Two identical sisters took their chance at getting on The Price is Right television game show and said next time they go, they'll try a new tactic to actually get picked by host Bob Barker to "COME ON DOWN!"
"It is really competitive, plus you have to be there very early to talk to the producers and get a place in line," said twin Debbie Tierney. "We're going to try it again in the spring and really play up our identical twin thing. We didn't do it this time, because we thought only one of us would get picked, but after being there, we know the secret now."
Debbie Tierney and her sister Christy Bitetto, both 40, have enjoyed the price-guessing CBS daytime game show for some time, Debbie said.
"One day we were watching it and said, 'Hey, look at that, they're getting a new car - that would be fun.' So we sent in for tickets and got them," Tierney said.
n Only half the challenge. Getting tickets to the show only takes participants in the door to sit in the audience, but it is getting selected to be one of the actual contestants - to hear Bob Barker say "Debbie and Christy, COME ON DOWN!" - that is the tricky part. Of the 300 audience members, only eight are selected to actually play, Tierney said.
"The line starts at 6 a.m. and goes until 8 at night," she said. "You think you have tickets for show time at 4:30 p.m., but you have to be there at 8 or 9 in the morning to get a number. You have to give them your driver's license, so you're kind of stuck, but if you're in line first, and the producers talk to you first, you have a chance to say something different to stand out from the others."
Tierney said there are multiple taping sessions in a day, and producers ask each show's audience members simple questions like where they're from and where they work. Working at Boomtown and Bill's Casino in Nevada, where the twins work, should have been a pretty novel occupation for a California-based game show, right? Not necessarily.
"We noticed that the ones who got picked were all dressed like they were in teams - wearing all yellow or all red, for example" Tierney said. "And, at the commercial breaks, Bob would talk to the audience and ask 'Who's here with a team?' and then he'd talk to them. We're definitely dressing like a team next time."
As the twins sat in the audience and watched contestants play the game, Tierney said they knew most of the prices of items up for guess.
"People won while we were there," she said. "A teen-ager across from us won $10,000 cash - you could tell that Bob Barker liked this kid."
n Murphy's Law. If not getting picked to play wasn't bad enough, Murphy's Law raised its head while the sisters and their two friends were there for the taping. Photographs they took of Bob Barker and also of themselves in the studio next door with some soap opera actors were damaged in the camera and either came out double exposed or all black.
The Price is Right is the longest-running game show in television history, starting with the first show on Sept. 4, 1972. Barker's name is synonymous with the 27-year-old show.
Debbie and Christy grew up in Pasadena, not far from the CBS studio in Hollywood where the show is taped. Like many who grew up in the back yard of Hollywood, they never visited the sets of television shows or movies because it was so commonplace. Tierney said watching The Price is Right being taped was a thrill, and said that she and Christy were a bit surprised at how Barker looked in person. Last month, the 75-year-old Emmy-winning host had surgery to repair a blocked artery.
"He looked a little pale, and his hair was whiter than we thought," she said. "But he was so nice to everyone, taking pictures and talking with people. The models on the show all looked very good."
n Try and spot them. The twins' show was taped Nov. 15 and will air Dec. 7 on CBS at 10 a.m. Look for the T-shirts they are wearing in the accompanying photo. If you plan to go and try to be a contestant for the show, Debbie and Christy recommend getting in line at 8 a.m.