Wheel of Fortune (partially lost episodes and cut material of game show; 1975-present)
Wheel of Fortune is a game show that debuted on January 6th, 1975 to great success, with singer Chuck Woolery as host and model Susan Stafford as hostess. This success has only grown in the decades since, with former weatherman Pat Sajak and actress Vanna White hosting the current iteration of the show, and currently over sixty international adoptions to capitalize on the series' success.
Daytime Version (1975-1985)
Woolery's run lasted from the show's debut until 1981, when he departed after a contract dispute with the show's creator Merv Griffin and passed the show off to Pat Sajak. Recordings of episodes from Woolery's run, as well as early Sajak episodes (up until at least 1985), were often taped over to be reused to record more recent episodes. Because of this, very little footage from these years remains, and what does exist mostly comes through home recordings and television archives. Unfortunately, very little of this remaining footage actually circulates online. A large, yet incomplete list of Daytime episodes that are known to still exist can be found online.
During the week of the 2016 Presidential Election, one episode scheduled to air on November 11, 2016 was pre-empted on many stations due to news coverage about the Election. The other episodes scheduled for that week ended up airing on time and the November 11th episode aired the next day on November 12th, which is when reruns of the show normally air on. However, not many stations aired the episode as most stations were airing College Football and not many people saw the episode. The episode was never reran for unknown reasons and wouldn't reappear until February 2019 when one of the episode's contestants, Edward Williams, uploaded a recording of the episode. However, the recording starts two minutes into the episode, leaving out the intro and opening Toss Up.
Some episodes were not presented as originally intended. This is due to the fact that some puzzles were omitted during post-production. Reasons for this include personal troubles, national tragedies, technical faults, or just simple production errors.
One instance of a puzzle being removed from airings was for the November 2nd, 1992 game. The round 2 puzzle was "VANNA'S PREGNANT", which was meant to announce the hostess's pregnancy. Unfortunately, not long after the taping of the episode, Vanna had a miscarriage. In place of the puzzle was a three minute, behind the scenes, look at the San Francisco filming, which is where the episode had been shot. At the end of it, Pat shows the winner and how much they won.
There were 2 puzzles that were deleted due to Hurricane Katrina, one of which remains unseen and unknown to this day. For the original airing of the episode, the puzzles were replaced with Pat and Vanna requesting that the viewers donate to relief funds and then announcing who won the rounds. For the summer 2006 rerun, however, one of the rounds, for some unknown reason, was actually shown (The answer was "THE LOUISIANA SUPERDOME"). The other puzzle was replaced with Pat and Vanna thanking those who had donated. To this day, the round hasn't been seen by the public, and its answer has never been revealed.
In some cases, some episodes were never aired or never finished production. Because of this, very little, if anything, remains of these episodes besides basic information.
November 2005 Family Week
Three weeks worth of shows were planned to be shot in New Orleans, from August 26th to August 28th (At 5 games/1 week per day). However, Hurricane Katrina struck before production had wrapped up, and the crew evacuated after the recordings for the August 27th episodes had finished. This left the third week of episodes unshot, and in turn, cancelled what was intended to be a Family Week that was meant to air in November of that year. The contestants of the cancelled week were able to get their chance to play in the May of 2006.
Charlie O'Donnell's Posthumous episodes
On November 1, 2010, longtime announcer Charlie O'Donnell passed away at the age of 78 from congestive heart failure. Charlie had fallen ill in October and "Jeopardy" announcer Johnny Gilbert took over the role. Charlie's last episode aired on October 29, however, there were 8 weeks of episodes that he announced before he passed away that had not aired: November 8, 22, and 29; December 20 and 27; January 3; Febuary 7; and March 28. The show said that "it was a tough decision, but it would been hard to hear Charlie's voice to close to his death", Charlie's voice was dubbed over by the guest announcers and they would cut out Pat mentioning Charlie. This decision was largely criticized by fans and they felt it was disrespectful to his legacy.
- Wheel of Fortune "Matthew Fenwick" episode (found episode of game show; 1998)
- Wheel Of Fortune (lost unreleased DVD game based on gameshow; 2006-2008)
- Wheel 2000 (partially lost children's game show; 1997-1998)
- Wheel Of Fortune (partially lost test pilots of Merv Griffin game show; 1970s)
- Wheel of Fortune History Wiki page on daytime episodes that are known to still exist. Retrieved 23 Jul '13