North Myrtle Beach woman to appear on TV game show

spalisin@thesunnews.comSeptember 16, 2012 

  • If you watch What | “Wheel of Fortune,” premiering its 30th season Who | Candace Dewberry of North Myrtle Beach among the contestants When | 7 p.m. Monday Where | WBTW-TV 13, WCBD-TV 2 and WECT-TV 6 Information | www.wheeloffortune.com By the numbers -- ‘Wheel of Fortune’ 1983, debut of the show, for which the original name was “Shoppers Bazaar,” with a bigger wheel, with carnival sound effects 720 claps per show, or 28,020 times per season, by Vanna White, letter turner, who was listed in 1992 by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s most frequent clapper 2,400 pounds, weight of the wheel that players spin, with more than 200 specialized, computerized lighting instruments capable of up to 2 million different color choices interwoven in the framework 73 stainless steel pins flying past three hard rubber “flippers” on the wheel 52 touch monitors on the puzzle board: 12 across in the top and bottom rows and 14 across in the two middle rows 10,000, people who try out each year, all trying to be one of the less than 600 contestants who make the cut 45 territories in which the show is produced globally 59 locations in which the show has taped $1 million, the most winnings by a contestant, Michelle Loewenstein, in 2008 $5 million, in donations made from the show, when athletes and celebrities compete

A woman from Vanna White’s hometown of North Myrtle Beach will be seen with much more than Xs and Os Monday night on “Wheel of Fortune.”

The syndicated game show -- which airs at 7 p.m. Mondays through Fridays on WBTW-TV 13, WCBD-TV 2 and WECT-TV 6 -- kicks off its 30th season on television with Candace Dewberry adding her own spins among the three contestants.

The Wells Fargo bank teller said last week that the whole week of episodes was filmed July 12 at the show’s home studio in Los Angeles.

Dewberry said she tried out for the show when producers on the traveling “Wheelmobile” had open auditions in mid-March at Coastal Grand mall in Myrtle Beach.

“You just put your name in, and hope you got called up on stage,” she said. “They chose four groups of 75 people. Yeah, I stood in line for nine hours ... all day Saturday and all day Sunday. And I got picked on the last round.”

For winnowing the list of candidates, two days of private auditions ensued at another site locally, Dewberry said, one of 75 individuals in that step.

Heading into the mall auditions, Dewberry, 20, wondered if she’d be “the youngest one there,” for the crowd reflected older demographics.

With her spot on the show later confirmed, Newberry said she and her fiancé, from Conway, flew west and that all contestants were due in the studio in California at 7 a.m. on the day to play, with a tight, efficient schedule kept by producers.

“They drew at random who stood where and on what show,” Dewberry said. “I got on the first show, which was taped in one hour, and we were out by 11 a.m.”

Results of Dewberry’s appearance were not allowed to be disclosed until the show airs.

Dewberry found another reward in a day of sightseeing the next day, the final of three nights spent in Los Angeles.

“We went to the Santa Monica Pier,” she said, “and that was definitely the best part of it. Of course, we went to the Pacific Ocean. I had always wanted to know what it would be like. It was so pretty, with the mountainside. And we flew over the Grand Canyon, coming home.”

“Wheel of Fortune” prompts memories of quality family time for Dewberry.

“I grew up watching it with my grandparents,” she said, “any time I was over there. ... And every day, I would just turn it on after work.”

Dewberry said she attended Aynor High School for two years before returning to her hometown Atlanta, where she earned her diploma, then moved back to coastal South Carolina. She said Kristin Todd, who won $10,000 earlier this year on the season premiere of CMT’s “The Singing Bee,” was a classmate in Aynor whom she has since “friended” on Facebook.

Although Dewberry said memorizing song lyrics as Todd did to such great depths escapes her, watching “Wheel,” though, “I can just name you every puzzle.”

Todd called Dewberry, whom she hasn't seen in a while, "a sweet girl," whom she wil be sure to watch Monday on "Wheel."

"That is so exciting to have more people from our area on national TV," Todd said.

White dazzled Dewberry long before any letters were turned at her show's taping.

“She was very nice,” Dewberry said. “She came in way before the show without her hair and makeup done, and said ‘Hey everybody!’ in pants and a T-shirt.. She was really sweet.”

Everything’s larger on camera

Dewberry remains floored by how the show set looks so different on camera.

“It looks massive on TV,” she said, “but it’s a lot smaller than it looks on TV.”

She called the wheel, although not huge, “extremely heavy.”

“It’s unbelievable how much it weighs,” Dewberry said. “You put all your might into it to spin it.”

Other impressions still fresh in her mind, more than two months since filming, include how all three contestants stand close together during the game, each on an adjustable floor so everyone’s height looks even.

“They make you all level,” Dewberry said.

The seating for the audience also numbers about only 40 people, filled by contestants’ families, she said.

She’s ready for a “little Wheel of Fortune party” Monday with friends from work and her fiancé.

“I’m curious to see what I look like,” said Dewberry, a Zumba instructor who shed 10 pounds before her visit “because I would look 10 pounds heavier on camera.”

She called the whole experience around her episode awesome and “totally worth it,” enough to spur wishes for another vacation in the Golden State.

“It went by so quickly,” she said, quoting show host Pat Sajak’s presage on the set:

“Enjoy this. It’ll be the fastest 22 minutes of your life.”

Contact STEVE PALISIN at 444-1764.

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