Sunday, December 12, 2004

Kevin Dooley's Wheel Of Fortune

1449_4_006After two futile tries, some internet research and a couple of good message board tips, I finally caught up with Kevin Dooley's appearance on Wheel Of Fortune.

When Stuart Moore called on Friday to say "Kevin's on Wheel, >click<" I got so compulsive about seeing this video I felt like Bob Crane.

Kevin was once a co-worker of Stuart's and mine, and a good guy to hang out with. It had been years since I even heard anything about him. I worried it would be weird to see him on a game show. Would he come off like some... contestant? Or would the Kevin I know somehow peek out through the strict Wheel ritual?

He was Kevin. Out of three contestants, he was the only one who tried to banter with the host, Pat Sajak. Not Algonquin Roundtable stuff, just little things, like saying that the next inevitable format-segment Sajak was introducing sounded like "a good idea." Or waving goodbye to his Hickory Farms prize voucher when a tragic spin of the Wheel bankrupted him. Sajak was pressed--he is a busy man wita game to run, products to plug, Hollywood liberals to expose--so Kevin could only engage him for milliseconds at a time. But he kept it up. It wasn't any apparent strategy; it was his personality. He couldn't do otherwise. He's Kevin.

But not exactly the same Kevin. He's back in college, studying to be an English teacher, married with children and grandchildren. When I knew him, there were no kids, no school, no plans I was aware of. I learned all about him from the .075-second getting-to-know-you interview at the top of the show. Kevin talked fast, cramming a lot of details in; he seemed proud of his life. It was good to see him.

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