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May 15th, 2009
06:39 PM ET

Bob Barker's Priceless Memories

Bob Barker spent more than 50 years on television. He is synonymous with the game show The Price is Right – no offense Drew Carey. I remember watching the show as kid thinking how cool it would be to hear the words: “Betty, Come on down, you’re the next contestant on The Price is Right!” While that has yet to happen, I did get a warm welcome when I rang the doorbell at Bob Barker’s home in the Hollywood Hills. Although, for a moment I wasn’t sure I was at the right place. The porta-potties parked on the street out front kind of threw me. Turns out they were for the crew shooting a Ben Stiller movie right across the street from Mr. Barker’s house. I was expecting a publicist or assistant to answer the door of Barker’s beautiful Spanish style home, but it was none other than the former game show host himself.

He greeted me with that signature voice of his. It’s funny how after watching someone on television for so long you feel like you know him. We walked to his patio where my photographer was almost finished setting up lights for the interview. It was here where I met one of Barker’s closest companions, a chow mix named Jessie. Barker tells me she’s a shelter dog. That may be the case, but she’s clearly made this her home. All Jessie has to do is groan and Barker is quick to pet her. And she doesn’t mind interrupting an interview for a belly rub. There’s a real connection between these two. It’s no surprise. Barker is known for his love of animals. For many years, he ended The Price is Right with this message: “Help control the pet population, have your pets spayed or neutered.”

Just like on the show, I found Barker to be warm and witty. He has some pretty good one-liners, as you’ll see in my interview. This is a man who spent half a century on television, even watched his shows go from black and white to color. But after 19 Emmys and 35 years on The Price is Right, there are some things you might not know about Barker. Like the fact that Chuck Norris taught him martial arts, which eventually lead to the hilarious fight scene with Adam Sandler in the movie Happy Gilmore. Oh, and who can forget this “priceless memory” – Barker was offered a part in a porn flick. Did he take it? Check out my interview.

Join me and TJ Holmes every Saturday & Sunday in the CNN Newsroom starting at 6am ET/3am PT.

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soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Trevor Libby

    i loved Bob barker in Happygilmore

    May 16, 2009 at 6:26 am |
  2. RJ

    Pelosi needs to go but more so a lot of Republicans who went along with the Bush Administration! I say if the righteous wingnutts want to investigate any democrat then we need to arrest and try Bush and Cheney right now for war crimes, whats fair is fair, be careful what you wish for!

    May 16, 2009 at 7:02 am |
  3. ALBERTO RODRIGUEZ

    Hi Betty,
    Bob Barker is such a warm, kind and loving person and he can tell you some jokes too. I remember The Price Is Right Show when I was small, back in New York. The show aired on CBS @ 11AM and he was funny as all hell, thats what I watched when I came home for lunch. As a Bronxite I loved his humor, he always had the right kind of wittiness about him. You can't forget the Voiceover Man, Rod Roddy and clorful reading of products. He also fed fuel to Bobs fire on stage aswell, and all of the Models of yester year. Too many censors back then and Bob got in trouble for taking humor up another notch, but with respect. We will miss his witty smart mouth and kindness, He is Americas Best Friend, truly..!
    Yours truly,
    Alberto Rodriguez

    May 16, 2009 at 8:46 am |
  4. Paul Ginsberg

    And Bob Barker is also a magic afficionado. He is a senior member of the famed Magic Castle in Hollywood, and has donated his time to MC various social fund-raising functions for the club.

    May 16, 2009 at 8:51 am |
  5. Chris

    I'm sure Bob's a nice guy, but what has he done to his appearance? He looks like an Oompah Loompah now with that orange color!

    May 16, 2009 at 9:28 am |
  6. Bob Politano

    Bob Barker is really a down-to-earth sweet guy and I had the opportunity to see him "live" in person at a taping of The Price Is Right back in 1995 and again in 2000 at the famous Bob Barker Studio (Stage 33) at CBS Television City in Hollywood. Bob was a true showman and he knew exactly host to make everyone in the studio audience feel so welcome.
    Thanks to a close friend of mine, Kyle Varker, who was also friends with the show's announcer Rod Roddy, Kyle and I were given a behind-the-scenes tour of The Price Is Right set, Stage 33 and Bob Barker's dressing room back in 1995. We never got to meet Bob that day as Rod had told us that Bob usually left the studio immediately after the tapings were finished for the day. His dressing room was like a flashback to the 70's complete with shag carpet and nostalgic furniture. Rod told us that the reason Bob's dressing room looked that way was because it was also once used as a dressing room by Carol Burnett, Cher and Gene Rayburn of the 70's game show Match Game, who 70's and 80's shows were also taped at Stage 33 as well.

    What an honor it was to be able to see this part of Bob Barkers life that has touched millions over the last 37 years since Bob first took the stage at CBS Television City.

    My friend Kyle passed away in 1999 and I went back to CBS one more time, the following year in 2000, when Rod had invited me to come back to watch another taping of the show. After the taping, Rod had asked me to stay and have dinner with him at the very same restaurant that me, him and Kyle had gone to a few years before. I couln't stay that day because I had to catch a flight back to Dallas, where I live. That was the last time I saw Rod. He passed away a few years later in 2003 I believe, from colon cancer.

    Kyle Varker and Rod Roddy are both gone now, but my memories of Televsion City, The Price Is Right and Bob Barker will always live on through both of them. I hope Bob Barker reads this blog and knows that even thought I've never met him in person (other than seeing him tape the show "live"), I am so glad that my friends Kyle and Rod were able to share a piece of Bob's life with me, even for a short time.

    May 16, 2009 at 10:03 am |
  7. doug

    Enough with the Bob Barker...where's Betty dancing with Usher?

    May 16, 2009 at 11:45 am |
  8. Casey Luna

    On a morning segment of Newsroom, I saw a piece on Bob Barker and the Price is Right. I was very happy to see that he is doing well.

    In the 70's, Ralph Edwards hosted and Bob was the master of ceremonies for an annual Fiesta held in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico that included a parody of the popular show Truth or Consequences on Stage. Four members of my family were asked to volunteer, including me. Because my son-in-law and I did not tell the truth, we had to pay the consequences, that included Bob Barker instructing my wife and daughter on how to correctly put a pie in the face. Bob Barker was dressed in his usual gorgeous powder blue western suit and boots and as always his hair was done to perfection in that bouffant manner. After I received the first pie in the face,(crowd enjoyed immensely) I went back stage to clean up and discovered two extra pies on a shelf. I took one and went back on stage while Bob Barker was continuing to instruct his pie throwing techniques to my daughter. I tapped him on the shoulder and as he turned, I did a pie in his face, (including the hair) totally unrehearsed, and the crowd went wild. Even Ralph Edwards seemed to enjoy it. Bob Barker left the stage and Ralph had to complete the show.

    The next year my family and I volunteered again, however, we were told that replacements had been found.

    We wish Bob Barker well. He and Ralph Edwards left a huge boot print in New Mexico and it is still called "Truth or Consequences".

    Casey Luna
    Former Lt. Governor, State of New Mexico

    May 16, 2009 at 11:55 am |
  9. Janice Preston

    Bob,

    I absolutely love you. I neutered my first dog at 16 after hearing you on TV. I didn't even know what it meant, but I knew that if you said it then it was the right thing to do. It was so wonderful seeing you on TV again. I feel like you are one of the last true gentlemen in the world. I love to hear you talk about your wife, you were so lucky to have found each other. Thank you for all the work you have done with animals and for being such a wonderful role model. My husband and I have a small home in the country in Pa that we share with our two dogs and two cats. If you're ever find yourself in Pa our home is your home.

    Janice

    May 16, 2009 at 11:59 am |
  10. virgil

    I am sorry you lost your wife but there is hope you will see her again. Revelations 21:4 -And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.

    May 16, 2009 at 12:37 pm |
  11. Purple Spider

    Great man and a job well done for "The Price is Right". CNN – Kudos
    for taking the time to interview this nice person, that has been in people's living room for years. I remember him in school, when I lived part-time with my Aunt in Los Angeles.

    May 16, 2009 at 11:22 pm |
  12. jared

    The Price is Right is what every kid watched when they were home sick from school and propped up on the couch. Watching Bob Barker was like a tonic that no matter how sick you were instantly cheered you up and made you feel a little better.

    May 17, 2009 at 6:26 am |

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