August 26, 2007

On our way to Loreto we just met Bob Barker

We enjoy staying at the Alaska Board Room every time we stop in Los Angeles on our way to Loreto.

Bob Barker with his Wikipedia page in the foreground

A few minutes ago, my Mom and I were sitting at the Board Room, surfin' the Net and drinking our coffees. My Mom turned to me and said "I think I know that man". I got up to get myself a bagel and when I returned my Mom said: "I think it's the man from the 'Price is right'". I quickly Googled "Bob Barker" and to my surprise she was right! The Google images matched the man that was standing three feet from us!

As he was ready to leave I asked Mr. Barker if it was ok to take his picture. He said no problem and even asked us if we'd like a picture with him. I sure did! My Mom took the picture and we thanked Mr. Barker as he left. I hope he enjoys his retirement - he not only fights for animal rights (see below) but is also very courteous with the general public.

See below for more pictures and more information on Mr. Barker.

Funny anecdote
In 1981, when I was 13, my parents sent me to the San Francisco Bay Area so I could improve my English. I was born in Brazil and had lived in Sao Paulo all my life. My Mom and my step dad, David, were getting ready to move to the U.S. and they thought it would be a good idea if I learned English during summer (summer vacation in Brazil is in December/January).

Me, Bob Barker at LAX; click on image for higher resolution

I stayed with friends of my step father, and it was great. There were some mornings where the parents would leave for work and the kids had to go to school. So I was left alone in the house where I enjoyed watching American TV.

The funny thing: one of my favorite shows, which I discovered during that trip, was the "Price Is Right". One of the first sentences I learned was "Come on down!", which I repeated with a heavy Brazilian accent, to get a laugh from my hosts.

Bob Barker with his Wikipedia page in the foreground; click on image for higher resolution

Today I am an American citizen and I live in California. Over 25 years after first seeing him on TV, I briefly met Bob Barker, the man who spoke the first words of English I've ever really paid attention to.

Bob Barker
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, Link

Robert William Barker (born December 12, 1923) is a nineteen-time Emmy Award-winning former American television game show host. He is best known for hosting CBS's The Price Is Right since September 4, 1972, making it the longest-running daytime game show in television history. After holding the job for nearly 35 years and having been in television for 50 years, Barker's last episode of The Price Is Right aired on June 15, 2007.

Barker was born in Darrington, Washington and spent most of his youth on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota. His mother, Matilda ("Tillie") Valandra, was a school teacher; his father, Byron John Barker, was an electrical power foreman, who died in a fall from a utility pole in 1929. Barker has a half-brother, Kent Valandra, from Matilda's subsequent re-marriage. In the 1940s the family moved to Springfield, Missouri where Barker graduated from Central High School. He also was in a three-piece jazz band called "The Scatters" in the mid-1940s.

Barker attended Drury College (now Drury University) in Springfield, on a basketball scholarship. He was a member of the Epsilon Beta Chapter of Sigma Nu fraternity at Drury. His education was interrupted by World War II. Barker served in the Navy as a fighter pilot. However, the war ended before he was assigned to a seagoing squadron. After the war, he returned to Drury to finish his education, graduating summa cum laude with a degree in economics. While attending Drury, Barker worked his first "media job", at KTTS-FM Radio, in Springfield.

Barker left Springfield and worked at a radio station in Florida before landing another radio job in California. He was hosting an audience-participation radio show on KNX (AM) in Los Angeles when game show producer Ralph Edwards happened to be listening and liked Barker's voice and style. On December 31, 1956 Barker took over hosting of the game show Truth or Consequences. The show made him a star--he clearly was a natural whose charisma and charm connected with contestants and viewers. Bob would host the show for eighteen years.

Bob Barker and his wife, the former Dorothy Jo Gideon, were high-school sweethearts who married in 1945. Years later, it would be Dorothy Jo (as well as Barker's mother Tillie) who inspired Bob to become an advocate of animals. D.J. died of lung cancer on October 19, 1981. The couple had no children.

In October 2006, it was announced that Barker had accepted Drury University's invitation to receive an honorary degree recognizing his life achievements and to speak at its commencement exercises on May 12, 2007.[1]

Animal rights
Bob Barker is well known for his work in animal rights. He became a vegetarian in 1979. That same year, he began promoting animal rights. Barker began ending each episode of The Price Is Right with the phrase: "Help control the pet population; have your pet spayed or neutered" in 1985, and was named national spokesman for "Be Kind to Animals Week" in May of that year. On A&E's Biography program, Bob credited his wife, Dorothy Jo, with him becoming more aware of animal rights and becoming a vegetarian because she had done so. Bob took up animal rights in order to keep doing something that his recently deceased wife had done. Fellow game show hosts Jack Barry and Bert Convy eventually followed Barker's lead in promoting animal rights on the air.

During the first ten years of The Price Is Right, fur coats were often featured as prizes. After Barker became involved in animal rights, he insisted that the show not offer prizes that harmed animals, a demand to which CBS agreed; animals and fur coats have not since been offered on the program. Barker also forbids the re-airing of older episodes in which fur coats and live animals are offered. [citation needed]

Barker hosted the Miss USA/Universe Pageants from 1967 to 1987. In 1987, he requested the removal of fur prizes and stepped down as host when those in charge of the pageant refused.

Bob Barker's DJ&T Foundation has contributed millions of dollars to fund animal rescue and park facilities all over the country. He works closely with Betty White as an advocate for animal rights.

Game show career
Truth or Consequences
Barker started hosting on December 31, 1956, and would continue with the program until 1975. The idea was to mix the original quiz element of game shows with wacky stunts. On the show, people had to answer a trivia question correctly (usually an off-the-wall question that no one would be able to answer correctly) before "Beulah the Buzzer" was sounded. If the contestant could not complete the "Truth" portion, there would be "Consequences," usually a zany and embarrassing stunt. In addition, during Barker's run as host, "Barker's Box" was played. Barker's Box was a box with four drawers in it. If a contestant was able to pick all three drawers with money inside before picking the empty drawer, he or she won a bonus prize.

In many broadcasts, the stunts on Truth or Consequences included a popular, but emotional, heart-rending surprise for a contestant, that being the reunion with a long-lost relative or with an enlisted son or daughter returning from military duty overseas, particularly Vietnam.

The Family Game
In 1967, Barker hosted the short-lived game show The Family Game for Chuck Barris, where he would ask children contestants questions about their families' lives, and the parents had to guess how they answered in a Newlywed Game-esque fashion.

The Price Is Right
On September 4, 1972, Barker began his most famous assignment hosting the CBS revival of The Price Is Right. In the four decades of the CBS version, he has become far more strongly associated with the show than first host Bill Cullen was with the 1950s1960s original.

On October 15, 1987, Barker did what other MCs almost never did: he renounced hair dye and allowed his hair to go gray. It was a shock to the studio audience because it hadn't been publicized in advance; it was a shock to the home audience because the change came in the middle of the week at that time. Fellow hosts Monty Hall and Alex Trebek would follow Barker's decision to go to gray hair in the late 1980s.

In 2006 The Price Is Right celebrated 35 consecutive years on the air. It is the longest-running game show of all time in North America. Overall, in daytime programming (excluding Saturday and Sunday), The Price Is Right is ranked sixth among the longest-continuing television programs (NBC's Today ranks the longest, followed by four daytime soap operas: Guiding Light, As the World Turns, General Hospital, and Days of our Lives). It has won its time slot (11:00 a.m. Eastern) for the past 25 years with its closest competitor (currently ABC's The View) normally getting about half of TPIR's ratings.

On October 31, 2006, after 35 years as M.C. of U.S. television's longest-running game show, Bob made his announcement that he would retire from The Price Is Right in June 2007. He taped his final episode on June 6, 2007, with the show airing on June 15, 2007. [2]

Barker has revealed that Fremantle Media, the company that owns the show, has been looking for a successor in the last two to three years, and also that he had considered retirement for a while, but he had so much fun that he continued to do the show. On July 23, 2007, it was announced that comedian Drew Carey would take Bob's place as the new host for the show

Longevity records
Barker has set a longevity record as holding a weekday T.V. job continuously for 50 years as of 2006, which includes his years on Truth or Consequences. Only sportscaster Vin Scully, who is four years younger than Barker, has held a job longer than Barker in the entertainment industry, albeit a seasonal job and not a daily one.

At age 83, Barker holds the record of being the oldest man ever to host a game show and the oldest man ever to host a weekday television program since the inception of network television. Barker is now in his fiftieth consecutive year on television (network or syndication). Barker also has hosted/appeared on a five-days-a-week television program longer than anyone else in the history of television.

In 1996, Barker played himself in the Adam Sandler comedy movie Happy Gilmore. In one scene, Barker beats up Gilmore after an altercation arising from their teaming up in a Pro-Am Golf Tournament. Gilmore fights back and briefly gets the upper hand, declaring, "The price is wrong, bitch!" Bob then gets up, holds Gilmore in a strangle hold and continues to punch him before delivering a high kick to Gilmore's chin that knocks him down a grassy hill declaring "Now you've had enough...bitch!" Barker reportedly accepted the role when he learned he would get to win the fight with Sandler.[3] He and Sandler won the MTV Movie Award for Best Fight for Happy Gilmore,[4] making Barker the oldest winner of any MTV award at 73.
Barker's appearance in this movie is often credited with the increased popularity of The Price Is Right among college students.
In 2007, during a CBS prime-time special commemorating Barker's career, Sandler made a surprise appearance to thank Barker and read a poem in his honor.
In the late 1990s, Barker played the father of Mel Harris' character on a few episodes of the NBC sitcom Something So Right. He appeared in two animated television series as himself: in the Futurama episode "The Lesser of Two Evils" in 2000, followed by the Family Guy episodes "Screwed the Pooch" in 2001, and "The Fat Guy Strangler" in 2005.
Bob appears briefly in the Canadian documentary Come on Down: Searching for the American Dream (2004), directed and written by Adamm Liley and produced by Steven James May of Manifestation Television. Mr. Barker gives a special in-studio message pertaining to Liley's search for the elusive American Dream. The documentary also features Hunter S. Thompson and Chris Gardner.
Barker was a semi-regular panelist on the game shows Tattletales (with wife Dorothy Jo) and Match Game. Barker sat in Richard Dawson's former place during the first week of Dawson's permanent absence from Match Game.
Barker co-hosted CBS' coverage of the Rose Parade from Pasadena, Calif., for several years during the 1970s and '80s.
He appeared as a sub-host on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson in 1966.
Created and hosted "The Bob Barker Fun and Games Show" from 1978 to 1986 which was a combination of stunt participation in the style of Truth or Consequences and pricing games such as the Price Is Right in which Bob traveled throughout the United States and Canada in various arenas and venues.
In the 1970s, he was the host of the annual/biennial Pillsbury Bake-Off (the bake-off occurred every two years starting in 1976). In the 1978 Bake-Off, he was the first host to have a male category champ.
He appeared on Bonanza, playing a character named Mort in the 1960 episode "Denver McKee."
Has appeared on various talk shows such as: Dinah!, Larry King Live, The Arsenio Hall Show, Crook & Chase, Donny & Marie, The Rosie O'Donnell Show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Wayne Brady Show, The Late Show With David Letterman and The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.
Barker also made cameo appearances on The Bold and the Beautiful in 2002 and Yes, Dear and How I Met Your Mother in 2007

Awards and recognition
Barker has won 19 Emmy Awards in total. Fourteen were for Outstanding Game Show Host, more than any other performer. He has also won twice for Executive Producer of The Price Is Right and received the Lifetime Achievement Award for Daytime Television in 1999.

On March 11, 1998, on the occasion of the ceremonial five thousandth episode of The Price Is Right, CBS dedicated the sound stage where the show has been produced since 1972 in honor of Barker.

In 2004, Barker was inducted into the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame

Barker's health problems started in 1991 after he complained of having vision problems while exercising. After a visit to the doctors, they sent him to see a neurologist, where the doctors told Barker he had a mild stroke. He soon recovered and went back to work.

On September 16, 1999, Barker was in Washington, D.C., to speak about HR 2929, the proposed legislation that would ban elephants from traveling shows. While preparing for the presentation, Barker experienced what he called "clumsiness" in his right hand. He was admitted to George Washington University Hospital and diagnosed with a partially blocked left carotid artery. Barker underwent carotid endarterectomy to remove the blockage, and the procedure went well enough that he was able to return to work within the month.

Three years later, Barker also had two health crises after taping the season finale on The Price Is Right. While lying out on the sun, he was hospitalized again with a stroke on May 31, 2002; and six weeks later, on July 11, 2002, he underwent prostate surgery, both at George Washington University Hospital in Washington, D.C. Both surgeries were successful.

In July 2006, Barker suffered a minor injury to his right hand. On the July 15, 2006 episode of The Late Late Show, he jokingly stated that he broke it by karate chopping "countless desks" (something he later proceeded to do to host Craig Ferguson's desk).

Posted by emmanuel at 9:53 AM | Comments (0)

August 25, 2007

Baja Nomad Forums are great

A few months ago, I had mentioned "Baja Nomad" an online message board very useful for anyone who visits or lives in Baja California (click here for the original article).

A couple of days ago, I posted a thread requesting recommendations for architects and builders in Loreto (I am "bajameerkat"):

Architect / General Contractor in Loreto

I was amazed at the number of responses - I received emails, U2U (private messages on the message board), and responses on the original thread. It's great to be able to communicate with folks who have the experience and are willing to share it.

Posted by emmanuel at 4:01 PM | Comments (0)