The Movie Waffler How Wheel of Fortune Keeps on Spinning in Movies and Popular Culture | The Movie Waffler

How Wheel of Fortune Keeps on Spinning in Movies and Popular Culture

How Wheel of Fortune Keeps on Spinning in Movies and Popular Culture

Ever since 1975 when the show was first aired, and the wheel was given its very first spin, Wheel of Fortune has become one of the longest-running TV shows in broadcast history. It also turned Pat Sajak into the longest-serving quiz show host having played a part from its very first days.

For a simple word game to be so long-running and successful, it has to be more than just a more sophisticated form of “hangman” – and that is where the wheel comes into its own.

Adding that extra element of chance and the tension as the wheel spins has the audience on the edge of their seats. Unsurprisingly, it has now become so inextricably woven into the fabric of US culture that it pops up into a number of movies too.

For example, there’s a very memorable scene in the Oscar-winning 1988 movie Rain Man starring Dustin Hoffman and a very young Tom Cruise. Cruise’s character is cynically trying to take advantage of his neuro-diverse brother’s ability at blackjack to win money to get himself out of debt. In the scene they check into a hotel and Raymond, Hoffman’s character, turns on the TV only to find that WoF is on the screen.

The hero is transfixed by the show, and this also has a symbolic link to the way in which the brothers are planning to use chance to win money.

A more comedic approach is taken by the 1989 movie UHF directed by Jay Levey and written by him and “Weird” Al Jankovic too. It tells the story of a failing TV station, UHF Channel 62, that Jankovic’s character is entrusted to run by his uncle who has won it in a poker game.

A hopeless slacker and dreamer, one of his program ideas to save the station is “Wheel of Fish”. As the title suggests, the contestant gets to spin the wheel around which there are a number of different types of fish. Depending on which one the wheel stops at, they win that fish. Unsurprisingly, this isn’t the show that’s going to save the endangered station!

Beyond the world of movies, the game has captured the imagination of the makers of TV shows too. So it won’t take very long before you come across an episode of The Simpsons where the game plays a part. Similarly, Family Guy has featured the game quite a few times, maybe most famously in the fourth season's episode “I take thee, Quagmire”.

Today, there are also opportunities for almost everyone to have a Wheel of Fortune experience with the added bonus of playing for real money themselves. This is thanks to a live online casino game called Crazy Time where a spin of the wheel dictates a prize. Want to have a Crazy Time? You can find the popular online game here, along with plenty of online casinos where you can try it with a welcome offer of bonus.

With the real Wheel of Fortune still going strong, not just in the US but around the world too, we’re likely to see it in plenty more movies and TV shows in the future. And we say let’s keep it spinning!