Why Was ‘Wheel of Fortune’ Originally Called ‘Shoppers Bazaar?’

by Jeremy Spirogis
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Wheel of Fortune has been on the air since January 6, 1975, and Pat Sajak and Vanna White have come to outline the hit recreation present. Yet, earlier than Pat Sajak joined in 1982 — leaving his life as a weatherman behind — the present was fairly totally different. Wheel of Fortune was initially hosted by Chuck Woolery, and the present’s premise was not precisely what it’s today, lending strategy to a a lot totally different title. 

Wheel of Fortune
Wheel of Fortune | Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images

Chuck Woolery hosted the present from 1975 till 1981 (other than one week in 1980 when Alex Trebek hosted in his place). Woolery has been hooked up to a number of different recreation reveals in his time, as he beforehand labored on Love Connection, Lingo, The Dating Game, Scrabble, The Big Spin, and extra. 

Let’s simply say, when you host a recreation present, you by no means return! When Chuck Woolery joined, the now-Hangman-esque present was a bit totally different, because the pilot didn’t match the present we’ve come to know and love. So, why was Wheel of Fortune as soon as known as Shoppers Bazaar? Let’s dive into a bit of historical past.

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‘Shoppers Bazaar’ to ‘Wheel of Fortune’

While Wheel of Fortune at all times had a hangman-esque, crossword puzzle-based premise, the best way the cash labored was not at all times the identical. Put bluntly: gamers didn’t win money within the first iteration of the present. As against spinning and touchdown on money prizes, gamers received faux cash to place towards prizes that have been obtainable on the set.

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And, Sajak as soon as defined, as ABC News notes, that the present boasted fairly the carnival theme, which positively created a extra light-hearted and boisterous vibe, in comparison with the extra trendy and modest really feel that the present carries today (other than a number of corny jokes coming from Sajak). 

The ‘Shoppers Bazaar’ pilot was a lot totally different from ‘Wheel of Fortune’

If you get an opportunity to tug up any clips from the pilot, the set seems to be a bit of bit like a front room with the contestants sitting on chairs in entrance of a espresso desk. The host, Chuck Woolery, stands behind a podium beside the visitor contestants and leads the best way. 

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The authentic wheel additionally appeared a bit extra like one thing you’d see in a on line casino. However, know-how was not the place it’s today. And, as for Vanna White, she was nowhere to be discovered. Vanna White joined as soon as the present grew to become Wheel of Fortune, someday after the pilot episode (which ran beneath the Shoppers Bazaar title). 

In the tip, altering the present to Wheel of Fortune as an alternative of Shoppers Bazaar — and providing actual cash versus “fake money” solely usable on set gadgets — was most likely the precise transfer. Most folks would relatively get to decide on what they do with their cash, and the present now has a extra skilled and aggressive really feel to it; whereas, the sooner episodes do carry a little bit of an off-the-cuff air. 

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