The cast of the CBS game show 'The Price is Right' from the late '70s/early '80s era. Clockwise from top: host Bob Barker, presenters Dian Parkinson, Janice Pennington, and Holly Hallstrom. Not pictured: announcer Johnny Olson (http://www.curtalliaume.com/tpir.html)
These are in no particular order, by the way.
- The music. Simply the coolest suite of music on a game show ever! The theme alone is killer! Even when they add new songs, they still blend into the perfect goofy '70s soundtrack that has stood the test of time. It's rumored that professional musicians used to wastch the show for the soundtrack alone! There's a great MP3 download page with a lot of the songs on the show.
- The set. I'm not a fan of some of the latest updates, but the set has definately carved out its own place in TV history. It's one of my favorite parts of watching TPiR, unchanged in spirit since the mid-'70s. No one would dare put that combination of colors and design elements on a TV set ever again! When I was younger, I used to pretend the automatic doors at Tanglewood Mall were my 'set' and I would walk out of them by myself to get that proper Bob Barker feeling. Keep in mind Tanglewood looked a lot like the TPiR set at that time!
- Johnny Olson. Much respect to the late, great Rod Roddy, but Johnny Olson was THE best TPiR announcer. Not only did J.O. participate in the action and help keep things lively, he gave the show its most distinctive signatures. What would daytime television be without "COME ON DOWN, YOU'RE THE NEXT CONTESTANT ON 'THE PRICE IS RIGHT!!!' " or "A NEW CAR!!!!"?
- The classic Barker's Beauties. Though they were largely objectified, Janice, Dian, Holly, Anitra and Kathleen MADE the show. What good are fabulous prizes without the proper sexy presentation? Sue Bee Honey and Galaxy Carpet never looked hotter!
- The pricing games. Plinko rules, but it's not as fun as Temptation, The Bump Game, Hole In One (or Two) , The Shell Game, or the game with that yodeling mountain climber!
- The Showcase Showdown. Three words: BIG GIANT WHEEL. No lie: I learned a lot about addition and counting money as a toddler from watching people spin for a dollar on TPiR.
- The showcases. The various iterations of the goofy podiums are pretty awesome by themselves, but the showcases rock. No one in their right minds would put a jet ski, a popcorn cart, a sewing machine, Broyhill furniture and a trip to Argentina together into a cohesive whole, but TPiR's been making it work for years. "And it can all be yours if the price is right!" I found a webpage based on "Splendido!," aka the second Furniture Showcase music, with tribute lyrics that will make you laugh your ass off.
- The actual retail price. Along with "You've all overbid. Erase the bids please," they are some of the most unlikely catchphrases ever, but anyone who's watched the show can recognize them anywhere.
- Bob Barker. He's definately goten more cranky, and creepy (and a little pervy) with age, but he remains the consumate host. You'd have to have a good attitude to put up with 'The Grocery Game' for over 3 decades.
- Sue Bee honey. It's a TPiR staple. When I saw it at Kroger one time when I was six, I freaked out. Any show that can make natural sweeteners sound good to a six-year -old is doing something right!
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