Margaritas fueled early ‘Wheel of Fortune’ shows, Pat Sajak says

  • By Patrick Day Los Angeles Times
  • Friday, January 27, 2012 1:31pm
  • Life

You may have suspected it, but now it’s fact: Pat Sajak used to host “Wheel of Fortune” while drunk.

Genial game show host Sajak (who also moonlights as a conservative columnist) appeared on the ESPN2 talk show “Dan LeBatard Is Highly Questionable” on Tuesday and answered that burning question.

“Yes,” Sajak said. “When I first started and was much younger and could tolerate those things. We had a different show then.”

He went on to explain that the show was much more reliant on “cheesy prizes,” which required long set-up times between shows, allowing Sajak and his “Wheel” cohort, Vanna White, to take 2½-hour dinner breaks.

“At NBC in Burbank we had a place called Los Arcos across the street — which is Spanish, as you know, for ‘The Arcos’ — and they served great margaritas,” he said. “Vanna and I would go across and have two or three or six and then come and do the last shows and have trouble recognizing the alphabet.”

Exactly how many margaritas did Sajak down before doing the show? “I think the average number was cuatro (Spanish for “four”),” he said.

“I had a great time,” Sajak continued. “I have no idea if the shows were any good, but no one said anything, so I guess I did OK.”

Does Sajak still run the “Wheel” after a few drinks, or was that a relic of the crazy, anything-goes ’80s?

“Now, if I were to inhale the cork in a bottle of wine, I’d probably keel over,” he said. “I’m getting a little older.”

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