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Bob Barker: legend

Chris Wilson | Wednesday, November 1, 2006

I can imagine that almost everyone at this University who grew up within crawling distance of an American television has at one point in their life been impacted by Bob Barker. After an amazing 35-year run as the host of “The Price is Right,” Barker will be greeting his final contestant in June.

When I was growing up, a sick day from school meant heavy doses of Benadryl, chicken soup, a mound of blankets and a heavy dose of “The Price is Right” at 11:00 a.m.

I’m sure many of you experienced that same consistency, with Rod Roddy (rest in peace), the Barker Beauties, the giant wheel and Showcase Showdowns always helping to heal you from whatever illness had overtaken your young immune system.

There are lots of critical, nasty people that I read or listen to on a daily basis, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen or heard a negative thing about Barker.

Is it the way old women, co-eds and servicemen all find him to be the most loveable person in the world? Other than the occasional rumblings of him taking liberties with the Beauties, he could do no wrong.

I feel that Barker probably could have appeared on “The Aristo-crats,” put all of those comics to shame and your grandma would still wear a bright red T-shirt that said “I Came 3,000 Miles To Kiss Bob!”.

He didn’t want a piece of Adam Sandler, he wanted the whole thing.

When Pope John Paul II passed away freshman year, we all became privy to the process needed to choose a successor.

I thought the same process should have been set up to select Barker’s replacement, should the unthinkable have happened. He’s the elder statesman of both daytime television and game shows – a double whammy of cultural literacy that every American recognizes. He helps little old ladies spin the wheel and consoles the poor people who just saw the Plinko chips of life bounce the wrong way. He’s that extra grandfather you always wanted, who just happens to know the price of those dried dates.

But he’s going out on top, retiring on June 7 at age 83. The silver fox’s charm and grace will not soon be forgotten, and we can only hope that a suitable replacement (in the name of all that is holy, keep Ryan Seacrest away from the oversized microphone) will be found to carry on the torch of pricing games and “The correct retail price is … “.

Bob’s legacy will never be forgotten, and it would be wrong to end this column with anything save his eternal sign-off: “Help control the pet population. Have your pets spayed or neutered.”