Come On Down!

04-Jun-07 12:30 PM by
Filed under Celebrities, Television; 6 comments.

Next Friday will mark the end of an era: after 35 years, Bob Barker is stepping down as host of The Price Is Right.

It's an event I can't help but commemorate. When most kids might've been outside playing stickball, I grew up inside watching game shows, sitcoms, and soap operas. Here, I was exposed to language before I was taught its meaning: I thought the host was saying, "All this could be yours if The Price Is Right", when what he meant was, "All this could be yours if the price is right." A subtle difference… My sense of time, too, was distorted (as it probably is for all children) when I turned on the show one day and found Mr. Barker's hair had gone white! Had it been so long since I'd last seen him that he'd aged so much??

The high point of my affair with TPIR occurred in late June of 1998, when my youngest brother and I were in the show's studio audience. So many myths and misconceptions were dispelled that day: the stage and studio are small (the camera really does make things look bigger!); Bob Barker is really sexist — the things he said to the female contestants during commercial breaks were shockingly rude (and, admittedly, rather funny); and the late Rod Roddy did great standup before the filming started. Sadly, I was never told to "come on down!", probably because one of the showcase showdown prizes was a trip to Boston, which would not prove a very exotic award for someone living an hour west of there. But my brother and I did get shot high-fiving each other as the camera panned the audience before cutting to a commercial.

Despite all that, I don't feel as sad about Mr. Barker's departure as I did when Johnny Carson left The Tonight Show. Both Mr. Barker and Mr. Carson were not the first hosts of their shows and neither were they the last. But I think the format and style of TPIR has been and will be more consistent than the unique personality with which Mr. Carson invested The Tonight Show.

Still, it's a significant milestone in daytime television, and I hope it's been a fulfilling career for Mr. Barker. If you want to share your sentiments with him and other fans and hear what they have to say, visit the CBS video site "15 Seconds".

[Bonus: check out Crystal Waters' hit single, "Come On Down"]

6 Responses to “Come On Down!”

  1. Ken Gagne adds:

    Mr. Barker's final episode, filmed this past Wednesday, will be aired during both daytime and prime time this coming Friday, so says Wikipedia.

  2. Ken Gagne adds:

    Today's finale was fun. Mr. Barker himself did almost nothing to suggest today was any different from any other day; it was the fans who were going wild, throwing confetti, wearing custom t-shirts, so eager to meet the host that they were literally falling over each other. One gentleman waited in line FIVE DAYS to be on this show, and he barely made it onto the showcase showdown (where he didn't win, alas — poetic injustice).

    In closing: "Thank you all for inviting me into your homes for the past 50 years — I am deeply grateful… And remember: help control the pet population; have your pets spayed or neutered!"

  3. Ken Gagne adds:

    A few hours after the finale aired, Bob Barker won his 19th Emmy.

    The search for a new host continues, with Bob Barker endorsing Rosie O'Donnell

  4. Ken Gagne adds:

    Announced yesterday is that Drew Carey will be the new host of TPIR.

  5. Ken Gagne adds:

    Bob Barker recently auditioned for ESPN.

    Sheesh. Retire, already!!

  6. Ken Gagne adds:

    Here's video news story on Drew Carey's debut as host of The Price Is Right two months ago:

    You can also watch full episodes of TPIR online!