8 Things You Might Not Know About Vanna White

Charley Gallay, Getty Images
Charley Gallay, Getty Images

For nearly 35 years , Vanna White has been revealing letters—and contestant fates—on Wheel of Fortune, the hugely successful syndicated game show that plays like a supercharged version of hangman. Despite her modest duties—which net her a reported $4 million annually—White has become synonymous with both the show and its equally durable host, Pat Sajak. For more on White, ch_ck o_t o_r list.

1. SHE WAS A CONTESTANT ON THE PRICE IS RIGHT.

Vanna White was born Vanna Marie Rosich in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. After attending the Atlanta School of Fashion, Rosich—who soon changed her name to White—began modeling and auditioned for a series of movies, including one notable role in 1981’s Looker opposite Albert Finney. During this time, White also managed to snag an appearance as a contestant on The Price is Right. Unfortunately, she didn’t win anything, but her background in modeling, performing, and game shows came in handy for her 1982 Wheel of Fortune audition, where producers picked her out of 200 possible candidates.

2. SHE’S WORN OVER 6700 GOWNS ON THE SHOW. (BUT NEVER GETS TO KEEP THEM.)

White has often acknowledged the curious nature of her job, which involves looking glamorous while turning or touching letters during the game. In this heightened reality, it pays not to wear the same dress twice, and it’s estimated that White has worn roughly 6700 gowns during her tenure. The dresses are typically borrowed from designers and returned once she's done taping the show.

3. SHE APPEARED IN PLAYBOY, BUT NEVER POSED FOR THEM.

In 1987, some viewers of Wheel of Fortune were surprised to see White staring back at them from the cover of Playboy magazine. Inside were salacious photos of a seminude White. While fans were puzzled by the career choice, White didn’t actually agree to appear in the magazine. Publisher Hugh Hefner bought photos White agreed to pose for in 1982, prior to being hired for Wheel, in order to make her rent. White wound up suing the magazine for $5.2 million for tarnishing her family-audience image and also sued Hefner personally. She later dropped both suits. 

4. SHE SUED OVER A ROBOT VANNA.

“Vannamania” was rampant in the 1980s, with the model issuing an autobiography, Vanna Speaks, as well as endorsing products and even coming out with a Home Shopping Network-peddled doll; over 500,000 were sold. With a lucrative image to maintain, White was perturbed to see electronics giant Samsung run a print ad in 1988 featuring a robotic letter-turner that was clearly inspired by her Wheel persona. White sued, claiming intellectual property infringement, and won.

5. SHE ONLY WORKS FOUR DAYS A MONTH.

Like many syndicated game shows, Wheel of Fortune tends to pack a lot of production time into a relatively short window. While White and Sajak tape an impressive six shows a day, they’re only expected on set four days a month.

6. SHE REVEALED HER PREGNANCY ON THE PUZZLE BOARD.

During a taping of a show in September 1992, a contestant correctly guessed that the board’s solution was a revelation about White. It spelled out V-A-N-N-A’S P-R-E-G-N-A-N-T to announce the pending arrival of White’s first child with first husband George Santo Peitro.

7. SHE HAS HER OWN LINE OF YARN.

White was an avid crochet enthusiast for years before her career in entertainment took off. She began knitting again shortly after getting hired on Wheel and later mentioned the hobby during a Tonight Show appearance. White was then approached by the Lion Brand Yarn Company to become a spokesperson for the product. In 2008, the company began issuing her own line of yarn, Vanna’s Choice. White donates half the proceeds to charity and says she even sneaks in some knitting behind the puzzle board during breaks in taping.

8. SHE MADE THE GUINNESS BOOK OF WORLD RECORDS FOR CLAPPING.

Has anyone clapped more than Vanna White? Guinness doesn’t think so. The respected world record curators have declared White the “most frequent clapper” in history, estimating she’s clapped more than 3.4 million times. The award was bestowed to her on a May 2013 broadcast of Wheel, meaning she’s had over five years to add to the total. Guinness figures she claps an average of 606 times per show.

The ChopBox Smart Cutting Board Has a Food Scale, Timer, and Knife Sharper Built Right Into It

ChopBox
ChopBox

When it comes to furnishing your kitchen with all of the appliances necessary to cook night in and night out, you’ll probably find yourself running out of counter space in a hurry. The ChopBox, which is available on Indiegogo and dubs itself “The World’s First Smart Cutting Board,” looks to fix that by cramming a bunch of kitchen necessities right into one cutting board.

In addition to giving you a knife-resistant bamboo surface to slice and dice on, the ChopBox features a built-in digital scale that weighs up to 6.6 pounds of food, a nine-hour kitchen timer, and two knife sharpeners. It also sports a groove on its surface to catch any liquid runoff that may be produced by the food and has a second pull-out cutting board that doubles as a serving tray.

There’s a 254nm UVC light featured on the board, which the company says “is guaranteed to kill 99.99% of germs and bacteria" after a minute of exposure. If you’re more of a traditionalist when it comes to cleanliness, the ChopBox is completely waterproof (but not dishwasher-safe) so you can wash and scrub to your heart’s content without worry. 

According to the company, a single one-hour charge will give you 30 days of battery life, and can be recharged through a Micro USB port.

The ChopBox reached its $10,000 crowdfunding goal just 10 minutes after launching its campaign, but you can still contribute at different tiers. Once it’s officially released, the ChopBox will retail for $200, but you can get one for $100 if you pledge now. You can purchase the ChopBox on Indiegogo here.

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11 Fascinating Facts About Tamagotchi

Tamagotchi is the toy that launched a thousand digital pet competitors.
Tamagotchi is the toy that launched a thousand digital pet competitors.
Chesnot/Getty Images News

They blooped and beeped and ate, played, and pooped, and, for ‘90s kids, the egg-shaped Tamagotchi toys were magic. They taught the responsibility of tending to a “pet,” even though their shrill sounds were annoying to parents and teachers and school administrators. Nearly-real funerals were held for expired Tamagotchi, and they’ve even been immortalized in a museum (of sorts). Here are 11 things you should know about the keychain toy that was once stashed in every kid’s backpack.

1. The idea for the Tamagotchi came from a female office worker at Bandai.

Aki Maita was a 30-year-old “office lady” at the Japanese toy company Bandai when inspiration struck. She wanted to create a pet for kids—one that wouldn't bark or meow, make a mess in the house, or lead to large vet bills, according to Culture Trip. Maita took her idea to Akihiro Yokoi, a toy designer at another company, and the duo came up with a name and backstory for their toy: Tamagotchis were aliens, and their egg served as protection from the Earth’s atmosphere. They gave prototype Tamagotchis to high school girls in Shibuya, and tweaked and honed the design of the toy based on their feedback.

2. The name Tamagotchi is a blend of two Japanese words.

The name Tamagotchi is a mashup between the Japanese words tamago and tomodachi, or egg and friend, according to Culture Trip. (Other sources have the name meaning "cute little egg" or "loveable egg.")

3. Tamagotchis were released in Japan in 1996.

A picture of a tamagotchi toy.
Tamagotchis came from a faraway planet called "Planet Tamagotchi."
Museum Rotterdam, Wikimedia Commons//CC BY-SA 3.0

Bandai released the Tamagotchi in Japan in November 1996. The tiny plastic keychain egg was equipped with a monochrome LCD screen that contained a “digital pet,” which hatched from an egg and grew quickly from there—one day for a Tamagotchi was equivalent to one year for a human. Their owners used three buttons to feed, discipline, play with, give medicine to, and clean up after their digital pet. It would make its demands known at all hours of the day through bloops and bleeps, and owners would have to feed it or bathe it or entertain it.

Owners that successfully raised their Tamagotchi to adulthood would get one of seven characters, depending on how they'd raised it; owners that were less attentive faced a sadder scenario. “Leave one unattended for a few hours and you'll return to find that it has pooped on the floor or, worse, died,” Wired wrote. The digital pets would eventually die of old age at around the 28-day mark, and owners could start fresh with a new Tamagotchi.

4. Tamagotchis were an immediate hit.

The toys were a huge success—4 million units were reportedly sold in Japan during their first four months on shelves. By 1997, Tamagotchis had made their way to the United States. They sold for $17.99, or around $29 in today's dollars. One (adult) reviewer noted that while he was "drawn in by [the Tamagotchi's] cleverness," after several days with the toy, "the thrill faded quickly. I'm betting the Tamagotchi will be the Pet Rock of the 1990s—overwhelmingly popular for a few months, and then abandoned in the fickle rush to some even cuter toy."

The toy was, in fact, overwhelmingly popular: By June 1997, 10 million of the toys had been shipped around the world. And according to a 2017 NME article, a whopping 82 million Tamagotchi had been sold since their release into the market in 1997.

5. Aki Maita and Akihiro Yokoi won an award for inventing the Tamagotchi.

In 1997, the duo won an Ig Nobel Prize in economics, a satiric prize that’s nonetheless presented by Nobel laureates at Harvard, for "diverting millions of person-hours of work into the husbandry of virtual pets" by creating the Tamagotchi.

6. Tamagotchis weren't popular with teachers.

Some who grew up with Tamagotchi remember sneaking the toys into school in their book bags. The toys were eventually banned in some schools because they were too distracting and, in some cases, upsetting for students. In a 1997 Baltimore Sun article titled “The Tamagotchi Generation,” Andrew Ratner wrote that the principal at his son’s elementary school sent out a memo forbidding the toys “because some pupils got so despondent after their Tamagotchis died that they needed consoling, even care from the school nurse.”

7. One pet cemetery served as a burial ground for expired Tamagotchi.

Terry Squires set aside a small portion of his pet cemetery in southern England for dead Tamagotchi. He told CNN in 1998 that he had performed burials for Tamagotchi owners from Germany, Switzerland, France, the United States, and Canada, all of whom ostensibly shipped their dead by postal mail. CNN noted that "After the Tamagotchis are placed in their coffins, they are buried as mourners look on, their final resting places topped with flowers."

8. There were many copycat Tamagotchi.

The success of the Tamagotchi resulted in both spin-offs and copycat toys, leading PC Mag to dub the late ’90s “The Golden Age of Virtual Pets.” There was the Digimon, a Tamagotchi spin-off by Bandai that featured monsters and was marketed to boys. (There were also Tamagotchi video games.) And in 1997, Tiger Electronics launched Giga Pets, which featured real animals (and, later, dinosaurs and fictional pets from TV shows). According to PC Mag, Giga Pets were very popular in the United States but “never held the same mystique as the original Tamagotchi units.” Toymaker Playmates's Nano Pets were also a huge success, though PC Mag noted they were “some of the least satisfying to take care of."

9. Rare Tamagotchis can be worth a lot of money.

According to Business Insider, most vintage Tamagotchis won't fetch big bucks on the secondary market. (On eBay, most are priced at around $50.) The exception are rare editions like “Yasashii Blue” and “Tamagotchi Ocean,” which go for $300 to $450 on eBay. As Complex notes, "There were over 40 versions (lines) of Tamagotchi released, and each line featured a variety of colors and variations ... yours would have to be one of the rarest models to be worth the effort of resale."

10. A new generation of Tamagotchis were released in 2017 for the toy's 20th anniversary.

The 2017 re-release of the Tamagotchi in its packaging.
Bandai came to the aid of nostalgic '90s kids when it re-released a version of the original Tamagotchis for the toy's 20th anniversary.
Chesnot/Getty Images

In November 2017, Bandai released a 20th anniversary Tamagotchi that, according to a press release [PDF], was "a first-of-its-kind-anywhere exact replica of the original Tamagotchi handheld digital pet launched ... in 1996." However, as The Verge reported, the toys weren't an exact replica: "They're about half the size, the LCD display is square rather than rectangle, and those helpful icons on the top and bottom of the screen seem to be gone now." In 2019, new Tamagotchis were released; they were larger than the originals, featured full-color displays, and retailed for $60.

11. The original Tamagotchi’s sound has been immortalized in a virtual museum.

The Museum of Endangered Sounds is a website that seeks to immortalize the digital sounds that become extinct as we hurtle through the evolution of technology. “The crackle of a dial-up modem. The metallic clack of a 3.5-inch floppy slotting into a Macintosh disk drive. The squeal of the newborn Tamagotchi. They are vintage sounds that no oldies station is ever going to touch,” The Washington Post wrote in a 2012 profile of the museum. So, yes, the sound of that little Tamagotchi is forever preserved, should it someday, very sadly, cease to exist completely.