Las Vegas, Part Seven: The Price is Right meets Gilligan’s Island.

16 Nov

from September 7, 2008

In the interest of finally finishing this story, I’m going to skip the boring tedium of Las Vegas; the gambling, the restaurants, the pool, the sights, the women, all of it. I won’t write about the fantastic outdoor pirate and pyrotechnics show on the strip. I’ll pass on the roulette. I won’t put out a word about the room service. I’ll just hit the high spots or I’ll never get this done. First up: The Price is Right Live!

Remember when you were a kid and you’d pretend to be sick just to stay home and not go to school? Yeah, those were the days. When I was a kid there was great daytime TV. Channel five had old sitcoms all morning. I’d stay home and see Schneider hit on Ann Romano on One Day at a Time. I’d see Ricky Ricardo threaten to murder Lucy. I saw Archie tell Edith to dummy up. Old sitcoms were an education themselves.

Other channels still had game shows. Remember Press Your Luck? “No whammy! NO WHAMMY! NO FUCKING WHAMMY!” Card Sharks taught me how to play 21 and Sale of the Century showed me how to change the channel.

Today, daytime TV is full of bad talk shows (Wendy Williams and Tyra, I’m looking at you) no reruns, and nearly no game shows. It almost isn’t worth faking testicular pain just to stay home any more. Note to women: testicular pain is not a good excuse to stay home. It will just get you some strange looks when you go back to work and questions you may not want to answer.

Only one thing hasn’t changed: The Price is Right. I love that show. I can price a can of SPAM to within three cents. And I’ve taken Bob Barker’s advice and spayed and neutered every cat and dog on my block. Sometimes twice. Sure, some of the owners complained, and yes, Buffy the purebred schnauzer from across the street can’t breed anymore, but that is a small price to pay. I just wish that Buffy’s owner hadn’t shoved her AKC papers up my tailpipe. My car’s tailpipe, that is.

Las Vegas has a live version of TPIR at one of the casinos. Which one? I don’t recall. They all seem to blend into one bright, loud blur and at the end all I know is that my money is gone. I’ve had other nights where the same thing happened but those usually involved a lot of drinking.

We picked up our tickets, registered, and had large yellow name tags slapped on our shirts. I wish I had that job. Some of the women wore shirts that size of a tissue.

TPIR Live is the exact same show you see on TV, minus the host. This version is hosted by the same guy who hosted Supermarket Sweep, David Ruprecht. You may know him better as the former Executive Chairman of the Liberal Party of California. Or maybe not. How do I know him best? He played Thurston Howell IV, Jim Backus’ son, on The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan’s Island in 1981.

Ruprecht was a pro. He bantered with the announcer, also a refugee from Supermarket Sweep and told jokes to the audience. This wasn’t a cheesy stage show. From the host to the sound effects to the games, this was just like seeing the real thing. And I had the same results I had at home- I never got called to “Come on down!”

The show began with a montage of clips from the show- Bob Barker getting knocked over by excited contestants, old ladies kissing him, and contestants fainting. These were mixed in with classic pricing games. I did pretty well, only missing the price of a 1971 AMC Gremlin by $40.

Remember the mountain climber game, where the little guy would usually fall off the cliff? They had it. Remember the golf game where Bob would usually get a hole in one? They played it. Remember Plinko? My favorite game, I would have given my plane ticket home to play it but I was never called up to contestants row.

The live show used old sets from the TV show. Some of them showed their age. Despite being almost 40 years old, the sets had the old 30th anniversary logo. The golf game looked a bit worn. The big wheel wobbled just a bit and the mountain climber wheezed his way up the hill but the models were still hot. Hey, it’s Vegas.

It was fun. Sure, I wasn’t picked to play, but everyone in the audience called out prices and yelled and screamed. It was almost as bad as some of my classes.

The guy sitting ahead of me was picked and ended up in the Showcase Showdown. He was an older gent, of about 90, and was their with someone I was sure was his daughter but turned out to be his wife. Hmmm. Anyway, he had the second showcase. The first bidder put in a bid of $23,000 and it looked pretty solid. The old guy had a showcase of a car and a collection of DVDs and bid over $73,000. The audience groaned, then laughed. Right in front of me, the old guy’s “wife” put her head in her hands and shock it back and forth.

The show ended and we went outside and there was the cast posing for pictures. I got on the line with the rest of the crowd and posed. It turns out that the announcer was from the Bronx. When he heard that I was from Brooklyn we had a nice talk. It went something like this:

HIM: Aay, oh, how you doin’?
ME: Aay, how you doin’?
HIM: Aay!
ME: Oh!
HIM: I ain’t had none of them White Castles lately.
ME: Aay oh!

It was fun.



One Response to “Las Vegas, Part Seven: The Price is Right meets Gilligan’s Island.”


  1. Mr. Blog Goes to Vegas- a Flashback! Classic « Mr. Blog's Tepid Ride - April 5, 2011

    […] Part Five: The Chocolate is Lactose Intolerant Las Vegas, Part Six: Where No Man Has Gambled Before Las Vegas, Part Seven: The Price is Right meets Gilligan’s Island. Las Vegas, Part Eight: Convenin… Las Vegas, Part Nine: Magic tricks and Disappearing […]


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