Rather brilliantly, someone has put up the very first episode of UK The Price is Right from 1984 up on Youtube. Between the ages of about four and seven, this was my favourite thing ever.
It is fair to say I loved everything about this when growing up and watching this back I still sort of do, for me it remains William G Stewart’s best thing he was involved with. I love the glamourous looking set (which no other version has quite captured). I love the non-ironic excitement (there must be £10k+ worth of prizes here which obviously is *huge* for 1984, and doubtless caused regulatory problems along with the skill-less wheel). And I love Leslie Crowther playing host in a rather theatrically avuncular way, in control but giving the impression he’s just trying to stay in control when anything could happen.
The showcase is a bit weird though – each package has a “highlight prize” and to win it you have to be within 10% of the price, so it feels like you’ve lost even if you won. No wonder they changed it.
Of course what I most remember about Crowther’s Price is Right was how genuinely terrified I was by the game Cliffhangers. It is, of course, a classic, where a cardboard man makes his way up a hill TO HIS DOOM and then if the contestant is too far off with their guess, PLUMMETS TO HIS DEATH WITH A BLOOD-CURDLING SCREAM. Terrifying as a five year old, hilarious in retrospect.