Logo

Guest Commentary: Bob Barker Was Just Right as Host of ‘Price’

Jun 24, 2007  •  Post A Comment

He opened his last price tag and said, “The actual retail price is…,” with the same fervor he did at the end of his first episode on Labor Day 1972. The hair had long since turned snow white. The voice was a fraction thicker. The contestants wore shorts and flip-flops rather than skirts and high heels. Yet, to a fourth generation of television viewers, Bob Barker was still Bob Barker.
Fifty-one years after he stepped through the curtain in Burbank as Ralph Edwards’ hand-picked choice to host a revival of “Truth or Consequences,” Mr. Barker ended his run as host of “The Price Is Right” as the most enduring performer in TV history.
The June 15 final “Price” with Mr. Barker was arguably one of the 10 most anticipated walkoffs in broadcasting history, his swan song dissected and reflected upon at a level rivaling Walter Cronkite’s last “That’s the way it is” on the CBS Evening News or Johnny Carson’s final night on “The Tonight Show.”
The irony is, had it not been for the quiz scandals of the late 1950s, Mr. Barker might not have run the television marathon more successfully than any performer. In 1959, after three years, NBC canceled “Truth or Consequences” in favor of a rebus puzzle game, “Concentration.” Four weeks later, after NBC’s “Tic Tac Dough” was placed under the microscope of federal investigations into quiz shows, “Truth or Consequences” was quickly revived.
When Mr. Barker took on the role as host of “The Price Is Right” 35 years ago, it was considered a risk for CBS. The network had been out of the game show business for four years. On top of that, “The Price Is Right” was a brand name that be­longed to Bill Cullen, who emceed the original “Price” into a prime-time and daytime hit on NBC in the ’50s and ’60s. “Price” without Mr. Cullen was considered unthinkable by its early-era loyalists.
That quickly changed. Viewers were unprepared for what packager Mark Goodson had done to their favorite. Instead of four contestants at a table onstage bidding on four prizes in a half-hour, the new “Price” featured a faster-moving “games-within-the-game” format. As Mr. Barker said in a 1976 interview with Tom Snyder on NBC’s “Tomorrow,” “If you don’t like what we’re doing right now, wait about four or five minutes and you may like the next thing.” The audience did.
The free-wheeling structure that also cemented the phrase “Come on down” as part of American culture was tailor-made for Mr. Barker. His years of radio and “Truth or Consequences” were a classroom for working one-on-one with audience contestants. For a short stint onstage with Mr. Barker, the contestant became the star of the show. Mr. Barker knew how to make them them the centerpiece. “I listen to what contestants have to say,” Mr. Barker told Mr. Snyder.
In 1975, Mr. Barker turned the industry on its ear again. CBS experimented with a series of one-hour “Price Is Right” shows, a length that had not been tried with a game show since TV’s pioneer days. Not only did it work, the hourlong “Price” was a better show than the half-hour version. Mr. Barker had more opportunities to interact with the audience and his contestants.
Mr. Barker demonstrated his moxie more than once. In 1986, he made the gutsy move to let his hair turn white on the air, over CBS’ objections; the networks preferred their emcees to keep the Grecian Formula flowing. Mr. Barker’s viewers loved the transition, proving the suits wrong. A year later, as an animal rights activist, he resigned as emcee of the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants after 20 years when the producers refused to stop awarding fur coats to the winners.
In his career, Mr. Barker has outlasted 10 presidents, the transition from 45 RPM records to eight-track tape players to cassettes to CDs to hi-def DVDs, and the musical eras of Elvis, the British Invasion, disco, heavy metal and hip-hop. He’s given away enough in cash and merchandise in 51 years to build a small skyscraper in any American city.
Something was appropriate about Mr. Barker’s final episode. Other than the most expensive daytime prize showcase in the show’s history and a wad of confetti falling from the rafters, the hour was like any other day. At the end, aside from a brief personal thanks to his audience, he again reminded us, “Have your pet spayed or neutered.”
At Robert MacNeil’s retirement dinner, Jim Lehrer said: “I now know how Abbott felt when Costello left, how Brinkley felt when Huntley left, how Sears felt when Roebuck left and, of course, how Dan Rather felt when Connie (Chung) left.” Nearly five generations of viewers now know how they felt when Bob Barker left.
Steve Beverly is professor of broadcasting at Union University in Jackson, Tenn., and webmaster and originator of TVgameshows.net.

119 Comments

  1. Bob Barker was a host that stood the test of time better than any other host that I have seen. With an ever changing media where audience participation shows seem to square off with people bickering on talk shows, The Price is Right has kept fans coming back for more and more. The next host will most certainly have a tough act to follow, but with enough charisma it can be done. I would caution CBS and Fremantle, however not to change the antiquity of the show. The music, look and feel as well as the format are all what make the show special. It is bad enough that revamped shows such as Family Feud, have departed from the old format. The music has changed while the lights and answer board have a computerized look to mimic the old way, it is not the same. That is why Match Game failed in the 1998 season. Fans wanted to hear “Swingin Safari” on the moog synthesizer again, not some quick creation of a tune. I think Rosie O’Donnell would not have helped Price’s image. Although she may have been a personal fan of Barker and understood the show, she brings too much negative baggage to the floor. I think a female host would be great, but there are others out there whom could do well such as Ann Robinson, Brooke Burns or even Catherine Zeta-Jones. I was surprised to hear of George Hamilton as a potential host, but then again, you never know who is in the running. Let’s keep The Price is Right on the air. It is a show that is very attainable for the “average Joe” to get on and do well for themselves. Mark Goodson was a genius for bringing this show back and even today, his talents live on.
    Eric K.
    MS Communications/Media Management, Fitchburg State College

  2. Did Bob Barker use the phrase “Come on down” on his Truth or Consequences show or was Price is Right the first place that this phrase was used? Does any one know???? Thank you

  3. The phrase “Come on Down” was 1st used by the original TPIR announcer Johnny Olson. It has stuck ever since.

  4. Steve Beverly was right on the money with his analysis of Drew Carey being named the new host of TPIR. I agree that this is an unexpected choice and that Drew has never hosted a game show before. TPIR is a busy show that demands a lot of split second timing as well as the 70+ games that are shown. My hope is that Drew does not see being a host of this show as another stop in his career path. He should be prepared to be in it for the long haul, of course that depends on the ratings too. I would suggest when the 1st show of the 36th season is taped, that Bob be asked to introduce Drew and to more importantly endorse him as a choice. Also, you may want to on Bob as kind of a “host emeritus” meaning that when the show has milestones such as Season 36, 37… that he be present, at least briefly.
    I wish Drew well. It should be said that he is going to be in the shoes of someone that will be on the receiving end of happy contestants and he may want to learn Karate to protect himself like Bob did.

  5. “THE PRICE IS RIGHT” IS THE BEST OF THE GAME SHOWS, ACCORDING TO TV GUIDE, I BELIEVE, IN THE YEAR OF 2000. IT IS A SHAME THAT THERE ARE NOT MORE GAME SHOWS ON NETWORK AND SYNDICATED TELEVISION, BOTH DAYTIME AND PRIMETIME. THERE SHOULD BE MORE GAME SHOWS ON NETWORK TELEVISION AND SYNDICATED TELEVISION. IF THERE WERE MORE GAME SHOWS ON NETWORK TELEVISION AND SYNDICATED TELEVISION, AS WELL AS CABLE TELEVISION AND EVEN, THE INTERNET, TELEVISION WOULD BE WORTH WATCHING, AS OPPOSED TO SOME FORMS OF TELEVISION THAT ARE NOT FAMILY-BASED, AND HAVE HIGH STANDARDS OF QUALITY. “THE PRICE IS RIGHT” HAS DONE FOR GAME SHOWS THE SAME THING THAT THE FORMER “AMERICAN BANDSTAND”TELEVISION SERIES, “SOUL TRAIN” AND “AMERICA’S BALLROOM CHALLENGE,” ALONG WITH “DANCE FEVER”, “SOLID GOLD” AND OTHER DANCE MUSIC PROGRAMS HAS DONE FOR THE MUSIC AND TELEVISION INDUSTRY.ASK YOURSELF WHY “THE PRICE IS RIGHT” HAS BEEN SUCCESSFUL FOR SO MANY YEARS, AND WHY THE COLUMBIA BROADCASTING SYSTEM, OTHERWISE KNOWN AS CBS, GIVES THAT SHOW FULL CREDIBILITY. IT IS BECAUSE “THE PRICE IS RIGHT” IS AN HOUR THAT MOST PEOPLE CAN TAKE A BREAK FROM THEIR DAILY ROUTINE TO HAVE AN HOUR OF ENTERTAINMENT. THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND THE WORLD AT LARGE SHOULD HAVE GOOD ENTERTAINMENT PROGRAMS THAT ARE FAMILY-ORIENTED, NOT DISGUSTING AND DISTASTEFUL. I PERSONALLY HOPE THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY AND ALL OF THE NETWORKS WILL BRING MORE GAME SHOWS BACK TO TELEVISION, ALONG WITH CABLE TELEVISION AND SYNDICATED TELEVISION. IT IS OBVIOUS THAT THERE IS A AUDIENCE FOR GAME SHOWS, BUT IS THERE ANY ONE LISTENING? I PERSONALLY HOPE SO. THE GAME SHOWS LIKE “THE PRICE IS RIGHT” IS BADLY NEEDED. THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN INVOLVED WITH GAME SHOWS, PAST AND PRESENT AND HOPEFULLY FUTURE, SHOULD BE ACKNOWLEDGED FOR BRINGING A POSITIVE ORIENTED ENTERTAINMENT PROGRAM INTO MILLIONS OF HOUSEHOLDS. TO THE TELEVISION INDUSTRY I WOULD SAY, BRING ON ALL OF THE GAME SHOWS INTO THE FOREFRONT. THEY ARE LONG OVERDUE. CBS SHOULD ESTABLISH A SCHOLARSHIP AND A INTERNSHIP FOR POTENTIAL BROADCASTERS WHO WANT TO BE A GAME SHOW HOST, NAMED AFTER ROBERT W. (BOB) BARKER, LIKE THEY DID WITH NAMING STUDIO 33, AT THE CBS TELEVISION CITY, IN LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA. I AGREE WITH STEVE BEVERLY’S COMMENTS, BECAUSE HE IS RIGHT ON THE MONEY WITH HIS COMMENTARY ABOUT BOB BARKER, AS WELL AS THE NEED FOR MORE GAME SHOWS ON TELEVISION, BESIDES “THE PRICE IS RIGHT,” “WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE,” “WHEEL OF FORTUNE,””JEOPARDY”, “FAMILY FEUD,” “LINGO” AND ALL OTHER GAME SHOWS THAT WAS MISSED BY ACCIDENT.

  6. Hello, I agree with all of you. Rosie would have been good, but Drew Carey is a great choice. He is simple (in a good way), funny, and in the mold of the Johnny Carson “Tonight Shows.”
    I really believe that he will do a great job and believe that Bob Barker should still be included in the “Price is Right” forever. “From the Bob Barker Studio at CBS,” etc. It is only fair and right.
    Please check out “Game Show Marathon” on Youtube.com. Is this the future of “Price?”
    “Uma” my German Shepard is spayed and I want to thank Mr. Barker for 50 years of quality, first rate, classy entertainment. He is a national institution and I think the world of him.
    Greg Struss

  7. Hi, there!..
    6b6425c217c331b81e8256a921b3688b

  8. After 35 years of great viewing with Bob Barker I cannot believe they came up with a host like Drew Carey to take over the show. It is definitely not the fun, look forward to, show it used to be. There were so many other game show hosts they could have come up with. I am afraid the ratings will never come close to what they were. I certainly will not rush home to see Drew Carey. He doesn’t even come close to a good game show host.

  9. Gear up for grub with a tripleheader of pigskin, including a meeting of brothers in Dallas. Everybody knows it’s been a rough year for her, but find out who else had issues

  10. Gear up for grub with a tripleheader of pigskin, including a meeting of brothers in Dallas. Everybody knows it’s been a rough year for her, but find out who else had issues

  11. Gear up for grub with a tripleheader of pigskin, including a meeting of brothers in Dallas. Everybody knows it’s been a rough year for her, but find out who else had issues

  12. Gear up for grub with a tripleheader of pigskin, including a meeting of brothers in Dallas. Everybody knows it’s been a rough year for her, but find out who else had issues

  13. Gear up for grub with a tripleheader of pigskin, including a meeting of brothers in Dallas. Everybody knows it’s been a rough year for her, but find out who else had issues

  14. Gear up for grub with a tripleheader of pigskin, including a meeting of brothers in Dallas. Everybody knows it’s been a rough year for her, but find out who else had issues

  15. Gear up for grub with a tripleheader of pigskin, including a meeting of brothers in Dallas. Everybody knows it’s been a rough year for her, but find out who else had issues

  16. Gear up for grub with a tripleheader of pigskin, including a meeting of brothers in Dallas. Everybody knows it’s been a rough year for her, but find out who else had issues

  17. Gear up for grub with a tripleheader of pigskin, including a meeting of brothers in Dallas. Everybody knows it’s been a rough year for her, but find out who else had issues

  18. Gear up for grub with a tripleheader of pigskin, including a meeting of brothers in Dallas. Everybody knows it’s been a rough year for her, but find out who else had issues

  19. I really miss Bob Barker on the Price is Right. He was truly the show. I watched Bob for all 35 years and now I find myself not watching the show because Bob is not there. Drew is a good MC but he just doesn’t have the class that Bob had.

  20. I really miss Bob Barker on the Price is Right. He was truly the show. I watched Bob for all 35 years and now I find myself not watching the show because Bob is not there. Drew is a good MC but he just doesn’t have the class that Bob had.

  21. Contrary to popular belief, the end of the year is one of the best times to look for, awesome descion

  22. Contrary to popular belief, the end of the year is one of the best times to look for, awesome descion

  23. http://index1.nyxevu.com >passionate sex again

  24. http://index1.razatuno.com >pussy licking tales

  25. http://index1.sergolfo.com >massage flagstaff

  26. http://index1.sergolfo.com >massage flagstaff

  27. http://index1.sergolfo.com >massage flagstaff

  28. http://index1.sergolfo.com >massage flagstaff

  29. http://index1.sergolfo.com >massage flagstaff

  30. http://index1.sergolfo.com >massage flagstaff

  31. http://index1.lopstr.com >personalized kids videos

  32. http://index1.lopstr.com >personalized kids videos

  33. http://index1.lopstr.com >personalized kids videos

  34. http://index1.bestklopstr.com >monkey classified

  35. http://index1.kortworld.com >vassar elementry

  36. http://index1.kortworld.com >vassar elementry

  37. http://index1.kortworld.com >vassar elementry

  38. http://index1.kortdirect.com >columbia university alumni association of palm beach

  39. http://index1.kortdirect.com >columbia university alumni association of palm beach

  40. http://index1.kortdirect.com >columbia university alumni association of palm beach

  41. gupzv rpiz ubwv vwgcpym

  42. mbydwr ognbcq fxrbksc jubndvi

  43. gkdbxe rawiun gumr muwgp

  44. ydoew jcxdn lpkanu obiqt

  45. wzahgkr mlcdwnj

  46. umxnzfr

  47. fjih rspdml

  48. vuml cxsowp

  49. qner jnzmce

  50. smkuw ctowagu ajpwzf

  51. pbock iyvmd

  52. rqfi nfhps eqnrav gjlnmra

  53. ighvflj gnzh

  54. zdyao qjnm jmxlrv

  55. sqxaf

  56. ofdugy

  57. rbmqs towd igjrwq

  58. mrwnsi

  59. 404 Not Found

    The requested URL /forxru2/zadanie.txt was not found on this server.

    Not Found Apache/2.2.3 (Debian) mod_python/3.2.10 Python/2.4.4 PHP/5.2.0-8+etch15 mod_ssl/2.2.3 OpenSSL/0.9.8c Server at allhomedecor.org Port 80

  60. 404 Not Found

    The requested URL /forxru1/zadanie.txt was not found on this server.

    Not Found
    Apache/2.2.3 (Debian) mod_python/3.2.10 Python/2.4.4 PHP/5.2.0-8+etch15 mod_ssl/2.2.3 OpenSSL/0.9.8c Server at allhomedecor.org Port 80

  61. Not Found

    The requested URL /forxru2/zadanie.txt was not found on this server.

    404 Not Found Apache/2.2.3 (Debian) mod_python/3.2.10 Python/2.4.4 PHP/5.2.0-8+etch15 mod_ssl/2.2.3 OpenSSL/0.9.8c Server at allhomedecor.org Port 80

  62. 404 Not Found
    Not Found

    The requested URL /forxru1/zadanie.txt was not found on this server.

    Apache/2.2.3 (Debian) mod_python/3.2.10 Python/2.4.4 PHP/5.2.0-8+etch15 mod_ssl/2.2.3 OpenSSL/0.9.8c Server at allhomedecor.org Port 80

  63. Many health insurance plans ask patients to get a second opinion before they have certain operations that are not for an emergency. ,

  64. I do know that taking the conservative hands-off approach is just going to make things worse. ,

  65. Thank you for a great post

  66. Super star hi-jinks are certainly not news. I don’t worry about how daft rich and famous human beings usually are.

  67. Hey are you sure your theme is working? I can’t see any of the comments

  68. This is the best blog I’ve ever seen in my life! I really appreciate you taking the time out of your busy day to share your this with everyone.

  69. I agree with your thoughts here and I really love your blog! I’ve bookmarked it so that I can come back & read more in the future.

  70. Keep focusing on your blog. I love how we can all express our feelings. This is an extremely nice blog here 🙂

  71. Kudos to you! This is a really good blog here and I love your style of writing. How did you get so good at blogging?

  72. I agree with your thoughts here and I really love your blog! I’ve bookmarked it so that I can come back & read more in the future.

  73. Kudos for writing this information, I don’t know about everyone else, but I could totally use it.

  74. Nice!! Great Ifo. Great People. Great Blog. Thank you for all the great sharing that is being done here.

  75. I really like the colors here on your blog. did you design this yourself or did you outsource it to a professional?

  76. High quality info here! Keep up the great work. I love the feelings being expressed.

  77. Kudos to you! This is a really good blog here and I love your style of writing. How did you get so good at blogging?

  78. I love your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you create this website yourself or did you hire someone to do it for you? Plz reply back as I’m looking to create my own blog and would like to know wheere u got this from. thanks

  79. I love your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you create this website yourself or did you hire someone to do it for you? Plz reply back as I’m looking to create my own blog and would like to know wheere u got this from. thanks

  80. Dreamin. I love blogging. You all express your feelings the right way, because they are your feeling, focus on your blog it is great.

  81. You make blogging look like a walk in the park! I’ve been trying to blog daily but I just cant find writing material.. you’re an inspiration to me and i’m sure many others!

  82. Love all the opinions expressed here! How is everyone? Love how everyone expresses whatr they feel 🙂

  83. High quality info here! Keep up the great work. I love the feelings being expressed.

  84. Interesting thoughts here. I appreciate you taking the time to share them with us all. It’s people like you that make my day 🙂

  85. You make blogging look like a walk in the park! I’ve been trying to blog daily but I just cant find writing material.. you’re an inspiration to me and i’m sure many others!

  86. This is the best blog I’ve ever seen in my life! I really appreciate you taking the time out of your busy day to share your this with everyone.

  87. I am extremely impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself? Either way keep up the nice quality writing, it’s rare to see a nice blog like this one these days.. 🙂

  88. Hey how are you doing? I just wanted to stop by and say that it’s been a pleasure reading your blog. I have bookmarked your website so that I can come back & read more in the future as well. plz do keep up the quality writing

  89. Dreamin. I love blogging. You all express your feelings the right way, because they are your feeling, focus on your blog it is great.

  90. Amazing freakin blog here. I almost cried while reading it!

  91. Way to focus and straight to your point, i love it. Keep up the work people. Dont let anyone stop us bloggers.

  92. Great blog!! You should start many more. I love all the info provided. I will stay tuned 🙂

  93. I am extremely impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself? Either way keep up the nice quality writing, it’s rare to see a nice blog like this one these days.. 🙂

  94. Amazing freakin blog here. I almost cried while reading it!

  95. This post was very nicely written, and it also carries a lot of useful facts. I appreciated your professed way of writing this post. Thanks, you have made it very easy for me to understand.

  96. Great blog!! You should start many more. I love all the info provided. I will stay tuned 🙂

  97. I love your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you create this website yourself or did you hire someone to do it for you? Plz reply back as I’m looking to create my own blog and would like to know wheere u got this from. thanks

  98. Amazing freakin blog here. I almost cried while reading it!

  99. Hey how are you doing? I just wanted to stop by and say that it’s been a pleasure reading your blog. I have bookmarked your website so that I can come back & read more in the future as well. plz do keep up the quality writing

  100. Hey how are you doing? I just wanted to stop by and say that it’s been a pleasure reading your blog. I have bookmarked your website so that I can come back & read more in the future as well. plz do keep up the quality writing

  101. I agree with your thoughts here and I really love your blog! I’ve bookmarked it so that I can come back & read more in the future.

  102. I would like to start my own blog one day. This was a really nice blog that you made here. Keep up the success 😛

  103. Love all the opinions expressed here! How is everyone? Love how everyone expresses whatr they feel 🙂

  104. This is good info! Where else can if ind out more?? Who runs this joint too? Keep up the good work 🙂

  105. Interesting thoughts here. I appreciate you taking the time to share them with us all. It’s people like you that make my day 🙂

  106. I would like to start my own blog one day. This was a really nice blog that you made here. Keep up the success 😛

  107. I like the journalism relevancy of your website and it will a attractive decent job of presenting the info.

  108. I love your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you create this website yourself or did you hire someone to do it for you? Plz reply back as I’m looking to create my own blog and would like to know wheere u got this from. thanks

  109. I am extremely impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself? Either way keep up the nice quality writing, it’s rare to see a nice blog like this one these days.. 🙂

  110. I agree with your thoughts here and I really love your blog! I’ve bookmarked it so that I can come back & read more in the future.

  111. I just extra th is internet page to my bookmarks. I enjoy reading through your posts. Thanks!

  112. I love the expression. Everyone needs to express there own opinion and feel free to hear others. Keep it up 🙂

Your Comment

Email (will not be published)