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Time Warp, 1981: ‘Wheel Of Fortune’ Preps For Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Week

December 26, 2018

Oct. 2, 1981: Chuck Woolery, host of “Wheel of Fortune,” announced that the popular game show would hold tryouts at the Woodlands Inn and Resort in Plains Twp. on the first Friday in October. The people selected would appear on a special Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Week on “Wheel of Fortune.”

Producer Nancy Jones told the Scranton Times that 3,000 local people called the tryout hotline number. Out of those thousands, the show offered tryouts to 500 wheel watchers. Out of the 500, the show’s producers selected 10 constants to appear on the special-edition episodes. Other people also had a chance to be contestants at other points during the year.

To give the hopefuls a real taste of the show, “Wheel” hostess Susan Stafford attended the tryouts.

“Let’s face it. It’s not that hard,” Stafford told the Times about her job.

Asked by the newspaper if she would leave the job for another, she said, “The money is just too good. Where else can I make the kind of money I do, working eight days a month?”

During the mock games used by the show to decide who they would pick, show staff member Sue-Sue Majure told the would-be contestants, “Shout at the wheel. The louder you shout, the higher the dollar amount will be. Get excited like you’re having a good time, even if you’re not.”

In addition to searching for local spelling experts, the show went around the area filming short segments of local sites and attractions for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre week, including Lake Scranton. They also visited the Bloomsburg Fair.

Those selected to appear on the show had to travel to Los Angeles for tapings on Oct. 14 and 15. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Week was scheduled to air on NBC from Nov. 9 to 13.

“You can win some great prizes,” contestant hopeful Kathy Leggi said. “And even if you don’t, it would be a great time.”

Contact the writer: bfulton@timesshamrock.com; 570-348-9140; @TTPagesPast on Twitter

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