Not being entirely sober is certainly one way to raise the stakes on “Wheel of Fortune.”
It turns out the game show’s longtime host Pat Sajak, who’s been with the show since 1981, would sometimes head out for drinks with Vanna White while on a break from taping.
As he explained in a recent interview on “Dan Le Batard is Highly Questionable,” when he first started – “and was much younger and could tolerate those things,” Sajak said – the show was somewhat of a snooze.
“We had a different show then. You didn’t win money, you won fake money with which you could buy cheesy prizes. A turntable would go around, and housewives from Teaneck would say, ‘Ah, for a $100, I’ll have the lamp…’ It was the most boring two minutes in television.”
All of those prizes allowed for “endless time between shows. Our dinner breaks would be two-and-a-half hours long while they drove in new cars and boats and gazebos and stuff.”
Rather than just hang around, Sajak and Vanna White would head over to a spot called Los Arcos in Burbank, where they served “great margaritas,” the host recalled.
“Vanna and I would go across [the street] and have two, or three or six. And then come and do the last shows and have trouble recognizing the alphabet,” he admitted. “The average number of drinks was ‘cuatro.'”
These days, though, Sajak isn’t knocking them back like he used to.
“I had a great time, I have no idea if the shows were any good. No one said anything, so I guess I did OK,” he said of those times he had a few drinks. “Now…I would probably keel over. I would be hesitant to have anything to drink now.”