Sunday, August 27, 2023

Come On Down One Last Time

Began my morning with breakfast and the original cast album for Steel Pier. This 1997 Broadway show with music by Kandor and Ebb is set in Atlantic City during a dance marathon in the early 30's. One of the dancers is partnered with a handsome pilot, but he's not what he seems. This wasn't a hit at the time, and I suspect the strange and overly complicated story has something to do with it. Too bad, because there's some terrific music here, including "Willing to Ride" for leading lady Karen Ziemba, the title song, and the ballad "First You Dream." Kristen Chenowith had one of her first big roles singing "Two Little Words" in a bizarre wedding ceremony.

Oh, and I put in for my vacation time this morning. As mentioned, I'll be gone from September 18th through the 26th. The only thing going on then is Yom Kippur. The Eagles don't even play a 1 PM game until October. They play Thursday night, then Monday night. 

Headed to work after I did that. Work was once again dead for most of the afternoon. We were only steady when one cashier or the other went on break and there would be one left. Everyone is either on vacation, was out enjoying the gorgeous warm sunny day, or is waiting for the beginning of the month and holiday weekend next week. Those who did came were in really good moods. At least two customers paid for the older customer's small order in front of them, and they were all really sweet about it. I was in and out with no problems whatsoever. 

Went straight home and into a much-needed shower. I ate a tasty dinner with friends, then finished the night honoring Bob Barker with more of his appearances. He got his start on TV with the original Truth or Consequences. He was on that show for so long, he still did the syndicated version during the first three years of The Price Is Right. I have what seems to be a typical episode from 1966 (despite what the title on the post claims). Among the stunts some of the audience goes through are the guys who attempt to ride a super-tall unicycle (and one of them actually did it!). 

Bob's lone show for wacky Chuck Barris was The Family Game. This is basically Chuck's Newlywed Game with kids answering the questions about their parents instead of just-married couples. It was cute, and Bob did pretty well coaxing answers out of the little ones, but it was too hard for parents to match their offspring. I can understand why this only lasted six months, and the episode I have listed is one of only two to exist today.

Of course, Bob is best-known as the host of the revived Price Is Right. He was on the show for so long, he started on the very first episode in 1972 and didn't retire until 2007. He was there when I was sick or home during the summer when I was a 9 year old, and he was there when I was a 22-year-old in college. His wry humor and unending patience in the face of some really strange contestants entertained three generations of kids and college students. I chose one of the early half-hour episodes, and two from 1988 and 2001 I might have seen as a kid and in college, respectively.

He was a frequent panelist on Tattletales in the 70's with his wife Dorothy Jo. They met at an Ella Fitzgerald concert and married right out of high school. It's such a shame she died in 1981. They were well-matched, as we can see in this 1976 episode. Bob occasionally hosted the show as well, usually during a week when he and other hosts were playing, so regular host Bert Convy and his wife Ann could have a turn to match each other's stories.

The Price Is Right twice played the other CBS daytime juggernaut The Young and the Restless on the syndicated Family Feud, once in 1991 and again in 1993. Ironically, both were anchored by dueling Price hosts. Bob was the captain of the Price teams. Doug Davidson, who would take over the failed 1994 nighttime Price, was the captain of the Restless teams. Bob must have been proud, because the Price team played very well and made it to the Fast Money both times.

(And I love the opening sequences with Gene Wood calling all of the Price players sitting in the audience to come on down!)

Bob was a long-time semi-regular on the 70's-early 80's Match Game. He started off on the show's second week and continued with them through 1980, even after the show left CBS for syndication. Bob was the first person they called when Richard Dawson finally got fed up and dropped out in 1978...apparently because he was in the studio at the time and was the fastest person they could get for taping. At any rate, he did very well for a quick replacement, including getting one of the show's funnier quips. 

Honor "The World's Greatest Host" with some of his funniest appearances! More Match Game is coming later this week as MG Productions highlights Bob's best episodes. (Look for commercials on the Price Is Right episodes, from their original and Game Show Network runs. The Family Game is in two parts, but as mentioned, it's one of only two episodes known to exist.) 

And here's a selection of Bob's best episodes MG Productions made three years ago, so you can catch even more Bob on Match Game.

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