30 Behind-the-Scenes Facts About The Price Is Right
On the air since 1956, The Price Is Right has proven to be one of America's favorite — and most enduring — game shows. The games are fun and easy to play, and the contestants could be your grandma or the guy next door. And what could be better than watching Drew Carey crack jokes while you sip your morning coffee?
Of course, any successful TV show has its fair share of secrets producers don’t want the public to know. We've uncovered some rare facts about The Price Is Right that you probably never knew as a viewer at home.
The Show Has Been Around the Network Block
The Price Is Right debuted in 1956 on NBC and enjoyed success from the very beginning. During a 10-year streak, the show aired more than 11,000 episodes — more episodes than Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune in the same amount of time.
A Love Affair with Barker's Hair
Bob Barker replaced original The Price Is Right host Bill Cullen when the show moved to CBS in 1972, and the audience loved him. In 1987, after going on vacation and letting his gray roots take over, he decided to stop coloring his hair for the show. He had gotten plenty of compliments on his natural shade of gray.
Free Doesn’t Really Mean Free
A lot of viewers who watch the show don't realize that everything a contestant wins on The Price Is Right is subject to taxation. Sure, they still get money or items they didn't have, but the amount they keep is never as high as the amount stated on the show.
Bob Barker’s Namesake Building
One of Bob Barker's iconic lines from the show comes as the credits roll: "Remember to get your pets spayed and neutered, everybody!" This wasn't the full extent of his love and support of animals, however. He threatened to leave the 1987 Miss USA Pageant if contestants didn't agree to switch their real fur for faux fur.
A Behind-the-Scenes Mistake Could Cost a Lot
A lot goes into creating a show like The Price Is Right. For one thing, the announcer has to know which prizes are being offered. If the announcer goofs when mentioning a prize, the player could win by default — which has happened before.
You Won a What?
Over the years, The Price Is Right has gotten a little creative with the prizes it offers contestants. It makes sense the show would want to switch things up and keep players on their toes — it can't always be a brand new car, after all — but some prizes have left contestants and viewers scratching their heads.
Drew Carey's Arrival Shook Things Up
Given Bob Barker's incredible popularity with fans, it's natural that producers were a little worried when he left the show and Drew Carey took over. They wanted to make sure people kept watching, and so they modified the games.
The Challenge of Competitive Guessing Game
The Price Is Right is such a success that a lot of related merchandise has been born from it. Examples include video games and board games for fans to play at home. The very first board game was actually a deck of cards released in 1958. The game involved bidding against your opponents, but it didn’t offer any trips to Europe, unfortunately.
The Truth About Retail Price
The prizes presented on The Price Is Right are accompanied by legitimate retail prices from retailers — no fudging the numbers to make it look like a bigger prize! But you might still wonder what "retail price" really means from the show’s perspective. After all, retail prices vary greatly in different parts of the country.
Take-Home Prizes Aren’t a Thing
Imagine the excitement of being a winning contestant on The Price Is Right. The first thing you want to do is drive off in your new car or head to the pier to put your boat in the water. Well, contestants don't actually get to do that. Unfortunately, they have to wait quite some time to receive their winnings.
The Ultimate Anti-Cheater
The thing about game shows is the audience has to trust in the authenticity of the games for the show to succeed. If there's even a hint of rigging or cheating going on, viewers lose trust and stop watching. Plenty of game shows have been accused of cheating and been caught in rigging scandals, but not The Price Is Right.
Casting for the Show Is Fierce
It's a long and difficult process to become an audience member on The Price Is Right, and that's only the beginning of the ordeal. If you're picked to be in the audience and have a shot at selection, you have to be willing to wait around a long time.
A Mic Designed with Contestants in Mind
Producers are aware that contestants on The Price Is Right probably aren't schooled in the ways of television filming. Most people on the show have never been on TV before, and that can be an intimidating experience. For this reason, the host's microphone is deliberately long, skinny and harmless looking to keep things relaxed.
Drew Carey and His Cash Stash
It's an exciting moment when a contestant guesses the exact retail price of a prize. It doesn't happen often, and if you're a fan of the show, you know that host Drew Carey will pull a wad of money from his own pocket and give $500 to the contestant. It seems like just another mini-prize on the show, but it's not that simple.
Testing the Skills of the Alphabet Queen
Of course, you know Vanna White, the tile-flipping hostess on Wheel of Fortune. She seems to have been in the game show world since 1982, but she actually popped up on The Price Is Right two years earlier, in 1980.
Adding Male Models to the Mix
The fabulous prizes presented on The Price Is Right are always revealed with the help of graceful, gorgeous models. Until 2012, those models were always women. Finally, producers decided it was time to give male models a shot at the job.
The Man You Need to Impress
Getting on The Price Is Right is no easy endeavor. One of the most crucial steps is impressing one man: Stan Blits. It's this guy — and this guy only — who interviews potential candidates and decides whether they are game show material or not.
Taking a Swing at Adam Sandler
Okay, so Bob Barker didn't actually punch Adam Sandler, but he did in the movies! Barker's status as a legendary game show host has gotten him invited to appear in several films, including Adam Sandler's Happy Gilmore released in 1996. In the movie, Barker ends up fist fighting with Sandler — and winning, of course.
Oops, She's in the Bathroom!
With audience members waiting for hours to get on the show, it’s not surprising that "the urge" could hit them at the wrong time. On one The Price Is Right episode, Bob Barker was about to call Patricia Bernard's name when he realized she wasn't in her seat. They looked all over the studio for her, but she had disappeared.
Too Many Cars to Count
Fans have certainly heard the announcer's voice say, "It's a new car!" more times than they can count. That's because each episode features, on average, three different cars as prizes. It's the iconic Price Is Right prize, and it's something every contestant is happy to win.
Missing a Shot at a Ferrari
Executive producer Mike Richards doesn't keep his favorite car brand a secret: It's a Ferrari. Richards had a goal to present a Ferrari as a prize on the show, and that goal was finally realized in one episode.
Jesse Pinkman for the Win
Fans of Breaking Bad are probably scratching their heads. What do you mean Jesse Pinkman was on The Price Is Right? Well, the actor who played Pinkman, Aaron Paul, appeared on the show back in 1999 before making it big. He can be seen wearing glasses and his "Aaron" name tag.
An Impossible Guess
The famous Showcase Showdown on The Price Is Right is probably the hardest bid to make. It's virtually impossible to make an exact guess, but strange things happen sometimes. One day, a man named Terry Kniess, 60 years old and retired, guessed the exact price for his Showdown prize.
22,000 Pecks on the Cheek
Not all game show hosts reach the pinnacle of fame and admiration reached by Bob Barker. Fans absolutely adored the host, and even people who didn't watch the show knew exactly who he was. The audience's love for him was no secret.
Get Ready to Plug Your Ears
People get wild on The Price Is Right. How wild? Well, sometimes the noise made by the audience makes it almost impossible to hear your name called out over the din. The amount of screaming and yelling prompts some contestants to bring a pair of earplugs to use when sitting in the audience.
Keep Your Clothes On!
There's a story of a woman who got so excited that she had a wardrobe malfunction on screen. A 1977 contestant, Yolanda, was so enthusiastic that she ran up on stage and jumped by the podium, causing her blouse to slip and expose her to the audience!
Don't Stop Clapping!
It’s no joke that producers are looking for enthusiasm in contestants and audience members alike. They want people who aren't afraid to yell, holler and scream throughout the entire episode. And clap — lots and lots of clapping!
Producer Mistakes Add Up to Big Bucks
For a Price Is Right commercial promo, producers decided to rig a game to ensure they could show it winning. The game was Plinko, a game of luck that has contestants drop chips so they fall into numbered slots. The rigging was meant to be temporary to simply demonstrate the game in action with a winner.
The Science Behind the Wheel
The Price Is Right has the iconic "Big Wheel" that contestants spin for a chance at the Showcase Showdown. Land on the right combination, and you could win a fortune. Seems simple enough, right? Scientists have actually conducted extensive studies on the wheel and the decisions made by the spinners.
Mrs. Brady in a Car Crash on Stage
The famous Brady Bunch actress Florence Henderson (a.k.a. Mrs. Brady) appeared on The Price Is Right on a Mother's Day episode in 2012. For her star appearance, she was simply instructed to sit in the passenger seat of the car that was meant to be one of the evening's main prizes.