Unfortunately, no photographs were allowed to be taken on CBS property. They would have preferred we didn't even have our cameras with us but we couldn't get around that. So I have no way of showing you how truly crazy the PIR set really looked.
While we were sitting and waiting for the show to start, they played some pumped up music -- the first one being "Dancing On The Ceiling" by Lionel Richie. This was particularly funny to me because Nicole Richie kinda became an inside joke between me and Henry. You see, we were sorta near where Nicole was arrested for drunk/drugged driving. THAT, of course, is not the funny part. The funny came because some people in our group said they SAW her pulled over getting arrested. That was impossible, however, because she was arrested before we even got to LA. So, as silly as it was, Henry and I started talking about seeing Nicole Richie everywhere we went. And of course, the fact that Lionel has Bama roots made it all the more enjoyable to hear him in the Bob Barker Dome.
It was super-fast time elapsing from when we entered the studio to when we were finished taping. The most interesting Hollywood magic was actually that there was very little magic at all to the taping and inserting of commercials to the game show program. Everything was done in real time meaning that our taping lasted exactly one hour, just like it would on air. When it was time for a commercial break, the filming took a break that lasted exactly the length of the commercial. Bob would use that time to take questions (and gifts) from the audience. It was during one of these breaks that I raised my hand. Bob called on me and I stood to say, "My daughter Ray asked me to say 'hello' to your Beauty "Ray." (One of Barker's Beauties is a blonde named "Ray" and my Ray thought it was really cool that they had this commonality.)
Bob responded something like, "Well, why don't we see if we can get "Ray" to send an autograph home to your daughter. Would she like that?" He then turned to tell someone off-stage, "Tell 'Ray' to get this young Mom an autographed photo for her daughter." Several of the stage folks then took note of who I was and started shuffling around. The announcer, Rich (can't ever remember his last name -- I'm a pitiful fan) who wasn't but a few feet from us, motioned and said to me, "Write down your name and address so we can mail it to you."
So I did but one of the ladies on stage ended up bringing the TWO autographed photos to me right when the show ended. It was really cool.
Anyway, back to the show itself.
When the stage lights came on, the set took on a look that catapulted itself away from my pep rally description but didn't quite make it look as though it was the same set we watched on TV every day. Also, the aisleway in which audience members took their run to Contestant's Row was INCREDIBLY short. It seems like they're running a 1/2 mile track when you watch it on TV but in real life, it's only a few steps long.
And when those names started to be called out, the noise was deafening. They had cue cards on the stage with the names written on them because it could be very easy for someone to NOT hear their name called. So I watched those cards. And when the 1st four names were completed, and none of them were us, I have to admit that I was a little sapped of air. I knew it would be one of THOSE four people who would have a chance at The Golden Road.
But the excitement in the air wouldn't let me get truly down about it. I mean, HECK, I was getting ready to watch someone play The Golden Road right before my very eyes! (I can't wait to see this from TV perspective when it airs....it was going so fast and I had such an emotional swish happening that some of it is a blur...I can only imagine what it would have been like to be the contestant playing it.)
When I'm home watching this game on TV, I get weepy with excitement for the person who is playing. I think, "Oh how cool! They might just win that thing!"
Well, guess what THING was being offered this day...
A daggum 83+ thousand dollar CADILLAC CONVERTIBLE! Ohmygoodness.
But I can't remember if I got weepy. Henry was asking me questions because he was starting to really feel the excitement of the moment, too. He said things like, "What kind of car did he say? What does he have to do to win?"
Spoiler alert -- I'm gonna tell you the outcome of the game so don't read this if you don't want to know (for whatever reason.) The dude only made it a few steps down the Golden Road. He won the first item (I can't even remember what it was) but he didn't win the sofa that he had to win next that would THEN give him the chance to win the car. The only "redeeming" (even though that's not exacly the right word) thing about watching this game was that I think I probably would have lost when he did. It would have been very disappointing to be sitting in the audience knowing EXACTLY the right answers to say in this game. I felt a little relief knowing that I didn't miss winning that car myself. I probably would have made the same mistake he did.
After every commercial break, a new name was told to "Come On Down!" but one by one, it wasn't us. It sucked, quite honestly, to not hear our names. And not only did we not hear OUR names, we didn't hear the names of anyone in our group! (I have a theory about why we didn't have anyone from our group called but it is only a theory and to write it out on this blog would make me seem like a spoil-sport so I'm not gonna do it.) I really can't over-emphasize how quickly this "most exciting hour in television" slipped through the hourglass. I remember looking at Henry and saying, "Well....that's it. We didn't get called."
But I do NOT regret the chance we took. It was such a real DREAM COME TRUE just being there. The Price Is Right might be around another 100 years but Bob Barker won't be. And I am one of the lucky ones who had a chance to see him in action LIVE. Heck, I even talked to the legend! A couple of times in fact (the other was to answer his question about which large groups were in the audience.) And I KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt that God has blessed me in so many other areas of life that I certainly don't deserve anything else -- especially not winning cars or trips or even recliners! In fact, many of you know that I (or Henry) have actually been on the receiving end of winning a car, a trip, and a recliner already (not all at one time.) So who am I to think I deserve another? I believe it is completely possible that I am fresh out of prizes for the rest of my life.
Walking out of the studio was sad. I knew I had to call the kids and let them know that we didn't win anything. They REALLY believed we would. No matter how much I warned them that they needed to be prepared for the truth we ended up receiving, they still held on to a great deal of hope that we would call them with an exciting report. I think others had non-intentionally, built-up their hopes. Because of our history of winning things in the past, we are kinda "known" for being lucky and the kids have picked up on that through the years. They heard things like, "If anyone is gonna win big at The Price Is Right, it will be Stacy." So I didn't look forward to letting them know we were coming home without anything other than an autograph.
The saddest thing was that I think they kinda held onto hope that we were just kidding on the phone and that we would surprise them with a big announcement when we got home.
But I must say again...there is no regret. Our trip was AWESOME, and I experienced an opportunity of a lifetime. I know God has big things in store for our family and I will praise Him for it, even when it's NOT because of material blessings. I know we will never be in need because God has always provided for us. Even in our scariest moments, we have always received the perfect provisions.
After leaving the parking lot, I got the opportunity to speak more with the winner of the Showcase Showdown (eventually you will see Daniel in a picture below but right now blogger is being a pain AGAIN! What is the deal? If someone can help me PLEASE DO!) He's soon to be married and was able to win some cool stuff for his bride. I thought that was pretty cool! He was also the group leader for his large group (employees of Clinique or some other cosmetic company) so I was happy that at least ONE group leader got a chance to experience the thrill of PIR victory!
I hope you're not too bored with all I've shared so far. I'd like to share more in the next day or so. Our adventures continued into the evening so I have more I'd like to write. Hopefully I will have it all posted soon.