Thursday, June 14, 2007

And So It Ends....

I'd fully intended to post this tomorrow, in honor of the final episode of The Price is Right to feature Bob Barker as it airs tomorrow morning. But I've just learned of the death of Ruth Graham (Mrs. Billy Graham), and I simply must spend some time reflecting on that tomorrow (I also learned only about an hour ago about the death of prominent Transformers fan Shaun Christopher, which came as a complete shock). I'm not sure how to respond to these tragedies yet, but know that I can't just go on with my original plans, so I'm going to post this piece, which I'd actually written a few days ago in anticipation of tomorrow's regularly scheduled posting time, and deal with Mrs. Graham's passing in due time.

I've already commented a bit on Bob Barker's unprecedented tenure when he first announced his retirement back in November. Very few people, in any genre, can claim to have been on the air continuously for 50 years! Steve Beverly of is fond of pointing out that Barker has set longetivity records that will never, ever, be broken. Given the fact that the current culture of celebrity tends to emphasize youth over experience, he may well be right.

Although The Price is Right is not ending, Barker's retirement has been occasion for many of us to reminisce about the show's history. I, myself, have spent a fair amount of time searching through YouTube, which has lots of The Price is Right clips available. I wasn't able, unfortunately, to find a particular clip that I was looking for: the person who I consider to be the worst player of all time. Now, you'll see a lot of downright stupid contestants if you look through those clips (a particular player of "Ten Chances" seems to be copied many times over on the site, but since she won, I have to grant that she did something right!), but this contestant, who was bidding on a toy guitar (the first of three prizes he would have bid on) while playing "Cliff Hangers," takes the cake for me. Although I couldn't find a clip, I was able to find this transcript, courtesy of (the person who shared it there credits it to Jeremy Soria, but I couldn't find the original): (UPDATE: A YouTube video of this event had finally surfaced by 10/11/08, but it's apparently since been taken down)

Bob: "Tell me the price of that guitar."
Eric: "Two thousand."
Bob: "Now just a moment, audience. I want you to hear this.
What did you say was the price of that guitar?"
Eric: "Two thousand."
Bob: "Now---"
Eric: "I thought that was a violin or something!"
Bob: "No! That's a guitar."
Eric: "Oh, I see it now. Sorry."
Bob: "So? How much?"
Eric: "How much? Ahhh..." (looks out to audience) "Four fifty."
Bob: "Four hundred fifty dollars." (Audience groans)
Eric: "I have no idea..."
Bob: "I'll give you one last chance."
Eric: (after looking out the audience again) "Eight fifty."
Bob: "All right. He says $850."

Hans goes up...and over (all the while, Bob is telling him to hurry it up, we've got games to play, etc.) LOSS

(BTW, guitar's price was $23)
For those who don't know, "Hans" refers to the mountain climber, who isn't ever actually named on Barker's version of The Price is Right, but was given that name on Doug Davidson's short-lived The New Price is Right that aired in nightly syndication. If you put 33 "Cliff Hangers" games alongside each other, the mountain climber would have fallen off of every one of them on that one lousy bid alone!

So, what do you think? Worst contestant ever? Who are your candidates?

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