Pat Sajak could be anybody's best friend. For a woman, he'd be the soft shoulder. For a man, he'd be the comedy relief guy. The fellow you've been watching spinning that 'wheel' every night for the past 31 years pretty much fits the old cliché: 'What you see is what you get' -- very nicely. Yep, the "Wheel of Fortune" guru is -- seriously -- cool, calm and... well, he's a vowel expert. Y? Stay tuned.
If you missed our interview with Mr. Mellow last November, check it out here. The game show host took another turn with The Huffington Post to take our Pop Quiz just because we wanted to pick his brain one more time.
What bad habit do you have that your wife wishes you would quit?
I think like most guys, I'm probably not as communicative as she would like. We tend to express ourselves in sulking.
Who was your childhood hero?
Actually that's an easy one. It was Jack Parr who was Johnny Carson's predecessor on the "Tonight Show." I'd sneak out of bed at night and watch Jack. By the way, he became a good friend later in life.
If someone lets you down are you more likely to hold a grudge or be forgiving?
It depends on the nature of what they did. I've let people down so I understand that happens. I think I'm pretty forgiving.
Who do you call when you're bored?
Well, now I'll call you. (Laughs) Actually I don't have an answer to that because I guess maybe I'm not bored that often. I'm more apt to pick up a book then pick up a phone.
When was the last time you cried?
God. This is really embarrassing. There's a website called ricochet.com and I blog it occasionally. If you go back a few weeks, I did a piece about "Wheel of Fortune" players and what nice people they are and I just felt that I should write something about them. I wrote sort of a tribute to 'Wheel' players. I really like the people on our show. I read it and I got a little teary eyed at my own piece. [Laughs]
I read it, and it was very sweet. What TV show that is no longer being produced do you miss the most?
There are two shows actually. I miss "Colombo" and "The Andy Griffith Show."
Oh my God. I'm obsessed with TAGS too!
I bet I have seen every episode, I'm talking about the five black-and-white years. I've seen every episode at least 100 times. I know that sounds impossible.
No. I have too. I actually watch reruns almost every day.
It's been on constantly since it was on the air so we're talking 50+ years so all you have to do is see it twice a year which I do easily. I can do that standing on my head. The moment they fade in, it takes about three seconds until I know which episode.
Yes. I'm right there with you. When I interviewed Ron Howard, I said, "I loved Opie and to me you'll always be Opie Taylor in my heart."
I know. I'm sure he's pretty used to it. I'll tell you what, he was a terrific kid actor.
What's your favorite TAGS episode?
My favorite is the show where the guy got a flat tire outside Mayberry and wanted to get his car fixed because his car stopped running and he came in to town, couldn't get anyone to fix his car because it was Sunday. The "Man in a Hurry" I think it was called. I just think that was just a very sweet episode and I think [Don] Knotts and [Andy] Griffith did not get the credit they deserve for the comedy team. They were brilliant. Another favorite was when Don Knotts (Barney) did his thing where he was reciting the Preamble to the Constitution -- that was just some brilliant comedic timing. Barney did the entire Preamble without ever saying one word. He was prompted on every single word [by Andy]. How do you make that funny? But they did it.
If you had only one choice would you rather be the sexiest man in the world or the smartest?
I already am the sexiest. (Laughs) It depends on what the alternatives are. If I were smart enough I'd go for sexiest. [Laughing] I don't want to be stupid either so I'd rather be smart and not sexy than sexy and stupid, but if I could be the sexiest guy in the world and fairly smart I would take that.
Finish this sentence, I start to feel old when I ...
... see other people's kids.
When was the last time you told a little white lie?
Probably the last time I said, 'I've never had a player I didn't like.'
So there have been a couple you weren't crazy about?
It's funny. I'm never troubled when a player makes a mistake, does something that at home you might say is stupid because I understand what they're going through. The only time I ever get annoyed with players, it doesn't happen very often, but once or twice a season you get someone on there who you know it's just kind of a hoot for them. They're going to be as outrageous as they can so that they can show the video to people. They're more interested in promoting themselves then playing the game. That's the only time I get annoyed.
What's a deal breaker for you in a friendship?
When I feel used. A friend of mine that was complaining about a friend of his that was always asking him for stuff and that was the only time he would call. My line to him was 'Yeah, he's always there for you when he needs you.' I guess that would be it when you're just there to facilitate their life.
Finish this sentence I'm tired of hearing about...
Speaking of vowels, I don't want to bore you with my vowel history, but when I was a kid, I remember when vowels were A, E, I, O, U and sometimes Y. What was that about?
I guess that was to explain when you're basically told that every word has a vowel in it, but then what do you do about sky? So for sky, the Y took the place of the vowel.
Because in every word if you include that 'sometimes Y,' every word does have a vowel in it. By the way, the most misunderstood rule strategy on Wheel, people are always asking why do people waste money buying vowels? Because it's the most important thing you can do on the show. Barring the bad luck of the wheel I can tell you who's most likely to win based on whether they are buying vowels or not. If you don't have any idea what the puzzle is, you're going to spin the wheel, and there's a risk in spinning because you could go bankrupt.
You're just going to call a letter at random. There are 21 consonants and five vowels so your odds on finding a letter are less. If there's a T and an H and then a blank, you know it's an E, but you buy the E because there could be four other Es and those four other Es are going to give you clues as to how to proceed from there. I see people almost everyday lose the game because they didn't buy a vowel.
What would you consider the biggest waste of time?
I say this and I'm guilty of it at the same time so I'm not demeaning anyone else. I'm throwing myself in. I really do think it's the Internet. It's the computer. I hate that. It's too bad because on the one hand it's a great saver of time, but it is incredible how much time you waste doing nothing. I can't imagine the man hours that are lost in this country due to people playing video poker or just surfing.
You can't go to dinner without people looking at their cell phones.
No, and I'm becoming guilty of that. It's terrible. You know this all happened overnight and without any sort of national debate or thinking about it. It just happened and we're in this world now and there's nothing we can do. The barn door is closed.
That's why we like "The Andy Griffith Show" so much. Everything was so simple back then.
I think so.... People in our generation got their news from the nightly news, the morning newspaper or the afternoon newspaper and you had 24 hours to kind of forget about it, think about it if you want, talk about it with someone if you want or not talk about it or not ever think about it, digest it or whatever. Now it just keeps coming at you. It's always breaking news. There's no reflective time. There's no digesting time. It just keeps coming.
What would you consider none of my business?
Anything that I haven't told you.
Raise your hand if you can even believe that our favorite sheriff of all time (Mayberry's Andy Taylor) didn't receive one nomination for his brilliance on The Andy Griffith Show. Our favorite sidekick -- lovable deputy sheriff Barney Fife (aka Don Knotts) -- took home five Emmys, and, rightfully so, but it's shocking that Andy was never recognized by the Academy. 'Barney' may have gotten all the laughs, but 'Andy' set 'em up! The old cliché 'That's just wrong!' seems to apply here.
If 'Ralph Kramden' (aka Jackie Gleason), boisterous bus driver on The Honeymooners/The Jackie Gleason Show, never took home an Emmy, but co-star Art Carney (aka sidekick Ed Norton) took home three for his role as Ed, is that an oversight? Yes, yes it is! We loved Ed, but Ralph kept the home fires burning with his bigger-than-life character which fueled Norton's fidgety, erratic behavior that made us all laugh out loud. Gleason should have taken home a busload of Emmys!
James Arness, who portrayed Marshall Matt Dillion on Gunsmoke for 20 years, was nominated for an Emmy in 1957, '58 and '59, but didn't take home the prize, although he has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and was inducted into the Western Performers Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. Maybe the Emmy voters didn't love him - but we certainly do - and we're sure Miss Kitty put a notch or two on his belt.
So one of the great sitcoms of all time, 'Seinfeld,' didn't produce an Emmy for its star, Jerry Seinfeld. How can that be? Don't get us started on the bad clichés... a show about 'nothing' reaps nothing for the star of the show? That's what Jerry gets for giving away all the funny lines to his costars. (See 'Andy Griffith.' )
After missing out seven consecutive times in the 1990s, Jason Alexander (aka Seinfelds' George Costanza) must have screamed 'Serenity Now!' after going home empty handed so many times. Losing three times to that madcap Seinfeld neighbor Kramer (Michael Richards), must have made him feel like he was somehow missing in action. "Yeah, I'm a great quitter. It's one of the few things I do well. I come from a long line of quitters. My father was a quitter, my grandfather was a quitter... I was raised to give up."... GC 'George' made us laugh until our bellies hurt. That should be Emmy worthy!
It's no secret that Angela Lansbury is one of the best actresses on planet Earth. It's a mystery, though, why the Murder, She Wrote actress never pulled off the Emmy she deserved after 15 nominations. Broadway recognized her talent with five Tonys and the Golden Globes got it right six times, but Miss Emmy... what's the deal?
That sexy siren (Samantha Jones) from Sex and the City could pull off the big 'O,' but somehow the Emmy voters must have looked at that as method acting, and never rewarded her 'real' acting abilities even though she was nominated five times. Ooooooh, my!
Steve Carell got little more than a paper cut after six nominations and no wins for his role as Michael Scott, regional manager of Dunder Mifflin Inc, a mid-sized paper company in a big NBC hit show called The Office. He can thank Jim Parsons (twice), Alec Baldwin (twice), Ricky Gervais and Tony Shalhoub for making off with his hardware. He can thank himself for his part in making that show a hit!
No, you are not hallucinating. Henry Winkler did not take home an Emmy for portraying one of the most iconic and recognizable television characters of all time -- Arthur 'The Fonz' Fonzarelli! The Happy Days character brought the goods when it came to 'hip,' 'cool,' and 'sexy.' Although Winkler eventually won two daytime Emmys, his three nominations for Outstanding Lead Actor, Comedy Series/Happy Days somehow didn't cut the mustard with Emmy voters which means they were obviously sitting down on the job. Primetime Emmy voters: Sit on it!
Emmy voters, you have a lot of 'splainin' to do! Why oh why didn't 'Ricky Ricardo' share in the Emmy love that his wonderfully ditzy wife Lucille Ball enjoyed as 'Lucy Ricardo?' Trivia: Arnaz was the only one of the four stars on I Love Lucy who did not receive an Emmy nomination. Shameful!
Six -- count 'em -- six times Hugh Laurie was nominated for his role as Dr. Gregory House in the Fox medical drama House but had to stay in his seat when someone else's name was called during the Award presentations. Grumpy Cat meet Grumpy Doctor. It's likely that the actor became as grumpy as his character after those six defeats.
Interestingly, actor Ed O'Neill, who was best known for his role as Al Bundy on Fox TV sitcom Married... With Children, was never nominated for that part. Although he has been nominated three times for playing patriarch Jay Pritchett on the award-winning ABC sitcom Modern Family, he has never taken home the award. Maybe this year his luck will change. Stay tuned!
'Peggy Bundy' was not the best-dressed distressed housewife in her role on Married... With Children, but she brought self-indulgence to a new high on this hilarious sitcom. She owned the bouffant hairdo and skintight Spandex pants. Entertainment Weekly once listed her as one of the biggest Emmy snubs of all time. We second that.
Wouldn't you think the odds of Michael Landon winning an Emmy for his roles on Bonanza, Little House on the Prairie and/or Highway to Heaven would be good to great? Not so much. According to "Michael Landon Trivia," he never won an Emmy in the 28 years he spent entertaining the masses on any of his three television shows.
That handsome, debonair, rugged hunk, Pernell Roberts, aka 'Adam Cartwright' of the Ponderosa, was never nominated for his role on the popular western Bonanza and was nominated only once for his CBS drama Trapper John, M.D. Roberts rode off into the sunset without an Emmy to keep him company on the trail. Just doesn't seem right.
Nominated three times for his superb performance as Fred Sanford in the comedy series Sanford and Son, Redd Foxx didn't take home the prize in spite of the show's popularity during its six-year run. Who plays lovable and cantankerous all at the same time better than Redd Foxx? Nobody. Unfortunately, he never won 'the big one.' Right, Elizabeth?
We all know who shot J.R., but what we don't know is why the man who put Dallas on the map, never took home an Emmy. Hagman first came into our living rooms playing the mild-mannered astronaut -- sidekick to a 'genie' -- in the NBC sitcom I Dream of Jeannie, but it was his role as J.R. Ewing in the primetime TV soap opera Dallas that got our attention! Unfortunately the audience doesn't get a vote so Hagman never got the 'girl.'
Paging ER Dr. Doug Ross. Put the Emmy down. Oh, never mind. You don't own an Emmy, but, so what? George Clooney owns just about every other award one could ever hope to acquire in the big wide world of entertainment. Check 'em out here. (Just sooooo many!) We're wondering if the Syriana actor keeps his Oscars on the same shelf his Emmy(s) should have gone? Great actor! Apparently can't win 'em all.
Hard to believe that actress Phylicia Rashad was only nominated once in eight seasons for playing matriarch Clair Huxtable on the hit NBC sitcom The Cosby Show. In 2008, Rashad was nominated for her role as Lena Younger in the revival of A Raisin in the Sun.
Elizabeth Montgomery was nominated nine times, five for her role as domestic witch Samantha Stephens in Betwitched, but no matter how hard she tweaked that cute little button nose, she couldn't make even one Emmy appear on her mantle.
Ron Howard's two most famous roles on television: Opie Taylor on The Andy Griffith Show and Richie Cunningham on Happy Days were priceless. His Happy Days role didn't earn him a Primetime Emmy award, but the actor-turned-director hit pay dirt with a boatload of awards for his films which includes an Academy Award for Best Directing for A Beautiful Mind in 2002 (and a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Children's Animated Program for Curious George).
Mr. Pioneer of the late-night genre, Steve Allen, who was the first host of the original Tonight Show, didn't win an Emmy for his efforts because... he was never nominated for his efforts. He was, however, nominated twice for his primetime variety show, The Steve Allen Show but, alas, didn't take home the gold lady. Is there a 'Pioneer' award in the future of the Emmys? Let's hope so!
Follow Pat Gallagher on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@pat_gallagher