‘Wheel of Fortune’: This Major Aspect of the Show’s Early Days Is Hard to Imagine Now

by Megan Molseed

Fans of the popular TV game show Wheel of Fortune love to play along with the contestants as they solve the clues on the famous puzzle board. However, few remember another feature the popular crossword puzzle-based game show featured in its early days. A feature that would be hard for us to imagine on the game show we are familiar with today!

Wheel Of Fortune Fans Used To Spend Their Winnings On Some Unique Items From The Game Show’s Shopper’s Bazaar

From wall clocks to dining room sets, ceramic decorations, fur coats, and even expensive cars, Wheel Of Fortune contestants from the early days had a chance to take this (and more) home after competing in the game show.

The original concept of the game show which premiered in 1975 includes a segment where Wheel Of Fortune contestants shop for prizes with their winnings. It’s called the Shopper’s Bazaar and it features a large setup of nearly any type of prize one can imagine. The contestant then selects what they want to “buy” with their winnings from the selection. During this segment, viewers see the Wheel player as a floating head next to the items as they peruse their options in the Shopper’s Bazaar.

Wheel Players Would Check Out The Merchandise Before The Show, The Select Their Prizes At The End Of The Show

Before the game got underway, Wheel Of Fortune host Pat Sajak and the show’s announcers would present the prize options to the game show contestants. These options could be pretty much anything. Sometimes we saw grandfather clocks or dining room sets among the choices.

Sometimes contestants would have the option to purchase things like patio furniture, seasonal decor, plate sets, or ceramic figurines. Pretty much, you name it and if it existed between 1975 and 1989, it’s likely been featured in the Shopper’s Bazaar. By 1989, however, the Wheel Of Fortune setup changed quite a bit. And, this means that the Shoppers Bazaar would be no more.

One Contestant Lands A Major Win With Spot-On Letter Picks

The Wheel Of Fortune set-up may have changed a few decades ago…but, many winners since then are likely very happy about these adjustments. Especially Wheel winners like Erik Radcliffe who had an impressive moment in the TV game show’s bonus round last month.

As Erik Radcliffe prepared to solve the Wheel Of Fortune Bonus Round puzzle, things were not looking good. However, this player had quite a bit of luck – and some good letter guesses – on his side that day.

When it came time for Radcliffe to select his choices for the round he selected D, M, G, and A. And, three of these letters were all the player needed to solve the puzzle, which read Good Timing. In fact, the Wheel Of Fortune contestant solved the Bonus Round puzzle before the timer even started.

“Speaking of good timing, let’s start the clock!” jokes Wheel host Pat Sajak. This big solve gave Radcliffe a Bonus Round win of $39,000. Bringing the contestant’s total winnings for the evening to $54,750.