That Time I Made it onto The Price is Right
I have been watching The Price is Right since before I was born. No, really. My mom says everyday while pregnant with me, she would watch an hour of I Love Lucy followed by the best bidding game show to win a brand new car or a jacuzzi: The Price is Right. Mom has often recalled to me all my life how that was her morning, along with a trusty cup of tea and a peach yogurt. She would tell me through her belly if it would be a good day, or a bad day (Bad day being a double overbid in the Showcase.)
And, once I made it out of her belly, The Price is Right has stayed a staple for me and my family ever since. Growing up, it was a rare day if Rod Rodey was not inviting folks to “Come on Down!” to Contestant’s Row. I wanted to be called down. I wanted my chance to get on TV, jump and scream and be silly or maybe lose my blouse like that one lady. You can imagine my dismay when my Grandma told me Rod doesn’t just draw your name out of a hat, they pre-select who to have come on down. Whhhat?
For years as a kid, that was one of my biggest questions in life: What does it take to get called down? One day, I would get to a taping and know for myself.
So, peeps–I did it. This past year on my birthday, October 26th, I met up with my dear friend, Joletta, and off we set out to get on The Price is Right. Participants need to be 18 and over to attend a taping, so, lets just say I had not waited, like, 10 years to finally do this. I was turning 18 this year….right? 😉
If you share this bucket list dream to go to a taping and be selected to come on down, here are a few tips I think are handy to keep in mind:
GET YOUR TICKETS AT-LEAST 4 MONTHS IN ADVANCE
When I looked in July for priority tickets for a taping on October 26th, I was in luck. What does priority mean? This means that you get to go in first when let into the studio; those with a stand-by ticket must wait to be let in only if space allows. The closer to the taping you are requesting tickets for, the higher the chance you will get stand-by. My birthday taping was PACKED. A few stand-by’s looked to be let in, but, most were priority tickets like ours.
DO YOU HAVE TO LINE UP SUPER EARLY?
You luckily have a decent amount of time to enjoy that hotel continental pastry or stop at Starbucks. I chose the afternoon taping, with a 12pm check-in and a 4pm taping, the 1pm taping has a 9am check-in.
The earlier you get there, the further to the front of the line you will be, so, you’ll be interviewed and let in a bit quicker if you’re 20, than, say, 202. We got there at about 11:30 and were 180 and 179.
YES, ITS A LONG DAY OF JUST WAITING
First you line up on 3rd Avenue, then you get let into a little lobby/courtyard with food vendors (burgers, hot dogs, fries), vending machines and the good ol’ gift shop. The gift shop has some awesome TPIR swag if you are a hard-core fan. Theres merch from other CBS faves, too, like The Big Bang Theory and Survivor.
After more sitting, the red coats will come out and copy down your license info, take the paperwork you are given to fill out (basically just a waiver and signature) and you get the coolest Hollywood souvenir: Your Price is Right name tag. And yes, they’re written out by the red coats, not a machine!
THERE’S GOING TO BE CUTE STUFF TO BUY
As the line moves down to the next hall and you await your interview, photographers have you stand in front of a green screen, act silly and you don’t really know why they’re doing this. About a half hour later, they come back around with the pictures to show the contestants. The final product is you spinning the wheel and having a great day with your friends. They start at 19.95. While we passed, they’re very memorable.
GET LOUD! BE HAPPY! THEY WATCH, REALLY….
Be advised: the entire time you’re at this taping; waiting, interview, all of it: they’re watching you! The producers want to know the audience they have. Be happy, don’t look un-interested or bored if you want to get selected
Then, THE INTERVIEW. I read many articles just like this one wondering how the heck one guy decides who will get called. I studied him and the woman taking notes with a clipboard, as they made their way down the endless line of hopefuls. Some were asked where they were from, some their occupation, etc. Many people? One question, move on and not many notes on the clipboard.
Some people….including me? I got a “Hi Mary!” along with where am I from, what do I do and whats my favorite game. People who know me know it’s not hard for me to be outgoing, fun, friendly. Or, as Joletta so sweetly says, “sparkly.” I definitely was thrilled to be there and my demeanor was the same.
I told him it was my birthday and a life long dream to be on TPIR. When he asked me my favorite game, I told him “Plinko” and “Why is that?” I’ll be honest, I did not know quite what to say, but, I said “because I like that its all or nothing.” Which, isn’t even that true, but, he seemed to be impressed.
SECURITY CHECK AND A 2 HOUR WAIT….
They do a through security check point, and will keep your phone. I got to keep my snacks and off we went. There will be a cash-only cafe stand with pizza, nachos, burgers–typical American fare. I think the cheapest dish was $8.
Then, finally: Going in to where the magic happens! Fun, pop music like Bruno Mars and Rhianna plays over the loud speakers, and, The studio looks exactly as it did in the 70s! Its pretty trippy and awesome.
Announcer, George Grey, will come out about 5 minutes before the show begins. He tells some jokes, reminds you they’re watching, and to have a great time. You will notice the whole time, especially during the commercial breaks, that the contestant man will be looking and peeking: I think he makes final selections during the taping.
AND, OFF WE GO!
Get ready for an hour of screaming, and for your hands to ache from all the clapping. They insist on keeping you pumped, which makes for an extra great environment.
MARY LANSING, COME ON DOWN…
Of course, you get a little anxious as George announces each name. I wanted to hear mine so much, I admit. As we got down to 2 more games, the dream became reality. I still wish I had a picture of Joletta’s face. We were in dis-belief.
I had 2 chances to get up, and alas, I did not make it. This means I get a $300 prize and am not allowed back for 10 years. What more can I ask for? Even though I wanted $50,000 or that new car, being selected on my very first try, on a game show that has been one of the most reliable things all throughout my life!
Will I be planning on a return trip in 10 years? You bet. xo