I’m an author and I must make a little confession: I frequently check my books to see if any customers have written new reviews on amazon.com. Well Bob, if you’re anything like me, I hope you read this.
Bob is a class act from top to bottom. I have been a fan of television personalities (particularly game show hosts) ever since I was a small boy, but what always stood apart for me about Bob was his genuineness and authenticity. Bob was the best at what he did for so many years because he made you feel that you knew him, personally. He also had exquisite timing. He would pause at just the right moment, to put the spotlight on a funny contestant(a true skill, because most people aren’t comfortable being silent on television for too long). Or he might tell a story that no one else got and say something like…”no one thought that was funny, I thought it was hilarious”. Just the little things like that made Bob interesting to watch all these years.
This book is quite charming and I had the pleasure to listen to the audiobook version, read by Mr. Barker himself. He tells of his life growing up with his wonderful mother Tillie on an Indian reservation in Missouri, how he met the love of his life (Dorothy Jo), his relationships with his animals over the years, and much much more. But perhaps the part of the book that I found the most entertaining was the preface, where Bob talks about how he got his first big break hosting Truth or Consequences. Ralph Edwards heard him on the radio one day while driving with his children and decided to call Bob in for an interview. Subsequently, Bob was called back for 5 or 6 additional interviews (each one more important than the last one) and each time Ralph would say to Bob at the end of the interview, “I’ll keep in touch”. Of course, Bob did not know for certain he would ever hear from Ralph again. Well of course, we all know he did hear from him and got the offer.
The vulnerability Bob expresses in those moments while waiting for Ralph’s “next call” and the way he describes how nervous he was for his first show was fascinating, coming from someone who we associate as being a living legend. And he discloses that out of the committee of people who were interviewing Bob for Truth or Consequences, Ralph was the only one who wanted him and so he was hired on a 4 week probationary basis. Looks like Ralph made the right decision.
I would recommend getting the audiobook as it is so much better to hear Bob’s voice than to read the words on a page.
This book is to be praised. Wonderful job, Mr. Barker!!
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Whether you’re a game show fan or not, you likely know Bob Barker. Arguably the most famous game show host in history, Barker spent 50 years in the television industry before retiring on his own terms in 2007. That’s unreal these days and almost unheard anymore, with Hollywood pushing their aging stars to the sidelines involuntarily and game shows lucky to make it past three seasons before being cancelled. However, both Barker and “The Price is Right” did that, with the popular show in its 37th year, now with comedian Drew Carey as the host.
“Priceless Memories” was a fun read for me because of my loyalty to TPIR when I was younger. I envied Barker’s job and thought he had the coolest gig anywhere. To those who have been around since the early 80s or earlier, you may remember Bob for his brown hair, tanned good looks, charm, and ability to be daytime tv’s “hunk” for stay-at-home moms everywhere. Those born after about 1983 know Bob for his white hair, curmudgeon sense of humor, his small role in “Happy Gilmore” and his spayed or neutered closing line. Either way, Barker has played a big part in many people’s life at one time or another, and at 85 years old, has a lot to share with his many fans.
I enjoyed reading about Bob’s family, his days of youth on the Indian Reservation in South Dakota, his first Hollywood job (hosting “Truth or Consequences” for 19 years), his strong marriage to Dorothy Jo, how he got into Animal Rights, why he quit his lucrative job hosting beauty pageants and more. I especially cracked up when he mentioned a contestant with a tongue ring was when he noticed his time was passing to host the show. I’ll give Bob credit, he writes in a genuine tone, and lets his personality show in the words. Maybe a bit egotistical, but a game show host needs to be.
Two things that made me hold off with a perfect five star rating. One, though I enjoyed the stories of his early life, I felt some of them dragged on a bit and got almost a little too packed. I think shortening them up and spending a bit more time on stories about the shows would have been better and helped it from getting slow at times. The other part that disappointed me even more was the lack of anything about the models. I thought this book would have been the perfect tool to get Bob’s side of the story about the firing of the original Barker’s Beauties (Dian Parkinson, Janice Pennington, Holly Hallstrom, and Kathleen Bradley) and here straight from his mouth his reasons for doing it, but there is no mention about them at all. He only refers to them as “model” or “models” and though he gives thanks to many people on the TPIR staff, he doesn’t thank the models individually by name like he does the announcers or some of the other producers. I thought it was rather disappointing and it might have been a nice way for Bob to talk about the issue and put some closure to it.
Besides these two things, it was interesting learning how Bob Barker went from a small boy on an Indian Reservation to the most famous game show host of all time. Pick up “Priceless Memories” and learn more about his story yourself.
the author of this book is the “genuine article”. I first worked with him during mobilization for animals 1983 rallies. I remember him calling and chewing me out for a flyer typo- he was and is a perfectionist and i admire that greatly, but at the time was intimidated as a person can be. He has stood for what is right, true, and good for animals for many years now. Hero worship? you bet- some people ARE heros, and this man is at the top of my list. He fought furs when it wasn’t the “in” thing to do, he fought for spay/neuter, and if you notice this book puts his money where his heart is- all proceeds go to fund the foundation that fixes the problem. Most animal groups pay lip service, their leaders collect fat checks and move on- Not Bob Barker! He Pays much, sacrifices much, and gives much for the cause- for the lost dog on the side of the road, waiting for a chance or a tossed scrap from a car window, this man is a hero. Buy BUY BUY this book- Pay For It- and KNOW you have made a true difference in the lives of the animals, and you will have a Wonderful read – BUY extra copies as gifts!