Pomona College Magazine
Volume 41. No. 1.
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#15
Join the live audience for a TV game show.

It’s easy to get on TV—if you don’t mind playing a tiny role. You can lend your voice to the sitcom laugh track by sitting in the studio audience and guffawing on command. Attend a game show or talk show taping and you might make it onto the tube when the camera pans the audience. Studios are always searching for people to fill seats, and most have their own ticket offices where they dole out admissions for free. Tickets also are available online through such Web sites as www.seeing-stars.com. You might even luck out like Isaac Silverman ’06, who made it onto The Price is Right and came home with a chandelier. Here’s his story:

First we waited in line for hours. Then we were all interviewed briefly by the producers before filing into the studio. They don’t tell you who made the cut, so I was surprised and excited when my name was called. My task: Price a chandelier. I don’t have a particularly extensive knowledge of lighting fixtures, but I got lucky, and the chandelier—absolutely hideous—now graces my room back at home.

Once on stage, I played a game called “one away” to win a Ford Ranger pickup truck. In “one away” you are given a price, in this case five digits long, and you have to adjust each digit either one place up or one place down to reach the correct price. You have two rounds of adjustments to complete this in, and they tell you how many digits are correct after the first round. As a carless student often stranded in the Claremont bubble, the prospect of winning a truck was exhilarating.

I had recently helped a friend shop for a pickup, so I happened to know quite a bit about truck prices. I was feeling pretty good about my chances. In the first round I managed to guess four out of five digits. This was both a good and a bad thing. The good part about it was that I knew I was very close to winning the truck, the bad part about it was that host Bob Barker made me go through the painfully embarrassing process of asking the Barker girls: “Ladies, do I have one number right?”

“Yes,” they replied, cheering while I looked mortified. We went through this process for all five numbers, my excitement and embarrassment growing each time.

I was confident about my original guess so I was going to change either the tens or the ones, but everyone—at least everyone near me (my Pomona friends, who were in the back, claim they had it right)—was telling me to change the hundreds. I don’t know why, but I caved. It was the ones place that was wrong, so no truck for me. My original guess was two dollars off the sticker price. Excruciating. But I did get an autographed photo of Bob Barker in addition to the chandelier.

I come from a small town where people watch a lot of daytime TV, and my appearance made me a minor celebrity. I went to visit my high school over Christmas break and kids I barely knew stopped me to say they say saw me on The Price is Right. More importantly, my grandmother is a huge Bob Barker fan, and my experience made her week, if not her year.
 
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