Wheel of Fortune History Wiki

Alan Thicke (born Alan Willis Jeffery on March 1, 1947 from Kirkland Lake, Ontario, died December 13, 2016 in Burbank, California) was a Canadian actor and songwriter most recognized for his lead role as Jason Seaver on the long-running ABC series Growing Pains. He also hosted several game shows, including Face the Music (a Canadian series circa 1976), Animal Crack-Ups (1987-90), Pictionary (1997-98), and GSN's All-New 3's A Crowd (1999-2002) plus the 1988 Miss Universe and Miss USA pageants.

Outside of his acting career, Thicke wrote many theme songs (often done with then-wife Gloria Loring), such as those for sitcoms Diff'rent Strokes and The Facts of Life. He also wrote many game show themes, including The Wizard of Odds (hosted by Alex Trebek), The Joker's Wild ("Joker's Jive", the main theme from 1974-75 and the closing theme for the 1977-78 season), Celebrity Sweepstakes (circa 1975-76, while Burt Sugarman owned the series), and fan-favorite Whew! (although when contacted by the Television Production Music Museum in an attempt to find the show's music package for preservation, he did not recall doing those cues).

He also co-hosted the Walt Disney World Very Merry Christmas Parade (now the Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade) with Joan Lunden from 1983-90, when he was succeeded by Regis Philbin (1921-2020), who was previously the parade's on-street interviewer.

Wheel of Fortune

It is not known precisely how Alan became associated with Wheel, although it likely began around November 1974, shortly before the series began taping. Thicke composed the 1975-83 music package, consisting of main theme "Big Wheels", its shopping-cue remix "Funky Bridge", and nine prize cues: "Glorious Sax", "Hula Buns", "Luke's Dinner", "Lusherous", "Morning Sun", "Prize Guitar", "Rackety-Sax", "Shavings", and "Hip Check". Notably, "Hip Check" was also the theme of fellow NBC game Blank Check, which debuted the same day as Wheel.

Alan also composed the three commercial themes: a version of "Big Wheels", and two cues of unknown name; for the purposes of the daytime timeline, they are referred to as "Temptation Eyes-based" (as the tune is very similar to The Grass Roots' Temptation Eyes, released in 1971) and "electric-guitar". After 1979, the three cues went through a long period of being moved, dropped, or reintroduced...although given that few episodes exist/circulate of this period, it is not certain whether the three cues simply had a rotation.

In any case, the shuffling remained until August 8, 1983, when all of Thicke's cues were replaced by an entirely new set composed by series creator Merv Griffin, with new theme "Changing Keys" also being used for all commercial breaks. One of Merv's prize cues, "Frisco Disco", was previously used on the 1978-79 revival of Jeopardy!

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