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I realize it’s been ten years, but I still think about it…

September 30, 2009, 10:59 PM

One AwayOne of the more memorable things I did in high school was The East Coast Price is Right. We followed the rules as they existed in Season 27 (the current season at the time), and I had that set that emulated the classic green, purple, red, and orange colors on the turntable. It’s now been a decade since I did that show, but it’s still something I think about.

Right before I left for Philadelphia, I did a bunch of ironing. Usually, when I iron, I turn on the television and pop a tape of something in, in order to spice up an otherwise boring task. This time, I popped in a tape of old episodes of The Price is Right, from Season 27. That’s when I start thinking about my own version of the game that I did a decade ago. In the intervening ten years, I’ve thought about the games I did, and what I might have played if I could do it all over again. Recall that for that game, I did (in this order) It’s in the Bag, Dice Game, Push Over, Grand Game, Switch?, and One Away.

I think if I were to do it all over today, I would have swapped out two games. I think I did too many cash games, playing both “It’s in the Bag” and “Grand Game”. Additionally, as I messed up “Dice Game” a little bit, I would have done a different car game for the first half of the show. For that, I’ve often thought that Lucky Seven would have been a game that would have fit my production better. All you do for that is have them guess numbers, reveal the correct number, and then take the amount of dollars that comprises the difference (e.g. if they guessed a seven as the second digit and the correct number was five, the host takes two bucks back). Then they just need one dollar to buy the car. That’s the game that stands out most in the would-have-done category. Now as far as the cash games went, I basically had to do “It’s in the Bag” first, because setting it up on stage with the audience in place would have revealed the prices. That game was set up before the show started. But “Grand Game” was too similar to “It’s in the Bag”, and so I probably should have dropped that one, and considering how close I cut it on time, a quickie game like Danger Price or Most Expensive would have fit the bill quite well.

When I did this show, the most-requested game was one that I absolutely was unable to deliver on: Plinko. While I would have loved for Erin to have been able to announce, “[Whoever], you are about to play… PLINKO!” it was not to be. Plinko would have involved too much construction for a one-off production, and moving such a massive creation into place would have been too much for the time we had. But that would have been fun. And who knows – the school could have possibly used the Plinko board in the future for whatever. But that was beyond my capabilities.

I was also amused about how some things came out. I never expected a spinoff on the Showcase Showdown, for one. Interestingly enough, though, speaking of the Showcase Showdowns, the wheel I used (borrowed from the local elementary school) bore a closer resemblance to the original “rainbow” wheel used in the trial hour-long shows than the regular wheel. It was spun with the face towards the audience, rather than the edge as on the regular wheel. And we had to hold it at an angle, because in numerous test spins, if the wheel was held at 90 degrees, there was too much friction to get a good spin. I think if we held it straight up, every contestant would have gotten booed for not getting the wheel all the way around. So we held it at a 45 degree angle or so to make it work. I was hoping that someone would get a dollar, if nothing else so we could have a bonus spin, and I could set the wheel on the five-cent mark for the bonus spin, and reference the two green sections that I so painstakingly marked. All in all, though, it wasn’t a bad wheel:

The "Big Wheel"

And of course, this looked just perfect:

The Showcase

The Showcase. I couldn’t believe I had a double showcase winner. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever expect someone to bid that well. But I guess it goes to show that even for teens, they know their prices. That was a good bid! I will admit, though, that the themes for the showcases – “AP English” and “Priceless Web Sites” – were a little cheesy. I’ve also never seen the real show give away a year’s supply of pizza. But hey, it worked. For “AP English”, I packaged a recliner, a television, pizza, and a trip to London. Then for “Priceless Web Sites” I packaged a computer, Microsoft FrontPage, a scanner, and a car. Yeah, the car was a bit of a stretch, but I needed a big prize, and wanted to have a car in the Showcase.

And most surprisingly to those I’ve told this to, this was not a major assignment. It was actually a regular oral freewrite (where one would read the piece to the class rather than submit it) for an AP English class, and I was allowed to go to town with it, since it was after the AP exam, and so we were basically done for the year already. I was graded on the prize descriptions. That was amusing, where I was going off the top of my head, and my announcer read the actual graded portion. Needless to say, I received an “A” on this assignment. The “based on the poem ‘Dover Beach’!” bit was actually an inside joke to the class. We had to do our freewrites based on class material, and when people couldn’t come up with anything else to base it on, they said it was based on “Dover Beach“, a poem by Matthew Arnold. Even though we didn’t have to base this one on anything, I couldn’t resist. Yes, The Price is Right was based on “Dover Beach”, just for the lulz!

All in all, though, I’m glad I did it. The show was a hit, people loved it, and The Price is Right was one I’d wanted to do for a while. And even though we just played for fun (no prizes were given out), I loved the enthusiasm that I got from everyone, and how excited people got when they won.

Web site: The East Coast Price is Right

Song: Bob Barker hosts "One Away"

Quote: Another interesting note is that we deliberately didn't use any buzzers. The show's overbid buzzer (like when you go over on the Showcase or on the Wheel) actually sounded exactly like the school's fire alarm at that time. Thus we skipped the buzzers entirely in order to avoid any potential confusion. But we did have the losing horns...