Author Topic: That "Come on Down!" Feeling! (A Fan's Taping Experience - Now Aired)  (Read 1524 times)

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Offline ironman00710

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First off, greetings to all Price is Right fans!

I joined this site back in '04, but I honestly can't say I've been much of a regular poster since, outside of a few fun games in OILF, and the occasional comment on threads.  But I still read the forum posts when I can.  I noticed there hasn't been too many posts of fans sharing their taping experiences of recent.  That or I haven't been looking at the right forum, lol.  I wanted to share about my taping experience at an episode that has already aired - The Summer Beach Party special!  And because - I got to experience that "Come on Down!" feeling during this show, which aired recently on June 20th!

Because its quite a detailed story, to which I wrote offline to remember the experience, I'm going to post it in 3 parts.  And I'm hoping I'm posting it in the correct forum.  Please bare with me, lol.
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Part 1:  Before the Taping

Some background.  Over the years, at least twice I have traveled there with friends to try and become a contestant on the show.  But at the conclusion of each road trip my friends and I did from Kansas City, MO, we came away from Studio 33 with nothing but name tags, contestant numbers, an air date, and a bunch of fun memories to take home with us.  The first trip occurred Winter of '04, where two friends and I attended the first taping of 2005, wearing our boy scout uniforms with pride in the 2nd row of the center seating! (had this mindset that people in uniform get on the show frequently representing respective military branches, perhaps we could rep the BSA if one of us got called, since none of us were in the military)  The second trip occurred two weeks before Bob's final taping, and with a different friend.  He and I spent 77 consecutive hours at CBS to attend 3 tapings in a row, getting food and showers with the help of other fans staying nearby, and the guy who used to lead 'Price Experience' workshops at the Farmer's Daughter hotel across the street (Ted; no longer there as I came to find on this most recent trip).

Skip ahead about 10 years from Trip #2.  Drew Carey is now the host and has developed the show into his own, and IMO, is doing a fine job with it!  As a fan of his work over many years (especially 'Whose Line' & 'The Drew Carey Show'), I knew someday I would like to journey back out there to try once more.  I just had to find a legitimate reason as to why I'd make another journey out there.  With all of my friends I traveled there with now either married or soon to be married, and other friends always busy with their own jobs / girlfriends (or can't afford an out of city trip), the bachelor me has gotten used to doing things on my own in recent years.  For the past 3 years, I've actually gotten used to traveling alone when it comes to seeing new places now!  I've only done these travels during what I call "Royals Adventures".

They're called this because they involve me following my hometown baseball team - the Kansas City Royals - around to various ballparks for a consecutive number of games, and along the way: "Royals Escapades" (as I call them - fun activities while showing my hometown pride), which include ballpark tours, site-seeing, meeting players, getting autographs, getting on TV by holding up signs I make, and overall, just having fun while supporting my team!  My first two trips of this nature started with home games in KC, then followed the team to 2 away ballparks on "10 Games in 10 Days" adventures.  But for this season, I made it a bit more interesting.  Not to mention, there's always one big moment each trip that involves me supporting my team from a unique place.  2015 Trip - Inside the Royals broadcast booth at the Chicago White Sox, so that I could get a picture with one of our announcers.  2016 Trip - Repping from 14,000 feet while skydiving a few miles south of Kansas City!

While planning this year's adventure, I was looking at following the team to the west coast in June, since they were going to play nine games between San Diego, San Francisco, and in Los Angeles.  Perhaps I could attend a taping of Price while I was in the Los Angeles area!  Problem - tapings conclude in early April.  Drat!  Well, then, perhaps I could attend a taping beforehand, and it could air during my trip?  Perhaps!

Initially, I put myself on the waiting list for tickets to the July 4th special that taped late March.  However, there was a fine print notification that only military personnel were allowed to be a part of this special, so I withdrew my request (later, that fine print notice was removed).  The "Summer Beach Party" episode seemed more fun anyways (taping April 4th) so I made the commitment of going out there again for such taping, and since the final tape date of the season was the 5th anyways!  Why not? :P

April 4th was on a Tuesday in the middle of a busy workweek, so trying to take more than a day off when you have a project deadline looming a few weeks later was quite difficult.  This quickly became a planned out and back trip. (reminds me of ClockGameJohn's story on here, which was the first contestant experience I ever read)  And after acquiring a priority ticket and several weeks of waiting, the tape week arrived!  Monday April 3rd, after listening to part of the Royals season opener game in Minnesota at work, I got off work around 4 PM, drove to Kansas City International, and hopped on a 7:40 PM from KC to Los Angeles, which later landed about 9 PM PST.  We arrived early and had to wait on the tarmac for a gate to open up as they were all booked, but eventually we pulled up to the terminal.  From there, another wait for bags, and an even longer wait for a shuttle to go get my rental car!  Eventually picked it up and met up with a friend around 10:30 ish to whom I'd be staying with that evening.  Such friend I have in LA, my friends and I have stayed with him each time we were in LA to attend a Price taping, and he was happy again to host me for a single night.  We had some late night grub at a local FatBurger, and about midnight PST, called it a night.
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More to come later!

Offline ironman00710

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Part 2: The Taping!
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All night long, I tossed and turned in excitement, not wanting to miss getting in line early! And by 6 AM PST on April 4th, I was ready to drive 15 minutes north to the studio.  Even though I had a priority ticket, I didn't know if the system of people getting in line was any different, so I wanted to get there early just in case.  Recalling the first trip in '05, we got in line at 2 AM the morning of, and were Priority Numbers 011 - 013.  The second trip in '07, each line experience was different, but it all started with getting in line 11 AM the DAY BEFORE! (2 weeks before Bob's final taping; was a madhouse then with everyone across the nation coming to Television City!)  And after each taping, we got right back in line. Had contestant numbers 76, 82, and 10 in that order during those three consecutive tapings.

After scrambling for side street parking, found myself in line at about 6:45 with only a handful of individuals, and began chatting with a few other fans in line.  Everyone there, and others arriving over the next hour were dressed to the occasion - Hawaiian shirts, hula skirts, coconut bras, etc.  I myself had recently acquired a Royals Hawaiian shirt, so I dawned that and a lei, as well as a summer hat (also Royals related).  While in line, chatted with three ladies from Philadelphia in front of me (with priority tickets), and 3 from Sacramento directly behind me (with general tickets; got in no prob later).  A little while later, met a group of five ladies were on a birthday trip, and small world, were from the Kansas City area!  They saw my shirt, and showed me they all had matching rub-on Royals tats.  We would be chatting it up throughout the day, lol.

Around 8:10, representatives from On-Camera Productions came out to check tickets and hand out contestant numbers to anyone who had a priority ticket, then we had our ID's checked by security before proceeding to the first bullpen area.  Ironically, I got the same number from my first trip with friends in '05 - #011!  After everyone filled the bullpen area, the usual paperwork was handed out for filling, and name tags were written / presented to us.  Papers were then turned in to representatives sitting behind a mock pair of Showcase podiums.  They asked a few questions, and took a picture of each of us.  From there, we had a little bit of freedom for a bathroom break, gift shop browsing, and snacks.  Before proceeding to the second bullpen, more OCP reps took pictures of each of us in front of a green screen, which presented the big wheel behind us in the shot.  Had to get it!  Then went to Bullpen #2.  During this time, got to chat with the person directly behind me in line - Rosalinn I believe her name was.  She was the resident veteran, having been to at least 80 tapings of Price since she lives nearby!  While she has yet to get a call to Come on Down, the staff members know her by name, including Stan!
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Speaking of Stan, here he comes with two assistants for the interviews!  He still does a great job with chatting with each person, asking a few questions and making some small talk with each individual.  We were part of the first group of interviewees - a group of 26 people believe it or not (compared to 10 when I was there last).  When he got to me, I tell you, the excitement was just as strong as it was when I woke up!  Told him that I was glad to be back; that 10 years ago I was last out here as a recent college graduate with a friend, and just recently finished 10 years at my engineering job and wanted to celebrate!  Flew out here after work the night prior, here to party all morning / early afternoon, then was flying back that night, just to be back at work the next morning.  He was very surprised by that and asked I was here by myself, and I said I was and that if I were to get called, maybe I could play 3 Strikes? (pointing to my baseball shirt).  He said, "You never know!  Best of luck to you!", then moved on to the next person.  Chadwitz (bikini shirt of the first 4 contestants called) was a few people after me and impressed Stan with a Price is Right rap he had just come up with the night prior (former rapper), so it was awesome to chat with him and his wife throughout the day!

After our group was done, we went around the corner to security to turn in phones, then were given leis to wear in the studio (I had one already so just grabbed another).  From there, we sat in Bullpen #3 while others got interviewed.  The excitement was still real, but we wouldn't know any of this until the taping began, lol!  A few people brought snacks to share with other fans, and we just had a good time just talking to one another.  The concession stand opened for cash only sales, and later, the TV's came on with an episode from I believe Season 44 to play along to (don't remember the tape number).  They also showed an intro video from George in regarding to "studio rules".  Then after what seemed like forever, we began filing into the Bob Barker Studio when the last of the audience members were interviewed and arrived!
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The stairs; the CBS eye, memories of the first two trips came rushing back to me.  And now, here we were in Studio 33: themed to the beach party!  Sandcastle in the back center, orange and pink everywhere; surfboards on stage.  At the top of the stairs was the sign board with our air date:  June 20th, 2017!  CBS pages at the entrance asked how many were in our parties, and then seated us in various spots in the audience (unlike filling the center rows first, then the sides).  Was bummed I got put all by myself stage right, seat closest to the aisle, while my new Missouri friends got to enjoy the taping from the 1st row next to the contestants!  Everyone filed in, summer party music was turned up, and then here came beach balls galore to bump around the audience!  So much fun!  (big ones you had to pick up and chuck, lol).  When Crystal Water's 'Come on Down!' made its appearance, you know its getting close to start time, and around there, George Gray came out in board shorts to do his intro!  After a few safety reminders about people coming down the aisles and to cheer as loud as you can at prizes and winners, before you knew it: lights up; applause, and here we go!  The first four were called: one being directly behind me a few rows (a group wearing coconut bras over their shirts), Chadwitz, and two others from the opposite side of the studio audience.  And here comes Drew through Door #2!  The show is on!
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They did do a stop-down after the first pricing game, but picked right back up shortly after a break.  During the first break, Drew got to know those still in contestants row after the first game, and then moved around the audience picking random people to chat with.  Didn't really have a Q&A moment during any of these stop downs, as he talked to individuals directly and shared a few stories.  During one break, they took time to re-shoot the reveal of the first IUFB (the blue backdrop pull-away).  Another break, George had to re-record something he read (short and sweet).  And during a third, they fixed one of the microphones that got joshed by a beach ball, lol.  Those beach balls were flying everywhere and when several started hitting lights, mics, and TV's above the audience, they had to make adjustments, then eventually decreased the number of balls flying around.

Something I noticed a few times during stop downs was Stan kept coming out and scanning the audience with a folder in hand.  I tried not to pay attention to him, and just kept focused on what was going on with Drew chatting with others, laughing at antics, and playing the game with the crowd when the cameras were rolling; just like I do from home.  I assume he was eyeing potential contestants as he shifted through his papers.  Eventually, he would go off stage, and here comes the stagehand with the applause cue card to bring us back into the taping, and to reveal the next name to Come on Down when George began reading the name, thought nobody in the audience could hear him since we were all cheering when the taping resumed.
 
Kasie, who was there from Boston with her brother and sister celebrating her 30th birthday, I had talked to her too in line and she got a call as contestant #5!  And before you know it, contestant #8 - Monisha - was called.  She was two rows behind where I sat - another individual attendee like me, sitting on the end of her row and whom I talked to in studio before the taping began!  After she got called, I figured the final person would be from somewhere on the opposite side from our seats.  Or center aisles near the back since no one had been called from there.  Boy was I wrong!
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Cameras on:

Drew: "Hey, uh, one more chance for somebody to come on down, George! Who is it?"

George:  "It's going to be Keith Langabee! Come on Down! You're the next contestant on the Price is Right!"
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I didn't hear any of this!  My on TV reaction was to seeing my name appear on that final cue card the stagehand was holding!  I lept from my seat into the aisle.  If you did a screen pause, it looks like I'm trying to pull off some type of Michael Jackson move with that fedora on, haha!  Jumped and cheered with each person on my way to the blue spot (Royal blue - irony!).  Even cheered with my Missouri friends before taking my spot at contestants row (that was cut in the airing, lol) to bid on a 55" 4K TV with blu ray player and 5 beach themed blu rays.  I bid $1,700 after some thought (also cut); Monisha bid $1,895 after me, and Kasie and the final bidder Alexandra (the 7th contestant called) overbid at $2,200 & $2,201 each.  ARP - $2,000.  Monisha made her way up on stage and played Cover Up for a $17,000 Hyundai, which she ended up winning in the end!

Well, while I will continue to wish I had bid $2,000 (would have been a perfect bid, lol), I was not mad one bit.  My name was called!  That alone was just awesome enough, considering the odds that only 9 excited fans of a crowd of 300+ get that amazing moment each taping!  An item on my "Ultimate Bucket List" marked off at my fifth taping attended!  During the break after Cover Up, Drew came down into CR, shook our hands, congratulating us for getting a call, although not getting up on stage.  He asked where were from and what we did for a living, which we all said our peace.  Seeing my Royals shirt, he gave me some friendly flak since he's from Cleveland and roots the Indians (same MLB division), but he was nice about it!  I got to thank him too as his improv has brought me joy for many years, and asked if he would be kind enough to sign my DVD copy of Whose Line is it Anyways? I had brought with me (Season 1; Volume 1), but was still under my original studio seat as I left it there after the big moment! He said, "I'll see what I can do" before returning to the stage to resume the taping.  Will reveal if this happened in the final part.

Showcase Showdown #2, then the Showcases and showcase reveal!  It all moved rather quickly.  I was still in a daze from all that had transpired, but kept right on cheering and trying to help those on stage with the showcase bids.  And as the episode came to an end, it sadly ended with a DBL OB between Chadwitz and James.  We kept right on cheering up until the point the lights dimmed, and the producers came out one last time to thank everyone for coming, and for us to give one final farewell to Drew, who remained up on stage after the showcase reveal.
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Will share the final part of this story tomorrow.  Feel free to comment!

Offline ironman00710

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Apparently I can't edit the prev. post.  I'll just finish the story now instead of waiting till tomorrow. :-)
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Part 3: After the Taping, and an Escapade to Remember Forever!

And that was that!  An amazing beach party came to an end after about an hr and a half.  The ending of the show could have been better, but it is what it is.  But lots of fun was had, and we would all walk away with some amazing memories of a fun party from the Bob Barker Studio in Television City in Hollywood!

One thing I didn't mention in Part 2 was after Drew came down and talked to us in contestants row, as he was returning to the stage, George informed the three of us left in CR would receive a consolation prize in the form of a $300 cash gift!  Not too shabby! (I guess this is what they give out now in lou of prizes like mailboxes, telephones, luggage, etc.)  During the showcases / showcase ARP review stop down, I ran back to my original seat and grabbed my plastic bag that had my souveniers, and my Whose Line DVDs / gold marker, and returned to my CR seat.  Before Drew said his final farewell to the audience after the taping was over, I held them up so that he could see it.  He came over, autographed the DVD cover, and gave it back to me!  Day made even more!  :biggrin:

Immediately following that, the pages ushered the three of us in CR out with the other contestants, while those left in the audience participated in the $100 / TPiR game gift raffle.  We exited the studio, came down the the stairs we had ascended to enter, and passed by the group that was in Bullpen #3, awaiting a regular taping following ours. (stagehands would be striking the Beach Party for a regular taping within an hours time between tapings!).  We were taken to a simple room with folding chairs & bottles of water, where we signed the papers of confidentiality until our episode aired and claimed our prizes.  I believe they used to do these during the taping in the studio after each contestant came off stage, or after the show for those in CR.  One of the Price helpers in this room was also from the KC area, so we had a brief chat when she noticed my shirt too.  Before you knew it, it was all done.  As we were leaving, the cue cards with our names written on them were awaiting on a table for us to take another souvenir - all 9 since they do cue cards for everyone now - not just the first 4.  Retrieved my phone and the green screen photo from the morning, and on my way out, said farewell to my new KC friends, and several of the people I had met that day, including Kasie, Chadwitz, and others.

From there, spent about 3 hrs looking at stars on Hollywood Blvd and hand prints at the Chinese Theater, plus a late lunch.  Later, returned the rental car, arrived at LAX, and flew back at about 8:45 PST, arriving just shy of 2 AM CST in Kansas City (napped a little on the plane).  Arrived back at my home on the KS side around 3ish; slept; and then was back to reality at 8 AM at work as planned.  Jet lagged, but made it through the work day. ^_^
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Not much to tell between that week in April and the air date in June. As a matter of fact, very few knew I had even made such trip to attend another taping!  Stayed pretty incognito about it on Social Media.  I like to be secret about my "Royals Escapades", only to reveal a little bit about them right before they actually happen.  I waited till the day my Royals Adventure officially began to announce such escapade, saying to look for my Royals shirt in the studio audience June 20th, but that's all I said.  The Royals Adventure officially began the evening of May 24th, concluding 30 days later on June 22nd after attending a crazy but amazing 25 consecutive Royals games over those 30 Days; unlike '10 Games in 10 Days' the prev. two trips involved!  It started at an away ballpark/city this time (Drew's hometown of Cleveland ironically), and involved more ballpark tours, more site-seeing, more reconnecting with friends (and making new ones), and of course, more fun!  As originally pondered back in March, I did go through with following the Royals along their west coast trip between San Diego, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, attending all 9 games the Royals played.  Even got to revisit Disneyland, a place I hadn't been since my childhood days, and had so much fun there!  Stayed with my friend in LA again for a single night, but also got to stay with other friends in Oakland, and try out AirBnBs for a first in San Diego and near Anaheim.

When I got back from Cali, the episode aired in the middle of the final Royals series of the trip: at home against the Boston Red Sox (June 20th was Day 28; Game 24 of the trip).  I was at work when it aired, but I told friends that morning to enjoy the show and look for me in the audience at the very least, not revealing what had transpired on April 4th.  A friend later tagged a photo of me in contestants row.  The rest is history.

While awaiting my consolation prize, now 10 years of in-eligibility loom.  While I can attend another taping if I wanted to for fun (not get interviewed since I can't win anything), I think it will only happen if I happen to already be out that way for some other reason.  But I can guarantee in 10 years time, I'll probably make another guaranteed trip to TVC again to give it another go!  It's always such a fun experience being at Studio 33, no matter who is hosting it, announcing it, or running the show.  The fans you meet, the fun you have, it makes lasting memories, and some new friendships too.  And if lightning can strike twice on others getting their name called twice in their lifetime to "Come on Down!", perhaps that can happen again to me too? :-)  Time will tell the tale.

The End

Offline PayingTheRent

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I really enjoyed reading this!  Making the long journey from Tennessee to Television City in Hollywood to attend a Price is Right taping is up there on my list of things to do, hopefully in a year or two.  I hate that you ended up being the ninth contestant and weren't called down sooner with a better chance of making it up on stage, but I'm sure the experience of it all was still just as exciting and unforgettable.

And hey, at least the $300 consolation winnings makes up for at least part of what you spent on the flight to get there and back! :P
Pardon my language, but I do believe we all need to calm the f*** down.