28 April 2008

Best of TPiR!!

So I finally up and did it. Yesterday came rain so I hopped over to Best Buy and purchased the brand spanking new "Best of The Price is Right" box set.

Thirty dollars well spent.

For myself who is used to watching snippets of programs off YouToob with its pathetic picture quality, this was absolutely incredible. The image quality of these old TPiR episodes is miraculous - almost as if they were recorded yesterday. This was a truly amazing representation of 1970s television. And the interstitials have been preserved also - every element of the episode was there.

I wonder if TV picture tubes back then could pick up that level of detail. Here I am watching on a digital television screen, so it's hard to say.

Let me take this time again to note that it is a miracle in itself that these old episodes were not wiped. This practice was all too common then - videotape was expensive, so TV production companies were constantly reusing them, thus erasing older material. Kudos to the foresight exhibited by Goodson-Todman in preserving all 6800 or so TPiR episodes from the beginning, so future generations can watch and be entertained by them.

Another thing I must note is the whole aspect of the game play. Today I suspect most people come to be a contestant on TPiR to be part of a legacy and all that - it's not about the prizes anymore, but the experience, playing the silly games, etc. Back then, people were seriously happy that they had won something. The prizes meant a great deal. These folks probably didn't have a lot, and the winnings truly were "a fortune in fabulous prizes" to them (thank you for that immortal line, Johnny O). This is quite obvious when you watch these old episodes. I couldn't help but cheer for a lot of those folks. You wanted them to win.

Not so much with players today. They mostly seem to have their hearts set on winning a Viper or $25,000 playing Plinko! Everything else, blah to them. They likely already own much of the "stuff" (to use Drew's excreable expression for prizes) that TPiR offers - purchased on credit, which they owe to the tune of thousands, like everybody else in today's Amerika.

Did anyone notice how many female contestants there were back then? Seriously, the ratio of female contestants to male contestants (I'm talking about people called to "come on down") was something like 20 to 1. I have a few theories on this:

- Most potential contestants were women - there are a lot of ladies in those early 70s audiences

- The producers thought women would make better contestants for game play purposes - who likes to shop, after all?

- Bob Barker liked the ladies (you didn't know Bob was a playa back then?)

- Attractive young ladies made better contestants for ratings purposes

And the best part of it all - the old music package. Childhood memories. Why don't they use those musical cues anymore??? TPiR was the music. Or at least TPiR was made by its music.

Anyway, a great experience. I haven't watched everything on those DVDs so more may make its way here soon.