Dan Madigan didn’t know he was in training every time he sat down to watch “Wheel of Fortune” with his grandmother while growing up in New Hyde Park.
The 28-year-old DVD producer won $4,000 on an episode that aired April 8, but that moment came after a long journey. He first applied to be on the 36-year-old game show in 2006 while living in California and working for a film studio as a grip. He said he would usually get home around 7:15 p.m. and play along with “Wheel of Fortune” at 7:30 p.m.
“I was pretty good at it,” he said.
Madigan was called in for an audition, but the time conflicted with his work schedule. He reapplied to “Wheel” in 2009 after he returned home to New Hyde Park, and auditioned last June in New York City after he started his Chelsea-based DVD production job.
“I don’t usually believe in the whole ‘the stars were aligned’ stuff,” he said. “But there was definitely something there.”
Madigan received the phone call asking him to be on the show on Jan. 26, the birthday of his late grandmother, Catherine Barone. He taped the show on Feb. 11, the day before mom Camille Madigan’s birthday. He won $1,000 for solving “Water Filter” and $3,000 for “Distant Cousins.” It wasn’t all glory for Madigan, though.
While trying to solve “Support the Local Farmers Market,” he racked up a trip to Florida on the wheel, but lost it after hitting “Bankrupt.”
Madigan hasn’t received his winnings yet, as it usually takes four months after the air date for the money to come in. He hopes to use it to fund an independent film he is working on, or possibly buy his girlfriend, Crystal Salgado of New Hyde Park, an engagement ring.