On June 15, 2007, Bob Barker ended his 35-year run as the host of The Price Is Right, the CBS game show where audience members were chosen to guess the prices of various items. Here are five things you didn't know about television's longest-running game show…
Hair Color Proved to Be an Unexpected Boost
Having gray hair on a TV game show doesn't seem so unusual now, but as recently as the 1980s gray hair simply wasn't done. Bob Barker had prematurely gray hair at his temples and used to color his hair, but after a vacation during which he stopped dyeing his hair -- and got compliments -- he decided to stop using hair color for the show. He had to get from the head of daytime programming, but once the change was approved, he didn't look back. Best of all, ratings went up after he left his natural gray hair alone.
One Man Screens Every Single Audience Member for Potential Contestants The show is known for its super-excited audience and contestants, and that behavior is no coincidence. Before each show, a man named Stan Blits screens every potential audience member for enthusiasm, happiness, and energy. Guests showing the most of these traits have the best chance of being in the studio and getting called onto the stage to become a contestant. But being nice isn't enough. You really have to cheer and be wildly into what's happening. No bribes, though. Blits looks for sincere energy and no funny stuff.
The IRS Knows About Those Prizes
Taxes are one of the facts of life. That means contestants have to pay taxes on prizes as they are considered income. All those nifty items you can win on game shows are subject to taxes even if the items themselves aren't cash. In fact, for The Price Is Right, you have to pay the taxes first before you can get the items. So if you win a $30,000 car, you have to fork out the tax money on $30,000 worth of automobile. Unfortunately, the cash equivalent is offered instead of prizes only in specific circumstances, so contestants are left with a choice of paying tens of thousands of dollars to get their non-cash prizes, or not accepting the prizes at all.
There Was a Wardrobe Malfunction Was there ever a wardrobe malfunction. In 1977, one woman in the audience was told to “come on down,” she got so excited that her tube top slipped off. “She began jumping up and down and out they came,” Bob Barker told Larry King of “the most talked about single incident in the history of the show.” When Yolanda finally got to her podium, Barker said, “I’ve never had a welcome like this.”
A Camera Knocked Model Janice Pennington Out Janice Pennington was a model on the show who was among the group known as "Barker's Beauties". In 1988, the game-show model was knocked knocked off the stage into “contestants’ row” by a wayward camera and rendered unconscious. After a 45-minute delay during which Pennington was transferred by stretcher to an ambulance, the show continued without her. The accident was so bad that she broke her collarbone and needed to go through two surgeries. Although she made a full recovery, she could no longer wear swimsuits as her surgeries left some damaging scars and one shoulder shorter than the other. Pennington filed suit against CBS, citing negligence. The case went to trial, and in 1992, a jury awarded her $1.3 million for injuries she sustained on the set of The Price is Right.