Bob Barker, host of The Price is Right from 1972 to 2007, beloved by millions worldwide, is not a nice man. Oh sure, he’s charming, witty, promotes animal rights, has roots back to the Native Americans, was a Navy fighter pilot, is a self made millionaire many times over… but you haven’t heard the WHOLE story.
In April of 1991 I was selected to be a contestant on The Price is Right. Yes, yours truly came on down and sat in Contestants Row for half the show before bidding correctly on a life-sized wooden rocking horse worth over $1400 (sure it was) to make it on stage. I was in my Air Force blues, looking sharp, representing my country. For me, the entire hour of taping went by in seconds, like a whirlwind. I was just smiling the whole time. My first encounter with asshole Bob was during a bid on Contestant Row, just before that rocking horse.
Bob made his asshole’ness clear when I actually went over on a bid, by one dollar. For an $1199 prize, I overbid with $1200. When the winner got up on stage, asshole Bob made a point to tell the camera, and the WORLD, “Poor Rick missed it by one dollar. Look at him over there, he’s sobbing!” Of course, the camera didn’t pan over to me. I had no clue what was going on, with my goofy grin, still in a daze over being on TV. But asshole Bob didn’t care. He seemed happy over making a fool of me.
I made it on stage during the second half of the show. My game was The Race Game. Four prizes, four price tags, 60 seconds to run between prizes and clock, putting price tags down and pulling the lever to see how many were right. At the end of 60 seconds, you win any prize that you guessed right. I’ve seen the show for years, and know this game well. Before the game, asshole Bob kicked into high gear and asked me how the game was played. I started describing it, and he interrupted me twice to finish my sentence. Frustrated with the interruptions, I paused as I tried to finish describing the game, expecting like a dunce to be interrupted again. Of course he didn’t. He just let me hang there, speechless, on national TV.
(By the way, I ended up winning all the prizes – a couch, a wine refrigerator, a mantle clock, and a leaf blower/chain saw combo.)
Finally, we get to the The Big Wheel and the pièce de résistance. Asshole Bob’s ultimate humiliation of Staff Sergeant Canton. We’re standing there during the commercial break and our dear host asks me a question about my uniform. He wanted to make sure that I was a Sergeant in the Air Force. I thought, “Cool, I’m gonna get some air time!” No. No air time for you. In fact, let’s humiliate you and your service to the United States.
Rod Roddy, the announcer, is off-stage but wearing a freaky French Foreign Legion outfit. I never saw him. What’s asshole Bob do? Asshole Bob, upon returning from commercial break, tells the camera a false story about how “Rick here, he’s a Sergeant in the Air Force, when Rick saw Rod, he thought he was supposed to salute him!” Audience laughs. Asshole Bob laughs. Rick’s still got a goofy smile on his face. Humiliation accomplished. Thanks asshole.
(To top it off, I spun a .65 at The Big Wheel. I held, and was beat by a .95. I blame asshole Bob for my not spinning again.)
Oh, I still have the mantle clock.