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A timeline for Season 3 of Wheel of Fortune, which aired in first-run from September 9, 1985 through June 20, 1986. Please note that this page is incomplete, as Game Show Network has never aired any episodes from this season and few episodes circulate among collectors.

Season ChangesEdit

  • The Round 1 layout is altered slightly: $1,000 becomes yellow, the light orange $800 slightly darker, and the $700 becomes a dark red.
  • The Griffin logo is altered slightly: the font color is now pacific blue, rather than the silver used previously.

September 1985Edit

  • On an episode early this season, according to one recollection, a contestant solves TUTTI-FRUTTI ICE CREAM with only the T's revealed.
  • On an episode sometime this season, the Prize is a $31,211 Cadillac.
  • According to one recollection, a contestant during this season loses over $60,000 by forgetting the seventh word in the puzzle STAR LIGHT STAR BRIGHT FIRST STAR I SEE TONIGHT.
  • On an episode sometime this season, a contestant wins $25,000 in the Speed-Up, but declines to buy a prize and places it all on a gift certificate.
  • On an episode from sometime in the Fall (Vicki/Scott/Kim):
    • The Round 1 puzzle THUNDERSTRUCK is a rare instance of a one-word Phrase.
    • In an unusual move, after Scott fails to solve the bonus puzzle CIVIL DEFENSE, Pat asks Vanna to turn a couple more letters (specifically, she turns the D and V), and then asks if anyone in the audience knows the answer.

October 1985Edit

November 1985Edit

  • Jack returns on November 4, having resigned from Pyramid due to scheduling conflicts with Wheel.

December 1985Edit

The Infamous Puzzle of All

Poetic justice?

  • On December 5 (Niki/Tony/Terry):
    • The puzzle board uses its reversed chase light sequence.
    • Terry hits $5,000 four times in Round 3, but loses $62,400 by calling a wrong letter (S) with only the L's, V, and C missing from the puzzle THE THRILL OF VICTORY AND THE AGONY OF DEFEAT. She then loses $10,000 more in the Speed-Up. Incredibly, $62,400 would still have been a one-round record more than 30 years later.
  • On December 25, Jack wishes the home viewers a Merry Christmas at the end of the show.
  • Reruns air during the week of December 30.

January 1986Edit

  • On January 20 (Virginia/Karin/Kent):
    • In Round 1, the $900 wedge is placed on the orange $250 instead of its usual tan $200 space one wedge clockwise. Neither the $900 nor the $200 is landed on.
    • Virginia plays Round 1 entirely, winning $5,850, $20 of which she puts on account. She loses the $20 (along with $3,000) to a Bankrupt in Round 3.
  • Sometime this year, contestant Nikki Frey sweeps the game and wins a Corvette in the Bonus Round, setting a nighttime winnings record of $61,620.

February 1986Edit

  • On February 11 (John/Molly/Linda)
    • The puzzle board uses its reversed chase light sequence.
    • The Round 1 layout uses the regular green $1,000.
    • The overhead shot during the opening spin is zoomed in too far, cutting off the bottom portion of the Wheel.
    • The Round 1 puzzle FIVE-AND-TEN-CENT STORE (Place) has three hyphens, tying the record for the most punctuation ever revealed on the trilon boards until 1994. When mentioning the hyphens, Pat says he believes it may be "the first time ever" that a puzzle has used three of them, despite there being at least two known prior instances.
    • Linda puts $2 on account following Round 1, but does not claim it.
  • By February 11, the walls are given blinking lights.
  • On February 12 (Barbara/Marc/Kathleen):
    • During the interviews, Pat mentions that less than two weeks passed between Barbara's audition and that day's taping.
    • The puzzle board uses its reversed chase light sequence.
    • Rounds 1, 3, 4, and the Bonus Round are Thing.
    • The Round 1 layout uses the regular green $1,000.
    • Round 4 begins as a Speed-Up.
    • All of the puzzles are very short, with Round 2 being the longest at 19 letters.
    • Possibly due to the presence of Round 4, Pat signs off after the Bonus Round.
  • On February 13 (Becki/Eileen/Carron):
    • The puzzle board uses its reversed chase light sequence.
    • Rounds 2, 3, and the Bonus Round are Phrase.
    • No vowels are bought in Round 4.
    • The Round 1 layout uses the regular green $1,000.
    • The Prize is a $7,505 Mazda B2000 pickup truck. It is picked up, but not won.
    • Possibly due to the presence of Round 4, Pat signs off after the Bonus Round.
    • The sponsor list is not done over the spinning Wheel.
  • On another episode after the lights are added to the walls (Pam/Dolores/Allan):
    • The puzzle board uses its reversed chase light sequence.
    • The Prize wedge uses a wider font than usual.
    • In the final segment, Pat and Vanna promote the De Soto Hilton hotel in Savannah, Georgia, at which they stayed (apparently during a contestant search).
  • On an episode from this month, most likely the 28th (Bonnie/Bert/Carol):
    • Vanna wears a shirt and pants.
    • The puzzle board uses its reversed chase light sequence.
    • The Round 1 layout uses the regular green $1,000.
    • The Round 2 Prize is a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. Its wedge (BIKE) uses the smaller lettering seen occasionally during Seasons 1 and 2.
    • Unusually for this era, Round 1 is a very long puzzle (LEAVES NOTHING TO THE IMAGINATION) and Round 2 a very short one (TONY CURTIS).
    • In Round 3, the buzzer accidentally sounds on a correct letter.
    • In Round 3, Carol missolves PRETTY PLEASE WITH SUGAR ON TOP as PRETTY PLEASE WITH SUGAR ON IT. This mistake ends up costing her the game, as she would have won by $50 if she had won that round.
    • Bonnie sweeps the game and wins a pair of earrings in the Bonus Round.
    • Rounds 1 and 3 are Phrase, and Round 2 and the Bonus Round are Person.

March 1986Edit

  • On March 6, Wheel and Jeopardy! become the first game shows to be closed-captioned for the hearing-impaired. Strangely, this does not appear to have been noted in any way on Wheel until at least October 1989, though a bug is used in Season 11.
  • On March 14 (Dick/Diane/Betty):
    • The puzzle board uses its reversed chase light sequence.
    • Nine consecutive turns are lost in Round 1 (an incorrect vowel, 7 incorrect consonants, and a Lose A Turn). Altogether, 11 wrong letters are called.
    • Rounds 3, 4 and the Bonus Round are Phrase.
    • Dick sweeps the game and wins a Mazda in the Bonus Round.
  • On an episode from around this point (Linda/Joan/Tom):
    • The puzzle board uses its reversed chase light sequence.
    • There are two sets of repeated categories: Phrase in Rounds 1 and 3, People in Round 4, and Person in the Bonus Round.
    • No vowels are bought in Rounds 3 or 4.
    • During the Speed-Up, Tom tries to call two letters (the second one an N) on the same turn, and is reminded of the rules by Pat. As a result, Linda calls N on her next turn, which is in the puzzle, and solves on that same turn.
    • The board malfunctions during the Bonus Round, as it takes several seconds for any trilons to light up, and several of them do not light up in sync with the dings.
    • Possibly due to the presence of Round 4, Pat signs off after the Bonus Round.
  • Reruns air during the week of March 31.

April 1986Edit

  • On April 15 (Brad/Cornelia/Pam):
    • The puzzle board uses its reversed chase light sequence.
    • Round 1 uses the regular green $1,000.
    • The Prize wedge uses a wider font than usual.
    • Before announcing the category for Round 2, Pat walks over and reattaches Cornelia's microphone.
    • The orange $600 normally covering the beige $100 in Round 2 is accidentally placed on the adjacent red $300. Although the $600 is landed on for a correct letter by Cornelia, it does not affect the outcome of the game, as she does not win that round.
    • Rounds 1, 3, and the Bonus Round are Phrase.
    • In the final segment, Pat and Vanna promote the Intercontinental Hotel in San Diego, at which they stayed (apparently during a contestant search).
  • On what is believed to be April 24 (Susan/Mike/Bonnie):
    • Once again, the orange $600 normally covering the beige $100 in Round 2 is accidentally placed on the adjacent red $300. Interestingly, all three contestants land on the beige $100 consecutively, but the first two call incorrect letters, and the third does not solve.
    • Bonnie puts $189 on account after Round 2.
    • Round 1 and the Bonus Round are Event.

May-June 1986Edit

  • On May 5 (Ken/John/Andra):
    • The puzzle board uses its reversed chase light sequence.
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    • Round 1 uses the regular green $1,000.
    • For the last known time, $100 is used on the nighttime show, as the orange $600 normally covering the beige $100 in Round 2 is accidentally placed on the adjacent red $300. Neither the $600 nor $100 is landed on.
    • Rounds 1 and 2 are played entirely by the person who began them.
    • John puts $382 on account in Round 2.
    • After John wins Round 4, the contestant backdrop glitches, removing "on account" and changing the total to $9. The money amount then disappears, with "on account" showing up briefly before John's grand total is shown.
    • Ken guesses AT MY CAT'S END in the Bonus Round. Very shortly afterward, he says "At my" just ahead of the buzzer, pauses slightly, then says "wit's end" after the buzzer (as well as the applause machine's groan track). Since there is no time for another commercial break, a stopdown is required before he is declared a winner. The stopdown results in a very obvious jump cut that cuts off Pat in mid-sentence, followed by an offstage voice saying "winner", before Vanna reveals the answer in an angled shot of the set (identical to the shot used at the start of the Bonus Round). Of these events, however, only the "cat's end" guess has been seen on specials.

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