Monday, January 25, 2016

"The Price is Right!"

We made it folks!  Ron and Pat with our faux photo in front of The Wheel

Check out the banner photo folks!  That is the queue to get into the long-time running, very popular TV show "The Price is Right!"  That was the afternoon line on January 12th.  We (me and Pat) were in the morning line.  

So how long does one stand in line to get into the TV studio audience for "The Price is Right"? About four and a half hours.  That's right folks, 


Not that we minded.  I had written for tickets several months before our trip.  I received priority tickets which guaranteed that we would be admitted and we were.  But that didn't preclude that we still had to stand in line.  

We didn't have to be there until 8:30 am, which is just about when we arrived.  Of course we arrived at the total opposite end of the huge CBS studio building. You should have seen me hobbling with my arthritis and game leg to try and get to the studio on time (like they were waiting for me, I am so full of myself).  

I saw the line but I bypassed it and tried to enter through the employee's entrance, which I didn't realize it was until I was told to "go to the end of the line."  I said "But I have priority tickets."  HA!  "End of the line buddy!"  No doubt this wasn't the first time a rube like me tried to jump the line.  The CBS security guy handled me with professional dispatch.  He said "They'll get you. Just show them your tickets."

"End of the line you two!"

So to the end of the line I go.  Oh, by the way, I don't have any first hand photos or videos because we were told that we were not allowed to bring cell phones or cameras into the studio so I left mine back at the bed and breakfast where we were staying.  Later on I found out I could have had my cell phone with me but turned it in before we entered the studio four and a half hours later, which is what I should have done but hey, this was my first time.  The banner picture I took at the top of this post was taken of the second group to go in that day, in the afternoon.

The view of the colorful and happy stage of "The Price is Right!" from the audience - FUN!

We walk past the long line of peeps back to the end of the line on this chilly Tuesday morning in LA.  Even though we were in line a lone time I have to say it wasn't a bad experience.  We got to talk to several people standing in line with us, including a retired couple from Utah.  The gentleman, "Lloyd", was called to "come on down!" later which Pat predicted he would because he was so gregarious and pleasant to talk too.  He was the last contestant called and did get up on the stage but didn't win any further prizes other than the one he bid on.  Of course it goes without saying neither Pat or I were called to "come on down!" but I did get to high five Lloyd and he bounced on down through the audience to the panel of four.  

So while we're standing in line there is a whole process that the contestants go through.  Employees of "The Price is Right!" go through the line and collect all the priority tickets.  Then we're told to go ahead of the line to an area where they explain the ground rules once we're in the studio.  We also are asked to sign release forms because we're told that the "all members of the audience will be on TV."  Of course we gladly signed the release forms (how many you can say you've signed release forms?  Huh? Huh?)

We're also advised to be cheerful no matter who wins or loses.  We're told that this is a fun process (which it was) and we will all be on TV, which you KNOW I love.  And just between you and me I think Pat loves to although you've never get him to admit to that fact.

As we inched near the entrance we hear whoops and cheers.  And as we got nearer we saw where those happy sound were coming from.  The "Price is Right" people were placing singles and couples before a green screen and taking photos.  Turns out the green screen was The Wheel.  Hey, we all get to memorialize our visit (for a price of course, $20 a photo which I got three, greedy tourist that I am).  

Most of the potential contestants who posed before the wheel jumped, including Pat.

Pat "Won" the dollar! Sure. 
Me?  I can't jump. In fact I was going to get a T-shirt that said "I can't jump, pick me." I instead opted for the butch thumbs up pose.  I don't know, do you think I pulled it off?

What an 74 year old guy with arthritis and a bum leg does when he wins on The Wheel, thumbs up!
After the picture taking, and ordering (if we wanted any), we were moved (still in line) closer to the studio entrance.  By now folks were getting hungry because it was near lunch time (12 PM).  I found out later two shows are taped.  We were in the morning taping.

Many people in line ordered food from their concession which, Pat found out, was quite expensive.  Four dollars for a small bag of potato chips!  I saw people with spaghetti dinners on paper plates.  I can just imagine what that cost.  But hey, load up on the carbohydrates, you'll need them for what was to come once we got into the studio.

Then, after the Long Wait in Line, the time comes to enter the studio.  EXCITING!!!!!!!

This photo not the day we were there but looks the same - lots of color and excitement and great music - really put us in the mood!

Folks, I have to tell you that entering "The Price is Right!" studio was thrilling.  I am truly a tourist at heart.  This is the first time since 1964 that I've entered a TV studio.  The last time was when I took my Mother (and Bill) to New York City to see a taping of "To Tell the Truth."  While that was exciting, and a long time ago, this was even more exciting.  Why?  Because by the time we were entering the colorful (if tacky) studio), we were hyped.  And I mean HYPED!!!

All the seats are assigned.  Pat and I were quickly ushered over to the far right, just about where George the Announcer (who is a very nice guy by the way, he is in person just as he is on TV as is Drew Carey).

Pat and I were seated right behind George and as you can see, blocked from the cameras. We couldn't see what was going on the stage.  We have to watch the TV monitors above which we didn't realize were there until about a half an hour into the show

I noticed that in the center of the audience were placed all the groups in matching T-shirts and the screaming and jumping ladies.  The Old Men were put to the side.  And while we're entering the music is blaring and people clapping to the music.  They were keeping his hyped!  And I didn't mind.  Fun times!!!

We were all standing, clapping, and cheering to the music until everyone got seated.  I noticed that behind where George was standing was a bank of TV monitors.  They were watching the audience from behind!  Ah hah!  That's how they pick folks to "come on down!"  They want to see who the most enthusiastic were.  Well, they had a lot to choose from because just about everyone in the audience of 280 (total seating capacity on the smaller in person studio) was HAPPY! Anyone could be picked.

Right before they started to tape one of the folks on stage reminded us again that we were all there to have a good time, we would all be on camera and even if we didn't get called up on stage to be happy for those who were called.  And no one had a problem with this.  We all cheered.

Then, while we were hyped to near orgasmic frenzy, the show started with George the Announcer announcing Drew Carey.  Drew comes darting out on the stage and the day's taping had begun.

Now here is something interesting folks.  Where Pat and I were seated we couldn't see the products at first (later we watched the TV monitors above the audience which we didn't realize were there at first) nor hear the prices. 

The first four contestants were called to "come on down!"  We couldn't hear the names.  I also noticed that each name was on a big cue card displayed before the audience.  We couldn't see that either since it wasn't shown on the TV monitors for home viewing.  So the first thought that came to my mind was "If they were calling us, how would we know it?"  Simple, as we later found out.  No one was calling us (the Two Old Men Seated to the Far Right Out of TV Camera Range).  Buy what the hey?  We were having a good time. 

So the show was off and running.  And I have to say the show moves along at a pretty much the same pace as you see on TV.  There were the commercial breaks during which Drew interacted with the audience.  And by the way, Drew Carey really enjoys his job.  He was and is a stand up comedian and he employed all his skills to the fullest the whole time he was on stage.  Nothing phony about DREW!  In fact all the members of the crew were good natured and happy and that good will easily transmitted to the audience.  

Drew Carey and the audience - Drew has to have one of the best jobs in Hollywood

Another interesting thing was there was one crew member who was like an orchestra leader.  He was the one who raised his arms to get us cheering and lowered his arms to tone us down.  After a while we felt like trained seals, clapping and cheering for I don't know what but we were having a good time.  Even Pat was whooping it up.  This being the same Pat I had to convince to go to "The Price is Right!" with me.  Pat, who prefers visiting modern furniture stores in LA as opposed to taking the Paramount or Universal Studio Tour (which we have yet to do . . . . Pat . . . maybe next year).  

So we didn't get called to "come on down!"  Out of an audience of 280, ten were called.  We weren't one of the Lucky Ten.  One of the contestants won TWO cars (lucky him).  He won one when he was first called up on the stage and then he won the show case.  Our friend, Lloyd, who was called did make it up on the stage but didn't win his price nor did he get into the showcase at the end of the show.  

We found out later from our new friend Johnny Knight some details about "The Price is Right!".  Johnny is a 30 year old transplant to California seeking a career in music and holding four jobs including his photo taking gig, while awaiting his Big Break into stardom.  Judging from his totally nice personality I think Johnny will make It.  He was so kind to us, two goofy old men from the East.  I'm always impressed with people who are kind to me for no other reason than to just be nice.  So often in this world today people like Johnny are a rarity.  I've noticed that the older I get I am too often treated dismissively or, if someone wants something from me (telemarketers, salesmen, etc), they're aggressive and rude.  What a pleasant change to have someone just be nice and helpful.

Pat, Johnny Knight and me at "The Price is Right!"

I told Johnny of my experience with a former co-worker who won the showcase and decided to leave it because she didn't want to pay the taxes on it.  He said now the contestants who win can take the cash value, less the taxes and walk away with a check.  Cool!  So if I was that contestant who won the two cars or the air hockey game (what is THAT anyway?), I could get the cash which would put a significant dent into our annual California Holiday expenses.  So, maybe next year if I can talk Pat into going on the show again and I'm called I have options.

So as the last showcase was finished and the winner enjoying his spoils, we were ushered out of the CBS "The Price is Right!" gaily colored sparkly curtained studio into the warm sunlight of a Los Angeles January noon, thoroughly hyped.  But not before I asked George the Announcer to shake his hand.  He asked where we were form and wished us well on our vacation.  What a nice man.

George Gray, the announcer on "The Price is Right!"

What a way to spend the morning!  Our first full day in LA was well on its way.  I love these January holidays to La La Land.  With all the troubles in the world, health issues at home, trying to keep up with the ever increasing bill and the always bad news on TV, what a delight to have just a few happy, carefree hours when everyone was just nice to one another.  Good for the soul folks! 

And just one more note folks, our taping is scheduled to be shown this February 29th.  Look for me and Pat, the Clapping Trained Seals along with 278 of our fellow "The Price is Right!" audience members. 


Travel said...

Sounds like fun, glad you had a chance to do it.

Unknown said...

So refreshing to hear of big name celebrities being nice!! It sounds like an absolutely lovely time. My grandmother loved the Price is Right. I love it too, but unfortunately I miss it due to work. I guess I need to DVR it. I for sure will on the 29th to see you guys!!

Jon said...

What a fantastic post, Ron! That's the best - and most detailed - description of "The Price is Right" that I've ever read.....And, of course, it's the only description I've ever read. This should be required reading for all future contestants. It sounds like a perfect start to your L.A. sojourn.
I also love the enthusiastic (!) photos of you and Pat.

I honestly don't think I would have survived a four and a half hour wait in line, and I wouldn't have even considered paying four bucks for potato chips. But, then, I'm cheap and pessimistic - - so they probably wouldn't have let me in. It has nothing to do with old age - - I was cheap and pessimistic when I was a kid, too.

Kudos for such a fun post!

By the way, I no longer have a TV so unfortunately I won't be able to watch the show on the 29th.

Ron said...

Thank you so much for your much welcome compliment on my post about our "Price is Right" experience. As you know, writing about such an experience isn't easy, trying to capture "the moment" and share that experience with the reader.
I knew there would be a long wait in the line and was initially put off by that but once you're in the line and talking to the other people, and everyone was in such a good mood, the time went by quickly. I am like you, I don't like to be taken advantage of by high prices in a limited situation like we were in, that's why I didn't buy any food. However, I did spring $20 each for the photos. I didn't feel bad about it because the guy taking the photos, Johnny Knight, was so nice and genuine. And he just trying to make a living too so I justified the expense that I was helping the local economy. God knows I spend enough here in Delaware at the garden centers in the spring and summertime.
Thanks again Jon for your very generous compliment. Made me feel like the two hour effort that I made this morning was worth it. And by the way, you're not missing much if you don't have a TV.
There is much more adventure to write about.

Ron said...

It was a LOT of fun!

Ron said...

Everyone was so nice and genuine. We didn't encounter one phony or any rudeness. Such a nice experience.

pat888 said...

Hey Ron - you covered this really well. And I truly enjoyed the experience. People pay doctors for what you're encouraged to do at that show - let yourself go and have a great time at it. Okay - that's a little far flung - but what a way to have some fun. Of course it wouldn't work for some people. But certainly nothing is forced. These folks at CBS have the formula down perfectly. As far as wanting to be a contestant I would fail miserably. As a kid watching the show which was very enjoyable too - tho very formal in it's production - I would have done very well I think. And now, as an adult I don't have a clue about a whole lot of those prices. By the way - is it Jan or Feb 29?


Jack said...

Even before I read Jon's comment, I was thinking the exact same thing. Your storytelling is a gift and your effort paid off. I think you nailed it on this one especially.
Interesting note about the option for taxes. I had always wondered how some of the winners were able to afford the taxes without selling (possibly at a loss or discount price) the prizes. Now I know.
I have been to LA on more than one occasion has I have family there. Of course the trip requires flying so I won't be making any trips soon so your posts give me my own private tour.

Linda said...

I am so glad you and Pat had fun at the Show. Your description was great, I always wondered what happens at the taping and what people do with the prizes they win. I lived in Hollywood, when I was a young girl and have wonderful memories. My Mom took me to a taping of the Steve Allen Show and when I was a little older, I went to a taping of Shivaree which was a music show. The Byrds were the musical guest that day. It ran from 1965 to 1966. It was fun. Ron, where did the time go? Take care.

Ron said...

Attending the taping of "The Price is Right!" was great fun. I would love to do it again. Maybe I can talk Pat into going again next year. I watched some of "The Price is Right!" today and now I look at it with new interest because I know exactly how it feels to sit in that studio and how everything works. Great fun!

Bea said...

Hi, Ron. -new follower here. I was intrigued by your 'The Price is Right!' experience & could well see it being a hoot to be an audience member. I didn't realise that TPiR is the longest running game show. That's quite a distinction!

Ron said...

Welcome to my blog! Always a great way to start of the day with a new blog follower. If you get a chance, you should write for tickets and visit Los Angeles and participate in "The Price is Right!" With so much bad news in the world today, it was a welcome relief to do something just for fun. The whole experience was positive and life enhancing, even though I didn't win a car. Like the folks at "The Price is Right!" say, "Everyone wins!" And they were right.

Ur-spo said...

4 1/2 hours?
Count me out!
The only thing I am willing to sit through for 4.5 hours better have German singing with it.

Ron said...

Dr. Spo,
Oh for sure 4 1/2 hours is a long slog. However, they did keep us entertained and the weather was mild. By the time we entered the studio we were wired for sure. One thing is for sure, you wouldn't fall asleep.