Sunday, September 12, 2021

The Price Is Golden

Started the morning with Apple Cider Pancakes and my soundtrack for the 1969 version of Goodbye, Mr. Chips. Peter O'Toole is the title character, a shy teacher in 1920's. His marriage to stage star Katherine (Petula Clark) shocks the staid school where he works, but she brings out his more playful side and becomes popular with his students. Leslie Bricusse wrote some really lovely songs for this movie, including the rousing "London Is London" and touching "You and I" for Clark, the sweet "What a Lot of Flowers" for O'Toole, and hilarious "School Days" for Clark and the boys. 

Work was insanely busy when I arrived and stayed that way the entire afternoon. We had long lines even after the first Eagles game of the season against the Falcons began. Thankfully, most people were in decent moods, maybe because the Eagles absolutely flattened the Falcons 32-6, and day went quickly. It was still so busy at 5, I barely got off on time with no relief.

Went straight home and into writing after I changed. Sir Richard's oldest son Gary is very upset. His father never stole anything more than a kiss in his life! The Queen has his brother there, too, and the Red King has his father's men. Duchess Marcia and Brett are the only ones he can count on to oppose the Red King and his strict "game." 

Broke for dinner at 6:30. Since I had pizza at work, thanks to some nice person who left half of a Pizza Hut pie for everyone in the break room, I just had yogurt and grapes for dinner. Listened to Raggedy Ann and Andy: A Musical Adventure while I ate. Very strange animated musical story of the famous rag dolls chasing after a French doll stolen by a pirate. Joe Raspo's songs are charming even when the plot's at its weirdest, including the ballad "Candy Hearts and Paper Flowers," the sorrowful "Blue" for the Camel With the Wrinkled Knees, the catchy "Rag Dolly," and "I Never Get Enough" for the truly bizarre taffy creature The Greedy.

Pete's Dragon, also released in 1977, is almost as odd. The story of a boy and his animated dragon who are adopted by a lighthouse keeper and his daughter is pretty corny today, but once again, there's some good music. "Candle on the Water" got an Oscar nomination in 1977. I've always liked the touching duet "It's Not Easy" for Pete and the lighthouse keeper's daughter as he explains why his dragon pal is so important to him.

Finished the night on YouTube after sliding Apple Mini Donuts into the oven. Since Pluto TV is honoring next year's 50th anniversary of the Price Is Right franchise, I thought I'd do so as well. The Price Is Right goes back further than most people know. It began as a simple auction game in 1956. Four people put in bids on a luxury item. Sometimes, a simpler item might have a bigger piece of furniture or vehicle attached. The show was a hit right off the bat, running for nine years on NBC and ABC on daytime and prime time. Bill Cullen hosted this version.

Bob Barker took over when Goodson-Todman revived the show in 1972. This time, four contestants start out bidding for an item. That brings them up to play a pricing mini-game. Three games are played. The top winners from those three games gets to bid on the Showcase Showdown, a collection of expensive prizes often revolving around a theme or gag skit. 

The new format was a sensation straight out of the gate. It and fellow game show newbies Gambit and The 10,000 Pyramid helped revolutionize what game shows could be, making them bigger, brighter, and with more expensive payouts. When its popularity flagged in 1975, CBS responded by expanding it to a full hour. The first hour shows were specials that debuted in September of that year. Now six pricing games were played. Two wheels featuring money values decided who would go to the Showcase Showdown. The wheels looked entirely different from the later ones, more like something from a carnival game than the huge glittering later version. 

Barker became synonymous with the show well into the new millennium. By the late 2000's, not only was he beyond retirement age, but several of his models hit him with a harassment suit that somewhat tarnished his reputation. Comedian Drew Carey, fresh off his own TV show, took over in September 2007, and he's been the host ever since. He even kicked off his hosting duties with a rare "perfect" show where everyone won their mini game and got the 1,000 on the Big Wheel.

The 1950's show wasn't the last time Goodson-Todman attempted a nighttime version of Price. Dennis James was the original host of of the 1977 nighttime show, which was played in the same way as the half-hour show. Bob Barker took over for him after a contract dispute. Tom Kennedy attempted another nighttime run in the mid-80's, but it barely lasted a year.

Come on down! Check out the milestones and memories from one of the most beloved game shows on the planet! (And watch out for the original commercials on the 1972 and 2007 episodes...and bad tapes on the ones from 1975 and 1977.)

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