Publish date:
Year
1975
Month Day
January 06

"Wheel of Fortune" premieres

Wheel of Fortune, the longest-running syndicated game show in American television, premieres on NBC on January 6, 1975. Created by television legend Merv Griffin and hosted since the early 1980s by Pat Sajak and Vanna White, Wheel is one of the most popular television shows in the world.

Griffin, who had already created another iconic game show, Jeopardy!, conceived of Wheel as a combination between Hangman and roulette. Contestants guess letters as they attempt to solve a Hangman-like puzzle, spinning the wheel to determine how much money they will earn for a correct guess, with the ultimate goal being to solve the puzzle and accumulate as much money as possible. Since the show's inception, the price of a vowel has stood at $250 and has not been adjusted for inflation. The phrases "I'd like to buy a vowel" and "I'd like to solve the puzzle" have entered the American cultural lexicon. 

Sajak and White, who joined in 1981 and 82, respectively, have become some of the most famous hosts in game show history. White, who operates the board and reveals letters as they are guessed, often contributes her own puzzles to the show. In over 6,5000 episodes, she has never worn the same gown twice. The show's producers claim that over 1 million people have auditioned to be contestants and the show has paid out a total of more than $200 million. Painfully awkward or incorrect guesses by contestants have also been comedic fodder for generations of Americans.

FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us!

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Joan of Arc is born

Joan of Arc, the "Maid of Orléans," is born on January 6, 1412. She lived only 19 years, but she would become a Roman Catholic saint and a national hero of France for her pivotal role in the Hundred Years’ War. Joan was born to Jacques d'Arc and Isabelle Romée in a small town in ...read more

Theodore Roosevelt dies

Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th president of the United States, dies at Sagamore Hill, his estate overlooking New York’s Long Island Sound. A dynamic and energetic politician, Theodore Roosevelt is credited with creating the modern presidency. As a young Republican, Roosevelt held a ...read more

New Mexico joins the Union

On January 6, 1912, New Mexico is admitted into the United States as the 47th state. Spanish explorers passed through the area that would become New Mexico in the early 16th century, encountering the well-preserved remains of a 13th-century Pueblo civilization. Exaggerated rumors ...read more

Harold II crowned king of England

Following the death of Edward the Confessor, Harold Godwineson, head of the most powerful noble family in England, is crowned King Harold II. On his deathbed, Edward supposedly designated Harold the royal heir, but this claim was disputed by William, duke of Normandy and cousin ...read more

Morse demonstrates telegraph

On this day in 1838, Samuel Morse’s telegraph system is demonstrated for the first time at the Speedwell Iron Works in Morristown, New Jersey. The telegraph, a device which used electric impulses to transmit encoded messages over a wire, would eventually revolutionize ...read more

Army drops charges of My Lai cover-up

The Army drops charges of an alleged cover-up in the My Lai massacre against four officers. After the charges were dropped, a total of 11 people had been cleared of responsibility during the My Lai trials. The trials were a result of action that occurred in March 1968. During the ...read more

Mountain man Jedediah Smith is born

Jedediah Strong Smith, one of America’s greatest trapper-explorers, is born in Bainbridge, New York. Smith explored a stunningly large area of the Far West during his short life. He began his western voyages in 1822, when he joined the pioneering fur trader William Ashley on a ...read more

Skater Nancy Kerrigan attacked

Olympic hopeful Nancy Kerrigan is attacked at a Detroit ice rink following a practice session two days before the Olympic trials. A man hit Kerrigan with a club on the back of her knee, causing the figure skater to cry out in pain and bewilderment. When the full story emerged a ...read more