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A timeline for Season 13 of Wheel of Fortune, which aired in first-run from September 4, 1995 through June 7, 1996, with another week of shows from July 15-19, 1996.

Season ChangesEdit

  • The show moves to its current taping location, Stage 11 at Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City.
  • From now until about October 2004, the audience is no longer "sweetened" by an applause machine.
  • The category names, prize values, post-Bonus Round totals, sponsor list, eligibility disclaimer, and credits are switched from Gill Sans to Clearface.
  • The category chyrons change to white letters on a tan background, essentially becoming "strips". They now reveal with a miniature graphic of the Wheel, which rolls from left to right. Also, the "decade" categories now use numbers (e.g., "The 60's") instead of spelling out the number.
  • The value of the Bonus Round prize is changed to black on a golden "plaque".
  • Likely by this point, non-"bonus" categories with bonus question now have the questions asked by Pat instead of Charlie.
  • The intro is abridged to "It's America's Game: Wheel of Fortune! The world's most popular game show! And now from the Sony Studios, here they are: Pat Sajak and Vanna White!" The opening logo is almost the same, but is no longer angled facing frontward and the Wheel is now spinning clockwise. As before, the U's bottom is flat, and the "O" in "of" is a normal-looking O instead of Wheel-shaped, like the two-row logo. When the logo breaks, the letters fly towards the sides as they zoom forward, and the wedges all separate as they zoom forward while the center zooms back. It also transitions to different graphics related to the show, including pictures of Pat, Vanna, the $25,000 sign, and the Round 4 Wheel spinning, all shown in the letters of "WHEEL", with the "America's Game" slogan and so-called "options" of "Spin the Wheel", "Buy a Vowel", and "Solve the Puzzle" vertically scrolling upwards in the background; followed by a fly-over shot of Sony Pictures Studios just before Pat and Vanna are introduced. The "swoosh" sound is heard as lasers fly around each letter, and also applies to the 1992 Tyco home game plug, which is updated to reflect the new theme, graphics, and sound effects. The opening theme is shortened to end with the puzzle-solve cue that debuted in October 1994.
  • The closing spiel is changed to "This is Charlie O'Donnell speaking. Wheel of Fortune was created by Merv Griffin.", the only closing spiel where he signs off with his name. The first half of the spiel is played over the "Created by Merv Griffin" credit and the second half is played over the copyright/title screen (complete with drumroll). The Columbia TriStar Television logo and theme are played as he says "Produced by Columbia TriStar Television." The King World logo and music play as usual with spiel. Weekend repeats of this season use the closing starting the following season (i.e. copyright date, "Created by Merv Griffin" credit, King World logo, and CTT logo/music).
  • Free Spin moves to the purple $200 (clockwise from Lose A Turn), where it stays through the second week of Season 14. Previously, it did not have a fixed location.
  • The blue podium is noticeably darker in color than in previous seasons.
  • The W's on the "burst" contestant backdrops appear to have far less glitter than in previous seasons.
  • For the closing credits, the first few credits from Executive Producer to Associate Director are shown as chyron before scrolling to reveal the remaining credits. Pat and Vanna's wardrobe credits are accompanied with the logos of their respective providers.
  • The W-H-E-E-L envelope holder now uses the lower-pitched chime for the rest of its tenure, regardless of the locale.
  • Tiger Electronics releases a handheld electronic LCD game during this time, complete with additional cartridges that contain more puzzles. The game is marketed on the backs of boxes of Kellogg's Corn Flakes cereal, as well as in a TV campaign featuring kids frustrated by their parents' constant playing of the game. For more information, see Video games.
  • Wheel and Jeopardy! become official sponsors for the 1996 Centennial Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia. The shows sell Olympic T-shirts for $19.95 and sweatshirts for $29.95, both with $4.95 shipping and handling; however, viewers can order both for $19.95 plus $4.95 shipping and handling for a $10 savings. Jeopardy! viewers can order their Olympic clothing by calling 1-800-USA-7300, while Wheel viewers can order their Olympic clothing by calling 1-800-WHEEL-96, and orders from either or both shows can be mailed to OLYMPIC T-SHIRT/SWEATSHIRT; 5959 Triumph St.; Commerce, California; 90040. California, Connecticut, Georgia, Missouri, and New York State residents must add sales tax to their orders.
  • On an episode sometime this season, a contestant is believed to have won the four prizes (Round 2 and 4 Prizes, Surprise, and the $10,000 Wedge) in Round 4.
  • On another episode sometime this season, a contestant wins the game with only the Round 2 Prize and Surprise, both of which are claimed in Round 3.

September 1995Edit

1stsony2

The road-show board in late 1995.

  • For at least the first week of the season, the road-show puzzle board is used.
  • September 4 is Teen Week, the last time that the season begins with one. This is also the last Teen Week in which the players are not paired with a best friend or relative.
  • On September 4:
    • Three males play.
    • All three contestants hit Bankrupt consecutively in Round 1.
    • Later in Round 1, seven consecutive wrong letters (including a vowel) are called; altogether, 10 wrong letters are called in the round.
    • The Double Play token debuts. For this day only, it is on the purple $200 for Round 2 (since Free Spin was claimed), then moves to the tan $200 for Rounds 3+. A post-production shot of the latter position is used when Pat describes the token at the start of Round 2.
    • The Round 2 Prize is a $2,000 gift certificate for a stereo system at Service Merchandise, whose wedge has "CERTIFICATE". It is claimed, but not won.
    • After contestant Jay loses the $10,000 Wedge (still blank on the reverse) to Bankrupt, he removes it from his arrow and tries to keep Pat from retrieving it, to which Pat replies "I don't want to have to fight you for this. It's only a piece of cardboard!" Jay then hands the wedge to Pat.
    • The Round 3 puzzle PLEASE LEAVE A MESSAGE AFTER THE BEEP (Phrase) sets what may be a record for the most instances of one vowel in the same puzzle, with 10 E's. This puzzle is known to have been used on at least two other occasions (October 21, 2009 and March 15, 2013).
    • The winning contestant has only $2,450 before the Bonus Round.
  • On September 5:
    • Double Play takes its normal position on the blue $300 for Round 2, and the pink $200 for Rounds 3+.
    • Pat's Final Spin lands on Bankrupt.
  • On September 6, Pat's Final Spin lands on Bankrupt.
  • On September 21:
    • Three females play.
    • The Round 4 Prize and $10,000 Wedge are removed before Round 5, which begins as a Speed-Up.
    • Rounds 2, 3, and 4 are played entirely by the person who began them.
    • Ten wrong letters are called in the Speed-Up (counting a repeated N), five of which are consecutive.
    • Pat and Vanna do not sign off.
  • By September 21:
    PuzzleBoardOctober95

    The puzzle board in October 1995.

    • The "home base" puzzle board returns, with a new frame which looks like a cross between the original 1981 and "spiky" Season 12 ones.
    • The pink $1,000 in Round 1 is recolored sparkly green.
  • On September 22:
    • Three females play.
    • Against normal practice, a short puzzle is used in Round 2 (KNEAD THE DOUGH).
  • On an episode between mid-September and early October (Shannon/Stewart/Greg), after the puzzle board changes:
    • Vanna wears a shirt and pants.
    • JEOPARDY PREMIERES is the Round 1 puzzle (The 60's).
    • The Round 2 Prize is a historic document signed by Dwight D. Eisenhower, with an appraised value of $3,500.
    • Round 2 is the first known appearance of Who Is It? Interestingly, it uses three "clues" like a Where Are We? puzzle (YOUNG OPIE TEEN RICHIE ADULT DIRECTOR).
    • In Round 4 (during Speed-Up), Greg asks to solve before calling a letter, then changes his mind and calls O.
    • Shannon solves the bonus puzzle TAKE A BOW despite getting no help from her extra letters.
  • On September 26, contestant Ann retires with $56,761.
  • On at least two episodes this month, the $10,000 Wedge is placed on the other Bankrupt for both Rounds 3 and 4. One of these episodes also has Double Play on the blue $200 in Round 3 and absent from Round 4.

October 1995Edit

Pat and 10K
  • Around this point, the $10,000 Wedge now has a shiny gold $10,000 design on the back. If claimed, it is now placed on the contestant's arrow with this design face-up.
  • On October 20:
    • Round 1 is the first known appearance of Who Said It?
    • The Round 3 puzzle MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS ARMSTRONG is the first known use of a period.
    • The audience does not applaud after a correct letter (I) in Round 5.
    • The right-letter ding is accidentally used on the only turn of the Speed-Up.
    • Neither Bankrupt nor Lose A Turn is hit.
  • On October 23:
    • No vowels are bought in Round 1.
    • Contestant John accidentally asks to buy a Y in Round 2, but quickly changes to I. Pat tells him he has lost his turn, and the $250 is still deducted.
    • Round 3's puzzle A COVEY OF QUAIL is a very rare main-game puzzle with none of the five most common consonants.
    • Pat's Final Spin lands on Bankrupt. His second attempt hits $5,000.
  • On October 24:
    • Against normal practice at the time, Charlie reads copy for the Round 4 Prize.
    • Contestant Steve retires with $87,416.
  • On October 27, Rounds 2 and 4 are Before & After; this is the last known duplication of that category.

November 1995Edit

  • The weeks of November 6 and 13 are taped at the Washington State Convention and Trade Center in Seattle. In preparation of these shows, the top of the Space Needle is painted to resemble the Round 4 template. This is seen in the intro.
    • It is not known if the Seattle episodes still displayed two-line bonus puzzles on the top two rows instead of the middle two, as had been done on road shows since 1990.
    • Against normal practice at the time, Charlie reads the copy for the Round 3 Prize.
    • The diamond contestant backdrops are used for the last time.
    • The $25,000 sign is used for the last time during road shows.
  • Starting November 6, the rules for "bonus" questions are changed: only the contestant who solves the puzzle may attempt to answer the question, and the value is increased to $1,000.
  • On November 9, the Round 1 puzzle JULIE ANDREWS IN VICTOR/VICTORIA is the first of only three known uses of a slash. This is also the last known appearance of Person/Title.
  • On November 10, the Round 2 Prize is $1,000 towards purchases from REI. This is the last known Wheel Prize under $2,000.
  • November 13 is College Week.
  • On November 15:
    • The Prize, Double Play, and Surprise are all on the wrong wedges in Round 3: they are on the pink $300, blue $400, and peach $200 respectively. While the Prize is claimed, it is not won.
    • Double Play, Surprise, and the $10,000 wedge are still on the Wheel when Round 4 begins as a Speed-Up.
  • On November 16:
    • Pat uses the Surprise wedge to swat a fly on the Wheel after the Round 2 Prize is described.
    • The Round 2 puzzle CALL ME ISHMAEL (Quotation) is followed by a clue asking for what novel it is the first line of; contestant Jordan does not give the correct response of Moby-Dick.
    • Jordan sweeps the game, but loses an annuity in the Bonus Round.
  • November 20 is Celebrity Week, apparently originally scheduled to be Country Music Week. During this week, all contestants receive a house minimum of $5,000 and the Bonus Round is played for $25,000.
  • On November 20:
    • Ed Asner sweeps the game and wins the Bonus Round, his letters filling in the bonus puzzle SLEIGH entirely.
    • Before the Bonus Round, Pat mentions that he lost against Ed on an episode of Celebrity Jeopardy! about two years earlier.
  • During the weeks of November 27 and December 4, Johnny Gilbert fills in for Charlie. This is the only time until shortly before his death that someone fills in for him.
    • By this point, another design of the $3,500 space is introduced, one where the "3" is the same font used for the normal cash wedges although it is slightly shorter than it is wide. It is used periodically throughout the season (most notably on road shows) before becoming permanent at the start of Season 14.
  • During the week of November 27, Pat and Vanna's post-game discussion is about her decision to cut her hair. At least two episodes feature various computer-generated images of what Vanna would look like in different hairstyles.
  • On November 29, Pat jokes that Wheel "isn't like Jeopardy!, where if you finish in second place with $10,000, you get a lounge chair!", to which Johnny deadpans "But it's a $10,000 lounge chair."

December 1995Edit

  • On December 1, Pat cuts off a lock of Vanna's hair to ensure that she doesn't "chicken out", then distributes strands to audience members during the credits.
  • As of December 1, the award for correct "bonus" answers is still $500; it apparently changes to $1,000 within the month.
  • On December 4, Pat walks out solo at the top of the show and introduces Vanna while joking about her fear of her new haircut. The puzzle-solve cue plays as she walks out.
  • On December 11:
    • Charlie returns.
    • During Round 2, contestant Todd tries to buy a vowel despite having only $200. He manages to call a vowel before Pat realizes the error and the "purchase" is voided.
  • On December 15, contestant Pamela sweeps the game and wins a $35,000 art collection in the Bonus Round.
  • December 18 is Family Week, played identically to the ones in 1992-94.
  • As of December 22, the opening spiel is still the same as it was at the beginning of this season.
  • Reruns air during the week of December 25.

January 1996Edit

  • On an episode sometime during the week of January 1, Pat messes up the "Just before the show we drew numbers to see who would start the game" spiel, leading the red contestant to do it for him.
  • On January 2:
    • The Surprise is a $10,500 sculpture.
    • Contestant Pamela wins a 3-day total of $132,150 despite not making it to the Bonus Round on her third appearance. She also wins the Surprise on all of her appearances, which is the only known instance of one contestant winning it three times in a row.
  • By January 4, the opening spiel changes "here they are" to "here are the stars of our show".
  • January 8 is Best Friends Week.
  • On January 25:
    • Six rounds are played.
    • Double Play is accidentally placed on the pink $300 in Round 3. It returns to its normal position in Round 4.
    • The second-place contestant has $19,100.
    • Contestant Kate solves the bonus puzzle WHISPER despite getting no help from her extra letters.
  • For the week of January 28, the bonus prizes (other than the $25,000) are a car and three trips: London, Paris, and Rome. Only the London trip is won.

February 1996Edit

  • On February 1, the Surprise is an $11,630 Sony home entertainment system.
  • February 5 is Sweethearts Week, with the Friday Finals. During this week, the contestant window in the Bonus Round is heart-shaped.
  • During two episodes of Sweethearts Week, Peter Argyropolous and Deborah Cohen set a new winnings record of $146,529, the highest known total until the introduction of the Million-Dollar Wedge in Season 26. It is believed that they use Double Play on the $10,000 Wedge during their first episode.
  • On February 9, Peter loses his nametag in Rounds 1 and 2, and it is recovered before Round 3.
  • All five Bonus Rounds are won on the week of February 5, part of a winning streak comprising at least eight days.
  • The weeks of February 12 and 19 are taped outdoors, in front of the Waikoloa Village in Hawaii. During these weeks:
    • The $1,000/$3,500/$5,000 structure is used. As a result, Free Spin is on the pink $200 in Round 2.
    • A unique piece of lap steel guitar music plays in the intro, followed by a timpani roll under Charlie's introduction.
      WheelOfFlowers4

      Wheel! Of! Flowers!

    • A set of flowers is planted to resemble the Wheel, an arrangement shown during intros and commercial bumpers. Interestingly, the layout is the same as the 1987-95 turntable.
    • The contestant backdrops are a set of three stylish wood-colored surfboards with a sunflower-like figure on each one. The figures are colored to the backdrops' respective podiums.
    • A lap steel guitar rendition of the original "Changing Keys" melody is used as a bumper and fee plug bed.
    • For obvious reasons, a $25,000 graphic is used instead of the sign. Additionally, all Bonus Round prizes are promoted over video footage, except for vehicles.
    • By this point, road shows display two-line bonus puzzles normally.
  • On one of the Hawaii episodes, Pat jokes that he has a twin in the audience, after which the camera cuts to him waving from the audience with his tongue hanging out. This clip has been seen on several retrospectives.
  • On February 12, contestant Bridget uses the Double Play on Lose a Turn in Round 2, to which Pat comments, "Two times zero is zero".
  • On February 13:
    • Against normal practice at the time, Charlie reads the copy for the Round 3 Prize.
    • Contestant Marie accidentally calls an N without spinning right after claiming the $10,000 Wedge in Round 2 and loses her turn. As there is no N in the puzzle, this does not affect the outcome.
    • No vowels are bought in Round 3.
    • Round 4 is a Same Name with three "names".
    • Bankrupt is hit five times in Round 4.
    • Pat shows off his newborn daughter, Maggie, in the final segment.
  • On February 16, in the final segment, Vanna shows off footage of a helicopter tour she took of Hawaii.
  • The $10,000 Wedge is claimed on February 13, 14, and 15, but is only won on the 15th. This is the most known instances of it being claimed in one week.
  • February 19 is Family Week. During this week, the bumpers consist of "Family Week in Hawaii" in gold letters over footage of Hawaii.
  • On February 19:
    • In Round 1, Pat accidentally asks the red team if they want to spin again, even though the only remaining letters are vowels.
    • Vanna forgets to turn the first O in the Round 1 puzzle A MOTHER'S INTUITION after it is solved, but fixes it while the camera is on Pat and the red team.
  • As of February 27, Who Is It? still uses three "clues".

March 1996Edit

  • Sometime this month, a contestant turns in Double Play and tries to buy a vowel with it. Pat stops him and tells him that he now has to spin.
  • On an episode likely from this month (known to be before the 18th), Show/Song is used for the only time; the puzzle is believed to have been SOUTH PACIFIC'S YOUNGER THAN SPRINGTIME.
  • On March 4, for the first known time, Author/Title is used instead of Title/Author.
  • On March 7, Mike solves the Speed-Up puzzle BORN FREE with only the B showing. This is mentioned in the next episode's interviews.
  • On March 8, in Round 1, Pat forgets to ask contestant Doyle if he wants to use his Free Spin after a wrong letter; he uses it in Round 4 without being prompted.
  • On March 14:
    • Round 1 is a Before & After of WHEEL OF FORTUNE COOKIE.
    • Contestant John loses $16,950 and the $10,000 Wedge to Bankrupt in Round 3.
  • On March 18, the Round 4 puzzle is PUZZLE SOLVER.
  • By March 20, Person/Title is almost certainly retired, as the Round 2 puzzle FARRAH FAWCETT IN CHARLIE'S ANGELS is categorized as The 70's.
  • On March 22:
    • Rounds 1 and 4 are Event.
    • Contestant Rick retires with $43,941.
  • Between March 18 and 25, six bonus puzzles in a row are Thing.
  • On March 26:
    • After the Round 4 puzzle NEW HAVEN CONNECTICUT (Place), Pat asks the contestant which Ivy League university is based there. The contestant provides the right answer of Yale. As Round 2 is Clue, this puzzle results in the only known instance of two "bonuses" in one game since April 7, 1995.
    • The bonus puzzle I DO is a rare instance of both a three-letter bonus puzzle and one without RSTLNE. It is solved with only the D showing.
  • On March 27:
    • Round 3 is the only appearance of Composer/Song; the answer is RAVEL'S BOLERO.
    • Four consecutive turns are lost with only the V missing from the above puzzle; this includes an instance where contestant Greg uses his Free Spin after landing on Bankrupt only to hit Bankrupt again.
  • On March 29, the Round 3 puzzle VICE PRESIDENT UNDER GEORGE BUSH is categorized as Clue, suggesting that Who Is It? may still use three clues at this point.

April 1996Edit

  • On April 1:
    • Appropriately, Round 1 is APRIL FOOL'S DAY.
    • Rounds 3, 5, and the Bonus Round are Phrase.
    • At the end of the show, Pat jokes that it is the last show that he and Vanna will be hosting.
  • On April 2:
    • Contestant Rae solves the Round 3 puzzle DICK & JERRY VAN DYKE with only the R's revealed.
    • The Round 4 Prize is a motorcycle worth over $10,000.
  • On April 3 and 4, contestant Norman wins the $10,000 Wedge, the only known time a player has claimed the wedge more than once.
  • By April 5, and likely much earlier, Where Are We? reverts to using only three clues.
  • On April 5, the Where Are We? puzzle TURBULENCE FIRST CLASS HONEY-ROASTED PEANUTS (Airplane) is the longest known puzzle to be used on the four-line trilon board, using 40 of the 48 spaces.
  • Reruns air during the week of April 8.
  • On April 15, contestant Vicky sweeps the game and wins a $24,000 amethyst and diamond bracelet in the Bonus Round. She also solves the bonus puzzle GULF despite getting no help from her extra letters.
  • On April 16:
    • Rounds 4 and 5 are Thing.
    • Vicky retires with $132,060.
    • The $10,500 sculpture from January 2 is the Round 4 Prize and is won.
  • On April 18, Round 2 is the last known appearance of $1,000 Slogan under its original name.
  • The weeks of April 22 and 29 are Olympics-themed weeks taped at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. During these weeks:
    1996 Torch Backdrops
    • The contestant backdrops are shaped like Olympic torches.
    • There is a video wall at center stage, with "ATLANTA" in illuminated letters at the top.
    • Since the $25,000 sign is not present, a graphic is used onscreen if someone wins it.
    • The "Atlanta 1996" Olympic logo is on the floor near center stage.
    • The Friday Finals format is used, and the same round structure as the Hawaii Family Week episodes.
    • The intro segment begins with Pat and Vanna chroma-keyed in front of an overhead shot of Atlanta with an American flag border. Pat says "From the site of the 1996 Olympic Games...", then Vanna says "...it's Wheel of Fortune from Atlanta!" Afterward, a piece from John Williams' Summon the Heroes plays over a montage of Olympics-themed graphics, ending with a shot of the Olympic flame/torch with the 1995-97 logo in the upper-right corner flipping over to reveal "OLYMPIC KICKOFF WEEK". This is followed by a shot of the Fox Theater and a timpani roll under Charlie's introduction of "From the fabulous Fox Theater, here are the stars of our show: Pat Sajak and Vanna White!"
    • Summon the Heroes pieces are also used as bumpers.
    • For the first time, the Prize wedges feature the logos of the companies providing the prizes.
    • One of the Bonus Round prizes during at least the week of April 22 is a historic document signed by Robert E. Lee worth $15,000.
  • Between April 22 and 24, the outer frame of the Wheel is misaligned by about half the distance between two pegs, which is most noticeable when a contestant hits one of the Bankrupts on the $10,000 wedge on the 24th. The frame is finally fixed before Round 3 on the 24th.
  • On April 22, Rounds 1 and 3 are Phrase. The latter, AND THE OSCAR GOES TO SUSAN SARANDON, inexplicably uses that category rather than the more logical Quotation.
  • On April 23:
    • Round 2 is FREE SPIN LOSE A TURN & BANKRUPT.
    • Contestant Jessica sweeps the game and wins a Ford Taurus in the Bonus Round.
  • On April 24:
    • The slide whistle does not sound on a Bankrupt in Round 2.
    • Contestant Matt solves the bonus puzzle PISTACHIO just after the buzzer, after which Pat informs him that they will have to stop tape to check. In the final segment, Pat tells him that he beat the buzzer by 1/16th of a second, and he and Vanna sign off after Charlie describes the trip to Greece that Matt won. Strangely, the full answer is never revealed on-camera, although Pat says it; it was likely revealed during the commercial break or in an edited-out portion, as the last three letters can be seen in the background while Pat announces the win.
    • The credits contain a typo: "A portion of the show was edited not effecting the outcome of the game."
    • During the credits, Matt is onstage with Pat and what appear to be his parents and wife. There is also a shot of him revealing a Superman tattoo to Pat earlier in the game.
  • From around this point until the end of Season 24, some episodes with Bonus Round wins feature a slow-motion replay of the contestant's reaction or other moments near the end of the credits.
  • On April 26, Rounds 2, 4, and the Bonus Round are Thing.
  • On April 29, contestant David sweeps the game and wins $25,000 in the Bonus Round.
  • On April 30, Round 2 is a non-sequitur answer of POODLE SKIRTS PENNY LOAFERS ELVIS DRAFTED (The 50's).

May 1996Edit

  • On May 1:
    • Rounds 1 and 4 are Thing.
    • Round 2 is the first known instance of Song/Artist being used instead of Artist/Song. The category continues to alternate between the two before settling on Song/Artist in 2008.
  • On May 3, the Round 2 puzzle WHEN IN THE COURSE OF HUMAN EVENTS (Quotation) is followed by a bonus question asking what it is the first line of. The contestant does not provide the right answer of Declaration of Independence.
  • May 6-24 are the Olympic Games Sweepstakes, with each Round 2 puzzle having red-and-blue letters that spell out an Olympics-related word. This is the last time that differently-colored letters are used as part of a contest. These games also use the round structure of the Hawaii and Atlanta episodes. The show also airs a special promo for this contest.
  • On the week of May 6, a very unusual prize is offered in the Bonus Round: A set of Amtrak tickets with $15,000 cash worth $20,000.
  • On May 6, Rounds 2, 4, and the Bonus Round are Thing.
  • On May 7:
    • There are two sets of duplicate categories: Phrase in Rounds 1 and 3, Things in Round 2, and Thing in the Bonus Round.
    • Contestant Carl sweeps the game and wins the Tickets/Cash prize in the Bonus Round.
  • On May 8:
    • The A in the bonus puzzle THE KING AND I is accidentally lit and revealed, despite Carl calling I as his vowel. He solves, and Pat notes that he won "fair and square" (most likely because the letter choices of H K G I made it obvious that he already knew the answer).
    • Carl retires with $84,455, despite failing to claim $16,250 in Round 3.
  • On May 10, contestant Deelight uses the Double Play on $5,000 in Round 3, but she does not solve the puzzle and it is unknown what letter she called.
  • On May 13:
    • Round 3 is the sixth and last known instance of a "bonus" category (specifically, Fill In the Blank) being used in a Speed-Up.
    • Contestant Easter solves the bonus puzzle FROG despite getting no help from their extra letters. This previously happened with the same puzzle on September 7, 1992.
  • On May 20, contestant Geri sweeps the game but loses $25,000 in the Bonus Round.
  • Between May 13 and 20, six bonus puzzles in a row are Thing(s).
  • On May 21:
    • The Round 3 puzzle is FINAL JEOPARDY.
    • Geri uses the Double Play on Bankrupt in Round 4.
  • On May 22, the Round 2 Prize is a $2,500 Service Merchandise gift certificate.
  • On May 24, contestant Kari wins by $50.
  • May 27 is Olympic Games Salute Week, which uses the Friday Finals. The Bonus Round Prizes consist of four trips to past Summer Olympics host cities, three with cars included.
  • For this week, the Olympic Torch backdrops are used in Culver City.
  • On May 30:
    • Rounds 1 and 5 are Place.
    • Contestant David wins a total of three trips: Hawaii, Alaska, and Montreal. Excluding shopping episodes, this is one of two known instances where a contestant wins three trips, which is very likely the highest number of trips won by a single contestant.

June 1996Edit

  • On June 3, the "burst" contestant backdrops return.
  • During the week of June 3, Pat and Vanna promote a special series of 1996 Olympics-themed Wheel T-shirts autographed by ten Olympians. This plug is done by both of them at center stage, with further promotion by Charlie and a pre-recorded apperance by one of the Olympians who signed the shirt. As a result, only one round is played in the first segment.
  • On June 5:
    • The Round 2 puzzle is PAT SAJAK NAMED WHEEL OF FORTUNE HOST categorized as The 80's.
    • Round 4 is Fill In The Blank, the last known instance of a bonus category being used in Round 4.
  • On June 6:
    • No vowels are bought in Rounds 1 or 4.
    • The second spin of Round 2 uses an overhead shot which shows the entire Wheel.
    • The Round 3 puzzle LINCOLN WASHINGTON & JEFFERSON is followed by a bonus question asking for the fourth president on Mount Rushmore; contestant Jeanette does not provide the correct answer of Theodore Roosevelt. This is also very likely the last use of the low-pitched beeps.
    • Round 3 is People, and the Bonus Round is Person.
    • Contestant Jeanette sweeps the game and wins a $20,000 annuity in the Bonus Round.
    • Vanna brings in her son Nicholas for the third time and Pat catches him while running around on stage.
  • On June 7, the "unofficial" end of the season, the $25,000 sign is used for the last time.

July 1996Edit

  • In an unusual scheduling (perhaps as a lead-in to the Games themselves), the week of July 15 consists of new shows. Also taped at the Fox Theater, this week has former Olympic stars playing for charity. It is also the second instance since 1983 of new episodes airing outside the usual September-May/June cycle, and the last time until 2009.
  • July 22-26 is a special Baskin-Robbins "Watch to Win" contest, likely edited into that week's repeats. In conjunction with this, the company's Flavor of the Month is "Wheel of Fortune Choco-Letter Crunch".

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