September 29, 1953 |
New York City, New York, U.S.
If you have real passion for a career in game shows, be willing to serve an apprenticeship; it's the best way to learn.
But day in and day out, the most stimulating part of the work is being a member of a team of so many very bright, articulate and talented professionals.
From my years of work with so many game show production companies and their producers I'm probably no longer eligible to be a contestant on any American game show.
'Press Your Luck' was probably the most exciting because of the unpredictability of the game and how I won on one of the three days on the very last spin against all odds. It was one of those great unpredictable game show moments.
You see and work with many of the same people over and over again; they are all specialists in what they do. I could never do their jobs, and they say they wouldn't know how to start to do a warm-up.
Also at the top of the list was my three day appearance on 'Press Your Luck'. In addition to the intense competition of each of those games, it slowly started to dawn on me in the minutes between tapings that I was winning some serious money.
As I slowly managed to take what I had learned into a transition from contestant to announcer and warm-up, I first had to prove myself on pilots. And as you know, many pilots are taped for each show that is lucky enough to breakthrough to being a series.
Because of my tremendous respect for Bob Barker and for the show's high standards of professionalism I consider this a tremendous honor that few announcers have ever been treated to. Both Rod's and Johnny's shoes are huge; I can't think about filling them.
Because many of us have been in game shows for some time, there's always someone around who can share a story of Johnny O or Jay Stewart that I never heard.
I enjoy 'Supermarket Sweep' because of its adlib demands in following the fast action.
Over the long hours of taping 5, 6 or 7 episodes a day, we develop a great sense of family.
It seems that no two people came to this specialized area of work via the exact same route.
As an announcer, 'The Price Is Right' is the mother of all shows not only because of its legacy, but because it is by far the most demanding game show.
'What's My Line' 1971 was a magical experience as I was still in my teens, and it was my first appearance. You know how they say you never forget 'your first'!
That's where this exciting bundle of energy and joy named Johnny Olson made his entrance and ultimately did the announcing. I had never seen anything like what I was involved in for the next 15 minutes!
Most producers I've known were writers first, and writing is a vital part of any game show. You could easily argue that the writing is the key ingredient that makes 'Jeopardy!' so great.
Because these show are live, script pages are being switched during the program and new commercial teases might be yelled in your ear with just enough time to scribble them on scrap paper before reading them.
At Johnny's suggestion I pursued a career in radio that eventually brought me to Los Angeles.
Of course watching a particularly exciting game or a wonderful contestant is always a joy.
For anyone who works in front of an audience there is no thrill quite like that of feeling and hearing the evidence of the audience members' enjoyment. Laughter and applause really are powerful.
That was the day I began cutting classes and returning to TV tapings; it ultimately led to a friendship with Johnny O, and an increasing fascination and respect for what he did.
I'm always most excited about the job I'm doing at the present, and that's especially true about 'Price' because of my respect for the show and it's production team.
I can say without hesitation that there is certainly no greater show to be a contestant on than 'Price' – the prizes can be huge, and the whole world loves and watches the show. It's an American institution!
Remember, while the work can sometimes appear to be simple to a viewer, the ability to perform expertly, consistently, precisely, over and over again, under pressure and on demand is what's needed.