Studio 33 - Price is Right Discussion > The TALK Is Right

The Great Pricing Game Layoff of '85

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I just realized that 4 pricing games had their final playing over a span of two weeks in late 1985: Balance Game, On the Nose, Trader Bob, and Walk of Fame. Although I would say there were grounds for retiring all these games, it's surprising to me that all 4 were basically axed at once like that. Does anyone with extensive knowledge of the show's lore have any clue why the show suddenly decided to trim the pricing game lineup that much?

Side discussion: Could any of these games have been saved?

I don't think Balance Game '84 was as much of a catastrophe people claimed it to be back when there were only a couple of playings to watch. I don't think the objective of the game was hard to understand and I don't understand why people think it was. It seems actually like it should have been good. However, there was frequently some awkwardness communicating to Bob the money difference between the two sides of the scale, the win/loss reveal was usually anticlimactic, and it was hard for contestants to recover if they didn't balance the scales on the first try. It might have been interesting to add a rule where contestants could clear the scales of the accumulated money and try to win with the remaining items, but that would slow down an already slow game.

On the Nose was not the worst pricing game in TPiR history but I think it could be in 3rd place. It demanded better athleticism than Hole in One or Superball and the additional chances just drew out the torture for contestants who couldn't throw a ball. And every time I watch it I notice how much time Bob would spend on explaining every element of the game even though it seemed pretty uncomplicated. Out of the 4, this is the one I think should have been gone sooner.

Trader Bob was OK, but felt like a more convoluted version of Give or Keep that has no room for error. The whole "trading" theme doesn't make a whole lot of sense to do you end up trading a fondue set for a camping trailer? And out of all 4 games, this one had the biggest problem with revealing too early if the player had won or not. But I like its set and Bob really seemed to have a good time doing his "Don't show the price!" routine. Games that ended up not being workable gameplay usually got retired within a couple of years, so I wonder why Trader Bob survived for 5 before suddenly being cut.

 Walk of Fame could have worked and even been good, as a car game, and I really can't understand why it was only played for medium-large prizes. This game really took contestants on a journey and it just would have seemed right to have it end with a car. As I've said before, the amount of airtime Walk took up for a non-car game probably made it hard to schedule even in the '80s and even with more airtime I can see why they retired it.


Interestingly enough, although I had become a steady viewer by that point at age 3, Walk of Fame is the only one I remember seeing on the air; presumably reruns that featured the game ending up stretching well into 1986. 

The flaws noted above certainly are valid.  It can be argued of course that the current iteration of Balance Game, with its simpler premise, has in a sense saved its forefather.  On the Nose and Trader Bob probably were a little too complex to rework--at least with Hole in One (or Two), all you have to do is swing a golf club slightly, and it's made easier if you're smart enough with pricing to get close to the hole--but from what I've seen were at least decent ideas that got too complicated.  It would have been nice to see Walk of Fame last at least a bit longer; certainly the autograph books would be considered special keepsakes by fans today.  Perhaps cutting it down to 3 prizes to speed it up, and, as suggested, having a luxury car, trailer, or boat be the final prize for a big finish, would have tightened it up. 

Really with the this batch of games, On the Nose is the only one that sticks out as "retire-able" to me. The game feels like it was a half-baked idea that was never fully play-tested. It seems like they had the athletic challenge part of the game first then hastily threw together the pricing portion of the game the day of its first shooting. It's Five Price Tags with a sports gimmick attached to it. It's just there, at least Hole in One has the contestant do more with figuring out the order of the grocery items.

Walk of Fame was a nice multi-prize game. I'm indifferent towards Trader Bob -- it's alright. The show really couldn't figure out what it wanted to do with the "Give or Keep" formula, could they? Unpopular opinion, but I've always preferred the original Balance Game over the current version. Can't really explain why though.

The FAQ notes that Walk of Fame was retired due to inflation making it too difficult to win, but I wonder if Johnny Olson's death also had to do with the decision? It was only played once after his death, and they didn't show autographs in the books on that playing.

Walk of Fame was never played after Johnny died.  The game's final playing took place very shortly after Gene took over the announcing duties.  The game's length didn't help either.

Maybe it would've been nice if they adjusted due to inflation, but I don't think I miss it too much TBH.  Seeing past shows with the game & the autographs are enough for me.

Trader Bob was a decent game.  Great set, nice interaction.  For me it dragged, and I just don't think it was worth keeping around, especially when there was Give or Keep & other pricing games.  Didn't help that more games were on the way, though not during Season 14.

On The Nose going away for good might be in my Top 5 games that I was glad to see get retired on TPIR.  Maybe even number one.

The current Balance Game is good enough & better than the original, but I honestly don't think the 84 version was too difficult.  It was pretty neat, and you gave it some thought, the chance at success was there.  Other than maybe moving to 10 or 25 Barker dollars, I don't think the game would've lasted much longer if they kept it around throughout Season 14 into Season 15


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