Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Price is Right Redux

Pat and me in The Price is Right line February 14, 2017 on Beverly Boulevard, Hollywood, California - check out  Pat's cool white trimmed sneakers - he left his sandals at home and survived!

Finally, I'm almost feeling normal. Back to the good stuff. Now where did I leave off with our Annual California Adventure? Ah yes, our return to "The Price is Right" TV show audience.

My erstwhile Canadian Travel Buddy Pat just goes along with me on this one. In fact, he never saw "The Price is Right" TV show until he was in the audience for the first time last year during our visit to Hollywood, California. Me, I started watching TPIR before Bob Barker's hair turned white.

Ah yes, the Plaid Suite Days. I used to have a plaid suite just like this!

In fact, just to tell on myself how old I am I remember when Bob Barker first came on TV. Ralph Edwards, the host of the old black and white Fifties show "This is Your Life" introduced a very young Bob Barker as the host of Edward's new TV show "Truth or Consequences" in (wait for it) - 1956!  Sixty years ago folks! Wow, am I past my sell by day or what?

Ralph Edwards and Bob Barker - 1956
In fact folks, actually the first "The Price is Right" shows I used to watch were with Bill Cullen.  You all remember Bill Cullen?  The "I've Got a Secret" panel member. The crew cut and black rimmed Buddy Holly glasses who walked with a limp.  I never did know why he limped by the way.  I do remember thought that the first TPIR show was a lot different from the current version of TPIR.  One might even say it was boring but back in the Fifties we were thankful for anything on TV.  We didn't know Boring back in the Eisenhower Years.  But you know folks, I would take those years back now in place of the nightmare we're going through now.  But I digress.

Bill Cullen, original host of The Price is Right

What a difference in TPIR from those day until today!  Back then the audience wasn't allowed to help by shouting out the prices for the contestants.  I remember Bill Cullen often warning the audience not to shout out the prices.  SOOOO serious. But this was the Fifties folks.  Today, the audience IS the show. We are clapping seals encouraged to shout out the prices even though some of us can't even see the game being played because of the TV cameras and staff blocking our view.

By the way folks, I can see where this post is going to be longer than my usual post so if you have to go to the bathroom now, better do so. If you have anything on your stove, turn off the burners. Settle in for a LONG narrative of our second experience at "The Price Is Right!" TV show.

TPIR has two tapings a day.  They are done at the CBS TV studio on Beverly Boulevard in Hollywood, California.  Two years ago, during  our first visit to The Grove with our friend Nadege, who lives in California and works sometimes at the CBS TV studio, she told us TPIR is taped there.  I could see the large black building with the white CBS logo on the building from where we were standing in the elevated parking lot at The Grove.  That planted a seed in my head "Why not write for tickets and be on the show for our visit next year?"  

Pat wasn't too keen on the idea but he went along with me on this one. After all, we're in Hollywood!  Let's do something HOLLYWOOD!

Well, we had a good time last year.  Didn't get on the show but as I said before, TPIR audience IS the show. A fact that the staff frequently tells us while we're waiting four hours in line outside waiting for the first daily taping.  They tell us "You're all going to be on TV and you're all going to have a good time!"  And you know what folks, they were/are right.  We had a fabulous time. Last year and this year.

I wrote for my priority tickets, which guarantees that we would be in the audience, several months ahead.  

We're told to be in line outside the CBS Television studio by 8:30 for the 12:00 taping.  Now that sounds like we're standing in line a long time and, of course it is, but you know what folks?  They keep us so entertained that you're not bored at all.

The long TPIR line outside the CBS Television studio on Beverly Blouvelard
One of the requirements is that there be no sandals which posed a problem for my Canadian Travel Buddy Pad.  Pat wears sandals.  Last year we purchased a $30 pair of cheap sneakers for his size 10 1/2 tootsies. Those sneakers were only worn once and we left them next to a sleeping homeless man under a paper tent on Hollywood Boulevard. This year we purchased another pair of sneakers, only $20 this time. Pat didn't get to "Come on down!" with those feet smoothers either.  We left them in the closet of our Airbnb when we checked out. Maybe the cleaning woman can use them.

There are two types of audience members in line. Those who just get in line and folks like me and Pat who have the Priority Tickets. 

While you're standing in line in the chilly Los Angeles morning (temps around 55 degrees) you get to meet all kinds of interesting people.  Last year one of the people we met was a couple from Kansas. Pat told me that the guy would be chosen to be a contestant and darn if he wasn't!  

TPIR has a well honed procedure to keep you occupied while you're standing in line becoming acquainted with your fellow potential contestants called to "Come on down!" and win a car (or two). 

Staff member walk down the line and collect the priority tickets and tell us special folks to follow them, right past all those other woebegone still standing in line. That always feels good to walk ahead of the line, but I'm not one to cut the line.  I followed the proper procedure. I didn't cheat.

TPIR audience has three hundred members. If there aren't enough priority ticket holders the rest of the audience is chosen from those still standing in line.

The next step in the procedure is staff members ask your name and write it on a sticker and place it on your person. 

Then there is a whole procedure of filling our a multi paper release form.  Also, photo ID's are taken.  Folks, there is more security to getting on TPIR than going through TSA at the airport. The only difference is that I didn't get a pat down.

You don't have to stand in line the whole time you're waiting, benches are provided and coverage in case in rains

There are different stages in the line.  Of course one of the stages is we're standing next to TPIR souvenir shop.  Yes, I did indulge. Really didn't need to but why not?  I can show my grandkids my "The Price is Right" tote bag. More likely, I can show my fellow Food Lion supermarket shoppers that expensive tote back.  

The Price is Right souvenir shop

We're allowed cell phones while in line but we have to turn in our cell phones once we go into the studio.  Both last year and this year I didn't take my iPhone with me because I didn't want to put it into a basket with all those strange (and unclean) phones.  Who knows WHERE they have been?

Some of the photos in this blog of standing in line I took from the Internet that others took. Next year I'm going to take my iPod with me and take my own photos.

One of the souvenirs I always get, and most others do to, is the photo next to The Wheel. It's taken with a green screen behind us.  The photos cost $20 each but what the hey? You only live once.

One of the main parts of standing in the line is being interviewed.  This is how they pick contestants. They are looking for people who are genuinely happy to be there.  The interview is short, only about twenty seconds long but the interviewer can tell who is going to provide good TV and who is perhaps not.  I will say, he is good. 

I think most of us are happy to be there but some are obviously very forced.  The key is to be genuine.  You either are or you aren't.  Not being chosen for two years in a row now has given me some thought but hey, I know I'm happy to be there.  I always have a good time whether I'm chosen or not.  Of course it would be fun to be chosen but still, it is a wonderful experience.

Four hours quickly goes by (really) and the last stage is the line just outside the studio. They have six to eight TV's going with old TPIR episodes with contestants winning cars and trips, screaming and jumping up and down, to get you in the mood. By the time we're ushered into the music thumping, colorful, brightly lit studio, we're primed!!!

The smiling and efficient staff quickly assign us our seats while while everyone is clapping to the infectious music.  The excitement builds to a crescendo  as everyone is hyped by all TPIR crew, including one man whose job it is to raise his hands and arms up and down as to the volume of our cheering and clapping.  We are trained seals.

Then George Gray,  TPIR announcer lovingly mouths into his microphone and says 
"Here it comes, from the Bob Barker Price is Right CBS studio in Hollywood, it is The Price is Right!"  As the camera swoops over the cheering, diverse, colorful, clapping audience George says his first "Come on down . . . . !" (and says the name of the first contestant in contestants' row).  By the way, in the audience see the name of the contestants on a written out on a big billboard held by a staff member out of camera range.  I often wondered how the audience could hear whose name was being called to "Come on down!"  

All for now folks. I'll have to continue with my Price is Right experience in my next posting. I've already exhausted you enough with this posting. By the way, we were there for two tapings this time.  Whoopee!


  1. Love the pictures of you and Pat! Looks like you had a blast. :)

    1. Bea,
      we DID have a blast. We always do when we attend The Price is Right tapings. So much fun for everyone. Even though you're not called to "Come on down!", the staff at The Price is Right is so efficient and professional, they make sure everyone has a fabulous time. Sure, it would be nice to win a trip or a car but no one loses when they attend these tapings. We'll be back next year!

  2. Ron,

    Bill Cullen had polio as a very young child and later was in a very serious auto accident. These two events left him seriously disabled. The various shows he was on took great care in hiuding his inabilities to walk well. He walked, as discribed by Mel Brooks, with much foot flopping and flailing of arms, like the Jerry Lewis characterizations, similiar to those who do suffer MS...or certainly worse than where my gait is yet. This handicap is way he didn't become host of the revived Price Is Right when it was brought back with all those games added. He was considered for the hosting job, but the physical demands were too much and a guy named Bob Barker got the job. Cullen had an amazing and successful life considering his limitations that most people never knew he had. He is actually pretty inspirational. He died at age 70 from lung cancer.


    1. Lar,
      Thanks for the very interesting information on Bill Cullen. I didn't know those additional facts. I do remember seeing him walking flopping about Probably on live TV in those early days. One thing I remember especially was how strict they were with TPIR audiences not to shout out prices. That was a losing battle. Glad they change that aspect of their show. One thing Bill Cullen really had going for him was he had a very pleasing personality. A very important factor in a game show host. Drew Carey is a great game show host. He and George Gray make that show. Rachel isn't bad either!

  3. Ron: Next year I'm not wearing that padded t shirt. LOL

  4. This is fascinating, Ron. I don't know a thing about the behind-the-scenes mechanisms of "The Price is Right" (but I used to watch it long ago). Your detailed account makes me feel like I was there with you and Pat.
    I think this post should be required reading for people who plan to be on the show. They'll know what to expect.

  5. Ron,

    You mentioned it being boring in the original version in the 50s. Of course, viewers didn't consider it boring then. It was mainly bidding, like they do to get on stage now, except they just kept bidding until a round ended or everybody had froze their bid. Then the highest bid without going over won the prize. person who won the most at the shows end was called the champion and came back as a contestant the next day. Man what a difference.



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