#91: The Regis Philibin & Kelly Ripa Puzzle
Wheel of Fortune's finest moment....in stupidity


Syndication: (January 2010)
Text by: Jim Williams


If I asked you to name the 2 people pictured above, could you do it?

Seems like a silly question, I know. But, on the January 4, 2010 edition of Wheel of Fortune, the answer wasn't quite so simple.

It's a special Armed Forces Week show, and the celebrities pictured at the top of the page were the subject of a "Proper Names" puzzle.

After some spinning, we get this far along in the puzzle.

And, Shane decides to solve the puzzle.

"Regis Philburn & Kelly Ripa."

Thank you, High.

Regis is a television icon. A TELEVISION ICON!!! I don't know how you can get the name "PHILBURN" out of...wait a minute.

Let me take a step back. Maybe Shane was just nervous. The hot lights and the big cameras get to all of us from time to time. This sort of thing happens on Wheel all the time. My apologies. High, do you want to apologize?

Guess not.

So, a few spins and change of turns take place and the puzzle gets to this stage.

And George decides to solve the puzzle.

"Regis Philbin & Kelly (REE'-puh)"

I think this is a historic first. The first time a Game Show Garbage induction has necessitated phonetics to convey the pronunciation of a word. After consultation with the judges, George's answer is not accepted due to mispronouncing (see also "butchering") Kelly's last name.

Dueling High facepalms. Another historic moment for us at GSG.

So now, Shane with $3,850 in the till has a chance to redeem himself.

"I'd like to solve the puzzle, please. Regis Philmin & Kelly Ripa."


Personally, after seeing such an astonishing trifecta of fail, I'm acting like Steve Harvey would after a perverted answer makes it on the board on Family Feud. I'm doing everything I can to refrain from letting loose the words that George Carlin made famous.

So it's over to Lee who fills in the rest of the puzzle.

As Pat might say, "What do we have there?"

"Regis Philbin & Kelly (RAHYP'-uh)"

Contagion has hit Game Show Garbage! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!

Pat, harkening back to his days at Vietnam, threatens to waterboard the next incorrect solve attempt. Okay, I made that part completely up, but it would have made for interesting television.

George got another crack at it and nailed the pronunciation of Regis & Kelly's last names. Screw the phonetics, you know how they're pronounced!

These 3 fine men who serve our country proudly just served up one of the zaniest moments in Wheel of Fortune history.

In a postmortem recap, our esteemed host quipped the following.

"Regis, I think it's time you stepped aside, and let a younger man step in."

Perhaps, this was the impetus for Regis leaving his daytime talk show.

Oh come on, Regis. It was just a joke!

That's the spirit, Reege! Say, who invited Letterman to this induction anyway? 


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