Farewell, Bob Barker!

143843__bob_lToday marked Bob Barker’s final day as host of The Price Is Right, and I’m pleased to report I only teared up three times during the hour-long telecast: Once as Bob announced the first item up for bids to thunderous applause, then again as the first "new car!" of the episode was introduced, and finally, as a contestant named Philip (who’d waited in line for five days to score a spot in the studio audience) started to lose his composure as he made it on stage for an (ultimately unsuccessful) edition of "Any Number."

I’m not going to say I’m embarrassed about my mini-display of waterworks. (If you’re with me, come on down!) After all, along with Sesame Street, the Muppets, and Spectacular Bid’s Kentucky Derby, Bob Barker is responsible for some of my earliest (and fondest) TV memories; plus, he was a staple of my grade-school summer vacations and countless sick days as an adult. To me, Barker hearkens back to a different era — maybe it’s the pre-irony era? — in which you could spend more than three decades enthusiastically helping contestants master "Grocery Game" or "Plinko," yet still be the height of cool. (Come ON, at 83, the guy is still a total fox.) And on his last day of work, Barker showed the skills that have made him an enduring and beloved pop-culture icon There he was shouting, "He’s on his feet! He’s on his feet!" after burly Canadian contestant Dean took a spill sprinting to contestant’s row. And how about his farewell to contestant Melba, who almost hit her head, then fell to the ground, during her two unsuccessful turns at the Price Is Right wheel: "I want you to get off here before you get hurt!" The guy is funny, quick on his feet, and isn’t afraid of hugging. He’s gonna be damn near impossible to replace.

Anyhow, on this sappy, emotional note, I leave you with Barker’s parting words from his final show: "Now, folks, I want to thank you very, very much for inviting me into your homes for the last 50 years. I am deeply grateful. And please remember: Help control the pet population — have your pet spayed or neutered. Goodbye everyone!"

addCredit(“Bob Barker: Tony Esparza/CBS”)

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  • Anthony

    I love Bob Barker and he will be irreplaceable….I miss him already….

  • Jill

    Like others, I am a child of the 70s and watched TPIR during summers and sick days. Loved it then and love it now. I probably won’t try to watch it anymore; it just won’t be the same. Good luck, Bob.

  • Ceballos

    He is totally irreplaceable…as much as I love the show, I think it should end with his departure.
    Although it’s pretty obvious, I didn’t realize how much of the show’s success and my personal reasons for enjoying it ALL MY LIFE were directly due to Mr. Bob Barker.
    (Also, i feel stupid because, even though i knew this article was most likely about his leaving the show, when I saw the words “Farewell, Bob Barker” I thought he’d passed away.)
    Anyway, thank you Bob Barker.

  • Becky

    Slezak, I just teared up reading your recap, I can only imagine the waterworks had I caught his final performance *sniff*

  • Elaine

    This was one of the best things about skipping school as a child. I love The Price Is Right. I adore Bob Barker. He made Happy Gilmore a better movie. We’ll miss you Bob!

  • Ep Sato

    I love Bob Barker, love his show, and love his charm. If he’s ever in DC, Mr. Barker’s welcome to come over any time for some pork chops and Karate movies.
    And no one’s ever going to be able to make winning a brand new car sound as exciting or as fun as Mr. Barker did. My only shame’s to have never made a live taping of the Price is Right.

  • Melissa

    For those who missed it (or just want to see it again) the final Price is Right is airing again tonight on CBS right before the Daytime Emmy Awards.

  • Ceballos

    Thanks for the info Melissa…i’ll be sure to check that out, or at least tape it.

  • luvhoney

    I remember playing TPIR with my sisters at home while watching it during the Summer. We would get excited as we were told to “come on down!”…I have always wanted to play Plinko.

  • Babe

    The Price Is Right is one of a kind. I loved sitting with my mom to watch Mr. Barker. I also loved hearing, “come on down, the price is right. I will miss the show without him.
    All the best to you Bob Barker.

  • alexa

    I always enjoyed TPIR as a kid…but haven’t watched it in a really long time. I wanted to play Plinko, the Mountain Climber game (I can still hear the yodeling), and the Punch Out Game.
    I also always felt bad for the contestant who got the really crappy Showdown prize…like the dining room table and hot tub as compared to a trip to Paris and a brand new car. This just never seemed fair.
    My friend told me that his mom actually got called down to contestant’s row and she was one of the first four called. Well, after it was all said and done, she never won a bid and never got to make it up on stage. Bummer. Can you imagine?

  • Maria

    I used to watch The Price is Right everyday during the summer when I was at my grandma’s house. I could always smell her cooking me lunch when it was on. She passed away this year and Barker retiring is like losing one more connection to her. I’m pretty sure when I watch Bob sign off tonight, I’ll be crying too.

  • babaloo06

    Growing up as a kid in Connecticut, I often faked being sick just to stay home and watch TPIR. When I headed West to settle in LA, the first thing I did was go with some friends to a taping. It was a total 100% American experience and loved every second of it from meeting people all over the country to the quick interview right before you head into the studio, it was so surreal and lovely. The best part of it all was that Bob Parker was completely cool off-camera, he cracked some joke to me and had the entire audience falling down in laughter…America will definitely miss you BOB!

  • Marc

    Have a great retirement, Bob!

  • Ms. Pam

    Slezak is the best entertainment reviewer EVER!!! Reading his prose is like seeing the show live….

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