Sunday, December 10, 2023

Thanks for 'The Price Is Right' memories, Bob

| August 30, 2023 1:00 AM

Quintessential and iconic game show host Bob Barker died this week at age 99. In his honor, I share some personal Bob Barker trivia.

Back in the late 1970s, we were visiting my brother-in-law, drummer Hal Blaine, at his Hollywood Hills home. It was a star-studded neighborhood of beautiful homes with immaculate manicured landscaping. Ricky Nelson’s parents, Ozzie and Harriet, and fitness guru Jack LaLanne lived just up the hill. Down the hill, actress Cicely Tyson lived across the street from a grand house looking a little worse for the wear, especially the landscaping. I was surprised to learn it was Bob and Dorothy Barker’s house until I found out there was a reason the Barkers didn’t want their house to look fabulous. Evidently, they’d been burglarized more than once and were hoping not to again be a tempting target.

In August 2005, on a lark, Bert and I flew down to Burbank to appear in the audience of "The Price Is Right." Bob was 81 and would retire two years later. Even with stage makeup, he was looking his age, still sharp as a tack, but appearing quite frail.

Our daughter, Sarah, joined us for the adventure, probably to make sure we didn’t embarrass her too much on national TV. I had a goal of having a place in line in the single digits and was willing to line up outside CBS studios overnight. A few hundred other "The Price Is Right" hopefuls had the same idea, so I was in good company. About 8 a.m., a producer began handing out the passes and we were seven, eight and nine! We were to come back in a couple of hours to jump through more hoops. In that line, two TPIR staffers wrote out our price tag/name tags and chatted everyone up. From those brief conversations, they’d select who would hear their names called to “come on down!”

I remember Bert telling us about a million times that if they called his name he wasn’t going to “come on down,” so I was absolutely convinced his name would be called. It was, by now, early afternoon and I’d had zero sleep. As I looked out at the studio audience, I had to laugh. Now I knew why, when watching the show at home, contestants can seem a bit loopy. It was sleep deprivation.

From our seats in the front row, we cheered for contestants called to come on down, but alas, our names were never called. I think Bert considered it a win to not hear his name. I was disappointed not to play Plinko or get to spin the wheel, but I was able to check appearing in the audience of "The Price Is Right" during the era of Bob Barker off my list.

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At the airport heading home from Burbank the next morning, we heard the news that Hurricane Katrina had made landfall in New Orleans, killing 1,207 people and causing $75 billion in property damage. Now, 18 years later, prayers for those in the path of the Florida Gulf Coast’s Hurricane Idalia today.

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Tonight’s blue supermoon will be the brightest and closest full moon of 2023. Look up!

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September signals the return to routine after a summer of adventure and leisure, with a Labor Day last hurrah. September has long been one of my favorite months. We should have some still summer-like weather coming and more elbow room at boat launches, campgrounds and beaches.

The autumn equinox will be Sept. 23 this year so we have 24 days to enjoy the best season of all. For those keeping track, there are 117 days until Christmas.

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Happy birthday today Cyndie Lempesis, Luke Sommer, Carrie Kralicek, Jarin Bressler, Bjorn Handeen, and Stefany Mealey. On the last day of August, Andrew Houser, Ron Nilson, Jill Delavan, Patti Shea, Gen Twete, Craig Wilcox, Jamie Ostbert, Dan Poole, Donna Euler, Mike Gerber, Nicole Stark and Rondi Renaldo are blowing out the candles. On the first day of September, Kathy McKahn, Terry Lee, David Mills, Kim Routh, Sharon Latimer, Missy Hansen, Paul Ebert and Travis Best turn a page on the calendar. On Saturday, Doug Wheeler, Tammy Kelly, Bonnie Miller, John Parmann, Kelley Inman, Stephanie Foster, Kelley Taylor, Dale Borley and Debbie Pohlmeier celebrate. On Sept. 3, Willi Buerge, Lesli Linde, Emily Davis, Kris McIlvenna, Jim Hamby, Robin Merrifield, Patty Jacobs, Jeremy Moser, David Armstrong, Jeff Tyler and Taylor Valente put on their party hats. Labor Day birthdays will be marked by Paulette Fabian, Maggie DeTar, Steve Yost (60!) and Rich Dickman. On Sept. 5, Jay Broderick, Ken Bookamer and Dave Pulis will cheer another year.

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Kerri Rankin Thoreson is a member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists and the former publisher of the Post Falls Tribune. Main Street appears every Wednesday in The Press and Kerri can be contacted on Facebook or via email Follow her on Twitter @kerrithoreson.

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