In celebration of TV Guide’s 60 best game shows of all time, I decided that this would be the perfect time to throw in my 2 cents or more into the fray.  In this week’s post, I look at 3 anniversaries and my connection to 2 of them.


First off, let’s say happy 50th anniversary to “Let’s Make a Deal”.  It turned 50 on March 1, 2013 and the series had the original host Monty Hall guest on the show along with model Carol Merrill.  The bad news is that the show has never been on consistently during all 50 years, therefore 50 years isn’t a true anniversary, just an anniversary of when the show began.


Way back in 1984, I was in Florida when this show was just beginning to start its tapings at the then Disney-MGM Studios.  A visit to the set from above was part of the studio tour at the time.  Honestly, I was surprised by how small the set actually was when compared to the many other game show sets that I have visited over the years.


My thought is that the current set must be fairly small as well since the show is filmed in standard version and not high definition.  If it was in high definition, the set probably would look extremely small.  Let me say that I loved the original show, but have never really watched the current version to any extent.


Next up is “Wheel of Fortune”.  They claim an anniversary of 30 years this season.  Again, this is a bit of stretch in the opposite direction.  The show actually has been around since 1975; however the night syndicated version has been around for 30 years.  So they are half correct or just don’t want to admit their real age.


My connection with this show was that back in the summer of 1983, I was in Burbank, California when the show was taping the first episodes of the nighttime version of the show.  I was there for episodes 3, 4 and 5 of this new version of the show.  At that time, it was taped at NBC studios and since the show was fairly new in this edition the tapings went a little longer than normal.


Here are a few tidbits about the show at the time:

  • Host Pat Sajak sometimes had to stop taping and have a redo when he forgot that he was doing the nighttime version of the show and not its daytime edition.
  • The puzzle board at the time required that each letter be put on the board individually which meant that it took about 5 minutes between puzzles for a new puzzle to be loaded.  To be fair, all the contestants had to turn their backs from the puzzle board during commercials and until each round began.  When the board became a bunch of monitors this was no longer necessary.
  • It took about 3 minutes to push the puzzle board from out behind the curtain where the letters were loaded onto it.  It also took that long to get it behind the curtain as well.
  • The conversations between Pat and Vanna White were ad-lib at the end of the show.  Nothing was scripted about what was said to each other during the end just told how long they had before they would be off the air.
  • The final spin of the wheel that Pat did sometimes landed on bankrupt.  In the last few years, the final spin has been edited only to show a perfectly landing dollar amount spin.


What bothered me most about this season is that the opening of every show had some little clip from the past.  Some were funny, some were just stomach churning and some were best left forgotten.  I guess you have to take the good with the bad.


Finally, we have the 60th anniversary of TV Guide.  This is the only true birthday so to speak despite the fact that the magazine went from a digest edition to a tabloid edition a few years ago.  Not only did it lose its size, but it also lost its thickness and many of the more enjoyable features such as alphabetical listing of movies, local channel listings and other desirable features.  Otherwise, the TV Guide is still a must-have even though the internet provides much more information.  Just having the listings on paper is the most important thing.


Next week (possibly) I will put in my 2 cents on that list of 60 top game shows and talk about a few that I liked that are missing from that list.