By 2:30 pm the corral was nearly full. Finally I saw my beloved 247 of 250 and I knew it was almost over. She jumped on me with a running hug. “Oh god, I was so worried. I didn’t know what they did with you.” She stammered with a wild-eyed cracked out on Red Bull expression. “I kept asking people where my husband was? What did you do with my husband? But no one seemed to know what had happened to you.”
I calmed her down and asked about her interview and she gave me a confident grinning double thumbs up. But that was to be expected. Two days before we left for California, while sitting in a bar, I had randomly chatted up a reporter for People magazine who had just spent a week with Bob and had written a long article about his retirement.
We knew inside info. Bob loves blondes, (Beth) big boobs, (Beth) you would always see one on every show. His favorite Bob tee said “Bobalicious” which Beth had hastily made before we left.
As we talked, the strange little Number 1 walked up to another zealot next to us and said, “a Honda Acura costs $49,860” and walked off. Beth leaned in and grinned.
“I got the skinny on him.”
Seemed Number 1 had managed to get into every single taping for three weeks running.
“He spends all of his time memorizing the prices of everything. Cars, yogurt you name it. He’s like Rain Man” she said shaking her head.
“But word is, he gives the producers the creeps. I don’t think he realizes that he’s probably never going to get picked.”
Finally, the last of the lineups were called and I was able to peel off the albatross big black X, leaving only the famous nametag plastered to my chest. We were escorted in.
The studio was shockingly small, the set looked strangely shabby. Since we were two of the last numbers, (246) we were up in the rafters. Bob came out and during the warm up, he was surprisingly charming and funny.
During question and answer he said “please, if you are going to ask me to kiss you, marry you, or have your baby, don’t ask.”
Like a bad sitcom, half the hands went back down.
The show ran incredibly fast. I guess there are no second takes after decades of daily practice.
The first name was called and the bleach blonde theme singing college girl started screaming.
Beth snapped “well I’m FUCKED.”
After an eternity of waiting it was over in what seemed like a minute. A mere 12 hours after we arrived the doors swung open and we shuffled out with the zealots set loose into the world. Some were still singing and cheering as they came down off their Price Is Right high. Some were somber, even crying.
As we pulled our rental car on to the street, there were already five people camped out for the next day. Number 1, (now reduced to number 6) was already setting up his tent.
So a month after our adventure, it was time. Our show was to be aired. Beth didn’t get to spin the big wheel but at least we could watch our dumb bleary-eyed faces on one of the final Bob Barker era Price Is Rights. Friends, family and coworkers all set TVO or gathered around the television so they could say “oh look, there they are.”
But alas, it wasn’t meant to be. After all, we were some of the last people in, (246) and we were in the last row in the far upper left corner. No one near us was called down. The camera would literally spin up to our area and stop right before we came into view, perhaps sensing that there was a non-believer lurking up there.
While I felt bad for Beth, she still had her obsession indulged. I really didn’t mind, because there on the screen was the excited Canadian girl, the angry housewife, the reassuring (sorta) grandma, and of course the walleyed number 1 right in front and center. They were all getting their rightful due and moment in the sun in a world I had no claim too.