As always, the further we go back in Hollywood history,
the more that fact and legend become intertwined.
It's hard to say where the truth really lies.
October 26, 1946
Pat Sajak born. On this day in 1946, Patrick Leonard Sajdak, who will one day be known to millions of game-show fans as the Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak, is born in Chicago. Wheel of Fortune, which debuted in 1975, became the longest-running syndicated game show on American television, turning Sajak and his co-host, Vanna White, into pop-culture icons.
After attending Chicago’s Columbia College, Sajak joined the Army in 1968 and went to Vietnam, where he was a disc jockey for Armed Forces Radio in Saigon.
After his discharge from the military, he worked in radio and TV and in 1977 became a weatherman for a Los Angeles TV station. In 1981, Wheel of Fortune’s creator, Merv Griffin (who also developed the long-running game show Jeopardy!, which debuted in 1964) tapped Sajak to take over hosting duties from Chuck Woolery for a network daytime version of Wheel. In 1983, Wheel of Fortune became a syndicated evening program. It has remained on the air continuously since that time, with Sajak and White as co-hosts.
During each episode of Wheel of Fortune, contestants compete to solve word puzzles. Players spin the big wheel to determine prize money and each player can buy vowels to help solve the puzzle. White stands next to the puzzleboard and reveals the individual letters when players have guessed them correctly. Born Vanna Marie Rosich on February 18, 1957, White was raised in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. She attended the Atlanta School of Fashion Design and worked as a model before heading to Los Angeles to pursue acting. In 1982, the blonde beauty was selected to join Sajak on Wheel of Fortune. The first letter she ever turned on the puzzleboard was a “T.” In 1992, the Guinness Book of World Records named White “Television’s Most Frequent Clapper,” crediting her with an average of 720 claps per show.
Each year, more than 3,000 people audition to become contestants on Wheel of Fortune, while fewer than 500 make the final cut. During its 25 years of syndication, Wheel of Fortune has given over $180 million in cash and prizes to its contestants.
As for longevity, while Jeopardy! debuted in 1964, it has not aired continuously since then. Jeopardy! first aired from 1964 to 1975, then went off the air. It returned briefly, from 1978 to 1979, and was revived again in 1984, when Alex Trebek became host of a syndicated edition of the show. The longest-running game show in network or syndication is The Price is Right. The show originally aired on network TV from 1956 to 1965. A syndicated version of The Price is Right premiered in 1972, with Bob Barker as host. Barker remained with the show until his retirement at the age of 83 in 2007. Comedian Drew Carrey took over hosting duties beginning in October 2007.
It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown first aired.
A Halloween special, it was the third Peanuts special (and second holiday-themed special, following A Charlie Brown Christmas) to be produced and animated by Bill Melendez. Its initial broadcast took place on October 27, 1966, on CBS, preempting My Three Sons. CBS re-aired the special annually through 2000, with ABC picking up the rights beginning in 2001, where it now airs annually at Halloween. ABC once broadcast You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown immediately following It's the Great Pumpkin, as if to emphasize the proximity of Halloween to Election Day. Also, the Great Pumpkin is mentioned in You're Not Elected.
The program was nominated for an Emmy Award. It has been issued on home video several times, including a Remastered Deluxe Edition of the special released by Warner Home Video on September 2, 2008, with the bonus feature It's Magic, Charlie Brown which was released in 1981. To celebrate its 40th anniversary, a retrospective book was published in 2006. It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown: The Making of a Television Classic includes the entire script, never-before-seen photographs, storyboard excerpts, and interviews with the original child actors who provided the voices of the Peanuts gang.
Charlie Brown's repeated line of "I got a rock" caused some stir among many viewers of the show, according to Charles M. Schulz in the book and retrospective TV special "Happy Birthday, Charlie Brown." Schulz said that after the program first aired, bags and boxes of candy came in from all over the world "just for Charlie Brown."
October 29, 1956
The Huntley-Brinkley Report first aired.
The Huntley-Brinkley Report (sometimes known as The Texaco Huntley-Brinkley Report, for one of its early sponsors) was the NBC television network’s flagship evening news program from October 29, 1956, until July 31, 1970. It was anchored by Chet Huntley in New York City, and David Brinkley in Washington, D.C. It succeeded theCamel News Caravan, anchored by John Cameron Swayze. The program ran for 15 minutes at its inception but expanded to 30 minutes on September 9, 1963, exactly a week after CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite did so. It was developed and produced initially by Reuven Frank. Frank left the program in 1962 to produce documentaries (Eliot Frankel replaced him) but returned to the program the following year when it expanded to 30 minutes. He was succeeded as executive producer in 1965 by Robert “Shad” Northshield and in 1969 by Wallace Westfeldt.
October 30, 1931