‘Wheel of Fortune’: Vanna White Once Discussed Show Changing from Manually Turning the Letters

by Will Shepard
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There aren’t many game shows that compare to Wheel of Fortune. Over the years, a lot has changed for the game show, and plenty has stayed the same. As a whole, it has kept up with the times and remained one of the most popular game shows on television.

A lot of its success is due to the host and hostess of the show – Pat Sajak and Vanna White. The two hosts have become an iconic duo on television. Together, they have shared the Wheel of Fortune spotlight for 38 years and are still going strong.

Even though the show is still relatively the same from when it first air, much has changed. In an interview with CBS News last August, Vanna White talked about her love of the game show.

“I’ll be the first to make fun of it, shall we say,” joked White. “It is what I do. And I feel very lucky that I was able to get this job. I love what I do.”

Vanna White Explained What Turning the Letters on “Wheel of Fortune” Was Like

During the 2020 interview, she explained how much has changed on the show. White joined the show as the hostess in December 1982. Very quickly, she became incredibly popular, and the Wheel of Fortune fans adored her. But, for many years, her job was physically much harder than it is now.

Before 1997, Vanna White had to manually turn each of the letters on the board. So, in the interview, she was asked, “Do you miss turning the letters?”

Her response is indicative of how much technology has improved the show, at least in her mind.

“No. You know, I said: ‘Is there any way you can make my job easier?'” White laughed. “I didn’t really say that! But it took time because they had to manually stop [the] tape and change those letters [for each puzzle], which was [a] couple of hours, at least, to do. So, when they turned it into a computerized puzzle board, it went like that [snap]. So, it saved hours.”

Not only was the transition away from physically turning the letters easier for her, but it was easier to film. There have been plenty of good and bad things that come from advancements in technology. Changing to fit the times for Wheel of Fortune seemed to improve her experience immensely.

More importantly, changing to a touch screen made the work fly by. Wheel of Fortune changed to the electronic letter board in February 1997. From that point onward, the time to tape an episode drastically dropped. It took just thirty minutes to film each episode.

Outsider.com