Come on down!
Viewers watching the March 23 episode of The Price is Right saw Bob Barker receive a “Bob is Gorges” t-shirt from an Ithaca College student.
Karl Siewertsen, a junior music performance and education major at IC, won $2988 worth of prizes in his appearance on the long-running daytime game show.
Along with four other IC students and some friends from his home on Long Island, he traveled to Los Angeles for spring break earlier this month.
During their trip, they attended a taping of The Price is Right held on March 9.
“We were talking about going for a while,” Siewertsen said of the trip.
“I don’t remember who brought up the [idea for the] shirt,” said Sean Cator, another IC junior and a member of Siewertsen’s group.
The group arrived at CBS studios at 3:30 a.m. on the morning of the taping wearing shirts that read “Bob is Gorges” on the front and “Ithaca Loves Bob” on the back. They waited there until around 6, when they received line numbers and were told they could go home until 10, when they were required to report back to the studio.
“At that point they numbered us from one to 350 and had us wait on benches outside the studio. We were numbers 115 to 121.” Siewertsen said. Eventually, contestants were gathered in groups of 10 for interviewing, out of which Siewertsen was chosen as a contestant.
Joanne Chen, one of the other IC students that attended the taping, said that, “[she didn’t] know why they chose him,” and said that she is “convinced that it is based on looks.”
Siewertsen was the only one in the group armed with the shirt to give to Barker.
At 2:00 p.m. the audience was let into the studio and at 2:30 the show began, following some warm-up contests and cheers.
“The theater is not nearly as big as they make it out to be on TV,” Siewertsen said.
Since the audience is not able to hear the announcer because of all of the cheering during the opening sequence, the contestants’ names are written on large cards and shown to the audience.
“If your name is called you are supposed to jump up and wave. I just saw my name and I reacted,” Siewertsen said.
“All the boys got up and shoved me down,” Chen added.
The first prize was an electric piano, for which Siewertsen bid $750. The next contestant bid $751, and won her way up on stage. “I was kinda bitter but, you know, it’s all in good fun,” Siewertsen said.
The next item up for bid was a pair of binoculars.
“I played up the crowd because I was the last person to bid,” he said.
Siewertsen bid $1 and won the binoculars and his way on stage.
“I take credit for Karl’s $1 bid. I screamed out ‘1 million yen!’ … and he translated it,” Chen added.
Siewertsen played the “Race Game,” in which the contestant has to match four prices to four prizes in 30 seconds or less. He had the chance to win a sofa bed, a popcorn cart, a big clock and a patio heater.
While the prizes were being described, Siewertsen gave Barker the t-shirt, which Barker subsequently read to viewers.
“Once the game started, my friends in my group were going crazy, I didn’t even see what the prices were on the tags,” Siewertsen said.
He won the sofa bed and the popcorn cart, both of which should arrive to his home before June 23. The binoculars have already arrived.
“My mom said they are really quite nice. Well, they are $545 binoculars,” Siewertsen said.
“The prizes that he won sucked,” said Chen.
After waiting through another game, it was time for Siewertsen to spin the big wheel. The first contestant spun and received 60 cents. Karl then spun the wheel and received 90 cents out of a possible $1.
The next contestant spun and got 80 cents.
“We thought he was guaranteed to be in the showcase at that point. It was anxiety central,” Cator said.
On his second spin, the contestant got 15 cents, ending Siewertsen’s Price is Right experience.
Along with his prizes, Siewertsen also received an autographed picture of Barker.
“He looks really good for 80, and he’s kinda nice in an old man kind of way,” Siewertsen said of the longtime host.
“I lived the dream of at least half of Americans. Our generation grew up watching The Price is Right,” he added.
“It was an orgasmic experience,” Chen said.
Archived article by Eric Finkelstein
Sun News Editor