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Friday, 8 June, 2007 4:55 PM

Bob Barker Retires After 50 Years on Television

IN THE AUDIENCE: The inside story you won't find anywhere else


CBS Television City in Hollywood, California. "The Price is Right" is taped inside Studio 33, which was renamed the Bob Barker Studio.

By Jason Rzucidlo

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. -- Bob Barker. Just about everyone in America recognizes the name of the popular game show host; from the taxi driver to the bagel shop owner to the flight attendant to the regular guy on the street. Mr. Barker retired from hosting “The Price Is Right” after taping his final episode on June 6, 2007.

I was lucky to be chosen as an audience member to go on the top-rated CBS game show. I was on the episode that was taped on Monday, June 4th and will be aired on Tuesday, June 12th. It was Bob Barker’s fourth to last show ever. Here’s my inside account that you won’t be able to find anywhere else:

I arrived in Los Angeles at around 10:30 p.m. on Sunday. My flight from Detroit to LA took about 4 1/2 hours. It was very long, but well worth it. I knew that the trip was going to be the experience of a lifetime.

Upon arrival, I took a van to the Motel 6 I was planning on staying at. The driver told me I should cancel my reservations and go directly to Bob Barker. He said people were lining up around the perimeter of the studio. By the time I was waited on at Motel 6, it was after 11 p.m. so I decided to cancel my reservation. I asked for a taxi and was taken directly to the CBS studios, home of “The Price Is Right.”

I got there at around 11:30 p.m. The taxi driver and I were both surprised at the amount of people that were already waiting in line for Monday’s taping, which would be held at 1:15 p.m. People were lined up in tents, sleeping bags, chairs and anything else they could find to sleep on.

Contestants of the show are chosen directly from the audience. Possible audience members were sleeping on the streets of LA just to get the chance of a lifetime. If chosen to “Come on Down,” contestants could win a new car, cash prizes, trips or various other gifts.

The first person in line for the Monday taping was a young girl who was waiting since Friday evening. She waited over 72 hours to see Bob Barker and get her chance on national television.

People were wearing t-shirts from their colleges and universities or custom t-shirts that they made specifically for the show. Many of them featured pictures of Bob Barker on the front or text going across the front. The shirt I wore featured an autographed photo of Bob Barker on the front and text “I’ve Waited 20 Years for This” on the back.

Priority numbers were issued to the first 325 people in line for the episode. What’s unique about this show is the fact that some of the people in line didn’t even have a ticket. They decided to spend the night on the streets anyway. Their hope was to be chosen as a “stand-by” audience member.

After priority numbers were issued, possible audience members were asked to return at 7 a.m. At that time, people with priority numbers were allowed to enter the audience holding area. This is an area with five rows of benches were folks can get to know each other and mingle. There was also a store where you can purchase memorabilia from “Price” and other shows on the CBS network. A small snack bar is also available for those who were hungry.

After lining up according to priority number and some other preliminary activities, audience members went through an interview with producers. This is how the contestants are chosen. Audience members are given 15 seconds to impress the producers. Nobody knows who is chosen until the announcer, Rich Fields, says their name during the show. The producers know, but it is kept secret.

Next, everyone was taken into Studio 33, which was renamed the Bob Barker Studio, home of “The Price Is Right.” The studio is a lot smaller than it looks on TV. It was exciting to be on the set of America’s top-rated game show. Barker has been hosting the show for the last 35 years and has won 17 Emmys including the Lifetime Achievement Award.

The announcer was the first to come on stage and greet the crowd. He went over some rules about the show and the audience was cheering. Everyone was jumping up and down, clapping and yelling “BOB…BOB…BOB”

The audience was filled with mostly college students, along with some adults and senior citizens. Many of the audience members came to the show in groups from the same college, same family or friends.

The show began at around 1:15 p.m. The opening of the show was shown on the TV screens above. It was time for Bob Barker to make his entrance. The doors opened and the legendary TV icon walked straight through, grabbed his thin microphone and walked toward contestants row.

The audience immediately got up and cheered, clapped and shouted “BOB…BOB…BOB.” Mr. Barker appreciated the welcome, said thank you and told everyone to sit down.

During commercial breaks or set changes, Barker would take questions from the audience. Someone asked Barker what he would do after retiring. Bob answered, “I’m going to start body building. I would like to become governor of California.” Everyone in the audience clapped.

Another audience member asked about Mr. Barker’s microphone. The one he uses is a lot thinner than most microphones used by talk show hosts or reporters. Bob answered, “It makes me look thinner. The real reason is we want to see the expression on the contestant’s face.”

An individual asked how Mr. Barker knew Chuck Norris. Bob replied that he worked out with the actor for eight years while hosting “Truth or Consequences.” Barker learned how to do karate while training with Norris.

Another person in the audience had a question about the motion picture “Happy Gilmore.” In the movie, Barker appears and punches out Adam Sandler after he makes some rude comments about the “Price Is Right.” The audience member wanted Bob to repeat his famous line in the movie. Mr. Barker said it on the set. It was not repeated during the taping of the show.

Bob is just as real in person as he is on TV. He is a very nice man. I was very happy to be a part of the show for the first time in my life. I was proud to see the legendary game show host doing what he loves, hosting “The Price Is Right.” Mr. Barker really feeds off the audience. If the audience is pumped, he will have a smile on his face.

Bob Barker was born on December 12, 1923. His first job on television was host of the “Truth or Consequences” game show from 1956 to 1974. He was also a panelist on “Match Game” from 1975 to 1982.

Mr. Barker starred on “Family Feud,” “The Nanny,” “Hollywood Squares,” “Martial Law,” “Yes, Dear,” “The Wayne Brady Show,” “Family Guy,” “How I Met Your Mother,” among many more.

The legendary game show host also made regular appearances on “Entertainment Tonight,” “The Late Show With David Letterman,” “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson” and also substituted has a guest host on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” in 1966.

Barker is best known for his role as host of “The Price Is Right.” He also served as Executive Producer of the top-rated game show. It has been on the air for the last 35 years and has taped more than 5,000 episodes with him as the host.

Bob Barker – We will always remember your smile and positive attitude. Congratulations on your 35 Years as host of “The Price Is Right” and Your 50 Years on Television. We Love You!

I end this article with a quote that you may recognize. Keep in mind that Barker is a vegetarian and an animal activist. At the end of each episode, after revealing the actual prices of the showcases, he would say:

“Help Control The Pet Population, Have Your Pets Spayed Or Neutered.”



Bob Barker's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.



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Unauthorized duplication or use of Text, Site Template, Graphics and or Site Design is Prohibited by Federal and International laws. See our Notice/Disclaimer.