The Price is Right has been a television staple for as long as most of us can remember. Anyone who has ever spent an afternoon watching TV in the last few decades has likely been sucked in by an episode or two of this venerable daytime game show. And while Bob Barker held the reins as host for much of his long career, Drew Carey has established himself as a worthy successor since taking on the role in 2007.
Anyone who has watched Carey do his thing might have noticed that there’s a fun thing that happens whenever a contestant makes a really excellent initial bid. Whenever they guess the actual retail price correctly, Drew ends up ‘personally’ adding to their winnings by grabbing 500 bucks from his pocket and giving it to them. And while it might seem like this isn’t an extraordinarily large amount when compared to the big prizes on the show, it has added up. In fact, did you know that Drew has given out roughly $200K in cash from his pockets over the course of his hosing duties? That’s a pretty heft sum. Hopefully the show is providing that cash, and Drew doesn’t have to dig into his hosting salary!
In this video, we’re gonna take a deep dive into some fun facts about The Price is Right that you might not know about. It’s been around for a long time, so there are bound to be some facts that even die hard fans don’t know! So stick around, as Facts Verse presents: Secrets About the Price is Right.
Considering The Price Is Right airs pretty much every day, it probably comes as no surprise that over the course of the many years it’s been on that there has been a wardrobe malfunction. In fact, it almost surprising that there haven’t been more! But the most notable wardrobe malfunction on the show happened in 1977. In those days, tube tops were in vogue. And for those of you who aren’t familiar, they are a fun but potentially revealing clothing choice. Women who opt for a tube top when they go on national television probably need to be extra careful with their movement, for fear that the tube might come off of their top. Such was the case for one unfortunate contestant. When her name was called, signaling that she was the next contestant, she jumped up with exuberance. Well, a little TOO much exuberance. Her sudden movement caused her tube top to pop off, revealing a lot more than the audience, or host Bob Barker was expecting. She quickly readjusted her top to cover up, and continued her walk down the aisle towards Barker. Fortunately, Bob barker was a consummate professional, and took the incident in stride. He jokingly said that he had never had a welcome quite like that, and everyone, including the very embarrassed contestant, laughed.
Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow
When most of us picture Bob Barker in our mind, we likely see an older gentleman with gray hair and a long, skinny microphone. But what many people don’t realize is that Barker actually had dark brown hair in his youth, and that hair was still brown for much of his hosting time on The Price is Right. As he started to go gray, he did what most men in Hollywood do – he decided to start dyeing it. So, for a while, his hair stayed the same color, artificially. But eventually Barker decided he wanted to stop dyeing it. It’s unclear whether it was because he found it in authentic, or because it was simply too annoying to keep doing. But regardless, he was sick of the dyed hair color. But the problem was, there were almost no men on TV at the time with gray hair. And this was especially true of hosts. Barker actually had to convince the top brass at the network that if he let audiences see his natural gray hair color, they wouldn’t decide to turn the channel. After a bit of convincing, Barker was given permission to stop dyeing his hair. And obviously he was correct that it wouldn’t turn audiences off. Barker became more and more loved and famous over the years, and his iconic look included his natural gray hair!
Replacing a legend
To many people, Drew Carey feels like a natural successor to the venerable Bob Barker. Carey has been brilliant in his hosting capacity, and fans have found the transition from Bob to Drew to be a seamless one. And Carey has also been hosting for many years now. So clearly he was the first and only choice to the gig, right? Not so fast. The network actually had a long and exhaustive search to try to find the right replacement. They first went after names like George Hamilton and Mario Lopez. John O’ Hurley was also on the list of potentials. But none of those names ended up working out. Some said no to the offer, while others just weren’t the right fit. Then Rosie O’Donnell actually sought out the job, garnering Bob Barker’s endorsement in the process. You’d think that would have been enough for her to get an audition for the hosting gig, but the network was against that idea from the get go. So Rosie never even got to audition. Another surprising omission from the list was long time Nickelodeon host, Marc Summers. He had long been the host of a variety of shows, including the classic kids show, Double Dare. But Marc, for whatever reason, wasn’t brought in. Eventually, after many offers, auditions, and debate, they went with Drew Carey. But clearly it was worth the wait!
Get Ready To Wait
It might seem like a quick and easy process to get on The Price Is Right. You just get tickets online, show up at the start of taping, and sit down, right? Well, it’s actually a lot more complicated than that. A big reason is that the audience is much more a part of the show than in most game shows. Not only are contestants drawn from the studio audience, but the rest of the audience gets a decent amount of screen time. And when they aren’t being seen, they’re being heard shouting out advice to the contestants. So, it’s vital to have a crowd that’s full of energy, and even more important to have contestants who will have that x factor of being energetic and fun to watch. Audience members have to line up hours in advance, on the street outside the studio lot. As they wait, members of the Price is Right production staff will occasionally pop out to see who in the line is showing a certain energy and sparkle. Then they are eventually led into the studio, 10 at a time. Each group is presented to the producers, where they are given questions to get a sense of who they are, what they’re like, and what they might be like as contestants. But before you start thinking it’s like a job interview, where there are ‘right answers’ – it’s a lot less complicated than that. Producer Stan Blits is on record as saying that mostly what he’s looking for is energy. If a potential contestant can match his high energy in their interview, then they are a lot more likely to get on the show as a contestant.
Squeaky Clean Image
One of the reasons that The Price Is Right was able to stand out among its competitors early on was because of it’s lack of scandals. In the early days of game shows, there were a ton of them, so it was hard to stand out in the crowd. As such, producers were willing to bend the rules, just to get ahead. Some of the famous shows of the 1950’s included the $64,000 Question, Dotto, and 21 Questions. Each of these shows eventually became embroiled in major scandals, as it was revealed that contestant were being aided by producers. This was because producers (and the networks) knew that audiences were riveted when a person had long running success on a game show. Thus their ratings would go up if they had people winning a lot, especially if it was one person, who would also become a celebrity in their own right. But eventually all of these show were found out. There were even congressional hearings that looked into game shows in the ‘50s helping contestants win. As such, the popularity of these show plummeted, and before too long they were off the air. But one show that never had any scandals, or even strong rumors of one, was The Price Is Right. It has maintained a squeaky clean image for decades. Viewers who had been dissolutioned by the cheating in the other popular shows of the time discovered the earnest and honest game play that the Price is Right was offering, and found it appealing. The show has managed to keep that squeaky clean image over the years, building up trust amongst audiences for decades.
Obviously after being on the air for decades, there are a ton of behind the scenes secrets that are fun to find out about the Price Is Right. These are only a smattering of them. But hopefully you enjoyed a bit of a peak behind the curtain – or should we say, behind the Plinko board. The show has a timeless quality that has appealed to people from the mid 20th century, well into the 21st century. It’s easy to watch and fun to play along with at home. And if you ever get the chance to attend a taping, you’ll be talking about it for the rest of your life.
Now it’s time to hear from you. Who is your favorite Price Is Right host – Bob Barker or Drew Carey? Do you think Drew will stay on for as long as Bob did, or will we see another Price Is Right host before too long? Let us know in the comments section below!