Arthur Chu gained widespread fame in March 2014 when he won Jeopardy! 11 times, and he is now brazenly extending his time in the spotlight by whatever means possible. When people learn that I was on Jeopardy!, they frequently ask me this question. is “What is Alex Trebek actually like?” for twelve episodes.
Since I only spent 240 minutes with the man, they’re generally unhappy that I can’t offer any context on his personality. In addition, I spent the majority of that time imagining how much money I could win (while enraging some fans in the process).
As intriguing and mysterious as Alex Trebek is, why did he remove his recognizable mustache in 2001? Why does he keep dropping small hints about his illustrious hockey career? Is he recognized as the most prosperous Canadian in the world? — I must remark that Wheel of Fortune, the companion program to Jeopardy!, is where you should look for drama and excitement.
Wheel of Fortune has an anarchic, free-wheeling style that Jeopardy! cannot equal, despite the fact that the brainiac set despises it. Wheel of Fortune keeps you on your toes whereas Jeopardy! looks the same week after week (you’ll never see “Cincinnati Week” or a Wild Card wedge on Jeopardy!).
The person who controls the Wheel, Mr. Patrick Leonard “Pat” Sajak, is the most intriguing of all. He is primarily recognized in America as the unassumingly friendly man who congratulates you on winning a car. He has, however, led a lengthy and eventful career in show business, one that rivals the stories people share about Alex Trebek. I’ll only tell you a couple of the highlights today.
1. Despite Not Speaking Spanish, He Was Employed by A Spanish Radio Station.
Sajak, who was obsessed with radio broadcasting since he was a little child and would speak into a wooden spoon while pretending it was a microphone, landed a position at a Spanish-language radio station in his birthplace of Chicago in the 1960s.
Sajak was hired despite not knowing any Spanish to present an hourly English-language news briefing from midnight until six in the morning.
2. He Was Also a Pentagon Employee
After joining the Army in 1968, Sajak was sent to Saigon to speak to the troops over the military radio for 18 months before being transferred to a facility in Texas.
After that, Sajak found himself operating PowerPoint projectors for military personnel deep within the Pentagon. Sajak once claimed that although he presumably “heard very high-level information,” most of the conversation was about the impending postal strike.
3. NBC Refused to Use Him as The Wheel of Fortune Host.
After his military, Sajak worked intermittently in radio, as a hotel desk clerk, and as a weatherman for KNBC in Los Angeles before Merv Griffin, the creator of Wheel of Fortune, approached him in 1981 to take Chuck Woolery’s place.
NBC, the game show’s original network, lacked enthusiasm. They declined, citing him as “local” talent. The network didn’t give in until Griffin threatened to cancel the show outright.
4. Before Taping the Show, He and Vanna Used to Drink.
Sajak and Wheel of Fortune co-host Vanna White used to have incredibly extended dinner breaks because of the producers’ need to move prizes like vehicles on and off stage in between tapings.
Sajak stated on The Dan Le Batard Show in 2012 that he and White would consume “two, three, or six” cocktails prior to recording the day’s final episodes. (In a subsequent interview with ABC, he said that he may have exaggerated somewhat and that he and White may have only indulged a total of six or seven times.)
5. He Rejected the People Magazine Cover.
Every week in the 1980s, more than 40 million people watched Sajak on Wheel of Fortune. Sajak told The New York Times in 1988 that because of his fame, he was rather hesitant and shy among the media.
He turned down the chance to appear on the cover of People in order to promote his then-new talk show on CBS. “Any place where one week it’s me and the next week it’s John Hinckley,” said Sajak, “is not where I want to be.”
Read more: 10 Fascinating Facts About Alice Cooper…!
6. Even Though His Talk Show Failed, He Still Succeeded.
Sajak gained notoriety for his unsuccessful attempt to dethrone Johnny Carson, the legendary late-night presenter who ruled the 11:30 p.m. time period until his retirement in 1992.
Although The Pat Sajak Show only aired for 15 months starting in 1989 on CBS, Sajak’s contract stipulated that he would be paid for two years regardless of whether the program continued. His weekly pay was $60,000.
7. He Travelled in Aircraft Ii.
Sajak has occasionally dabbled in acting, including a brief appearance on Days of Our Lives in the early 1980s. His most notable performance was as a walk-on in the 1982 sequel to the Zucker brother’s comedic classic Airplane from 1979, Airplane II: The Sequel.
8. He Used to Compete in Wheel Contests.
As part of an unannounced April Fool joke, Sajak and Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek switched hosting duties in 1997. Sajak hosted Jeopardy!, but Trebek did not appear as one of the three competitors. Trebek presented Wheel with Sajak as a participant.