Bob Barker and The Price Is Right have been on television for almost 35 years. I am 42 and I cannot remember television without The Price Is Right. When we lived in San Diego, I had some friends in Memphis that wanted to come and visit. Their only requirement was to eat at a Shakey’s Pizza and go to see The Price Is Right filmed. Oh, and they wanted to go to Disneyland too.
We left San Diego the night before to stay in Los Angeles. We had to be at the studio at 7:00 am and didn’t want to leave San Diego the day of the show at 4:30 am. Unfortunately, we got a bit lost and were “almost” late. I say almost because we got there at 6:55 am, but was told we almost missed getting into the filming. We sat on concrete benches, trying to wake up while someone from the studio came by to check our ID and give us a nametag. I never realized it, but when you attend The Price Is Right, they have to put your real name on your nametag for tax purposes. I was not happy to have “Mary” on my nametag, but I was happy when we were told we could leave for an hour to get breakfast.
After munching on McDonalds, we returned just in time to return to our “assigned” bench seating (by number on your nametag). Then we waited. And waited. And waited. We sat on the concrete benches, gazing at the seasoned veterans with cards and board games who had obviously done this before. We did talk and chat for several hours, but with no music, no television, nothing, we got a little antsy. There was a snack bar inside (where there was a television and about 20 seats), so at least we didn’t starve. At one point, several buses of college students drove up. The students, arriving around 11:00 am, took their places on the bench – in front of us. So much for assigned seating!
Right before we reached delirium, they started calling out small groups of 10 to go meet the producers. Of course, being number 203, this was a long process, but at least something was happening! I never realized watching the show all these years that the producers picked who would be on the show. Call my naive, but I thought they just pulled the names out of a hat – after all, everyone looks so excited and surprised when their name is called. I realized by the time we got there, the producers had picked their contestants and interviewing us was just a formality. Which was fine, I didn’t want to be on the show anyhow, but my friends were disappointed.
Finally, around 3:00 pm, we got in the studio. I was starving, but was beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. We were again disappointed when we were seated at the far right side of the studio. Seriously, I could reach over and touch the side curtain of the studio. I had a better view of the control board it took to run the show than I did the stage. Then we saw the stand-bys – people who got to the studio after our 6:55 am arrival and might get in to see the show if there was room – were placed right behind the contestants. One guy on our row kept moaning and groaning to an usher until he was moved close to the stand-bys. We thought about moaning, but we were so tired by then, we were just happy to have seats that didn’t have concrete.
Actually seeing the show itself was neat, but things weren’t quite like I imagined. The studio was much smaller than it seems on television. The big wheel they spin has to be brought out (silly me, I thought it was a permanent part of the stage). I guess in an attempt to woo a younger crowd, the producers decided that every one of the contestants that made it on stage was a college student except for two. After the show finally ended, around 4:30 pm, we were able to get an autographed photo of Bob Barker and some of the models. I am sure it was a stamped autograph.
Overall, it was not the best experience I’ve ever had, but I am glad we did it. At least I can say I saw a big part of our pop culture – whether I enjoyed it or not.
Have you been to The Price Is Right or any other game show? Did you have a better experience?