Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Finally In LA
This was our first view of the Hollywood sign. This was taken 1 block away from our hotel. This intersection was the central hub of our travels. There was a subway and bus terminal here. Day 1 had us all splitting into small groups for touring. Henry, Mom, Uncle J, and I all mapped out and rehearsed our path to CBS Studios so we wouldn't be lost the next morning. After finding our way, we started to sight-see a little. My body just couldn't handle it, though so 3/4 of us returned to the hotel room. Uncle J perservered and met up with some others from our group.
Back in the hotel room, I recruited a few others to help me finish our "Good Luck" cards. We put Lifesaver Wintermints on them with tape (because staplers probably wouldn't have been allowed in our carry-on luggage, and carry-on is all we had.) Anyway, I had to tape them to the cards once we arrived because they took up entirely too much space with the mints attached.
With the Good Luck cards out of the way, and delivery pizza in my belly, I hit the sack. It was only 7pm Pacific time so I was able to get in a good 10 hours sleep before the BIG day.
Here's us waiting for our bus Tuesday morning. We were giddy with excitement!
We arrived at the studios about an hour before we needed to and began chatting with the red-coat pages. We hoped this would be in our favor. As others started arriving, we mixed and mingled. Our Good Luck cards were a big hit....especially with the college girls from Oregon State University. They were definitely sorority type girls (you can see Lyndsey on the show -- she was the one from their group to get called) and thought we were just the "cutest things." It was sweet and insulting all at the same time. I kinda felt like we were their "favorites" (their words, not mine) because we had some sort of pity attached - like, "aw, those cute people from Alabama." I played with it, though....anything to be a favorite! We hoped this enthusiasm for our group would be contagious and picked up by the producers. Oh, and this group was particularly sweet about my pregnancy. They would rub my belly and say, "hey Bama Mama!" whenever I walked by.
Even though we were there early, we didn't get our final approval to enter the sacred grounds of contestant seating until the very last minute. One of our group actually lived a few miles away....about a 30 minute drive if it had been in AL but because it was in the LA area, it took her 2 hours!!!!!! She was so apologetic and I had to be too because I pestered the mess out of her on her cell phone. I called for traffic updates every few minutes because our group was getting nervous and restless waiting on her. But she got there in time (barely) and we were allowed to enter.
The waiting process was lonnnnnnnnnng. VERY long. We were admitted at 10:00 and didn't get to enter the theater until a few minutes after 2:00. So there was lots of mingling and snacking. While in this waiting area the pages came around and checked our ID's and social security numbers on a 2nd form of ID. We also received our AWESOME price tag nametags outside. Knowing other people's names really helped with the bonding experience. I spoke with people who were vets at being in the audience and even got to meet and hug the girl who had won the showcase the day before. You can be in TPIR audience as many times as you are admitted (first come/first served) but once you are called down, even once, to Contestant's Row, you can no longer be considered for the show. But they often allow these previous winners back into the audience for fun and maybe to encourage us and pep us up.
Can you believe I met another prego while I was there? AND she was expecting her 5th child AND was due in February! I told my group I was gonna have to take her out since she was trying to squeeze in on my "gimmick." Thankfully, I think I looked much more capable of running down the aisleway than she did. She was a little more waddly and slow. I think she was probably a few years older than me, too. But she answered a lot of my questions about what to expect over the next few hours so for that, I am thankful to have met her :)
Around 1:00 the "interview" process began. It was NOTHING like I expected it to be (at least until Prego told me about it.) We were called around the corner (still outside in the noisy environment) and stood at a roped off area. Two producers were there, one sitting and taking notes, and the other standing and being very crowd-pleasing. This is how the interview went:
"Hi, my name is Mr. Producer and I know you're all so excited to be here. We're glad you're with us! Now I'd like to ask you your name, where you're from, and what you do."
He then proceeded to walk down the line to listen to each person's answers. He would make a few little comments like, "Oh? You're an accountant? Well you're in the right place for playing with money and numbers!"
And that was it! No opportunity to tell my story. No chance to say that my Granny would be so happy for me if she knew I was there. Only, "I'm a homeschooling Mom to 4 great kids, with another on the way." There was a smile and one of those clap-and-point-to-belly gestures that acknowledge my bump, and we were soon on our way around to the 3rd side of the building. This is where we went through metal detectors (although the female security guards told me I didn't have to walk through -- how thoughtful!) and checked in our cameras and cell phones. This was also our last chance for bathrooms and water fountains.
And at 2:00-ish, we were finally admitted to the studio.
Oh my goodness.
We had to walk upstairs and on that little hike, I got all tingly and even a little teary. I couldn't believe what I was about to do.
And what is the first thing I see when I enter the studio? A sign for "THE GOLDEN ROAD!" I had to cover my mouth. The first game was going to be THE GOLDEN ROAD! And for any real Price Is Right fan, they know that TGR is where BIG BIG prizes can be won. Usually prizes were more valuable than a double-showcase win! I couldn't believe it.
And as we continued walking to our seats, and as I absorbed the idea of possibly being able to play THE GOLDEN ROAD, I started to freak a little bit about what I was seeing. It was INCREDIBLY surreal. The stage was NOTHING like you would expect. Nothing.
Now, I had been fairly warned that "it is so small" and even knew the concept from having been to the local news station. Hollywood magic DOES make what you see on TV look much larger than it is in real life. But THIS was even more shocking than I had imagined. It was teeny and cheesy! The props looked like high-school pep rally props. It was all plywood and glitter! I couldn't believe it! I kept telling Henry, "This is unbelieveable."
Sorry, but this looks like a good place to stop. I need a little break. I gotta stretch my legs. Will continue again soon.