The Price is Right
My second major game show taping. My wife and I flew to Los Angeles on
Saturday, July 15, 2006, with Price is Right tickets in hand.
After spending Sunday in Burbank attending the Game Show Congress, I was
back in the hotel room trying to get some sleep before getting up in the
wee hours to get in line. After doing a little research, I found out it's
best to get in line around 1:30 a.m. at this time of the year to be
guaranteed seats to The Price is Right.
We set the hotel alarm for 1 a.m. and called a cab. It cost us $17 for
the four-mile ride down to Beverly and Fairfax (boy...those LA cabs are
kind of expensive!) We arrived at the studio at 1:30 a.m. and a couple of
the people I met at the Game Show Congress were already in line. Several more people who also post to the Game Show Forum internet newsgroup arrived shortly after. When I first found out I'd have to get in line so early I thought it would drag...but it was just the opposite. I had a
great time talking everyone about various game shows over the years, and
the time passed fairly quickly. It was great to meet people in person
that I'd only met previously online.
It was a warm night - around 70 degrees - and the bagel shop across the
street rented out chairs for people to sit on. I noticed some lightning in
the skies around 4 a.m. but nothing but a few scattered raindrops ever
fell. Some other people further up the line wondered if it the wait was
like this for every game show taping. A CBS guard went up and down the
line a couple of times warning people not to bring cell phones or cameras
into the studio.
As it started to get light, around 6 a.m. they handed out "order of
arrival" slips. We were Nos. 44 and 45. We were then told to come
back at 7:30 to get "priority numbers". We walked a block down
to Farmer's Market, which was just opening, and had a light snack. At
7:30 we got our priority numbers, and were told to come back at 9. At
this point I felt it starting to drag a bit. We came back at 9 and were
allowed into the audience holding area while they checked everyone's ID
and gave us name tags. I had only brought a couple of bananas and some
water and was starting to get hungry. I thought once we got processed
we'd have access to a place to eat a small breakfast inside the building,
but we didn't. There was a snack bar open, but it only served donuts and
As the morning progessed, it started to get hotter. The high probably
reached close to 90 that day. We continued to talk to the people around
us in line and several of the Game Show Forum regulars started signing the
show's theme and playing mock pricing games. Around 11, a couple of the
show's staff came out and started the interviews. A fellow named Stan
Blits was the one conducting the interviews. They took about 12 people at
a time and spoke to everyone for about 30 seconds. It was from these
interviews that they chose their contestants.
I tried to think of something interesting to say about myself that would
get their attention. I was wearing a T-shirt that I had made that
featured a screen grab from an early Price is Right episode with a young
Bob. I thought that was a good idea because I hadn't seen that sort of
thing done before. Finally it was my turn and they asked where I was
from and what I did, and then I mentioned about my love of game shows, and
pointed out my shirt from the early days of the show. Stan thanked me and
hoped I would enjoy the show, and then continued with the other people
from our group. I thought I did OK, but my wife said "I think we
blew it". At any rate, we then passed through the CBS metal detector
and sat just outside the entrance for another hour while they interviewed
Finally around 12:30 we entered the studio. We walked up the stairs and I
finally saw Studio 33 - The Bob Barker Studio for the first time. It
looked much smaller and compact in person than it does on television. I was seated
fourth row near the center, so I had a great view of everything. It was
cool inside so I had to put my sweater on. While sitting there, I thought
about all the other game shows that have been done from that studio over
the years and tried to imagine what their sets looked like. It always
looks slightly different in person. After a while I had noticed a production assistant looking out to the audience. She had a clipboard and was probably trying
to find out where today's contestants were seated so the cameramen would
know where to shoot. I was hoping they were trying to find me!
Around 1 p.m. Rich Fields, the show's announcer, came out to "warm us
up". He spoke briefly about the show and even had some people come
up on stage and dance. After a while I heard the director over the intercom say
"cameras in place please" and I knew we were close to starting.
Rich announced the show's airdate of October 5, 2006 and got everyone
applauding and cheering. Finally the taping started. Although you can hardly see me on the opening, my wife and I are clearly visible during audience pans for most of the "Come on Down" calls during the show.
A fellow names Aaron, who was from our group and seated four
seats away from me, was the first contestant called. The second contestant, a cute blonde name Heather,
was seated just behind me. After all four were called down, we saw Bob
Barker for the first time.
The first game, Danger Price, was won. Aaron won the second pricing game
with a perfect bid, called out from a fellow sitting next to my wife, and
got to play Plinko. He only won $1500, and had three 0's. When dropping
the final chip, it got stuck twice. Bob mentioned both were firsts.
The next contestant was called and she took a while to get out of her
seat. The name called was not her exact name, but she mentioned she had a
nickname of "Shazam". After some confusion, Bob called for a
Stop Tape. They thought they had the wrong contestant. After some
checking, it was revealed she was the right contestant and they decided to
re-shoot the call down. She was told to go back to her seat, and act like
she was really surprised. They rolled tape, called her down and she came
down a lot faster that time. The home audience will never know what happened!
Before the show we were told to always go up the left stairs to the stage,
because the cameras are set up that way. The fellow who won the third
game, Mark, went up the wrong way. He played the Money Game and won a car. Next
came the first Showcase Showdown and Mark won with
During commercials, Bob spoke to the audience and took questions. He
talked a bit about the classic show Truth or Consequences, and also accepted gifts from
The fourth game played was CheckOut, and the contestant won with a
The next contestant was an African-American woman who took a long time to
come on down. She appeared in shock that she was called and when she got
down to Contestant's Row, she almost went up on stage by mistake. The
page had to direct her to her proper place. The next item had an overbid,
so they did it again. That lady took a long time to bid, and just before
she did the audience quited down a bit, I shouted out "22" and
she said "2200" (she must have heard me). Sure enough, she won.
She played One Away for a new car and got only two numbers right. It was
clear she got the first and last right, and that the three in the middle
needed changing. A lot of people in the audience started chanting "2
7 3 - 2 7 3" over and over. She listened, changed the 2, 7 and 3 and
won the car.
The final game was won by Heather. She played Double Prices and won a
$4000 bed. The second Showcase Showdown was uneventful. Heather went
over and a lady named Shanna won in a tie-breaker, and then they setup for the Showcase.
They started bringing out props on stage and I saw two men carry the
showcase podiums. They tested the numbers and the "over" sign
to make sure they were working properly, and I saw one of the men give the
"OK" signal. Because of where it was on stage, parts of the
showcase area were blocked because of the cameras. I didn't really look
at the monitors all that much because I was too busy trying to observe as
much of what was going on on stage as I could.
Mark was the top winner and passed the first
showcase. The second showcase featured another car and he bid
$33,000. After the reveal, he was closest and won another car! His
friends came up on stage, Bob nervously shook a few of their hands and
stayed clear, and the theme played. Bob joined them by the car to wave
bye-bye, and the music played for quite a while (it must have been
full-credit roll day). Just as the camera was fading to black, it panned
the audience and I waved. I didn't make it up on stage but I at least
wanted to be seen!! Unfortunatly during playback, they cut away to generic credits pretty quick and that part wasn't seen on air.
After the show, Bob thanked us and disappeared. Rich and one of the
models gave out a $100 door prize to an audience member and we proceeded
out of the studio. I said goodbye to several of the friends I had met,
and my wife and I proceeded to Farmer's Market for something substantial
to eat. We ran into Aaron and a few of the others there, and we
congratulated him on his Plinko win.
What I liked about the show was, even though you don't get called down,
you can still participate as a member of the audience. The next two days
were filled with other acitivities and we flew back home on the 20th. It
was a neat experience that I hope to do again sometime - and hopefully get
called to "come on down" to play!
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