#56: Professor Price
Owner of an Online Documentary in Failure

CBS: (1977)

When the Price Is Right debuted back in 1972, you had only 5 games.  One of those five we've already discussed and burned here quite a bit.  Later on, more games were added to the rotation, some being played more often than others, but that's the natural course the show likes to take to make sure people are comfortable playing the game.  In 1975, when the show expanded to a full hour, even more games were introduced.  While some would go on and still be played to this date, others would be discontinued either for mechanical nightmares or the game just wasn't that good and would be deemed a Failure.  But all of the pricing games had something in common: They all had something to do with giving the right price or prices for either grocery items or prizes to be won. 

Thus brings us to 1977 and the fact that someone had the brilliant idea to come up with a pricing game that flew in the face of convention by making a pricing game mainly involving general knowledge questions instead of having the pricing a prize as the main gameplay mechanic.  This game would have one of, if not the shortest life span in the history of The Price Is Right and is considered, to be one of the worst pricing games.  Ladies and Gentlemen, here's Professor Price.

 There he is in all of its classic mechanical puppetry glory.  From the looks of things, he has his corner of academia alongside his pet owl, who looks like he's ready to fly away and the clock which looks normal.  The setup isn't that bad, although at the outset, there isn't much there besides the puppet.  For the time, it looks ok, but nothing too spectacular.

But where everything falls apart is this.  Professor Price's gameplay mechanic doesn't necessarily involve the pricing of the car.  It's main gameplay mechanic lies within the process of a quiz.  The goal of the game is to get 3 questions right before you get 3 questions wrong.  So, already we're flying in the face of normal Price Is Right conventions here.  Every single pricing game up until that point had the main gameplay mechanic of pricing items correctly.  But having the quiz be the forefront is amazingly stupid. 

With that out of the way, the questions are of Street Smarts levels of simplicity.  The first question asked is "How many ounces are in a half pint?"  So, the answers we're getting at are going to be numerical.  Which, I guess is fine. 

Mainly because the numbers could be part of the price of the car.  For the price of the car, the last 2 numbers are revealed and then Bob asks the question, "Is the 8 in the price of the car?" The contestant would either answer yes or no and that would be deemed right or wrong by professor price by the way of his fingers.  Which, seeing how its a mechanical puppet, isn't bad.

However, some people might have the inclination that Professor Price has an attitude with it giving the supposed middle fingers.  I need to dispel that rumor right now. 

A close-up of the hand shows that it is the index finger being the finger lifted and not the middle finger.  But either way, how the professor sometimes shows an angry face might be a good inclination.  As a matter of fact, that's how I would give the game.  One angry old man giving the middle finger.

But what really bugs me about this game is that the game could still be winnable after the entire price of the car has been revealed.  Which completely flies in the face of any of the previous pricing games that have been played in the show's history.  At least that's the thought.  Because a contestant can get 2 right answers and 2 wrong answers and be asked another stupidly easy question at the end to win the car.  I mean, let's take a look at the pattern here.  First you're asked a general knowledge question with the answer being a number, then you're asked if that number is in the price of the car.  Repeat that same process one more time and follow it up with another question.  They could blow the price of the car completely and still win the game.  I guess the price doesn't have to be right, they just have to be smarter than a 5th grader to win the car.

And there's the clock getting all screwy...

And the Owl wants to fly as far away as he can from this drek.

I don't know if this is THE worst game in Price Is Right history, but its right up there with Bullseye 1, Joker and On The Spot.  This doesn't even belong on the Price Is Right, it would be fine for Truth Or Consequences or shows like that.  Having the game be more about General Knowledge questions rather than the pricing of the car is outrageous and isn't what the show is all about.  This game was quickly retired after 2 playings of the game.  The first playing showed all of the games flaws and thus was quickly scrapped, so another game could take its place.  I don't know what replaced it, but it had to be miles better than Professor Price.

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