It's hard to believe that there was a time when Wheel Of Fortune wasn't on television, but it's true. Wheel has been beaming into America's homes since way back in 1975. It makes you wonder what life was like in 1974. What did people do when 7:30 came around and they needed something to entertain themselves? Read a book? Sure, that was an option, but it's just not the same as Wheel.
42 years later, Wheel Of Fortune is still going strong. When it premiered, it only had a few other channels to keep up with. Now it's in competition with hundreds of cable channels, plus streaming services and all the entertainment you can get from staring at your smart phone. And yet, Wheel still survives.
Over the years, Wheel has been criticized for having puzzles that seem pretty easy. Then again, that's part of the appeal. The contestant can't seem to come up with the right answer, but the viewer at home feels like they can solve it almost instantly.
To keep things fresh, the show has made some adjustments over the years, In 2008, they introduced a million dollar wedge on the wheel. If a contestant landed on the wedge during a round, solved that puzzle, advanced to the bonus round, solved that puzzle and picked the million dollar envelope, then they won a million bucks. Pretty simple, right?
It takes so many steps to get that million dollars that it's easy to slip up. This contestant, Paul Atkinson, got the wedge in a round, but wound up losing it because he mispronounced the phrase "Corner Curio Cabinet." So he blew his chance even before he got to the bonus round.
The opportunity for the million bucks came up again on a Wheel episode in November. It happened during a special Grandparents Week, so in this case, two people had the opportunity to win big. It was Laurel Haim and her grandfather, Frank Harary.
To get to this point, Laurel and Frank got the million dollar wedge during the game, and won enough to advance to the bonus round. However, they wouldn't find out until after the round if they had also picked the million dollar envelope. So they were playing not knowing exactly how much money was actually on the line.
Next, the puzzle was revealed, and they received their free letters, R, S, T, L, N and E. Laurel and Frank picked their bonus letters, C, D, P and O. Would that be enough to help them solve the puzzle?
Laurel and Frank were pretty sure on the second word, but not the first. While conferring, Laurel thought the first word might be "fried." Frank thought that could be right, so with time running out, he said, "Fried Zucchini."
After revealing the answer to the puzzle, Pat revealed the contents of their envelope. And, low and behold, it was the million dollar envelope. The only thing keeping Laurel and Frank from the million bucks was a different method of cooking.
Now if Laurel and Frank had really thought about it, they would have remembered that "R" was one of the initial letters, which means the "R" in "Fried" would have showed up if that was the answer. But, then again, it's always easier to play when watching at home than it is playing for real. And they still walked away with a cool $26,203.
See For Yourself
It kind of makes you wonder, why even show the contestants the envelope after they lost? At that point, it almost seems cruel. You can see how it all went down by watching this clip from the bonus round.