Monday, June 04, 2007

Will Neuter For Plinko Chips

When I was but a boy of eight or nine, probably up until the time I was twelve or thirteen, I was not overly fond of school. There may have been a few times when I even feigned sickness in an attempt to get Mom to let me stay home.

Home meant bed and snacks and television. The Bozo Show. The Price is Right at 10. Family Feud with Richard Dawson at 11. And then Ryan's Hope kicking off the ABC soap block at 11:30.

Bozo died. (I'm sorry kids, but it's true.) Richard Dawson left Family Feud. And Ryan's Hope went off the air in 1989. Only one has endured: Bob Barker and The Price Is Right.

The man and the show are as inseparable as a maestro and his baton. Bob Barker is an American icon. Long before there was Vanna White, there were Barker's beauties. He single-handedly introduced "plinko" into the American vernacular for crying out loud. And who among us hasn't wished to hear our name uttered before that most famous of phrases, "Come on down, you're the next contestant on The Price Is Right!"

Barker was the first popular game show host to let his hair go gray. Leading by example, he taught us to pick and choose our battles and causes close to our heart. He didn't try to solve all the world's problems, instead choosing to focus on controlling the pet population.

Around our house, if you were home at 10 in the morning, you watched The Price Is Right. That's just what you did. It seems like there would always be some college student on there from San Diego or USC. And the cars they'd give away would have California tags. And I'd think about California and what a sunny, exciting, exotic place it must be.

Even though I haven't had the chance to watch the show much in recent years, there was always something very comforting knowing that it was still on every Monday thru Friday. Knowing that people were still playing Hole-In-One, The Range Game, Three Strikes, and Cliff Hangers, and spinning the big wheel.

Barker began hosting The Price Is Right September 4, 1972, five months and eight days before a certain blogger you know made his grand entrance into the world kicking and screaming.

For my entire life, Bob Barker and The Price Is Right have been on TV. But now, like everything else, that too is coming to an end. Barker has announced his retirement and his last episode is scheduled to air June 15. So pardon me if I wax nostalgic. It feels like part of my childhood is being lost.

The show will go on, but don't think for a second that it will ever be the same. Barker effortlessly commanded the audience and controlled the show skillfully and smoothly. He became as important to the show as the big wheel, yet never in a way that was over-bearing or took away from the game itself.

I predict that after awhile, ratings will inevitably drop. They'll probably change hosts again. At some point, they'll try to boost interest by altering the rules of the game, or maybe giving the set a snazzier look.

That's one of the things I found so endearing about The Price Is Right, though. The set and colors have changed so little over the years. Sure, it may look a little dated, but again it's sort of comforting.

I hate change, but everything changes. And after June 15, something that has existed as long as I've been alive will be gone. There'll be a new host and the show will go on, but to me, the price will never be exactly right again.

And for Bob's sake, people, have your pets spayed or neutered.

"And in the streets the children screamed, the lovers cried, and the poets dreamed. But not a word was spoken. The church bells all were broken..."

33 comments:

  1. Fantastic post, Sir Bone!

    I wonder how many people are like myself and forgot how long Bob was on air? I had no idea that he's been on since before my birth, or even yours! He's had such a huge impact on social culture . . for better or for worse.

    Unfortunately, instead of remembering him fondly, all I can remember is the sexual harassment drama and Happy Gilmore's "The price is wrong, Bob!" He wasn't a staple in my household as he was in yours. We were a Jeopardy! family.

    I can't believe I just admitted that. *sigh* I'm such a nerd sometimes.

    So . . . admit it. You're going to take a vacation day from work to watch this mainstay of your childhood's last day on the show. :)

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  2. Goodness...I didn't know he was retiring! Sept. 4th, 1972...I would have been five days shy of my first birthday...I've "known" Bob all my life!
    How sad. Makes me want to go neuter something.

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  3. I luv Bob. I think I'm gonna work from home that day just to watch.

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  4. My favorite part about the Price is Right is that the set hasn't really changed.

    It works the retro look.

    Unfortunately, I will no longer be tuning in (when I can) once Bob is gone.

    So sad.

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  5. Avery: Thanks. I knew he had been on as long as I could remember. I think the fact he was in a popular movie just cemented his pop culture status.

    Jennifer: Makes me want to go neuter something.

    LOL Don't it, though!

    Esmerelda: I think that sounds like a fabulous idea. It should be a national holiday, really.

    DCChick: I agree. The same old colors on contestants row. The big wheel is the same. Not to mention Bob's trademark long, skinny microphone. Hmm, I might have to go back and add that to the post.

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  6. i used to love watching that show!

    plinko! ha ha.

    it truly is an end of an era (and now i feel old).

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  7. for Bob's sake....

    This is my newest favorite of your posts.

    It's written in a style I think Bob will approve of--almost said, would have--would have made him dead not retiring

    You feigned sickness? You? Ask your mother if she knew....

    Barker effortlessly commanded the audience and controlled the show skillfully and smoothly. He became as important to the show as the big wheel, yet never in a way that was over-bearing or took away from the game itself.

    A certain blogger I know blogs this way :) He could be a terrific columnist.

    Not that I would deign to put thoughts in any blogger's head

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  8. He single-handedly introduced "plinko" into the American vernacular for crying out loud.

    ROFL

    I don’t know anyone else who would phrase it just like that, Bone. Hilarious.

    I predict that after awhile, ratings will inevitably drop. They'll probably change hosts again. At some point, they'll try to boost interest by altering the rules of the game, or maybe giving the set a snazzier look.

    :-( That’s so sad. It totally won’t work. They’d be smartest to end the PIR with BB. They are one and the same.

    to me, the price will never be exactly right again.

    Exactly! *sigh*

    I’d be willing to bet your mom wasn’t as clueless to your feigned sickness as you believed if you were sitting at home “snacking.” Unless you stuck to just crackers, I’m fairly confident she had you figured out. Ask her… I dare ya. ;-)

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  9. I haven't watched in years...but I used to be able to tell you the price of everything within the range that we were supposed to. I always won both Showcase Showdowns, cuz I knew the price of everything...

    But then I got too busy and stop watching and when I tried to watch, I had no clue what anything cost anymore. Oh well.

    It seemed to me that as Bob got older he got less and less patient with the contestants. Sometimes I could just see the look on his face when a contestant had really messed up big (like "You Idiot!") It made Bob a real person for me.

    I have to wonder though, how Bob managed all those sexual harrassment trials over the years.

    And all of my animals get spade. I wish more folks did. Last night I caught the first few minutes of "Desparate Housewives", it was the one where the helpful neighbor Karen McClousky helped everyone whether they wanted help or not. She painted the one neighbor's garage door "hope you like blue" took down another neighbor's christmas lights cuz it was june and neutered another neighbor's cat! LOL

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  10. awesome post Mr. Bone.. please write more :)

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  11. Sizzle: it truly is an end of an era (and now i feel old).

    Umm... you're welcome? O:)

    Pia: Thank you. I sure hope Bob would approve. Ooo, deign. Good word!

    Hey, I'm a blogger you know!

    Traveling Chica: They’d be smartest to end the PIR with BB.

    Hmm, good idea. I'd be all for that.

    Oh, I'm sure she was far from clueless. But who could resist those eight-year-old blue eyes, right.... right? O:)

    Renee: Yeah, I think I was the same way. I could always get pretty close with the prices years ago. But now, not having watched it in so long, I'm way off.

    LOL Yeah, I'm sure Bob has lost a little patience over the years.

    Shelby: Thank you! The ideas seem harder to come by lately, but I will sure try :)

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  12. But who could resist those eight-year-old blue eyes, right.... right? O:)

    *Sigh.*

    Well, I won't dream of speaking for your mom, but as someone who is a BIG sucker for a pair of gorgeous two-year-old blue eyes, I can only imagine what kind of putty I'm going to be when they are eight-year-old blue eyes.

    In other words, I'm gonna go with... right.

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  13. The price will never exactly be right again?

    Do you realize how many great little touches you put into each post?

    Ask your Mom! I never asked if my parents knew I faked a flu in second grade to watch Yankee Doodle Dandy round the clock--and regret it now

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  14. Bozo??? Is.... Dead??? NOOOO!

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  15. Ah, yes, we watched The Price is Right every morning during summers off school, but I haven't seen it since the early 80's!

    I like your nostalgia trip, well done! I think the show will be a hit again if they hire George Clooney.

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  16. It will be sad to see him go. I hope he gets to enjoy his retirement. I loved staying with my Great-Aunt. The Price is Right and Wheel of Fortune were a big part of growing up.

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  17. I'm mad at myself for not remembering to do this earlier, but great choice on the lyrics :)

    Two classics right there: American Pie and The Price is Right.

    *sigh*

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  18. Way back in my USC days, I was in the audience once for the show. I ended up sititng behind some UCLA guys and they paid attention to the fact that I was constantly getting the prices right for all the games. When one of the guys got picked to be up in Contestant's Row, he constantly looked back at me for help. Bob Barker made a comment on air about how nice it was to see that the USC/UCLA rivalry was being put aside for the sake of winning. The guy won a buttload of prizes including a car. He didn't make it into the Showcase Showdown because his wheel spin was horrible (not something I could control). He did give me one of the prizes he won since I had helped him out so much. I ended up getting a nice VCR (which has since bit the dust).

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  19. Hmm, I think this is first time I've heard of that show, I guess because I didn't really watch much tv.
    Movies are another matter, I have watched tons of movies, and own ~300+ dvds/vhs.

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  20. Daytime tv just will not be the same when he retires.

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  21. TC: The problem is we don't realize the power we have when we're two :)

    Thanks. I love that song, and thought it fit somehow.

    Pia: Thanks. I can usually squeeze out one or two decent lines per post :)

    Burg: It's OK. I think Cookie and Wiz are still alive. Maybe.

    Actonbell: Thanks. Clooney? Is he really a candidate? The only one I'd heard is Mario Lopez. Yeah, that'd be the same.

    Kontan: Yep, it was a big part of growing up for me, too.

    Xinher: Wow! That's very cool. I had a friend who traveled out to watch an episode earlier this year. Did you have to stand in line a long time or spend the night or anything?

    GirlFPS: Wow, I can't believe you've never seen TPIR. Bob had a small part in Happy Gilmore several years ago.

    Linda: I agree.

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  22. Do you ever read back over something you write and realize that what was in your head didn't make it to type? To go with my random sentence... I used to stay with an aunt on a weekly basis and I honestly believe she never missed an episode of The Price is Right. Like another, I prefer Jeopardy.

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  23. Meant to say something about the lyrics but TC beat me to it

    One or good lines per post? Uh you're a Bonehead--try too many to enumerate

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  24. Bye, bye Miss American Pie, drove my Chevy to the levy... Love that song!

    I know what you mean, but all good things. Ya know? I admired him for standing his ground on his hair, I did the same recently. :D

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  25. The problem is we don't realize the power we have when we're two :)

    Oh, I donno about that! A certain two-year-old I know happens to know very well just what turning his baby blues on me can do!

    One or good lines per post? Uh you're a Bonehead--try too many to enumerate

    ROFL

    Pia hit the nail on the head with that one! :-D

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  26. Kontan: Oh yeah. I do that all the time. No worries :)

    Pia: Too many to enumerate... Can I use that in the liner notes of my book, should I ever write one?

    Mert: I'm glad you mentioned that. I came close to taking out the line about his hair, but left it, obviously.

    TC: Do you and Pia ever disagree? O:)

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  27. Do you and Pia ever disagree?

    Yes.

    I'd refer you to your last couple of 24 recaps for proof.

    She wanted bold... I wanted italics.

    I'm still (mildly) bitter over her win.

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  28. I have loved this man since the first day I laid eyes on him. Prior to The Price is Right was Truth or Concequences (much before your time I'm sure.) My mom watched that show because she too was in love with Bob. Other than the fact that he's still handsome at his age and was getting it on pretty good with one of his "beauties" a while back is that he's such an animal lover. Another beautiful thing about him that was confirmed the other day when I saw an interview with him was that he was totally in love with his wife. She stopped wearing fur before everyone else, she was a vegetarian as well long before it was hip. They were in love. She died over twenty years ago and the reporter asked him why he never remarried. He said "she was my wife" as he choked back the tears. Now that is a man to be respected.

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  29. Awww, I can hear his voice in my head as I read this :-( It will be sad to see him go :-(

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  30. I used to love how he would pretend to not mind when the women would jump all over him, scream in his ears, and slobber on his suit.

    Good sport that Bob.

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  31. You spend a lot of time in line. A LOT. But there's no sleeping out overnight. Maybe I'll blog about my experience.

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  32. I loved the Price is Right. I would have totally lost the game though. I couldn't figure out which stores they shopped at to get those prices! Who pays attention to a jar of olives?

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  33. TC: Haha. Oh yes, I forgot about the great italic-bold debate. I think they're doing a documentary about that on The History Channel :)

    Carnealian: Wow, I'd never heard that about his wife. That's awesome! Thanks for sharing.

    Arlene: Agreed :(

    Brookelina: I know! I could never do that, germophobe that I am.

    Xinher: I totally think you should. I would imagine that not many of us ever attend a game show.

    Lass: It was a great game show. The large number and variety of pricing games, I think, was a key. It kept things fresh.

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