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Wheel of Fotune 1988

Go back to Season 5, or forward to Season 7?

A timeline for Season 6 of Wheel of Fortune, which aired in first-run from September 5, 1988 through June 16, 1989.

Season ChangesEdit

Off-model$300
  • A "registered trademark" (®) symbol is added to the show's logo.
  • The Wheel is slightly changed:
    • The $2,500 and $3,500 wedges are now in the Clarendon font.
    • In Round 2, the "off-model" $300 wedge covering Free Spin is changed to the Clarendon font and now has a large dollar sign, shorter "3", and narrower zeroes.
    • The Prize wedges' lettering returns to normal.
  • Nickname is used several times this season, including at least two Bonus Rounds (HOT LIPS and MOTOR CITY, both between October 3 and February 17). Although it previously appeared on May 31, 1979, it is not known whether the category had a consistent presence or was "un-retired" at some point; its presence was likely sporadic at best, as no other known circulating episodes in between use the category.
  • As of this season, the slide whistle no longer sounds if Pat hits Bankrupt on the Final Spin.
    25000sign
  • The second (and more familiar) $25,000 sign debuts. This one, shaped like an elongated hexagon, is composed of green and blue light bulbs which give a "pulsating" effect.
  • A week sometime this season offers a $75,000 Russian sable mink coat in the Bonus Round.
  • Several weeks this season offer a $45,576 "Trip of a Lifetime" in the Bonus Round, which may be the most expensive vacation offered in the Bonus Round.
  • On an episode sometime this season, Pat shows off a Free Spin boomerang. Oddly, the GSN airing of this episode has a TV-PG rating.
  • Starting this season, and lasting until at least Season 9, the show offers official T-shirts and sweatshirts to all contestants as consolation prizes. The shirts have the traditional logo with the Round 4 template as the Wheel part of the logo, with "I'm a Wheel Watcher!" under it.

September 1988Edit

  • Until about the end of the year, most (if not all) Prize chyrons do not use commas.
  • September 5-26 is the New York Contest, where viewers solve puzzles shown on-air and must submit entries by the 26th. The winners receive a trip to New York to see the Radio City Music Hall tapings in late October. The contest may have only been promoted during the week of the 12th (and possibly the 19th as well), as the September 14 show contains said contest rules (albeit with GSN cutting out the puzzle segment and crunching most of the crawl explaining its details). Perhaps because of these puzzles, the winning contestant does not appear with Pat and Vanna during the credits and the blanks from the contest puzzle can be seen. A promo with Don Pardo airs during this period, using the same animated graphics as the upcoming shows themselves. Runners-up receive the new Wheel play-along game from Mattel (see Video games).
  • The Bonus Round prizes for the week of September 5, aside from the cash, are a $46,569 Regal boat, a $100,000 Zero-Coupon Bond, a $42,097 Corvette, and a $39,000 pair of diamond earclips.
  • On September 5 (Ann/Constance/Jan):
    MGKellyAudition
    • M.G. Kelly becomes the show's announcer.
    • No vowels are bought in Round 2.
    • Pat pays tribute to Jack Clark after Round 2, although this appears to have been edited in.
    • Oddly, Round 4 (ROAST BEEF AND YORKSHIRE PUDDING) is the longest puzzle.
    • Constance wins $78,097: $36,000 cash and a $42,097 Corvette.
    • In the Bonus Round, Constance calls E as her vowel, but the chyron briefly displays R by mistake.
    • After Constance solves the bonus puzzle, the lights in the studio stay dimmed for a few seconds longer than usual.
    • M.G. accidentally says "Gift certificates do not include sales tax" during the closing disclaimer.
  • On September 6 (Sharon/Nathalie/Peter):
    • The Round 4 Prize is an $10,800 Fred Joalier gift certificate with which a gold unisex bracelet may be purchased. It is not picked up.
    • Same Name debuts, with a trumpet fanfare preceding Pat's announcement of it being a new category. For the next several episodes, he comes up with punny non-examples of Same Name puzzles (such as "stretch and Groucho Marx") whenever the category appears.
    • After the Bonus Round, M.G. appears on-camera while Pat and Vanna welcome him as the new announcer.
  • The September 7 show is Ellen/Gayle/Richard.
  • On September 8 (Mitchell/Diana/Colin):
    • Colin returns due to an error on his first appearance (sometime before this season).
    • During the Round 2 Prize plug, the volume on M.G.'s microphone is turned too low.
    • The category chimes warble in Round 2.
    • Pat and Vanna show off the new $25,000 sign at the end of the show.
  • As of September 8, the $5,000 wedge still looks the same as it did when the nighttime series began.
  • The September 9, 12, and 13 shows are Judy/Bob/Lynne, Pam/Steve/Kay, and Carrie/Nannette/Rick, respectively.
  • The Bonus Round prizes for the week of September 12, aside from the cash, are a $32,370 Cadillac Seville, a $35,000 Okanagan Motorhome, a $39,000 Gold & Diamond Bow Clip, and a gold and silver package.
  • On September 14 (Terri/Debra/Mike):
    • The winning contestant's end-game total chyron does not have a comma.
    • During the credits, the New York Contest puzzle appears to have two hyphens still lit while the rest of the blanks are dark.
    • At least one GSN airing leaves the contest rules crawl intact.
  • On an episode this month, the original Speed-Up puzzle is thrown out for reasons unknown. Due to poor editing, the thrown-out puzzle is introduced normally at the top of the round (just as the Final Spin bells sound), but the replacement puzzle is seen immediately after Pat makes the Final Spin. The error is more obvious in that the original puzzle is Phrase, and the replacement puzzle is a one-word People.
  • On another episode this month, Quotation makes only its third known appearance in the Bonus Round: TWO IF BY SEA, which is not solved.
  • The September 15, 16, and 19 shows are Susan/Connie/Louis, Aaron/Mary Lou/Lee, and Mary/Karen/David, respectively.
  • The Bonus Round prizes for the week of September 19, aside from the cash, are a 2 Jeeps (Wrangler & Cherokee), a Power Play Boat, a the $45,576 "Trip of a Lifetime", and a $41,000 Van Cleef & Arpels Trinket.
  • On September 20 (Pam/Marlene/Gary):
    • Both Prizes (a pair of chairs and a cruise) are modeled by Vanna.
    • The category chimes warble in Round 2, as do the letter dings in the Bonus Round.
  • The September 21 show is Elliott/Mary/Joe.
  • On September 22 (Varda/Sam/Kathy):
    • The Round 1 puzzle DO YOU SOLEMNLY SWEAR is inexplicably categorized as Quotation instead of Phrase.
    • Rounds 4 and 5 are in the same segment for the first known time. While abnormal at this point, the pacing becomes the norm for games with five or more rounds by Season 8.
  • By September 22, the $5,000 wedge also changes to the Clarendon font.
  • The September 23 show is David/Jennifer/Ellen.
  • During the week of September 26 (Kathleen/Addie/Betsy, Marianne/Jon/Kathy, Susan/Michael/Carolyn, Hal/Teresa/Deidre, and Terry/Carolyn/Donald), Pat repeatedly mentions that the Bonus Round rules will change next week.
  • On September 30, the Bonus Round uses the original rules for the last time. The puzzle, FIRST PRIZE, is not solved.

October 1988Edit

  • On October 3 (Sharon/Amy/Gordon), the Bonus Round rules are changed to give RSTLNE, and ask the contestant for three more consonants and one more vowel; also, the time limit is reduced to 10 seconds. BOOKKEEPER, the first puzzle under these rules, is solved for $25,000.
  • On October 4 (Rick/Renee/Chris), after the last consonant is called in Round 3, the Bankrupt slide whistle accidentally sounds instead of the "only vowels remain" beeps, which themselves sound immediately afterward.
  • The October 5 and 6 shows are Vila/Scott/Marla and Karen/Jay/Jim, respectively.
  • On October 7 (Maureen/Morris/Howard):
    S-1000 Slate
    • It is the 1,000th nighttime episode, taped August 17, although no mention is made of this in-show.
    • The Round 4 Prize is the same $10,292 travel trailer from April 28. It is not known if it is picked up.
  • The October 10 show is Duane/Ginni/Pam.
  • On an episode sometime this month (Shari/Tom/David):
    • Rounds 1-3 are Phrase.
    • The bonus puzzle, THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE, ties the record for the second-longest known bonus puzzle at this point. It is very likely that this is also the longest bonus puzzle until 2010.
  • On an episode likely from mid-October (Mimi/Geraldine/Anthony):
    • Round 1 begins with five consecutive lost turns (four wrong letters and a Bankrupt).
    • The Round 2 Prize is a trip to Caesars Palace, plus tickets to a boxing match between Sugar Ray Leonard and Donny Lalonde held on November 7.
    • Anthony wins the game by calling only two right letters: one each on $2,500 and $3,500.
    • Round 1 is Person and the Bonus Round is People, while Rounds 2 and 4 are Phrase.
  • By mid-October, the Used Letter Board is changed to a dry-erase board much like that used in auditions since at least 1985. It is known to have changed before the Radio City Music Hall tapings (see below).
  • October 24 is the first Wipeout Week. During this week:
    • Any prize won in the Bonus Round is "wiped out" for the rest of the week and not available to other contestants; red "WO" letters are placed on the prize to indicate that it is no longer available. Winning the Bonus Round allows that player to return the next day.
    • M.G.'s intro on the 24th is "Over [amount], just waiting to be won as we begin Wipeout Week on Wheel of Fortune!", with the amount decreasing throughout the week as prizes are won. As he says "Wipeout Week", the words "Wipe Out" appear on-screen in multiple colors while a snippet of "Wipe Out" by The Surfaris plays. On the 25th-28th, this is changed again to "Over [amount] left, just waiting to be won as we continue Wipeout Week on Wheel of Fortune!" as prizes are won and their values subtracted.
    • The snippet of "Wipe Out" also plays in place of the puzzle-solve cue if the Bonus Round is won.
  • On October 25 (Allan/Shirley/Peggy):
    • Peggy sweeps the game and wins $25,000 in the Bonus Round.
    • Although Peggy calls her vowel third instead of last, the chyron puts the vowel in its normal position and leaves a gap for the third consonant.
  • On October 27 (Altorlee/Anne/Jeff):
    • The Round 2 Prize is a Kawasaki motorcycle.
    • Pat's Final Spin lands on Lose A Turn.
    • After the Speed-Up, Pat says that Anne's two-day total is $53,239. Before the Bonus Round, he points out that it is actually $47,139, although this is still $1,000 over her actual total to that point (barring the less-likely event that she was shortchanged $1,000 on her previous episode).
    • Round 3 and the Bonus Round are Title.
  • On an episode likely from this month (Diana/Judy/Dan), after the change to the Bonus Round rules and likely early in Same Name's life due to Pat's joking about it:
    • Rounds 2 and 4 are Phrase.
    • In the final segment, Pat and Vanna promote the Moana Surfrider hotel, at which they stayed (apparently during a contestant search).
  • On a Fall episode (Nadia/Tricia/Betty):
    • Oddly, both Wheel Prizes are mentioned in the intro. (The other is a $5,500 mink coat.)
    • Three females play.
    • The Round 4 Prize is a $14,735 Chevrolet Corsica. It is picked up, but not won.
  • On different episodes all believed to be between October 4 and February 17:
    • The O in the bonus puzzle POLICE CAR accidentally lights up while Vanna is revealing RSTLNE, but it turns back off.
    • There is a game where every puzzle in the main game is Thing; interestingly, the Bonus Round is Fictional Character (OLD KING COLE).
    • There is a game with a Place puzzle of SECRET HIDING PLACE. This is believed to be the first time that the category name is also part of the answer.
    • A bonus puzzle of THE PLOT THICKENS is the first known instance of RSTLNE revealing more than half of the answer.
  • On an episode sometime between October 11 and December 16 (Emerald/Chris/Janice):
    • Three females play.
    • Six turns in a row are lost with only the O and L missing from the Round 3 puzzle WHICH OLD WITCH THE WICKED WITCH; two of the turns are a contestant buying a repeated A, followed by her using Free Spin to call another wrong letter.
    • The bonus puzzle CANADIAN BORDER is categorized as Thing instead of Place.

November 1988Edit

  • On November 2 (Louanne/Ann/Walt), Walt Ruskoski sets a winnings record of $90,095: $34,850 cash and a $55,245 motorhome.
  • On an episode most likely from the same week as the above (Connie/Chris/Jani):
    • Three females play.
    • Jani lands on Free Spin three times in a row in Round 1.
    • After Jani calls a repeated C in Round 1, the buzzer sounds against precedent; also, Pat forgets to ask her if she wants to use a Free Spin.
    • A Prize is added for Round 4, despite it going to Speed-Up after only two turns; notably, the Prize is an $11,725 Toyota Tercel.
    • Jani fills in the bonus puzzle WHAT'S THE CATCH completely, the first known instance of this being done.
  • On an episode sometime this month, but not during the New York tapings, Jane Pauley makes a cameo after her name is a puzzle.
  • The weeks of November 14 and 21 comprise the show's first "official" set of travel episodes, taped at Radio City Music Hall in New York City on October 26-27. Changes for these weeks include:
    Wheel Road Show Puzzle

    The road show board.

    • New diamond-shaped contestant backdrops, connected scoreboards that hold six digits and have the dollar sign directly next to the first digit, a new puzzle board, and a new Wheel are built exclusively for this and future road shows. The Wheel's bottom lights flash clockwise while the other lights flash counterclockwise, as previously done at home base on both versions. The new board does not have "dummy" trilons in the corners, and the others are spaced further apart.
      NYC Day 1 $337K Graphic

      Really big money.

    • The prize budget is higher than usual (the money graphics range from $268,000 to $342,000). Several of the prizes are suspended above the set.
    • Each show opens with Vanna saying "I Love New York!", followed by a montage of New York-related scenery at night, accompanied by a recording of "New York, New York" (from Leonard Bernstein's On the Town, not to be confused with the Frank Sinatra song); with "It's a wonderful town" replacing "It's a hell of a town" from the original (most likely to keep it family-friendly). Among the montage shots are: a fireworks show at the Statue of Liberty, the Times Square monitor reading "NEW YORK WELCOMES WHEEL OF FORTUNE", a graphic of Pat and Vanna appearing on the front page of a fictional newspaper called the Anytown Times with the accompanying headline "PAT & VANNA IN NEW YORK", the River Cafe, the Empire State Building, and towards the end, the Brooklyn Bridge and the World Trade Center.
    • The post-Round 3 commercial bumpers feature "Wheel of Fortune: Radio City Music Hall" (using the two-row logo) written in gold letters in the middle of an apple, against a shot of the city's landmarks (such as the Manhattan skyline and the World Trade Center's Twin Towers as an airplane flies past, or the Rockefeller Center skating rink filled with skaters). Often, they will include zoom-ins or zoom-outs on the Times Square monitor from the intro.
    • "Changing Keys" is played on the Mighty Wurlitzer organ during the intro and post-Round 2 commercial break. For the rest of the program, the regular version is used.
    • Don Pardo announces. His spiel, complete with a new timpani roll when the venue is announced, starts with "From Radio City Music Hall in New York City, it's America's #1 game show!" over a flyover shot of the theater's exterior (containing the show's title on the marquee), which cuts to a shot of the theater's interior. The intro then uses a star wipe to a shot of the audience doing the chant. His spiel continues as normal, and ends with "Over [amount] in cash and prizes, just waiting to be won tonight as the Wheel takes Manhattan! And now, here's your host: Pat Sajak!", and the logo rolls away towards the right instead of just panning towards the right.
    • For the first week, seven prizes are available in the Bonus Round: a $64,000+ Porsche 911 convertible, Toyota Supra, $37,000+ boat, $49,000+ "Shipboard Party", $50,000+ motorhome-van, some jewelry, and the $25,000. Four of the five Bonus Rounds are played for the Porsche, and three are won. For the second week, the Porsche and Toyota are replaced with a pair of his-and-hers Cadillacs while the Shipboard Party is replaced with tickets to every sporting event in America.
    • Most of the Wheel prizes are presented via video footage of Vanna "shopping" in various upscale shops in New York City.
    • Except for November 15, Pat's opening spin does not use the overhead Wheel shot.
    • Several five-figure non-car Prize wedges are offered: a $15,000 fur coat on the 16th (Round 4), a $15,300 pair of watches on the 17th (Round 4), a $13,000 diamond bracelet on the 18th (Round 4), and a $15,200 diamond pin on the 21st. None are claimed.
    • According to a contemporary news article published October 31, the audience becomes restless as the tapings progress, going so far as to yell "move the cars" and "get that damn Porsche out of here" (referring to the platform in front of the set during the first week). At least half of the original audience departs before tapings conclude.
    • The Wheel does not spin during the credits.
    • Presumably due to the extra room on the Radio City Music Hall stage, the diamond backdrops behind the contestants are placed much farther away than they would be in later road shows.
    • Don's closing disclaimer is appended with "Production support provided by Radio City Music Hall Television Productions."
  • On November 14 (Meg/Dave/Matt):
    • During Pat's intro speech, the Wheel's loud automation can be heard, so he asks the control booth to "Stop the Wheel!" He also calls the Wheel "noisy" when doing the opening spin.
    • Dick Cavett makes a cameo after his name is the Round 3 puzzle (itself a departure from the normal practice of using longer puzzles in middle rounds). He returns at the end of the show to talk with Pat and Vanna, and stays to chat with the winning contestant during the credits.
    • The post-Round 3 commercial bumper is the "Radio City Music Hall/Big Apple" logo beneath the Manhattan skyline.
    • In Round 4, contestant Dave asks to buy a vowel, but the Final Spin bells cut him off. He ends up calling a consonant instead.
    • An animated graphic of a city skyline is shown following Round 4. Among the graphics are Vanna popping out of an apple, a lighted "WELCOME TO NEW YORK" sign, a taxicab driving by, and the letters in "WHEEL OF FORTUNE" turning in the windows of a skyscraper. This was also used in a promo for the New York Contest at the beginning of the season.
  • On November 15 (Andy/Shari/Sonia):
    PinOverLoseATurn

    ...Wow.

    • The Round 2 Prize is accidentally placed over Lose A Turn when it is shown. By the first spin, it is moved to its proper spot.
    • The post-Round 3 commercial bumper is the "Radio City Music Hall/Big Apple" logo beneath the Manhattan skyline.
    • None of the puzzles have an S in them.
  • On November 16 (Regina/Donna/David):
    • The post-Round 3 commercial bumper is the "Radio City Music Hall/Big Apple" logo beneath the Manhattan skyline.
    • David calls his vowel first in the Bonus Round, and it is put on the chyron first, establishing the precedent that out-of-order letter calls are placed on the chyron in the order called.
    • Don can be heard groaning after David fails to solve the bonus puzzle APRICOT, followed by booing from the audience.
  • On November 17 (Amy/Bill/Mary Lou):
    • After Pat does the opening spin, he complains that the Wheel needs to be oiled and "It's really noisy."
    • The Round 2 Prize value accidentally uses the opening money graphic's font.
    • The post-Round 3 commercial bumper is a zoom-in on the Times Square monitor reading "NEW YORK WELCOMES WHEEL OF FORTUNE" (from the intro).
    • A Prize is added for Round 4, even though it goes to Speed-Up after only one spin.
    • The camera is much further to the right than usual during the Bonus Round.
    • The trilon containing the A in the bonus puzzle MINK COAT squeaks when Vanna turns it.
  • On November 18 (Alan/Karl/Nikki), the post-Round 3 commercial bumper is the "Radio City Music Hall/Big Apple" logo beneath the Manhattan skyline.
  • On November 21 (Jason/Denise/Jane):
    • The shot of Radio City Music Hall in the opening uses a Dutch angle.
    • The Round 3 puzzle is RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL ROCKETTES, despite their official name not using "Music Hall". After this round, the Rockettes make an appearance. As a result, there is no commercial bumper. They then do another performance after the Bonus Round to "New York, New York" (the opening music).
    • Denise solves the bonus puzzle BROADWAY just after the buzzer, but she is still credited with a win and the answer is never checked.
  • On November 22 (Tim/Steve/Sharon):
    • Oddly, there is a commercial bumper after Round 2, which features just the Times Square monitor reading "WHEEL OF FORTUNE" (lacking the "NEW YORK WELCOMES") as it zooms out.
    • Before Round 3, the organists perform the "Charge" fanfare at Pat's request.
    • The Round 3 commercial bumper is the animated city skyline with Vanna popping out of the apple.
  • On November 23 (Joseph/Charlie/Leslie):
    • In Round 1, only three of the four "only vowels remain" beeps sound.
    • The commercial bumper (namely, the "Radio City Music Hall/Big Apple" logo) occurs after Round 2.
    • The Round 4 puzzle SOMETHING IS ROTTEN IN THE STATE OF DENMARK is the longest known puzzle to be used outside of Rounds 1-3, at 36 letters.
    • Five rounds are played, with Round 3 in its own segment.
  • On November 24 (Rubin/Father Joe/Lorraine):
    • Debbie Reynolds makes an appearance after her name is the Round 2 puzzle.
    • Instead of a commercial bumper after Round 3, Pat mentions that the contest winners were flown in, and they are shown prior to break.
    • The camera is positioned incorrectly during the Bonus Round, cutting off the top and right of the puzzle board.
  • On November 25 (Martha/Linda/Willie):
    • In his opening speech, Pat thanks the two Wurlitzer organists, who once again play the "Charge" fanfare at his request.
    • Willie gets three consecutive Free Spins in Round 1. He uses two of them after making two incorrect guesses on the puzzle KENNY AND ROY ROGERS with only the K unrevealed, and solves correctly after getting the third. This is the only known time that someone solves the puzzle immediately after landing on Free Spin while it was a wedge.
    • The post-Round 3 commercial bumper is the "Radio City Music Hall/Big Apple" logo beneath the Manhattan skyline.
  • On November 29 (Pamela/Robin/Chet)
    • Pat makes several jokes about the Shipboard Party after he walks out, thus suggesting this is its first appearance, which in turn would indicate it aired out of taping order.
    • Rounds 1 and 2 are played entirely by the contestants who began them.
    • In a rather rare occurrence, Round 4 (A TIME TO BE BORN AND A TIME TO DIE) is the longest puzzle.

December 1988Edit

  • During the week of December 19, the puzzle board is decorated with holly leaves on the center and edges of its frames, and large candles on either end.
  • On an episode during the above week, a contestant solves the bonus puzzle EGGNOG despite getting no help from their extra letters. This is the first known instance of this happening.
  • On another episode from the above week (Marilyn/Sandi/Jon):
    • Oddly, the applause machine is used on its loudest setting after M.G. describes each prize in the intro, as opposed to a lighter setting and/or the "ooh" tracks.
    • The Round 2 Prize value does not have a comma, but the Round 4 one does.
    • Five rounds are played, with Round 3 in its own segment.
    • In Round 5, after Jon calls L, his scoreboard briefly displays $15,000 before correcting to $15,600.
    • Rounds 3, 5, and the Bonus Round are Thing.
  • On December 23 (Jan/Don/Eric):
    • The Round 1 puzzle APPALACHIAN MOUNTAINS is inexplicably categorized as Things instead of Place.
    • Round 4 is a Same Name of VANNA AND SNOW WHITE.
    • Round 1 is Things, while Rounds 3 and 5 are Thing.
    • All of the puzzles are unusually short, with Rounds 2, 3, and 5 each being only two words; Round 1 is the longest puzzle, at only 20 letters.
    • In the final segment, Pat gives an intentionally off-key rendition of "White Christmas" while Vanna accompanies him on a piano.
  • Reruns air during the week of December 26.

January 1989Edit

  • By about this point, the Prize chyrons once again use commas.
  • On January 2, a contestant sweeps the game but loses $25,000 in the Bonus Round.
  • On an episode in January or early February (Eileen/Irene/Ray), no letters are added to the Round 4 puzzle RAZZMATAZZ for nine turns in a row, seven of which come after the Final Spin. 16 wrong letters are called in this round, including a repeated H, and an I that was called after the A due to Pat never telling the contestants that no more vowels remain. Finally, Ray calls the four Z's at $5,000 each and solves. This is also a rare instance of a one-word Phrase.
  • On another episode from the above timeframe (Arnie/Judy/Valerie):
    • Six consecutive turns are lost in Round 3.
    • Rounds 1 and 4 are played entirely by the contestant who began them.
    • The buzzer does not sound on an incorrect letter in Round 5, and the Final Spin bells sound immediately afterward.
    • Pat's Final Spin lands on Bankrupt twice. His third attempt lands on $1,500.
    • Arnie jokingly asks to play for Vanna in the Bonus Round. After he says that he actually wants to play for $25,000, M.G. replies, "I was getting ready to tell him about Vanna!"
    • The bonus puzzle is one space further to the left than usual.
  • On another episode from the above period (Bill/Gail/Carolyn):
    • The Wheel's automation can be heard during the opening.
    • Rounds 1, 2, and 5 are Phrase.
    • For only the fourth known time, Round 3 is in its own segment with Rounds 4 and 5 in the same segment.
    • Pat forgets the apostrophe in Round 5 until someone notifies him from offstage.
    • Against normal practice, the audience applauds during the first three turns of the Speed-Up. On the fifth turn, a single audience member can be heard clapping.
    • Carolyn mispronounces the bonus puzzle MILAN ITALY as "MILL-in", then "MY-lun". After time expires, Pat says "We're gonna come back and discuss this matter." In the final segment, the puzzle is shown again in close-up before he tells her that her pronunciations are not acceptable.
  • On yet another episode from the above period, contestant Joy wins his-and-hers cars in the Bonus Round, but tells Pat that she wants the one designated "His". As a result, Pat switches the signs in front of each car. Interestingly, Joy finds a Free Spin token on the car seat.
  • On still another episode from the above period (Eunice/Polly/Michelle):
    • Michelle returns due to an error on her first appearance.
    • Rounds 3 and 4 are played in the same segment, with $5,000 added in Round 5.
    • There are two sets of repeated categories: Phrase in Rounds 1 and 5, Things in Round 3 and the Bonus Round.
    • The Round 4 Prize is a $15,000 Dicker & Dicker mink cape. It is not picked up.
    • Round 5 inexplicably goes to Speed-Up with only one consonant (W) missing from the puzzle WELL IN ADVANCE.
    • The shot of the Speed-Up puzzle is cropped as tightly as possible, a practice that was abandoned at the beginning of Season 5.
    • Michelle plays the bonus round for a $77,000 annuity, and wins it. Her final total is $87,450.

February 1989Edit

  • February 6 is the second and final Wipeout Week, played identically to the first. Pat obviously has a cold throughout, as he sounds congested and can occasionally be heard coughing.
  • On February 7, Pat mis-hears a contestant's accidental call of N as an M in the Bonus Round, and prompts the contestant for a vowel. Unlike most other accidental RSTLNE calls in the Bonus Round, the chyron instead displays the contestant's vowel (O) in the third position, and Pat asks the contestant for a third consonant, which then appears after the O.
  • On February 8 (Ken/Chris/Eugene), there is a rare instance of the last puzzle being the longest (QUE SERA SERA WHATEVER WILL BE WILL BE, in Round 5).
  • On February 9 (Lynne/Carol/Eugene):
    • Vanna is wearing red, but the category chyrons are brownish-orange.
    • The Round 5 puzzle LOLLIPOP is a rare instance of a main-game puzzle with none of the five most common consonants. It also has only two unique consonants, likely a record low for a main-game puzzle.
    • Also during Round 5, $5,000 is hit three times, but a wrong letter is called each time. In addition, no vowels are bought.
    • Six rounds are played.
  • The February 16 show is Sandy/Jodie/Vallie.
  • On February 17, M.G. announces for the last time.
  • All five Bonus Rounds are believed to have been won on the week of February 13.
  • On February 20 (Renee/Carol/Damon):
    • Charlie O'Donnell permanently returns as announcer. Strangely, no mention is made on-air of the change.
    • Marla Gibbs makes a cameo after her name is the Round 2 puzzle. She appears again at the end of the episode, and Pat mentions the episode of 227 on which Gibbs' character, Mary Jenkins, appears on Wheel.
    • Ten wrong letters are called in the Speed-Up.
    • Round 2 and the Bonus Round are Person, while Round 4 is People.
    • Abnormally for this era, some spins appear to have been edited for time, possibly due to Marla's appearances and/or the longer Speed-Up round.
  • On February 27 (Barbara/Lisa/Larry), Before & After debuts in Round 1. The "Charge" fanfare plays when Pat refers to it as a brand-new category.
  • On an episode shortly after Before & After is introduced (Michelle/Bettye/Andy):
    • Andy is nearly disqualified because he had gotten lost from the group before the taping, and accidentally ran into Vanna backstage. His brother, Jeff, competed on a late-1986 episode with the third sunburst backdrops and late-1984 Griffin logo.
    • Against precedent, the buzzer sounds on a repeated N in Round 1, even though there is an N in the puzzle; normally, the buzzer only sounds on repeats if the letter is not in the puzzle.
  • On an episode sometime after Charlie's return, contestant Karen makes an incorrect guess on the bonus puzzle FANCY THAT which has to be censored by the cuckoo sound from the Pyramid franchise.
  • On another episode sometime after Charlie's return (Sallie/Wendy/Cheyney):
    • In Round 2, contestant Cheyney calls N on $2,500, but when asked by Pat to repeat his call, he changes to D. This is never noticed, although it does not affect the outcome, as he calls N on his next turn and does not solve the puzzle.
    • The Round 4 Prize is a $10,000 savings bond.
    • Contestant Sallie hits $5,000 three times in Round 4; on the first hit, she calls a wrong letter and uses a Free Spin.
    • All of the puzzles are unusually short, with Round 5 (WORTHY OF ATTENTION) being the longest at only 17 letters.
    • There are two duplicate categories: Round 1 is People, Round 4 is Person, and Rounds 2 and 4 are Phrase.
  • On another episode sometime after Charlie's return (Jim/Jeannette/Tammi):
    • Five rounds are played, with Round 3 in its own segment.
    • Rounds 1, 3, and 5 are Phrase
    • After contestant Jeannette solves the Round 3 puzzle ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE, Pat comments "Damn nice job on that one!"
    • Pat's Final Spin lands on Bankrupt.
    • The letter dings are accidentally used on the first turn of the Speed-Up.
    • Contestant Jim solves the Speed-Up puzzle without calling a letter first, and receives the house minimum of $200 as a result.
    • Quotation makes its fourth known appearance in the Bonus Round: WE SHALL OVERCOME, which is solved for $25,000.

March 1989Edit

  • On an episode from between February 27 and June (Maxie/Penny/Steve):
    • No vowels are bought in Round 1.
    • In Round 1, and three times in Round 2, Pat does not ask Penny if she wants to use her Free Spin. She uses it in Round 3, again without Pat asking.
    • In Round 4, Maxie asks to buy a repeated O while Pat is being told that no more vowels remain. Pat asks what should be done, and the O call is disregarded.
    • During the credits, footage is shown of a "goofy hat contest" that the staff had before the taping.
  • On an episode in this timeframe (Lori/Dianne/Teri), the letter dings are accidentally used on the first two turns of the Speed-Up.
  • On another episode from the above timeframe (Liz/Victor/Leo):
    • The Round 2 puzzle CHARLIE AND AMERICAN PRIDE is misspelled (it should be "Charley").
    • Rounds, 1, 4, and 5 are Thing.
  • On another episode from the above timeframe (Dennis/Derek/Donna):
    • The Prize chyrons do not have commas.
    • Five rounds are played with Round 3 in its own segment.
    • There are two instances of repeated categories: Phrase in Rounds 2 and 3, Thing in Round 5 and the Bonus Round.
    • Rounds 2, 3, and 5 all have punctuation marks: an apostrophe in Round 2, and hyphens in Rounds 3 and 5.
    • Pat forgets the apostrophe in Round 2's Phrase puzzle until after the first spin. It is revealed before Derek calls his letter, which is in the puzzle.
    • Pat's Final Spin lands on Bankrupt.
  • Reruns air during the week of March 27.

April 1989Edit

  • Sometime this month, Andy Pargh is a contestant, finishing with $0. He later gains fame as the "Gadget Guru" on The Today Show.
  • The April 18 show is Fred/Fran/Betty.
  • On April 24 (Sue/Susan/Vince):
    • The Round 4 Prize is an $11,500 Fred Joalier gift certificate with which a gold and diamond bracelet may be purchased. It is claimed but not won.
    • Contestant Vince is given THE ACROPOLIS as a bonus puzzle, itself only the third known appearance of Landmark in the Bonus Round. He says "tie" and "toe" for the first word despite getting "Acropolis" correct, but oddly never says "The".

May 1989Edit

  • The May 5 show is Barbara/Tom/Ed.
  • May 8 is Family Week.
    • The intro includes footage of the competitors standing in front of the puzzle board (which reads FAMILY WEEK, center-aligned on the middle rows).
    • The five episodes, in order, are Lynda & Beverly/Scott & Ken/Smitty & Andy; David & Irene/Debbie & Vickie/Shirley & LaToucha; Ross & Bill/Dorothy & Susan/Becky & Dick; Kellie & Mary Ann/Art & Marla/David & Meredith; and Ed & Wayne/Alan & Madelyn/Joanne & Pat.
    • Because of the two-person teams, the Bonus Round "window" is rectangular instead of circular.
    • The top winning family receives a plaque and a trip to the Roseland Ranch in New York.
  • On May 12:
    • Oddly, Joanne and Pat do not mention their hometown.
    • The Prize chyrons do not have commas.
    • No vowels are bought in Round 3.
    • Joanne and Pat are declared the week's top winners in the final segment, with an all-cash total of $37,150.
  • May 15 is College Week. There are three representatives for the schools represented each day; however, only one from each school may be on stage at any time during the main game. Whichever school wins has all three representatives available for the Bonus Round.
    • Strangely, the finals are held on the 18th, with the 19th being Kevin/Nicole/Steve. The first three episodes are Jeff/Jill/Melanie, Kristi/O.J./Gary, and Mike/Sean/Traci.
  • On May 16, the bonus puzzle DAYDREAMING is a rare instance of a one-word Phrase. It is not known why the puzzle used that category instead of the more logical Event.
  • On an episode from between May 22 and June 9 (Arlene/Tina/Bill), five rounds are played with Round 3 in its own segment.
  • On another episode from the above timeframe (Cynthia/Scott/Jeff):
    • The slide whistle does not sound on the first Bankrupt of Round 5 until after the next contestant starts to spin; this is believed to have happened on other episodes around this point.
    • Scott accidentally calls L in the Bonus Round, and it is put on the chyron. The D's in the answer REDD FOXX light up (but are not turned) before an offstage voice can be heard acknowledging the mistake. Pat then asks Scott for another consonant, and it replaces L on the chyron as Vanna turns the D's.
  • Sometime this month, for what is most likely the first time, a contestant calls Z in the Bonus Round. Interestingly, she only does this because she already called the other two consonants in the puzzle (A HIT OR A MISS).

June 1989Edit

  • On an episode likely from this month (Ron/Lindsay/Jim):
    • Jim gets two Free Spins in Round 1.
    • The "only vowels remain" beeps do not sound in Round 1 until Pat notes the situation himself.
    • The Round 2 Prize is a trip to Chicago to see the 5th-Annual Chicago Gospel Festival on July 29-30, which is claimed but not won. Given the dates, it seems likely that this episode is from June.
    • Jim solves the Round 3 puzzle THE EIFFEL TOWER'S ONE HUNDREDTH ANNIVERSARY (Event) for $20,900. Of that total, $14,000 comes from calling four N's on $3,500.
    • The Round 4 Prize is a $14,000 diamond ring. It is not picked up.
    • Pat's Final Spin lands on Bankrupt twice. His third attempt lands on $1,500.
  • For the week of June 12, a $68,000 diamond solitaire ring is offered in the Bonus Round. This is very likely the most expensive piece of jewelry ever offered on the show.
  • On June 13 (Theresa/Pat/Roland):
    • The Round 3 puzzle HEIGH-HO HEIGH-HO IT'S HOME FROM WORK WE GO has an apostrophe and two hyphens, tying the record for the most known punctuation used in the trilon era (barring Fill In the Blank puzzles) until September 1994. This same puzzle is known to have been used at least one other time before the electronic board was introduced (January 9, 1995).
    • The Round 4 prize is a trip to New York, London, and Paris worth $11,019. It is claimed, but lost to Bankrupt.

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