Feeling daunted by the massive amount of “Gunsmoke” episodes? Eh, don’t bother. Just join “Wheel of Fortune” host Pat Sajak in the fun.
Sajak, who hosts the popular game show along with Vanna White, shared his thoughts in a tweet on Friday.
“Started binge-watching “Gunsmoke.”, Sajak writes. “635 episodes, of which 233 were half-hour shows. The rest (402) were hourlong shows. That’s 518 1/2 hours. At 3 hours per day, that’s about 173 days. I’ll be finished around December 8. I’ll tweet my thoughts then.”
All Pat is doing is joining in the fun other classic TV fans have watching Marshal Matt Dillon keep Dodge City safe from crime.
‘Wheel of Fortune’ Star Has Been on TV Longer Than Classic Western Show
“Wheel of Fortune” has been on TV for 38 seasons, much longer than “Gunsmoke” with its 20-season run on CBS. Sajak and White are still spinning the big wheel, but Dillon and his friends left network TV in 1975. Now “Gunsmoke” holds the No. 1 spot for longest-running western TV series, with NBC’s “Bonanza” holding down No. 2.
“Gunsmoke” received a nearly red-carpet welcome to CBS’s airwaves when it debuted on TV in 1955. None other than The Duke himself, John Wayne, introduced the first episode to viewers. He even gave a nice shoutout to TV newcomer James Arness, who played Dillon in all 20 seasons of the show.
If the TV cast was still around, then maybe Sajak might round them up for a “Wheel of Fortune” special. But he’ll be at home watching Matt, Kitty, Doc, Chester, Quint, and the other Dodge City regulars on his TV set.
Sajak Found His First Job As Hotel Clerk, Then Discovered Radio Work
Everyone starts their careers at different places. Some get right into their chosen field; others have to work their way into it.
Pat Sajak found his first job as a clerk at a Chicago-area hotel, according to a biography in The Famous People. While in college, he happened to catch an offer for a radio gig. Sajak ended up hosting a midnight-to-6 a.m. shift show. He could go to school, then do his radio job, one that would lead Sajak ultimately into the entertainment world.
What happened? Well, the “Wheel of Fortune” host became a weatherman out in the Los Angeles area in the mid-1970s. Once Chuck Woolery, the game show’s original host, left, show creator Merv Griffin and producers were looking for their next host.
Their eyes soon turned on Sajak, and he joined the show as new host in 1981. Sajak has been there ever since, helping contestants do battle with the big wheel and win prizes galore.
That’s a pretty good jump from radio DJ and weatherman.