How does a show like “The Price Is Right” pay tribute to military service? Mainly, this came about with a veteran-only audience. And everyone in that audience went home with at least a small prize — the show gave all audience members vouchers for purchases at military stores.
In any taping, Drew Carey pretty much credits the audience with much of the energy seen on “The Price Is Right.” “The contestants should be the energy,” the host said. “You can’t out-entertain the contestants. I’d have to be a maniac to do that … Once you’re out on stage and you hear all the people — if that doesn’t get you pumped up, I don’t know what to tell you.”
Despite that, Carey doesn’t feel quite so happy when the contestants lose. He was talking about one of the Veteran’s Day games and got a little sad about the whole thing. “‘Pay the Rent.’ I have to make sure I explain that one really clearly,” Carey said. “They always pick the cheapest thing and put it in the mailbox — and they always lose $100,000.” With regard to the specific game played for the Veteran’s Day episode, Carey really wanted the contestant to win something. “That poor woman — I wanted to tell her not to go for the $100,000,” he explained. “I really did stop and explain to her really clearly that she’s risking everything. I did everything but tell her not to do it!”
Why does Carey care so much? “I like it when people win. I don’t care what the game is,” he said.
Carey wasn’t exactly intimidated by an audience full of military veterans, but he did feel humbled in their presence. “I don’t know how to take it,” Carey said of audience members who were excited to see him. “I’m just me. I’m just a game-show host … It feels great. But it’s a really humbling thing.”
With that audience of veterans from World War II onward, surely there would be some good stories coming out of the audience. One of the best came when the “Price Is Right” contestant producer, a man named Stan, talked to a WWII vet in the line. The veteran turned out to be one of the soldiers that liberated the Buchenwald concentration camp at the end of the war.
This would have been fascinating on its own, but the connection to the producer was almost mind-blowing: His grandfather had been a prisoner there. Tears almost began falling when Stan explained how he essentially existed in part because of this veteran.
Obviously, nothing could top that. But there was an Elvis impersonator and an entire group from the Los Angeles VFW post (who invited Drew Carey to come to visit). As Carey explained, “Everybody was so interesting in the audience today, and everyone had a good story.”
“The Price Is Right” airs daily in syndication.