Come On Down!: 4 Great Moments in The Price is Right

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When I was growing up, part of the fun of Christmas vacation was being able to lounge around in my PJs and watch daytime game shows on TV. Dad was home, too, which meant he had supreme and ultimate TV control. And one game show he never missed during his days off was The Price is Right. He claimed it was an educational show, with mathematical games that demonstrated the laws of averages and percentages. I think Mom saw through his façade when she snorted: "Hmph, he's just checking out the broads." (By "broads" I believe she actually meant "Barker's Beauties.") Or maybe she was referring to the occasional female contestant who added more bounce to the ounce when running towards Contestant Row. In any case, I hope you'll enjoy these TPIR memories:

1. Wardrobe Malfunction

Yolanda Bowersley had unfortunately chosen to wear a tiny tube top that warm day in 1977 when she sat in the studio audience awaiting that fateful call. When Johnny Olson invited her to "Come on down!" she did that and more. As she bounded down the stairs, she was blissfully unaware that her top had slid down to a precarious level. When Bob Barker eventually took the stage, he suspected that the cheers, hoots and hollers were not necessarily directed towards him.

2. You Should've Thought about that before You Left the House

Johnny called out "Patricia Bernard! Come on down! You're the next contestant on The Price is Right!" As usual, the camera scanned the audience in order to film the lucky person as she ran down the stairs. The only problem was on this day, the cameras panned several times and didn't see anyone leap up. Finally, a man left his seat and ran towards the back of the studio. Bob Barker, the consummate professional, instantly figured out what was going on:

"This had to happen did it not? Patricia is in the "little girls" room! A man I assume is her husband is out to look for her, and everyone in America is asking, how long can they wait for Patricia!"

3. What are the Odds?

He'd used up practically all of his guesses on a buffet and a set of luggage. One chance left to win a car. Who'd have thunk it? Just one of a few contestants who took home a major prize through sheer dumb luck.

4. This never happened to Carol Merrill

More than once the onstage prizes refused to cooperate with the models. Part of the charm of TPIR is that Barker and the show's producers rolled with the punches - taking these sort of bloopers in stride.

I know there are folks out there who've shouted obscenities at contestants making bad guesses, and those who have strong opinions regarding dark-haired Bob versus au naturel Bob. Now is the time to show some The Price Is Right love! And remember to spay and neuter your pets.

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January 2, 2008 - 3:15am
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