The original version of Goodson-Todman’s The Price Is Right from 1956 had a respectable enough nine-year run with Bill Cullen as host. But that was nothing compared to the enduring popularity of the glitzy 1972 revival hosted by Bob Barker, who recently turned 93. The debut episode of the Barker Price Is Right has turned up on YouTube, and it’s clear that the show knew exactly what it wanted to be from day one. It was only a half-hour long back then and still called itself The New Price Is Right in deference to the original, but many classic elements of the series are already in place: the colorful “mod” set design, Robert Israel’s bouncy theme song, and announcer Johnny Olson bellowing, “Come on down!” Mostly, what the show has in its favor is the charisma of Barker himself, who is totally in his element here. He was 48 at the time and well known to the audience from a long run on Truth Or Consequences. (For a couple of years, he hosted both Price and Truth simultaneously.) His easy rapport with the contestants, specifically excitable housewives, is what keeps the show going.
Other than Barker, the star of this episode is a contestant named Connie who can barely contain her enthusiasm for the proceedings. She’s the first to make it out of of Contestants Row, and she progresses all the way to the Showcase Showdown. Unfortunately, she doesn’t yet know that one always waits to bid on the second showcase. But she does win a new car during her time on the show: a sky blue Chevy Vega that lists for $2,746 exactly. “I only hope that we always have a Connie on The New Price Is Right,” Barker says at the episode’s conclusion. He would get his wish again and again for decades.
[via The Daily Dot]