NOTE: THIS IS AN UNOFFICIAL FANSITE.

Neither the author nor the host of this blog is affiliated in any way with The Price is Right, FremantleMedia North America, CBS Television, or any of the products or services mentioned herein.

The views and opinions expressed are entirely those of the author, and do not reflect those of Google, CBS, FremantleMedia, Drew Carey, or indeed any other known human being.

Monday, January 30, 2012

TPiRetro: 21 August 1986 (Primetime Special #2)


As I continue to get things back in order around here, I've discovered two of the six primetime specials from 1986 in my archives. This week, I'll be recapping both of them for your reading pleasure as things start to get back to normal around the Towers in anticipation of my big return next week.

For those who weren't around at the time, the 1986 specials are quite famous in Price fandom. They weren't quite the forerunners of the Million Dollar Spectaculars, but they did have larger prize budgets than the daytime show and also saw the debut of several gameplay elements we now take for granted; most notably, several car games were made five-digit compliant on these episodes. In fact, you'll see one such game batting leadoff here, with a memorable blooper no less, that proves the show was really just trying to feel their way around these upgrades. Call it the Studio 33 equivalent of the Y2K bug. You'll also notice that several Pricing Games received visual facelifts around this time as well.

Why were the primetime specials done? It wasn't as if the show was having a major anniversary, although you can do the math and determine Price was about to mark the beginning of Season 15. No, the reason is quite mundane and ordinary; it was a quick and cheap-to-produce summer replacement series that CBS ordered when a cancellation left a hole in their Thursday-night lineup. MGP made the most of it however, as you'll see...

Onward!

Episode #: N/A (Primetime Special #2)
Airdate: 21 August 1986
VTR date: N/A
First Four: Suzanne, Graham, Anne, Keith (R-L)
Today's Models: The Usual Suspects (Janice does the handoff)

One of the things people remember best about the '86 specials is the whole visual presentation. You could tell right away that there was a "big time" feel to these episodes. Just to hit the high points: You had roaming spotlights during the Come On Downs (real ones, mind, not the cheesy CGI lightspots of the '94 syndie) that would land on the lucky Peanut Gallery member whose name Rod just called; you had colored spotlights instead of the usual golfball chasers around the Big Doors, the then-standard green Turntable/Door trim was replaced by a less chintzy-looking grey; silver curtains replaced the rainbow backdrop; and Bob's entrance through Door #2 was done on a darkened stage with a single spotlight shining on the door. It looked really classy, and Bob wearing a tux only accentuated the proceedings.

Speaking of the tux, Bob quips that since he was told that a tuxedo looks more "nighttime," "next week I'll wear my jammies!"

1. Alcort Zuma Electra sailboat
Keith
Anne
Graham
Suzanne
950
1500
1600
1550
$1495







It's commonplace today, of course, but in 1986 it was very unusual to see an IUFB valued at four digits. That clued viewers in as to what to expect in the forthcoming proceedings.

Lucky $even:
1986 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am (2.8L EFI V6, luxury trim group, cargo screens, V215 65 R15 steel belted tires, CA emission, remote deck-lift release?)

Bob: "If you have just one dollar left at the end of this game, do you know what I'm going to sell you for that one dollar?"
Keith: "That?" [points to car]
Bob: "No -- the tuxedo!"

This is believed to be the first-ever outing for Lucky $even in a five-digit format... but wait! What's this we see?

2
$7

That's right -- during this experimental first try at five-digit compliance, they're spotting Keith the last digit instead of the first. Two things here. One, this just makes the game incredibly simple, as you really only have three digits to worry about instead of four (the first digit is a gimmie anyway). And two, this opens the door to some royal confusion about gameplay down the road... pun intended, as you'll soon see!

1
1
2
BIG SHOCK
$7
5
1
3
2
-$2
$5
6
1
3
8
2
?!!?
And this is what I was talking about. Seems the stagehands got their wires crossed and pulled open the tens digit -- what would have been the third digit in regular gameplay -- instead of the hundreds one. Whoops.



It doesn't take Nostradamus to figure out that Keith is about to be the beneficiary of a tech win here; when the show screws up this badly, that's always been SOP. And Keith knows it, too! Still, we must at least observe the formalities... he did call 6 for the third digit, so let's see what that does:
6
1
3
7
8
2
-$1
$4
TECHNICAL WIN

Bob, of course, jokingly has Keith play out the tens digit. Never let it be said he didn't make players "work" for their tech wins.

Mythbusters time: It's long been believed that this was the debut of the modern Lucky $even gameboard, but there are some late Season 14 playings (taped prior to the primetime specials) where the new prop was already in place. For obvious reasons, however, this was the only time you saw the game played under these rules; the next time Lucky $even showed up in a five-digit format, the familiar gameplay was in place with the player spotted the first digit, as it should be.


New Rowbird Shirley has quite the story to tell: She, along with her family, was to have left Wisconsin early that morning on a plane to LA, but the flight was delayed. They finally landed at LAX around 3 in the afternoon, where they immediately rented a car and -- with no idea where they were going -- drove through downtown to get to the hallowed grounds of 7800 Beverly Boulevard. They haven't been to their hotel yet, they haven't even eaten since breakfast, and they have no idea how they're going to get out of TVC and to their hotel "in the dark"... and all because that's how much they wanted to get on The Price is Right. Now I ask you... is that dedication or what? 8^)

Bob's reaction: "It's obvious to me this poor soul thinks she's on Queen for a Day!"

2. Pearl grandfather clock
Shirley
Anne
Graham
Suzanne
1850
1700
1500
1400




$1650



Race Game:
  1. Tappan side-by-side refrigerator/freezer
  2. Bard tennis rackets
  3. Iron Classic Berkely Tierra day bed
  4. Designer Repros replica carousel pony

$600
$925
$1190
$1600

Graham gets the honor of telling the world that may not be familiar with the daytime show just how Race Game is played. He actually does a decent job of it too!

45 seconds... go!
Refrigerator
Rackets
Day bed
Carousel pony
Right
Time
$1600
$600
$1190
$925
1
33
$925
$1600
$600
$1190
0
22
$1600
$925
$1190
$600
0
9
$925
$1190
$1600
$600
0
0
$1190
$600
$925
$1600
TOTAL LOSS

On the plus side, nobody can accuse him of being a deer in the headlights... he didn't look out to the crowd for help and he moved fast enough, he just tried to change too many tags at once, which ate up a lot of time off the clock. Painful to watch, this was.


3. Emerson 5-head stereo VCR
Shirley
Anne
Ethel
Suzanne
726
200
725
850
$800







Ah yes... does anyone else remember the days when you almost had to take out a loan to buy a VCR?

That blinking green visible just above the GPT can only mean one thing: It's Grand Game time, complete with the old-school Chyron "Ten Thousand Dollars" graphic:

  • General Mills Bugles corn snacks
  • Creamettes macaroni
  • Liquid-Plumr dain opener
  • Kleenex facial tissues
  • Nabisco Royal gelatin dessert
  • General Mills Fiber One cereal

No need for inflation considerations yet; $10,000 was still a decent amount of money in 1986.

Target
$1.40
$1.00
Gelatin
73¢
$10.00
Macaroni
42¢
$100.00
Tissues
91¢
$1,000.00
Go on...



But of course...



...we first have to endure...



...that staple of period Price is Right...



...the dreaded "Barker Torture Reveal!"
Snacks
$1.29
$10,000.00
WIN!
(Cleaner: $2.89; Cereal: $1.49)

One price that was just nine cents removed from the target price? And you think this game is just evil today?

...And guess what we don't have here? An ad break! Instead, Bob takes Shirley by the hand and, through the magic of editing, whisks her away from Grand Game and over to the magical realm of Showcase Showdown #1:

Graham
90
.90
WIN
Shirley
10
10
.20

$10,800
Keith
70
10
.80

$15,280



4. Kobabco 5pc dinette set
Joseph
Anne
Ethel
Suzanne
1199
1700
2500
1701
$1513







Range Game:
Trip to Auckland, New Zealand (Air New Zealand, 6n European plan, The Regent Auckland)

We Can't Start It Again For: A day and a half

4000
-
-
---
-
-
3900
-
-
---
-
-
3800
-
-
---
-
-
3700
-
-
---
-
-
3600
-
-
---
-
-
3500
-
-
---
-
-
3400
---
-
-
---
-
-
---
-
-
---
-
-
3801
-
-
---
-
-
---
-
-
3649
-
-
---
-
-
---
-
-
---
-
-
---
-
-
---
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-


$3700
WIN!

Perfectly dead center on the scale!

Even Rod's dressed up for the occasion... and not in one of the loud sequined tuxes he'd become famous for in later years, either!

5. Whirlpool eye-level microwave range
Diane
Anne
Ethel
Suzanne
1250
1251
1152
1200


$1481





It's two, two, two cash games in one tonight! Bring on Ye Olde Punch Board, it's time to Punch-a-Bunch:

Hoover Decade 80 vaccuum cleaner
West Bend under-counter toaster oven
Presto jumbo fry pan
Levi's Action mens' slacks
$220
$143
$85
$17
$180
LOWER
$122
LOWER
$66
LOWER
$28
HIGHER

$
$
$
$
$
$
$
$
$
$
$
$
1
$
$
$
$
$
$
$
$
$
$
$
$
$
2
$
$
$
$
$
$
3
$
$
$
$
4
$
$
$
$
$
$
$
$
$
$
$

Bob reaches for the first slip, and we get a little more of the Barker Torture Reveal with the very first slip... he manages to coax her into admitting she'd "maybe" stop at $1,000, and would "definitely" stop at $5K. "Don't do this to me!" pleads Anne. "I just wanna discuss this, now!" Bob defends himself.

And why is Bob doing this? Well...

...take a wild guess!

Punch #1
$10,000
WIN!
(Other slips unrevealed, because really, who cares?)

See, folks? This game really did used to be won every now and then!

The F4 Vultures are dressed to the nines on this occasion, too... as Suzanne is about to find out if she doesn't shape up!

6. Apple //c home computer w/color monitor, Imagewriter printer, & AppleWorks (3.0)
Diane
Karen
Ethel
Suzanne
1601
1500
1200
1600
$2048







Another thing that hasn't changed with time: Apple computers being significantly more expensive than the competiton. (The scary thing is, the //c was always considered the cheap alternative to its big brother, the ][e!)

Any Number:
  1. Wicker gourmet serving cart
  2. 1986 Chevrolet Monte Carlo LS coupe (CA emission, std, custom int, tinted glass, deluxe body molding, mats, door edge guards, AC, twin sports mirrors, body pinstriping, sport suspension, CC, 5.0 V8, AT w/OD, tilt wheel, steel-belted radials, AM/FM, power ant, cooling, rally wheels, undercoating, OKI cellular car phone, and after typing all of that I officially need a new keyboard)

Like Lucky $even, this is the first known playing of Any Number for a five-digit car. Unlike Lucky $even, the famiilar rules are in place from the start here, with the first digit spotted for free. (This is also confirmed as the debut of the modern Any Number prop.)

Car
1




Gourmet Cart



Piggy Bank
.



Curiously, the name placards are shifted over to the right on this first playing. It looks weird.

5: Piggy Bank
Car
1




Gourmet Cart



Piggy Bank
5.



6: Gourmet cart
Car
1




Gourmet Cart
6


Piggy Bank
5.



3: Gourmet cart
Car
1




Gourmet Cart
6

3
Piggy Bank
5.



4: Car (finally!)
Car
1
4



Gourmet Cart
6

3
Piggy Bank
5.



9: Car
Car
1
4


9
Gourmet Cart
6

3
Piggy Bank
5.



8: Car
Car
1
4

8
9
Gourmet Cart
6

3
Piggy Bank
5.



Can she complete the comeback?

7: Car
Car
1
4
7
8
9
Gourmet Cart
6

3
Piggy Bank
5.


YES SHE CAN!
(Gourmet cart: $623; Piggy Bank: $5.10)

Wrapping up an awesome second half in style!

Once again, there's no ad break here; Bob just leads Diane to the Big Wheel. At least this time there's no tape edit (we can even see Any Number being Turntabled away in the background).

Showcase Showdown #2:
Joseph
90
.90
WIN
Anne
85
95
1.80

$11,877
Diane
75
60
1.35

$16,837

Karen, Ethel, and Suzanne (F4) receive Excel exercise bikes, Kitchen Aid food processors, and Helbros watches.

One of the ads in this break was a roll call of CBS's contemporary game show lineup: The $25,000 Pyramid, Card Sharks á là Eubanks, The Price is Right... and, oddly enough, Press Your Luck, a show that would only be around for about two or three more weeks (and in reruns at that!) after this evening. Crossed wires in the promotions department?

Showcases: Joseph top winner, Graham runner-up. Full spiel.

1. Unthemed
  • Sony Access 301 entertainment system
  • Mersman Waldron Mandalay living room group
  • Lee's Dining & Leather Showplace 3pc bar set
  • Suntracker party boat
Joseph passes; Graham bids $18,900.


2. Your Intrepid Investigative Reporters at Price News Expose a Beauty Contest in Rio... Film at 11
  • Trip to Rio de Janerio, Brazil (6n, Varig Brazilian Airlines, Hotel Intercontinental Rio)
  • Three Jeran designer gowns, each modeled on the Plinko Perch by the lovely Janice, Diane, and Holly
  • Hawkeye swim spa (Janice's prize as 2nd runner-up)
  • Young Chang baby grand piano (Dian's prize as 1st runner-up)
  • 1986 Lincoln Continental Signature Town Car (*deep breath* power seats, cassette, CA emission, leather int, elec inst panel, anti-theft, power moonroof, traction lock, puncture-sealing tires, leather-wrapped steering wheel, wire-spoke alum wheels, body side mouldings, Holly's grand pnize, I now need new HANDS as well as a new keyboard)
Joseph bids $48,999.

No ad break here, either; we jump right into the reveal...

Moment
of Truth
2: Graham
Room/Boat
1: Joseph
Car/Trip
Bid
18900
48999
ARP
$16,620
$56,076
Result
1380
7077

$1,650
Joseph cleans house!
$61,289


LEADER BOARD: 1986 Primetime Special #2
Joseph
$61,289
Diane

$16,837
Keith

$15,280
Anne

$11,877
Shirley

$10,800

Graham
$1,650
TOTAL WINNINGS
$117,733
(84.9% of $138,671)

Interesting to note that Bob does not do the spay-and-neuter signoff, even though it'd become customary for the daytime show by then.

Even by today's standards, that's a good day at the office... and this was over a quarter-century ago in prime time!

Back later in the week with the second one of these at my disposal... until then!

No comments:

Post a Comment