Chicago, My Kind Of Town

By: Jason Colthorp
By: Jason Colthorp

After mic'ing up Vanna White and enjoying a $40 steak... I gotta tell ya... 'ol Blue Eyes knew what he was talking about.

Over the weekend, our chief photog Steve and I, went to Chicago for a behind-the-scenes story at the Wheel of Fortune to air in May.  I really can't say much about the story, but I will say a few things.  Vanna White at 51 years old is stunning.  It's amazing... and she's so down to earth on top of that.  It was nothing for her to knock out two autographs for my daughters at the end of our interview.  Pat Sajak is just a funny guy.  I will share this tidbit of our interview that will definitely make the piece in May.

Me: Wink Martindale versus pat Sajak in a celebrity death match-- who wins?

Sajak: Oh, I'd kick the crap out of Wink.

After our interviews around 1:30 Saturday, we settled in for the show tapings at 3:30.  They knock out 5 in a day, but we only stayed for 3, since Steve had all the video we needed.  A few observations:  They tape the "WHEEL... OF... FORTUNE" chant by the crowd at the beginning and use it for every show that week.  They start over occasionally-- once Pat said $3000 toss up when it was $2000... and once in the final puzzle a girl's answer was so close to the buzzer, Pat immediately stopped the show and they looked at the tape for 10 minutes before resuming.  Every commercial break, Sajak goes over to the puzzle board area and chit chats with producers and the contestants are pulled off their stage and secluded.  I never figured this out, unless Sajak has a Howie Mandel-thing only with contestants instead of hands.

Back at the hotel, we ask the concierge for the name of a steakhouse.  Didn't say cheap or anything just steakhouse.  She says Gibson's-- it's only 5 blocks away.  Rock on.  A quick cab ride and we're on the waiting list.  The place has celebrity photos all over the walls-- including multiples of Joe Mantegna-- which I found a little disturbing.  Anywho, we finally get a table in the bar, the Duke-UNC game is on TV all is right with the world... until I look at the menu.  They offer an $80 dollar porterhouse, a $90 surf-and-turf and some cheap $20 BBQ rib dinners.  The boss ain't gonna be happy.  (editor's note: the boss wasn't happy) But, since Wheel paid for the hotel we figured what the hell?  Besides, we like to think we're two hard working employees and deserve a little something.  Steve goes for a $37 T-bone and I go crazy over a $40 NY Sirloin.  The final bill was like $120, but they were the best freakin' steaks we'd had in a while.  Delish.  And to think, we almost went to Jack-in-the-box for $4 burgers. 

But that's just not how we do it uptown, friend.

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