austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Dug our treasures here

Yesterday morning, as if trying to match the oddness of the weather this week with oddness in pop culture, a contestant at the opening One-Bid on The Price Is Right tried to bid $10,900 on the spa-in-a-box offered up for bid. If you want to be snooty about watching The Price Is Right -- and I'm sure there are people who try this, self-defeating as success is -- you know that when the four contestants all bid on an item to win the chance to go up on stage that's formally known as One-Bid, and you just call it the Item Up For Bid to be able to communicate with normal people. This is the part of the game that actually comes from the original 1950s The Price is Right hosted by Bill Cullen. The games up on stage, from Any Number through Triple Play, were created to make the show more like Let's Make A Deal, which is most visible in games like Temptation or Let 'Em Roll where a contestant is offered some prize and then has to decide whether to accept it or try for the bigger prize, which in Temptation they never win and Let 'Em Roll they usually do get.

I'm a bit surprised that the Darwinian process which caused contestants to wear costumes on Let's Make A Deal -- eye-catching outfits were more likely to be picked for play, leading to a reinforcement bias -- hasn't caught on at The Price is Right in any way past T-shirts proclaiming eternal love for the host and Plinko. Maybe they screen people in chicken suits out at the gates.

The thing about the $10,900 bid is that they accepted it. They showed nothing on the display, though, because the displays only go up to 9999. Spa-type items up for bid are the items up for bid that contestants never have any idea what the actual retail price is (1499), but this was extreme. The guy later got up on stage with a $1200 bid -- one dollar under the actual retail price -- of an armoire. He then failed to win a Ford Mustang on Five Price Tags, a game they've been playing for 35 years now without anyone remembering it. (That's the one where there are five pillars of blue light around the car, and you have to say whether the displayed prices on four prizes are true or false, and then you get to pick as many tags as you have right from a selection of five.) He then was beaten in the Showcase Showdown by one of the many people who've spun a dollar this season. It must be the weather.

Trivia: Chuck Woolery gave up his career of country music songwriting and singing to host Wheel of Fortune in 1975. Source: Quiz Craze, Thomas A DeLong.

Currently Reading: Highway of Eternity, Clifford Simak.


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