Bob Barker’s ‘The Price Is Right’ returns to daytime TV. What it’s like rewatching an ’80s episode in 2024.

“Here it comes …” For the first time, retro episodes of Bob Barker’s The Price Is Right are now streaming on daytime TV — and, even though it wasn’t a sick day, I watched along.

The game show channel Buzzr added the series, hosted by Barker for an incredible 35-year run, to its lineup for retro viewing, from 3 to 5 p.m. ET daily. It debuted on May 28 with hour-long episodes from the 1980s.

Barker, who died in August at age 99, wasn’t yet rocking his silver hair — though his “Barker’s Beauties” surely were there — as he called hopefuls to “Come on down” to bid and win prizes like “a satellite system” — aka a big ugly TV dish — and an Oldsmobile Firenza, which was discontinued in 1988.

While TV’s longest-running game show still airs on CBS with host Drew Carey, there’s nostalgia for the Barker years, watched by ’70s, ’80s and ’90s kids who were home sick from school with no streaming capabilities or even a pause button. Fremantle, which produces The Price Is Right and owns Buzzr, and Pluto TV launched an online streaming channel with “The Barker Era” classics in 2020 — and the show has found new fans in Gen Z-ers, who watch together on Twitch — but Barker’s shows haven’t reaired on TV.

I watched the first episode of Season 13, which aired Sept. 10, 1984. The title card kicking it off said “Happy anniversary,” and there were big festivities around the start of the new season.

After a crop of hopefuls were called to Contestant’s Row, the Price Is Right doors opened, elevator style, and a dark-haired and tanned Barker came out to a standing ovation. For no real reason other than to showcase one of the Beauties, Janice Pennington — the longest-running model on the show, who said last year working with Barker was a “party” — appeared to hand him a mic before disappearing.

The Price is Right host Bob Barker with some of his The Price is Right host Bob Barker with some of his

Barker with some of his “beauties” — Dian Parkinson, Holly Hallstrom and Janice Pennington — in the 1980s. (CBS via Getty Images)

There was a lot of anniversary hoopla during the episode, but no odder moment than when the Firenza — which seems so dated to the modern eye it could have been a Model T — rolled out. All three of the Beauties — also including show staples Holly Hallstrom and Dian Parkinson — were elbow to elbow in the front seat, mirroring the anything goes-style of car travel at that time. (New York was the first state to require seat belt use — in 1984.)

Hopping out of the back was show producer Mark Goodson along with a gigantic Saint Bernard. The dog was from the local ASPCA as Goodson presented Barker with a $5,000 check toward Barker’s animal activism, clearly already in full swing then.

A new car! The Oldsmobile Firenza stopped being produced in 1988. The car company shut down completely in 2004.A new car! The Oldsmobile Firenza stopped being produced in 1988. The car company shut down completely in 2004.

A new car! The Oldsmobile Firenza stopped being produced in 1988. The car company shut down completely in 2004. (Buzzer)

But it was really about the giveaways: There were two cars handed out in total, the Firenza (actual retail price: $8,768) and a Ford Mustang, touted for its perks including a “cigarette lighter” ($7,571). There was a 6-night trip with airfare/hotel to New Orleans’s French Quarter ($1,750), a 19-foot camping trailer ($4,295) and a KitchenAid trash compactor ($530).

One of the prizes was this One of the prizes was this

One of the prizes was this “satellite system,” or dish, that promised viewers 150 cable channels. (Buzzer)

The Showcase prizes were wild — one included an Eipper airplane, which is like a bike with wings, not to mention terrifying. The other was presented in a sketch involving the models, one of whom was excited to try out the prize daybed. The winner of the aforementioned gigantic satellite dish ($2,595) — which had the selling point of having up to 150 cable channels — didn’t seem all that pumped, but maybe he lived in an apartment.

And the games: Plinko, a fave through the years, won a woman $6,000 (though she missed out on $25,000). I’d be lying if I didn’t say that as a child I wanted to write with the oversized feather pen from the Blank Check (renamed: Check Game in 1986). Sadly nobody spun a $1 on the wheel — or got pulled under, my greatest game show fear. On Contestant’s Row, there was some close bidding, leading to some side-eye, but otherwise it was all pretty cordial.

Plinko has long been a fave.Plinko has long been a fave.

Plinko has long been a fave. (Monty Brinton/CBS via Getty Images)

The kisses: All the female contestants who got to the next level, ran up and planted a kiss on Barker’s cheek. It felt like a sign of another time.

The cringe: Goodson was clearly a fan of having the Barker’s Beauties on the show. He joked about ditching the rescue dog and having the “girls” — who were in fact women under his employ — leave with him. Later, when Parkinson was in a bikini to unveil a home spa, Barker commented on her body. Goodson then reappeared to hug Parkinson, which was awkward. “Mark, leave her alone!” Barker told his boss. Also, a female contestant was told she made the men in the audience happy as she came on down.

There was a lot of kissing on game shows in the '80s.There was a lot of kissing on game shows in the '80s.

There was a lot of kissing on game shows in the ’80s. (Getty Images)

The announcer: Johnny Olson, who announced several of Goodson’s shows in that era, was the original host. He had the job until his death in 1985, when Rod Roddy took over. Olson also participated in the Showcase sketch, dressed as an angel, handing wings to the models.

Guessing the prices of things — even Krackel bars, Cheez-Its and Ocean Spray Cran-Apple juice from the '80s — will never get old.Guessing the prices of things — even Krackel bars, Cheez-Its and Ocean Spray Cran-Apple juice from the '80s — will never get old.

Guessing the prices of things — even Krackel bars, Cheez-Its and Ocean Spray Cran-Apple juice from the ’80s — will never get old. (Buzzer)

The ring: Barker wore a ring on his ring finger in the episode, which was apparently symbolic. His late wife, Dorothy Jo Gideon, died in 1981 at age 57. She owned the ring, handed down from her grandmother, and Barker began wearing the diamond after Gideon’s death. By 1983, Barker had begun a new relationship with an animal rights activist, Nancy Burnet. They were together for 40 years, never marrying or living together.

Bob Barker poses with his award for Outstanding Game Show Host at the 2007 Daytime Emmy Awards, held at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood, California.Bob Barker poses with his award for Outstanding Game Show Host at the 2007 Daytime Emmy Awards, held at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood, California.

Barker, at the 2007 Daytime Emmys, remains a favorite game show host and animal rights activist. (Frank Trapper/Corbis via Getty Images)

The sign-off: Barker became known for ending the show by reminding people to “have your pets spayed or neutered,” which he started saying in 1979, but this time he instead thanked Goodson for his contribution to Barker’s fund for animals. Carey, who took over for Barker in 2007, has continued his predecessor’s animal-friendly sign-off.

Barker’s The Price Is Right is now airing on Buzzr. Find out where you can watch Buzzr here.

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