The YouTube Files – The Price Is Right USA.

The Price Is Right (CBS, 1972-present)

This is the game show that is one of the longest-running and most popular in American TV history. The original version of The Price Is Right started as long ago as the 50s, but this piece will concentrate on the version that has been going just about non-stop since the early-70s, many years before the UK version launched in the mid-80s (although I am more familiar with the mid-90s version).

This was the chance to win some big prizes in the most exciting game show around. Four people in the studio audience are invited to “come on down!”, who probably not coincidentally also happened to be the most overexcited people that were there, and they were always very eager to have a go. The host at this point was Bob Barker. vlcsnap-00063

Firstly, they have to guess the price of an item, Whoever is the closest to the actual price without going over would win that item, and get the chance to play a game. If they got the price exactly right they won a $100 bonus. There were lots of games that could be played, indeed there were dozens available, some of them became more popular than others, but they all had the same basic idea of being able to win some more prizes. vlcsnap-00065

After this, another contestant is invited to play. Once there had been three games, there was the Showcase Showdown, which the contestants progressed to whether they won or lost. They have to spin the big wheel containing various numbers, and the closest to 100 without going over in one or two spins makes the final. Remember to give it a big tug. Again, there is a big bonus for scoring exactly 100. And then… the whole process is done all over again! vlcsnap-00066

This means that two contestants got to play the Showcase final. They take a look at what’s on offer (which could be holidays, cars, and much more) and decide what Showcase on offer they want to play for. There is no rangefinder on offer in this version, whoever is closest to the value of the Showcase without going over wins, and if they are within $100 of the value, they win both. vlcsnap-00067

When watching some editions online, it seemed to me the show started to get stuck in a timewarp, with the look and style of the show barely changing from the 70s, going into the 80s, 90s, and even beyond. When Barker finally retired from the show at the age of about 102, the new host was Drew Carey, who had previously starred in a sitcom that was often shown late at night on ITV. The basic idea of trying to win lots of prizes has always remained the same, and there have now been thousands of editions. People just love to win.

Game Show Memories – a tribute to Bruce Forsyth.

After I had competed reviewing all the game shows that I wanted to on this blog, I planned to take a look back some of my favourite hosts too and some their best shows. I decided that I might as well do this one now as we still come to terms with the fact that we are now living in a post-Brucie world. Here’s a quick look at ten memorable shows which featured the great talent of Bruce Forsyth throughout his long career.

The Generation Game. (BBC1, 1971-1977, 1990-1994) One of the best shows that Bruce ever hosted, he was the original host, before he came back in the early-90s to host the era that I remember. Just about all of his famous catchphrases were in use and I remember really enjoying this entertaining show. vlcsnap-00289Bruce’s Big Night. (ITV, 1978) This is a curious one. After leaving the BBC, Bruce went to ITV and was given his own big-budget Saturday night ITV entertainment show. Despite lots of things being tried it wasn’t a big success.

Play Your Cards Right. (ITV, 1980-1987, 1994-1999, 2002-2003) Another one of Bruce’s classics which he ended up hosting three versions of. Again, I remember the 90s version which was always great to play along with and this show is definitely up there with Bruce’s best. vlcsnap-01396

You Bet(ITV, 1988-1990) Although Matthew Kelly is the best-known host of this show, Bruce hosted the first three series, where people tried to complete extraordinary challenges. Bruce would also begin every show with “the You Bet! rap”, hopefully he didn’t realise that as a single. You Bet 10

Takeover Bid. (BBC1, 1990-1991) This was a rather short-lived game show that I haven’t got round to reviewing yet but it was much inferior to The Generation Game. If the highlight of the show is when Bruce comes on at the start and tries to throw a hat and cane on to a hatstand then the actual game might not be so great. Takeover Bid 4

Bruce’s Guest Night. (BBC1, 1992-1993) This was an entertainment show where Bruce would interview various guests such as comedians and musicians.

Bruce’s Price Is Right. (ITV, 1995-2001) Another game show revival. Bruce replaced Leslie Crowther as the host of this classic show where a lot of big prizes were won. vlcsnap-01496Tonight At The London Palladium. (ITV, 2000) Viewers are always saying that they should bring back variety to TV, so who better to do it than the man who hit the big time hosting a show at the Palladium in the late-50s? Lots of variety acts joined Bruce, and he even revived his famous Beat The Clock game. Also around this time on ITV Bruce starred in an edition of the An Audience With series, and also took part in a special show celebrating his 70th birthday.

Didn’t They Do Well. (BBC1, 2004) This was a short-lived game show that I don’t remember seeing much of myself unfortunately, but it seems an interesting idea. I’d sooner watch this than that bloomin’ dancing show he started hosting around the same time!

Bruce’s Hall Of Fame. (BBC1, 2014) Bruce hosts another show at the Palladium where he looks back over his career and is joined on stage by various guests. This one is interesting because not only were my parents in the audience for this and they had a great time in his company, but it also turned out to be just about the final show that he ever did.

Beyond these shows, Brucie made a huge amount of TV appearances, and he also appeared on stage, in films, and in various adverts in a career that spanned decades. TV will never really be the same without him. He really was a terrific presenter and a real star, thanks for the great memories.

Game Show Memories – The Price Is Right.

The Price Is Right (ITV, 1984-1988, 1995-2001, 2006-2007)

This is the lively game show that offered big prizes. The Price Is Right is something of an institution in America where it has run for decades, but when the format finally came to the UK in 1984 it caused something of a sensation as the games were presented in a style that hadn’t ever really been seen before in this country. The original host in the 80s was Leslie Crowther, but my favourite era of the show that I remember most was when Bruce Forsyth took over by which point restrictions on the value of prizes had been relaxed. He always liked to welcome the stars of the show, whoever they were… vlcsnap-01496

Every week contestants were picked from the somewhat lively studio audience at random to “come on down” and play for prizes. First of all they were shown an item and had to guess the price of it. The contestant whose guess was the closest to the actual price without going over won the chance to play the game, and they also won that prize. vlcsnap-01495

Again in the various games the contestant had to complete a task to win some more prizes. The most famous games included Plinko, where the contestant had to win coins which they then dropped into a machine and their prize was determined by wherever the coin landed. There was also the unforgettable Cliff Hanger which even thinking about it now horrifies me. After the end of the game, Bruce would say “there’s a space in contestants’ row”, so another contestant would come on down to play, and this would be done three times. vlcsnap-01494

Regardless of whether they had won the prize in their game or not, the three contestants then went into the Showcase Showdown. They have to spin a wheel featuring numbers from 5 to 100. The contestant who scores the nearest to 100 without going over in a combination of one or two spins plays for the Showcase in the final. If they score exactly 100 they win a bonus, didn’t they do well! vlcsnap-01497

In the final the one remaining contestant is shown the Showcase, which features various luxury holidays, cars and other great things. First of all they use the rangefinder, which indicates how much under they can be when guessing the value of the Showcase. If their guess is within the range without going over when the value is revealed, they win everything in the Showcase along with all the prizes that they have already won, and needless to say this makes everyone very pleased. vlcsnap-01498

When The Price Is Right launched in the UK the style was very similar to the American version, and the over excited audiences and showing-off of flashy prizes really did cause a stir. After a while though the format settled down and it did become a hit with viewers. The Leslie Crowther era was an hour long and shown on Saturday nights, while the Bruce Forsyth era was half an hour long and shown on various days, and it has also been repeated on Challenge in more recent years. Between these versions Sky One also showed a short-lived revival in 1989. There was also a board game released of the Crowther and Forsyth versions. vlcsnap-01499

In 2006 The Price Is Right was revived by ITV for a second time, this time in a weekday daytime slot and with Joe Pasquale as host. Unfortunately even though big money prizes were the norm on British TV by this point even for a daytime slot, this version wasn’t a big hit with viewers and ended rather quietly, which was disappointing.