06 June 2007

Come On Down!; Bob Barker says goodbye today

I love the Price is Right. It's one thing in my life that has never changed. It's like when you go on some kind of spinning ride, they'll tell you to focus on one object as you spin so you don't get sick; Price is Right was always my stationary landmark.

When I was 6 years old and home with an earache, there was the Price is Right and a blanket. When I was playing hookie in Junior High, ordering Chinese food and smoking cigarettes with my friends, there was daytime television and its fearless masthead; The Price is Right, Plinko and the Showcase Showdown. And whenever the really old ladies would spin that wheel, I always, ALWAYS thought their heads were gonna get stuck in the wedge.

Truth be told, Bob Barker has probably been dead for several years but now the 83 year old droid we all think is the real Bob Barker is retiring after 700 35 years as host of the longest-running daytime game show in television history! Holla.

Bob became a vegetarian in 1979. That same year.......... he began promoting animal rights. Barker began ending each episode of The Price Is Right with the now famous phrase: "Help control the pet population; have your pet spayed or neutered" in 1981 and was named national spokesman for "Be Kind to Animals Week" in May of that year. Bob credits his wife, Dorothy Jo, with him becoming more aware of animal rights and becoming a vegetarian because she had done so. Bob said that Dorothy Jo was ahead of her time in terms of animal rights. Bob took up the cause in order to keep doing something that his recently deceased wife had done.

During the first ten years of The Price Is Right, fur coats were often featured as prizes. After Barker became involved in animal rights, he insisted that the show not offer prizes that harmed animals, a demand to which CBS agreed; animals and fur coats have not since been offered on the program. Barker also forbids the re airing of older episodes in which fur coats and live animals are offered.

Barker hosted the Miss USA and Miss Universe Pageants from 1967 to 1987. In 1987, he requested the removal of fur prizes and stepped down as host when those in charge of the pageant refused."

Bob Barker's DJ&T Foundation has contributed millions of dollars to fund animal rescue and park facilities all over the country. He works closely with Betty White as an advocate for animal rights.

Rod Roddy was the Price is Right announcer from 1986 until his death in 2003; Rod and Don Pardo were my total idols. Roddy was known on the show for his excitement and flamboyance. He was frequently shown on-camera while he announced "the next contestant on The Price Is Right." Roddy often wore loud outfits, including, in particular, brightly colored and feathered or sequined sport jackets. He first wore pastel jackets from Hong Kong and, with the encouragement of Bob Barker, turned them into a trademark. Naturally he preferred Thai silk for its colourfulness so he traveled to Bangkok several times a year to have new ones custom-made. I loved when Bob would ask Rod how much weight he had lost.

Bob films his last show today in Burbank. The show is scheduled to air on June 15. The show will go on without Bob apparently, however no replacement has been announced as of yet.

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