Emil De Leon was only 25 when he solved what Sajak would later call the “most amazing solve” he’s ever witnessed, and White agreed. Check out the jaw-dropping moment in the video below.

7. Sajak only thought he’d have the job for a year or two
“There’s nothing for me to do,” Sajak first thought when he was auditioning for the hosting gig back in 1980. “And I was right!” Little did he know the success that would soon follow.

8. Sajak took it upon himself to “tutor” White
“I owe it all to you, Pat,” quipped White to Sajak, a former local weatherman who had years of broadcast experience White just didn’t have when she was first cast.

9. On filming the first show after the September 11th terrorist attacks:
Three days after the deadly 2001 terrorist attack, Wheel of Fortune was set to film an episode on location in Miami. At first, according to all three panelists, no one knew quite what was going to happen. “Nothing really prepares you,” remembered Sajak. At the time, White was in the Bahamas before filming was set to begin. However, all planes were grounded and there was no way for her to fly to the set, so ABC sent a trawler boat to pick her up and bring her all the way back to Miami. “I thought: ‘I’m going to die,’” recalls White. Although White and Sajak were both able to get to set safely, none of their regular crew members were able to make it so the team relied on the help from local operators in Miami who, according to Sajak, hadn’t operated a boom since TV was in black and white. Despite the chaos, the hosts knew they had a duty to bring the show to the American people. “It was the first moment life felt anywhere near normal,” said Sajak when thinking about the filming that episode. “You think, ‘Maybe life will get back to normal.’”

10. Vowels weren’t always $250
The cost of a vowel was $150 back when the show was still on daytime. Due to low ratings, the cash prizes offered on the board were getting lower and lower and so that had to be reflected in the price of the all-important vowels. According to Sajak, “It’s a great economic success story!”

11. Sajak and White have always planned to leave the show together
Fret not Wheel fans! Thirty-five years definitely isn’t the end of the line for Sajak and White, but you can rest easy knowing that when the time does eventually come for the costars to say goodbye, they’ll leave the show together. “My goal is to leave before people turn on the TV and go, ‘What the hell happened to him?’” Sajak joked to the crowd before looking to White and adding, “I can’t imagine being up there with someone else.”

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  • Wheel of Fortune

Even if you tune in to Wheel of Fortune every day, you’re only seeing half the show. It turns out there are a lot of things happening behind the scenes that viewers never learn about.

Here are 15 secrets every Wheel Watcher should know:

1. The wheel looks bigger on TV

While a six foot diameter is nothing to sneeze at, the wheel looks a lot bigger on your TV screen because of some creative angles. The entire thing weighs 2,400 pounds, and it’s full of electronics including 200 lights that can shine in 2 million colors.

Meanwhile, the wheel’s signature sound is 100% real. It’s made by the 73 stainless steel pins hitting the dials. In total, the set weight more than 1 million pounds, and it takes 14 trucks to move the show to destinations around the world.

2. No, the show isn’t “rigged”

A popular conspiracy theory says that Pat controls a “braking system” for the wheel. The best evidence is that Pat never lands on Bankrupt when he makes the Final Spin each episode. In fact Pat does land on Bankrupt, those spins are just edited out.

“It’s a crime to rig a TV game show,” Sajak explains, “and as much as I like our players, I’m not going to prison so someone can win a trip to the Bahamas.”

3. The hosts used to get drunk before taping

In the show’s early days, the hosts admit they liked to enjoy a margarita or two (or three, or four) at a nearby Mexican restauraunt before taping. “Vanna and I would come and do the last shows and have trouble recognizing the alphabet,” Sajak remembers. “I had a great time. I have no idea if the shows were any good, but no one said anything, so I guess I did okay.”

She’s entered in the record books as “Television’s Most Frequent Clapper.” Vanna claps during every spin, averaging about 28,000 claps each season.

The two game shows are the perfect pair, so it’s no surprise that their hosts have traded hosting duties. For April Fool’s Day, Alex Trebek and Sajak’s wife Lesly Brown hosted a special charity episode of Wheel, while Pat hosted the popular quiz show.

Pat also took over Vanna’s letter-turning duties for one episode when a bad case of laryngitis kept him from hosting.

So what’s the most you can actually win on Wheel of Fortune?

6. The show has made contestants into millionaires

The largest prize ever won during a single game of Wheel went to Michelle Loewenstein, who pulled the $1 million card in the bonus round to take home $1,026,080. Meanwhile, some unlucky contestant took home $2,450, the smallest prize for a Wheel winner ever recorded.

7. Pat and Vanna only work 4 days each month

The couple record five or six full episodes in a row, usually working just one day each week. While Vanna still has to show up early for hair, makeup and wardrobe, Sajak doesn’t even pretend his job is that hard.

“It’s the closest thing you can do in pretending you have a full-time job,” he said. “In dog years I’ve only done this show about nine years.”

9. The banter at the end of every episode is improvised

The hosts really let their personalities shine through in these segments, and it creates some very silly exchanges:

10. Why was the shopping segment cut?

Older viewers will remember when Wheel winners would pick out prizes using the money they had earned in earlier segments. This was a fun little game, and it was a handy way to advertise the prizes on display. So why was it cut out of the show?

Mainly because it was slowing the episodes down, but also because contestants were stuck paying the taxes for the prizes they picked, which left them feeling cheated.

11. Vanna’s closet would make any woman jealous

The host has modeled more than 6,000 different outfits since the show started, and has never worn the same dress twice. But sadly she’s not allowed to take them home. “The designers send their clothes to the studio, I try them on, and I wear them. Normally I’ll get a hundred gowns at a time, and we pick a dozen of them.”

Pat doesn’t have nearly as many suits, but his collection of ties is impressive. Watch carefully: he matches his tie to Vanna’s dress in every episode.

12. Pat and Vanna share a favorite blooper

Sometimes contestants get a little ahead of themselves when they try to solve the puzzle, and wind up making some eyebrow-raising guesses. Vanna remembers one player trying to solve “GONE WITH THE WIND” with the very inappropriate “DONE WITH ONE HAND.” Meanwhile, both hosts say this was their favorite blooper of all time:

13. You need to train to be a contestant

Each year, 10,000 people audition for a chance to spin the wheel, but only 600 are chosen. The lucky contestants are introduced to the set, practice spinning the wheel, and get personal “coaching” to make sure they’re playing the game correctly. They even rehearse their performance in a mock episode.

Voice coaching contestants. http://t.co/ScyPFQ9tvS

— Jessica Hullinger (@JessHullinger) March 19, 2013

As producer Gary O’Brien says, “Very few people have what it takes to be a contestant.” So don’t judge them so harshly if they make a mistake!

14. Some puzzles are a mouthful

The longest Wheel puzzle ever was 46 letters long, “HERSHEY BAR GRAHAM CRACKER GOOEY ROASTED MARSHMALLOW.” Meanwhile, “SCRAM” and “OZ DOG” are tied for the shortest puzzle with only 5 letters.

15. Players start the game on equal footing

Ever notice that contestants on the show have matching heights? Players need to be close enough to the wheel to reach it, but it looks awkward if some players are taller than others. That’s why contestants stand on a special platform which raises and lowers so they all wind up at the same height.