The show, currently hosted by Drew Carey, has stood its ground for six decades. Perhaps that’s because of its relatable content – after all, we all know a thing or two about household items. Or, maybe it’s that they keep choosing great hosts like Carey and Barker. But even though Price is still going strong, that doesn’t mean it’s been without its moments. Let’s take a look at some of the most memorable times in the show’s past, both on and off-screen.
Aaron Paul Appears on the Show
If you’re a fan of "Breaking Bad," you may recognize Aaron Paul, who appeared on "The Price is Right" as a contestant. After he got pretty close to the price of a desk, his dream came true when he was asked to come up on stage.
In an interview several years later with Jay Leno, Aaron revealed that he’d had six cans of Red Bull before the filming and was pretty excited! He advanced to the show’s “Showcase Showdown” round after making it past the first stage. Unfortunately, he overbid on the price of the package by just around $130.
The Iconic Bob Barker
Bob Barker has been a fan-favorite TV host since the 1950s when he appeared on "Truth or Consequences." In 1972, he took over on "The Price is Right" for the original host, Bill Cullen. It wasn’t long before Barker was the face of the show.
Barker first appeared on the show when he was 48-years old and had been dying his hair to cover up his gray locks. After receiving a compliment, he decided to forego the dye altogether. In the Golden Age of Hollywood, gray hair wasn’t the most attractive look. That is, until Bob Barker came along, anyway...
Paying Taxes on Winnings
When you see those total numbers on packages on the show, it may look like a pretty nice chunk of change – and it is. However, what they don’t tell you is that whoever wins said packages, also has to pay taxes on them, which can lower the prize amount substantially.
The show is usually taped in California, which means that contestants are required to file any winnings with the state. Because contestants are required to pay based on the full retail value of prizes, some decide not to accept them once cameras stop rolling.
Barker’s Love for Animals
The former talk show host has been honored by the animal rights group, PETA, due to his long-running support of their organization. In 2012, the group dedicated a building to him in Los Angeles, The Bob Barker Building, which is PETA’s new headquarters on the West Coast.
Aside from his support of PETA and other animal rights organizations, Barker has also been very vocal about his views. He has called for the end of SeaWorld, and other places that continue to use animals in live entertainment and has asked fans not to buy products that have been tested on animals.”
Winning via Error
One contestant found himself walking away with a prize he didn’t earn. So how'd he get it? The man was playing to win a “Dell computer and a computer desk.” During the game, he guessed way off, but he still won the computer. As it turns out, the announcer got the brand of the computer wrong.
Had he realized it later and tried to sue the show, it would’ve been more trouble to producers than it was worth. So, they decided just to give him the computer to cop up for their mistake. Hey, whatever works, right?
The Wide Array of Prizes
Nothing is ever guaranteed when it comes to playing "The Price is Right." You don’t know if you’ll make it to the stage, and if you do, you don’t know if you’ll win. Even if you do win, you don't have any idea what you’ll be going home with.
Most contestants dream of winning a car, a trip, or a large sum of money. Sure, there are all kinds of kitchen and home sets, and then there are things that just make you go, “meh.” Take their 1999 showcase that included a dining room set, jukebox, and 12 dance lessons. Or that time they gave away the soda fountain and dumbbell set!
Drew Carey Made the Show Easier
After the legendary Bob Barker left the show, "The Price is Right" producers worried about the future of the show's ratings. Barker’s star power attracted loyal fans, so producers had to do something to make sure people were still tuning into the show.
That's when they make the games a little easier to win. “It was extremely important for the first couple of months of the show to have plenty of winners,” producer Roger Dobkowitz. There is no doubt in anyone's mind that the trick worked!
Price is Right: The Board Game
The show debuted in 1956, and two years later, the original board game followed, created by Lowell. Nearly 20 years later, Milton Bradley released an updated board game to allow families to play along with Barker for themselves at home. Of course, there aren’t any prizes being given away – not unless you create them yourself.
The game has been credited with staying pretty accurate to the show. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have very high ratings on most of the game sites. There have been four board games made, with the final being released by Milton Bradley in 1986.
California-Based Prize Prices
If you’ve watched the show and thought some of the “actual retail prices” seem a bit high (or low), it may be because they’re only based off of one state: California. Producers decided to try and keep things simple by only using retail prices they’ve found on the products in the state where filming takes place.
Of course, there’s really no way of verifying those prices for yourself. Because they never release the names of the retailers where they get the prizes.
Prizes Aren’t Given Away Immediately
Even if you choose to take that brand-new car, you’re not going to be driving away in it as soon as tapping wraps up. In fact, the show hangs on to some prizes for quite some time afterward. Winning a significant prize on "The Price is Right" is, according to one past contestant, a bit like “signing your life away.”
Not only do you get stuck with an enormous tax bill, but you also have to fill out loads of paperwork. The show doesn’t want people driving off the lot with cars that reveal winners before the actual tapings air.
Sans Cheating Scandals
In 2003, one contestant on CBS’ "Press Your Luck" seemed to be a bit, luckier than any contestant in the show’s history. Luckily, "The Price is Right" never found itself facing any such claims. While contestants may not precisely be chosen at random like you’ve been led to believe - the majority of things on the show do take place at random – including the wins.
Winners get their hands on the items on stage because they’ve deserved to win, and perhaps that’s one of the reasons the show is still on the air today!
The Man Who Picks Contestants
The way the show is set up leads those watching at home to believe that audience members are all chosen entirely at random – but that’s not entirely the way things work. A man named Stan Bilts, nicknamed “Mr. Right,” scans lines outside of the studio, looking for potential audience members that catch his eye.
According to an interview he gave, he’s said that he chooses contestants based on their enthusiasm. And, if he seats you in the audience and you “die-off on him” – meaning if you don’t cheer or interact with the game – you’ll get replaced with someone who will!
If you’ve been a long-time fan of the show, you’ve probably noticed that the host is always holding a strange, seemingly outdated microphone. Bob Barker continued to use a corded mic long throughout the times when cordless models were available. When he was asked about why he did so, he said it was because he didn’t want to confuse or upset the audience.
He figured they all expected to see him holding that mic, and that’s what he was going to give them! These days, host Drew Carey holds a long, skinny mic that he uses to interact with contestants.
Drew Carey Shells Out His Own Cash
Many of you may have seen the current host, Drew Carey, shelling out some cash during specific recordings. And, while you may think that producers gave it to him specifically for the award money, that’s not the case at all.
On the show, when a contestant makes a bid that’s spot-on when it comes to the retail price, Carey gives them something that they can walk away with that day - $500 of his cash! As of 2017, he’d given away nearly $200,000 of his salary to contestants on the show! That reveals just how cool of a guy he is.
Vanna White’s Appearance on the Show
Before Vanna White got her big break on "Wheel of Fortune," she appeared as a contestant on "The Price is Right" in 1980. Unfortunately, she didn’t make it very far, as she bid $695 on three different prizes. But not long after, she won at life when she beat 200 other women out of the role she now holds on Wheel.
In an interview after she’d found her fame, she laughed about her first appearance on a game show. Perhaps it had something to do with the long pause she took to admire herself in the show’s monitor – which Bob Barker called her out on.
Introducing Male Models
The show has forever had female models posing with the prizes, to make them seem more alluring on camera. But in 2012, they decided to switch things up and bring on some male models to add to the team, as well. The first addition was Rob Wilson, a male model from Boston.
He scored the role when he was named the winner of the show’s first modeling contest held for men. Since then, they’ve kept a pretty high rotation of both male and female models. One producer commented that they were very excited to have him since he’s “all about positivity.”
Scoring a Seat on The Price is Right
You may think if you just show up and smile at Mr. Bilts, you’re in – but it’s not that simple. There are a few guidelines you’ll want to follow if you're going to have any chance of winning. Contestants are limited to those ages 18 and above, as well as a legal US resident who’s currently living in the country.
Getting a ticket in no way guarantees you a spot on the show – unless you get a priority ticket. To do so, you’ll need to reserve a seat far in advance. If you try to get a last-minute ticket, you’ll wind up with a line, and you’ll go through the process of being chosen at random.
Bob Barker V. Adam Sandler
Anyone who’s seen "Happy Gilmore" should remember this legendary scene that went down between leading man, Adam Sandler, and the famous talk show host. Barker played himself in the hit comedy, in which he and the silly protagonist wind up duking it out on the golf course – in more ways than one.
The film marked Barker’s first role in a major motion picture. Two decades later, in 2015, the pair recreated the scene only this time, it took place in a hospital room. The faux fight took place on “Night of Too Many Stars,” a charity event to raise money for autism awareness and programs.
Patricia Bernard, Come on Down! Patricia?
In 1976, during one taping of the show that was being hosted by Bob Barker, one contestant had some pretty bad timing. While names were being called for people to come on stage, when they got to one of them, Patricia Bernard – nothing happened. Everyone looked and looked as the name was called repeatedly, but no one appeared.
So where was Patricia? Apparently, Patricia had run off to take a bathroom break. The same thing happened several decades later to a woman named Tara Armstrong in 2019. “Come on down!” called George Gray, and just moments later followed with, “is she…she’s in the bathroom.”
The Price is Right Storage Lot
The show owns a 30,000-square-foot warehouse on the CBS lot in which they store all of their prizes for a certain amount of time, including about three dozen cars. That means they have their car lot. "Price is Right" contestants have won millions and millions of dollars’ worth of items.
During one show, Mike Stouber walked away with more than $260,000 in cash and prizes. Well, he had to wait a little while to collect, but eventually, he did. And, on one evening-edition, a contestant was said to have won over $1.5 million.
Fans of the show are probably all too familiar with the game “3 Strikes.” During the game, a contestant is shown a series of eight balls, five white, three red. The game has won several contestants cars throughout the years, and others have come painstakingly close.
In 1986, a woman named Heather Wilson won a Chevrolets Corvette, worth more than $30,000 at the time. The most expensive car ever won on three strikes was a Cadillac CT6 in 2018, worth more than $64,000. Although the game has been through a few changes over the years, it remains today.
Six Decades on the Air
"The Price is Right" has been on TV longer than any other game show in history. It first aired in 1956, making it 64-years old as of 2020. The show premiered on NBC’s daytime TV in the mid-1950s, hosted by Bill Cullen. In 1963, it moved over to ABC, and shortly after was when Barker took over as host.
The show’s been through a few shifts and different hosts, but it maintained its status as one of America’s favorites for more than six decades. All of the hosts of the show seem to love their jobs, and all stay for years upon years.
Winning the Showcase Showdown
The three contestants who are invited up on stage are then invited to duke it out for a chance to play in "The Price is Right" Showcase. So, to make it to that round, one first needs to beat the inevitable Showcase Showdown, which is impossible to win. Everyone was starting to assume that was exactly the case until 2010, when someone finally guessed the exact value.
60-year old Terry Kiess surprised everyone when he was the first person in 38-years of the show to do so. Producers were so wary of the guess that they paused taping to do some investigating. But the investigation revealed no such thing, and it turns out that Mr. Kiess was just really, really lucky when it came to guessing numbers.
Bob Barker: TV Legend
There is no denying that Bob Barker is one of the most famous faces in TV history. It isn’t just his refreshing attitude, and a long-running stint on "The Price is Right" that’s given him his legendary status in the world. All of his animal-activism has also shown him in a very positive light, which lends to his popularity.
Several contestants and audience members to appear on the show were very vocal about their feelings toward the former host. Many of them couldn’t help but scream things like, “you’re my idol.” And then, of course, there were all of those who couldn’t help but kiss Barker, who once said that he’d “probably had about 7,412 kisses.”
The Studio can be Crazy
Those who aren’t much for crowds and loud noises probably wouldn’t be very happy on the set of "The Price is Right." If you’ve ever wondered why it sometimes takes some contestants so long to make it to the stage after their names have been called, it’s because they often can’t hear them being announced over the sound of other audience members screaming.
After realizing this issue, producers decided to take matters into their own hands. By using cue cards, they can alert audience members who’ve been chosen visually, rather than by trying to beat the noise in the room.
Fake it ‘Til You Make it
If you have any hopes of getting into the show’s live studio audience, you pretty much need to have cheerleader-level enthusiasm. When producers scan the lines to fill seats, they’re not looking for someone who’s yawning and looking around like they have zero interest in being there. No, they’re looking for the most fascinating individuals that they can find.
They want people with huge smiles, who are jumping up and down and clapping. Apparently, you need to keep that enthusiasm up throughout the show, or you’ll be tossed out and replaced. One writer who attended the show reported that afterward, “your palms will feel like two hamburger patties.”
The Price is Not Right
In 2008, TMZ revealed that "The Price is Right’s" Plinko game had been rigged for a commercial they were shooting, using the show’s set. It was rigged to hit $10,000. But then, they forgot to de-rig it. The result? One woman hit the slot three times in a row. It wasn’t until that point that producers realized what was going on.
Still, she was able to walk away with $30,000 because of the big whoops. Initially, they weren’t going to give her the winnings. In fact, after the third time she hit for $10,000, they stopped rolling the cameras and paused tapings to explain what was going on.
The wheel in "Price is Right," and the game, in general, has been the object of numerous scientific studies. It has invoked curiosity all over the world, which is why the Royal Economic Society decided to fund research into the way of its operation. In it, the organization’s research representatives, study the behavior of contestants as they make decisions in the game’s progression.
It follows 141 recordings of the show to compare samples for their study. The tapings were gathered from the ’94-’95 season and helped to reveal insights into the minds of contestants and inner workings of the show in general.
Mrs. Brady Crashes Through a Wall
Florence Henderson had quite a wild ride when she popped up as a guest on the show. The actress, who plays Mrs. Brady on the hit ‘70s sitcom; "The Brady Bunch," appeared in 2012. During the show, which was a special episode for Mother’s Day, she waved to cameras and the audience from the passenger seat of a prize SUV.
The person behind the wheel got a little distracted by everything that was going on, and accidentally drove it straight into the wall of the set. Luckily, no one was hurt, and there was no severe damage to the car or the show’s set.
Home Viewer Showcases
During the show’s original air days in the 1950s, home viewers were able to submit their bids for showcases using postcards. Surprisingly enough, viewers at home often came much closer to the actual prices than on-stage contestants. In the event of a tiebreaker, both parties were informed via telegram and went into a tie-breaker round in which they had to guess the price of a new, specific item.
The last time a Home Viewer Showcase was featured on the show was back in 2011. In 2011, rather than using postcards to chime in, home viewers simply put in their bids on the show’s website.
Oh, No They Didn’t
During a taping in 2015, comedian Danielle Perez found herself the winner of a shiny new treadmill. Perez had been in a tragic accident in the past that caused her to lose both of her feet. Luckily, she was a great sport about the whole deal. The audience seemed to tense up quite a bit when the prizes came up, and it became clear that’s what was happening.
In an interview after the show, Perez laughed it off, saying, “you can’t write this. You can’t make this up.” She even started her own meme, featuring a still of her face from the moment it happened, with a caption that read, “when you win a treadmill on national TV, but you have no feet.”
Fired for Being Pregnant
It’s illegal for employers to discriminate against employees for things like being pregnant. Unfortunately, it’s all-too-common when it comes to working in show business. After model Brandi Cochran became pregnant with twins, she reported that producers started hurling insults at her, things like, “wide load coming through.”
The model, who’d worked with the show for six years, between 2002 and 2008, was ultimately terminated after taking maternity leave that year. She filed a lawsuit against the show in 2010, in which she won over $8 million. Cochran isn’t the only woman to report lousy behavior from behind the scenes on Price.
Attempting to Cheat at 3 Strikes
When playing 3 Strikes, the contestant must draw red and white balls to reveal either a number or a strike. In this case, this woman thought she could get away with slipping the strikes back in the bag without anyone noticing – she was wrong.
She starts strong, pulling a white ball with number one, and placing it on the board correctly. She gets one more number – and one more strike – before she starts to get a bit nervous about missing out on the prize truck that’s up for grabs. Drew Carey watches as she grabs not one, but two red balls and tries to drop them back into the baseball-shaped bag. The host catches her, calling her out on the shenanigans both times.
Gets Ten Chances: Doesn’t Need Any of Them
When a show is on the air for so many decades, there’s bound to be a mistake made here and there. And, when you’re dealing with a game show that gives away millions of dollars in cash and prizes, it’s usually a pretty expensive mistake. Just take the time Bob Barker was unpleasantly surprised by an “oops” in the game Ten Chances.
During a standard version of the game, the host would lift a giant card to reveal a jumble of numbers that the contestant must unscramble to guess the final prize cost. Only, someone forgot to add the jumbled cards, and instead, Bob flipped right to the final price. Amazingly, he was still able to stretch out the game and make it both exciting and dramatic – even though he’d already given away the ending.
Bob Flips When Flip Flop Doesn’t Flop
On a good day, Bob Barker is just the most helpful guy you can imagine. And when he’s pissed off on set, he still seems like he’s pretty nice. In fact, even when he’s turning red and yelling, he does it with a smile on his face.
Just take the instance the game didn’t go the way he wanted, and he flipped out on the contestant playing. “Get off the stage!” He yelled, even pushing the guy away. And it was all due to that pesky red button that just beckoned players to hit it, even when they weren’t supposed to. Producers wound up fixing that issue – probably at Bob’s request.
On the 3rd of March 1989, the show that aired seemed to be full of pricing miscues. It all started when contestants played Punch-a-Bunch when one woman nearly makes a move way too early. Luckily, Bob jumps in to stop her. However, just a few minutes later, a pricing slip seems to disappear, and he gets flustered, and nearly just gives up and awards the top prize - $10,000.
Of course, Bob never seems to stay flustered for too long, and he’s always able to bounce back from any mistakes on the show. So, they move on to the next segment, which is a game of One Away, where someone who’d put the game together had misplaced an entire row of numbers, making it impossible to win. It seems like someone had a rough night before coming into work that morning.
Penny Ante Glitches
If you’ve been watching "The Price is Right" for some time now, you may remember Penny Ante. The game featured an eight-lane highway set-up of prices and played a memorable “wubba-wubba-wubba” sound when the host put in a contestant’s guess. Of course, as cool as the set may have been, there always seemed to be some type of mechanical errors that went on when it was played.
On more than one occasion, the correct answer is shown before contestants are even allowed to guess it for themselves. Eventually, the game was pulled from the show’s rotation so that the set could be worked on. But it seems as though it wasn’t meant to be, because it was accidentally left out in the rain before it could be fixed, and was ruined, never to be played again.
Off by Just $6
In March of 2020, one woman had a face-off with two showcases that included a Honda Fit, and a trip to Seattle. She placed a bid of $23,450 – and it turns out she was only off by $6. Because of how close she was to the actual price, she won both showcases.
Now, those who are long-time viewers know that it’s exciting when someone comes within $200 of the actual price, much less $6. Unfortunately, Drew Carey’s response to the situation was pretty underwhelming. If you watch the moment for yourself on YouTube, you’ll note the non-reaction – as did many of the commenters.
In 1977, one contestant named Yolanda Barker was thrilled to hear the announcer call her name. She jumped up and down and excited trotted towards the stage. Unfortunately, along the way, something embarrassing happened – her top fell down – and yes, parts popped out.
Bob Barker, who was used to dealing with all sorts of curveballs during the show, kept his cool. He laughed it off along with the audience, first saying, “my goodness, thank you very much and welcome to Price is Right!“ and follow up with, “she came on down, and they came on out!”
Welcome Snoop Dogg
In 2017, rap legend Snoop Dogg joined host Drew Carey on the set of the show for what would make for one of the most exciting episodes in its history. No one knew exactly what to expect when Snoop Dogg hit the stage, but they probably weren’t expecting him to be like, insanely good at playing the game.
Unlike most contestants, the rapper wasn’t playing to put the money in his own wallet, but rather, he was playing to support his youth football league. And, he ended up winning more than $72,500 – all of which went to the youth athletics organization. I guess there are more important things on his mind than money.
The Accidental Car Giveaway
There have been quite a few mistakes to happen on the show throughout its existence. Perhaps one of the most memorable (and expensive) came in 2015 when one said error resulted in the random giveaway of a Hyundai Sonata SE.
The mistake came when the model randomly pulled an extra price tag during one game, where a contestant had three guesses to choose the one that revealed the win. Fortunately for the contestant, the show decided to honor the tag, since she and the audience had all already seen it. That’s a pretty pricy “oops” moment, Manuela!
You’d think that someone accidentally driving a prize car through part of the set would be something that only came along once, but it’s happened a few times on "Price is Right." Aside from Mrs. Brady’s accident, there was another time when one of the show’s models crashed a Mustang through a set wall.
Rachel Reynolds was supposed to have driven the vehicle on to the part of the set where they were filming, to show it off. Except, she drove it straight through a wall, instead. Later, she said she “totally didn’t even realize the car had a stick shift.”
Knocking Over the Big Screen TV
The models have had their fair share of issues when it comes to the show’s recordings. Just take the time, not one, but two of the show’s models knocked over a prize worth well over $1,000.
During the moment, which happened during the filming of the show in 2011, caused a gasp from the audience – probably a lot of guys who felt the pain when the announcer said, “a brand new TV and Xbox system – right before the models knocked it over and broke it.
Overly Excited Contestant Knocks Down Drew Carey
It’s got to be hard to contain your excitement when you’re in an environment like the set of a game show. After all, everyone is super pumped up and ready to win some cash, and you can imagine the feeling if you actually win, which is what happened during this show, when this woman won Contestant’s Row.
This woman was just $65 off when she won, with Drew Carey calling her up on stage. And, like most people at that point, she was jumping up and down, excited and at the moment. Unfortunately, she was a little too excited and wound up, knocking the host down and tumbling down right along with him. Luckily, they were both okay, and the show went on.
The Woman Who Won $1 Million in Less Than 10 Seconds
During one episode of the show, a woman named Cynthia shocked herself and the audience when she was able to win $1 million in eight seconds flat. The win came during a round of Clock Game, in which she was able to guess the exact number of several consecutive prizes – locking down a cool $1M.
Carey was just as surprised as everyone else. It’s even more surprising considering the fact she didn’t even recognize the game when he first introduced it to her. He also said, “well, it’s possible to win a million, but it’s going to be hard to do.” Not for Cynthia, it wasn’t!
The Show’s First Three-Way Tie
In 2016, something happened on "The Price is Right" that hadn’t happened since the show’s inception, a three-way tie. Of course, it wasn’t as though the three contestants each won $1M or a trip, but it was still a pleasant surprise for all of them.
The three winners, Jessica, Manfred, and Cathryn, each spun for $1.00 on the wheel, and each turned again for just the right combination of numbers. If you’re a fan, you know that means they all walked away with $1,000. Not bad for a couple of minutes of work!
It’s 4:20 Somewhere
If any contestant on the show were going to price things at $420 repeatedly, you’d think it would have been Snoop Dogg. But alas, it just so happened to be Evan Goding, who appeared on the show in 2012.
Goding priced nearly everything he came to at $420. Why? In an interview after the show, he said it was a number he just “always wanted to say.” The only item he didn’t price at $420 was a guitar, which he simply added an extra digit to and priced at $1,420.
In January of 2018, Ryan Glass made his appearance on the show. He wound up kicking butt at Plinko and breaking the long-standing record held by the former champion.
His chips landed on $35,000, $3,500, and $350. Glass walked away with nearly $40,000 in winnings from the game.
Dancing with Wheel Again
with the over-excitement, this contestant nearly gave himself a concussion and damaged the wheel, all in one spin. The man, whose name is Brian, spun the wheel so hard he flew backward and hit his head on the floor.
The audience gasped in anticipation, hoping he’d be okay. Luckily, he sprung back to his feet and proceeded to do some weird dance-poses with the wheel.