Bob Barker has just died. While standing in line at the Pearly Gates to be processed and admitted, a bespectacled guy comes toward him. A very congenial gentleman with a great, mellifluous voice. "Mr. Barker? You might remember me. I'm Bill Cullen, and what's this I hear about your claim that YOU were The Price is Right? Boy, I was hosting that show back when you were shining Mark Goodson's boots and kissing Ralph Edwards' ass to get your foot into the door of Truth Or Consequences! It's time you met my pals Jack Barry, Gene Rayburn and Allen Ludden. We're gonna spend the next 3,000 years teaching you a little humility." Meanwhile, Barker has moved to the front of the line. St. Peter has processed his application, given him his wings, harp and halo ... along with his assignment: To model fur coats for the Heavenly Ladies' Club. "Go see Mr. Cullen for your schedule."
I guess it was bound to happen sooner or later.
Not that Bob Barker is stepping down as host of The Price is Right. What I'm talking about is the chutzpah of hosting your own tribute special!
I should've known the moment I heard the words "....celebrating MY 50 years on television!", that I was about to watch what was easily the most conceited hour of TV I've ever seen.
Ever since Mark Goodson died, Bob Barker's ego has grown - completely unchecked - into a monstrosity that leaves Richard Dawson scratching his head and going, "Damn....."
Did Bob Barker pay homage to the other members of the team who have made Price the legendary game show franchise it's been since 1972? (Earth to Bob: TV productions are rarely about just one person) The announcers? Yeah, announcers are an integral part of such programs; just ask Johnny Carson! And the models? Oh yeah, Holly - due to side-effects from a prescription drug - gained 14 pounds. Horrors. Dump that fat-ass two hours ago.
And it all unraveled from there (I miss Holly Hallstrom. She was my favorite of the original "Barker's Beauties", but I digress). I won't go into all the model-purges. Frankly I don't want to get started.
And did Bob Barker have at least a shred of humility and thank some people around him who help make the show possible? Nope. It was all about BOB BARKER. Now I'll freely admit he is one of the most iconic television personalities in the medium's history. Barker was, and is, a classic. But so was Bill Cullen ... Jack Benny ... Johnny Carson .... the list goes on. Those performers had a sense of modesty about them. Bob does not. He may be a classic, but he's not the Game Show God.
The offstage Bob Barker appears to be an extremely vain, vindictive, self-centered, egotistical and condescending prima donna who ruled that show with an iron fist. Sorry if I see through all the adoration from his worshiping public; I just don't like big egos. Especially big egos who host their own tributes. That's tacky, you know?
And why didn't he have the common decency to groom a successor to the program?
The sad thing is, Bob Barker clearly wants The Price is Right to nosedive itself into a wipeout after he leaves. And - with the aid and comfort of the sheep who will not open their minds to anyone else on the stage of Studio 33 - that'll be a strong possibility.
Bob Barker will soon meet his Maker. And he'd better steer clear of that guy named Cullen.
Ciao for niao.
--Talmadge "Whatever happened to Zinman Furs of Camden, New Jersey, anyway?" Gleck
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