Come On Down!: Behind the Big Doors at The Price Is Right
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Come On Down!: Behind the Big Doors at The Price Is Right

by Stan Blits, Bob Barker
     
 

The Official Behind-the-Scenes Guide to America's Most Popular and Longest-Running Game Show!

For thirty-five years, The Price Is Right has been television's #1 game show, inviting 4.5 million home viewers daily to "Come On Down!" and join the studio contestants as they compete for fabulous prizes. A true pop culture phenomenon—with its flashy set, Big

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Overview

The Official Behind-the-Scenes Guide to America's Most Popular and Longest-Running Game Show!

For thirty-five years, The Price Is Right has been television's #1 game show, inviting 4.5 million home viewers daily to "Come On Down!" and join the studio contestants as they compete for fabulous prizes. A true pop culture phenomenon—with its flashy set, Big Wheel, Plinko board, "Barker Beauties," quirky contestants, Showcase Showdowns, and most importantly, its legendary host, Bob Barker—Price has set the standard for daytime reality TV.

And no one knows it better than Stan Blits, the show's music director, contestant coordinator, and Emmy Award-nominated staff writer, who has been on the set and behind the scenes for almost three decades. In Come On Down! he shares the never-before-told stories and secrets about the most memorable moments, outrageous contestants, highlights and lowlights, and painstaking process of carefully handpicking just the right elements that have made The Price Is Right a long-running hit. Jam-packed with photographs, trivia, and fascinating memories, Come On Down! is the perfect gift for every Price fan!

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
A ranking functionary of America's most durable TV game show offers some fleeting peeks backstage for the edification of its apparently indefatigable devotees. An echt Goodson-Todman production, The Price is Right has been on the air for some 35 years-so far. It remains essentially the same: antiquated and loud. The author has been with the show for 28 years-so far-as music director, writer and "contestant coordinator." (That's the guy who selects the jumping, screaming competitors who get the thrilling bid to "come on down" to the stage). Armed with such insider credentials, Blits tells stories about a few contestants and describes the work of the show's grips, models, writers, producers, announcers and directors. He maintains a respectful distance, however, from long-time host Bob Barker, who retired in 2007, and who, on the basis of this text, must be viewed as some sort of television deity. The rules of the game remain unexplained; the author takes it for granted that readers already know how to score a car, a fridge, a jet ski, a lovely set of fashionable pickle forks, maybe even a combination freezer-hair dryer in designer colors. Blits lavishes upon a cheesy pop-culture program such superlatives as legendary, epic, renowned, brilliant and iconic. Perhaps The Price Is Right is in some way emblematic of an aspect of the American ethos, but this volume is a sophomoric, blatant puff piece. The vocabulary is easy; apparently the author has trouble with big words. Of course, as obviously intended, his offering will do well with all the enthusiasts. Simple malarkey, solely for the host of fans.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061350115
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
09/04/2007
Pages:
208
Product dimensions:
8.00(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.50(d)

Read an Excerpt

Come On Down!
Behind the Big Doors at "The Price Is Right"

Chapter One

Creating An Epic Show
How It's Done

It was the dawn of mankind. Earth's crust had just begun to harden as the magma from deep below the planet's surface oozed its way to the tumultuous world above and saw its first light of day. God reached down, and in his infinite wisdom, with the realization that terra firma alone wasn't enough to sustain life, He created The Price Is Right. Okay, maybe the show hasn't been on the air that long. But it is the longest running network game show in television history, and as far as many Americans are concerned, essential to life itself. Few people can remember a world without it, especially if you're under the age of forty.

Certainly 1972 wasn't the beginning of the planet, but the inception of The Price Is Right did eventually shake up the country a bit and did breathe some new life into the world. The show was about to become an important part of pop-culture history, and its debut came quickly, without much of the pomp and circumstance that would normally be expected of iconic media creations. Not even a pilot episode was shot for The New Price Is Right, as it was called then. It debuted the same day as two other new shows, Joker's Wild and Gambit. The show had been done in the fifties and early sixties with host Bill Cullen, but it was of a sedate nature. It had an almost intellectually dignified quality that so many shows of that day had. But times they were a-changin', and by the early seventies, a different breed of game show was in the works, with the same name, but certainly notthe same style.

Taking a look at The Price Is Right today, the show seems to have been frozen in time. One can see its origins by the simplicity of some of its games and set design. No one seems to have wanted it to change much for fear of wrecking a good thing, and change it hasn't. It started out as a thirty-minute show with no big wheel, but in 1975 expanded to an hour.

New elements and colors as well as more complicated electronics in some of the games have updated it slightly, but all in all, it's a living, breathing time capsule. The Price Is Right is comfort food for the mind. People have had tantrums, like a child having been denied his blanket, when we've been preempted or missed a taping. When discussions of updating the show have arisen, there's always a resounding protest by all of us, as well as the viewers. Trying to modernize and "sophisticate" this show would be like putting béarnaise sauce on your Tater Tots. Thanks, but no thanks.

It did not enter the television medium with conformity. True, there had been other shows that bounded onto the television screen with bells, whistles, and screaming contestants. But this show was about to do many things that hadn't been done before.

First and foremost, the producers at that time, Mark Goodson and Bill Todman, had chosen a host who was perfect for the vision to which this show aspired. Goodson-Todman Productions had cranked out a multitude of megahits over the past decades and knew how to create a great show. Bill Todman took more of a backseat in the partnership as the businessman who handled the cash, and Mark Goodson was the hands-on creative guy. The ingenious Goodson, along with a team of producers, recruited the renowned host Bob Barker, who had a rich history of working with contestants on his then hit show Truth or Consequences. For a show that required impromptu interaction with contestants and knowledge of a complex television production, Bob was the perfect choice. He had panache, a great sense of humor, and knew how to get the most out of people in any given situation. He extracted comical moments from everyday folks and knew how to make stars of them with what seemed to be minimal effort. Don't let that fool you. It's not as easy as it looks. That's why he's so good at what he does, and why he has won more Emmys than any performer on television.

One of the unique features of the show is that different games are played each day. Why is this unique? Because it dared to go where no other shows would go, and that is to essentially change its content from day to day. How bold was it to create a variety of somewhat complex games and still make them simple enough for anyone to play whether they had seen them or not? The design of The Price Is Right games are quite impressive in that they need to be understood quickly with a relatively brief explanation by Bob. Remember, we've only got a limited amount of time, so if you create a game that's too complicated to understand with one explanation, the viewer will tune out. Of course, there have been exceptions, and this is one of the points that makes Bob Barker brilliant. A good example is a game we play called "Check Game." It's pretty simple, but from the very first time we played it, some contestants had a glazed-over look on their faces the minute they were asked by Bob, "Do you understand how to play, Josephine?" By the looks of it, you'd think the contestant was just asked to plot out a logarithmic chart for nuclear fusion. What does Bob do? He makes a totally amusing bit out of it by having some fun with the contestant. "Why does no one ever understand this game?" he'd declare. On the other side of that coin, if someone did understand the game, Bob would act either dumbfounded, or praise the contestant with glee as if they'd just come home from school with an A on their report card. Either way, it always gets a laugh . . . always. And that, my friends, is what makes an astonishingly great M.C.

Come On Down!
Behind the Big Doors at "The Price Is Right"
. Copyright � by Stan Blits. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Meet the Author

Stan Blits is a twenty-seven year veteran of “The Price is Right.” He is the co-producer, music director, contestant coordinator, and staff writer. He lives in Los Angeles.

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