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Interview with Bob Barker

Aired December 26, 2002 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Tonight, Bob Barker tells the truth about the consequences, all those scandals and lawsuits with all those gorgeous women on the shows he's hosted for over 30 years.
TV's highest rated and longest running game show is "The Price is Right," a no-holds-barred hour, come on down. Bob Barker's next on LARRY KING LIVE

It's a great pleasure to welcome to LARRY KING LIVE a return visit with Bob Barker, in his 30th year has host of CBS' "The Price is Right."

He is -- this is endless. Was "The Price is Right" first a radio show?


KING: Were you the host of the radio show?

BARKER: No, no, no. In fact, Bill Cullen did it for eight years. And then it was off for eight years. Then I started it.

KING: The late Bill Cullen.

BARKER: He was splendid.

KING: And what were you doing at the time they offered you "The Price is Right?"

BARKER: I was doing "Truth or Consequences." And Mark Goodson...

KING: Night time?

BARKER: No, I was doing it -- yes, in prime access time. Mark Goodson had wanted -- he contacted me about doing "Beat the Clock." And I was doing "Truth or Consequences" at the time and I couldn't do them both. He was doing it up in Canada.

And then when he developed "The Price is Right," he called me and he said he would like to have me do that show. Do you remember Bud Grant?

KING: Sure do.

BARKER: Bud Grant was the head of daytime at CBS, and he bought the show.

KING: Legendary name.

BARKER: A legendary name.

KING: CBS owned daytime.

BARKER: They did.

KING: Owned it with Godfrey.

BARKER: They owned it. That's right. And Bud told me, he said, you come over to CBS. He was head of daytime. He said you come on over to CBS and good things are going to happen. And I said, I'll do it.

I came over; I did the show and good things happened. But became the head of all entertainment on CBS. And I told him, I said, I thought -- I didn't know it was going to happen for you. I thought it was going to happen for me.

KING: Why did you like -- your career was doing shows, right, interacting with people?

BARKER: That's right.

KING: Quiz shows or offbeat kind of quiz shows. "Truth or Consequences" was not a quiz show.

BARKER: Well, I've always done what -- well it was originally called audience participation...

KING: Yes, right.

BARKER: ... with unrehearsed contestants out of the studio audience. Creating spontaneous entertainment.

KING: Live.

BARKER: Live. And that's what's fascinating for me. That's what I really enjoy.

KING: How did you start doing something like that? Where did you start?

BARKER: Well, I owe it all to the United States Navy. I was a naval aviator and -- during the second world war, not the war of 1812. And...

KING: They were both in all...

BARKER: And when I came back, I was going back to college, and I wanted a job. And I heard about the manager of a radio station who was crazy about airplanes. And I had never even been in a radio station, but I thought that might be fun to work in a radio station. So I put on my naval officer's uniform, my wings of gold. And I went in and...

KING: Where was this?

BARKER: Springfield, Missouri. And G. Pearson Ward and I talked about airplanes for about half hour, 45 minutes, and I had my first job in a radio station.


BARKER: Writing local news and doing a sportscast. And then I became a staff announcer. And then I got a chance to do audience participation. I was on duty one time as an announcer...

KING: In Missouri?

BARKER: In Missouri. And a host of a show didn't show up. And it was all live, of course. And Mr. Ward came rushing in. He said, Bob, you've got to get out there and do that show. Well I knew the show. I had heard it day after day for weeks. But I had never -- I'd never even been in a school play. I had never been before an audience.

But I got in there, and before I could get scared, I'm doing it. And I talked with this contestant. And I got a laugh, and I thought that's beautiful. I'm going to try to get that audience to do that again. And I've been doing that ever since.

And my wife -- my wife heard that show and she said, that's what you should do. She said, you did that better than you've ever done anything else. Now she didn't say I was good, but she said I did it better than anything else.

KING: You've done it again.

BARKER: And I'm still coming through those doors.

KING: What was your first break? How did you get to be national?

BARKER: Well, that I owe everything to Ralph Edwards. I came out here and I got a radio show going. And...

KING: Local?

BARKER: Well, it was a regional show, actually. It was on -- ended up on the local CBS radio station. And Ralph had sold "Truth or Consequences," and he was auditioning hosts in New York and out here, but he hadn't found just the one he wanted.

And one of the really lucky things for me, he was driving, he turned on his car radio. He heard my radio show. He called me in for a series of auditions. And at five minutes past 12:00 noon on December 21st, 1956, he called me and told me I was going to be the host of "Truth or Consequences."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RALPH EDWARDS, CBS HOST: Remember this name. You're going to be hearing a lot about him. Here he is, ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Bob Barker.

Here's Bob!


BARKER: And that was the most fortunate thing that ever happened to me professionally.

KING: People don't realize that Edwards create -- "Truth or Consequences" was not a quiz show. "Truth or Consequences" was...

BARKER: A stunt show.

KING: ... a funny, funny stunt show.

BARKER: Yes. It was that.

KING: Questions didn't mean anything.

BARKER: No. I'd take out my question. I'd ask you the question. And I didn't want you to answer it because I did my own warm-up. And I selected my own contestants. So I wanted you to be a contestant. So if you answered the question I'd say, Larry, that's a two-part question. And I'd pull out the second question.

KING: But you had to face the consequences.

BARKER: And you had to face the consequences.

KING: And a lot of fun on that show, right?

BARKER: Oh, yes. It was a terrific show.

KING: So you replaced Edwards?

BARKER: No. Actually, between the time that Ralph did it and the time I started, Jack Bailey had done it...

KING: Jack Bailey.

BARKER: Do you remember Jack?

KING: Queen! For a day!

BARKER: Queen. Do you want to be Queen for a day?

KING: These were legendary figures.

BARKER: When I started, some of the best in the business were working.

KING: And now "The Price is Right," a little history, the history, the genesis of that show. You were doing "Truth or Consequences?

BARKER: Right.

KING: How did "The Price is Right" come to you?

BARKER: Well, Mark Goodson called me and he said that he had changed the show completely.

KING: It had been on already with Cullen.

BARKER: With Cullen...

KING: And gone off.

BARKER: ... and had gone off. And the show that I do, the only resemblance to what Bill did is when they bid in contestants' row. Bill, if you'll recall, had a table, and four contestants sat at the table and they bid on the prizes.

And Mark wanted to change it, and he did, radically. He called me and I went in and we looked at it, his ideas and so on. He said, what do you think? I said, I think this will play. And he said, I think this will play, too, Bob. And he said, I think we'll get a long run out of this. But he had never, I'm sure, dreamed of 31 years.

KING: Has anyone other than you hosted it?

BARKER: No. Well, early on there was, yes.

KING: Someone replaced you, you mean you vacationed?

BARKER: No. I was -- I threw my back out, and...

KING: Oh. But now, no one does "The Price is Right."


KING: If you're sick, they run reruns.

BARKER: Yes. If I'm not...

KING: Because you were ill for awhile.

BARKER: I was. But I have never had to miss more than probably a week of shows.

KING: And someone does it?

BARKER: No. We just don't tape that week.

KING: Our guest is Bob Barker. He's -- he belongs to the screen. He's part of the culture. He's the host of "The Price is Right." There has been a lot of controversy. He's involved in things off the air as well, and a major, major activist in animal rights. Lots to talk about with Robert. We'll be right back.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Has anything like this ever happened to you before?

BARKER: Nothing like this has ever happened to me before in my life, no. and how do I feel about it? It is humiliating. I'm sure that all of you men in the audience would not like to be up here, where I am, discussing your sex life.


KING: We're back with Bob Barker. Now what has happened to Barker with controversy over the years, with the women on the show? Everyone's read about it, so let's deal with it.

First Diane Parkinson, 19-year veteran, fired after posing nude for "Playboy", sued for wrongful termination and sexual harassment. First, how did you react to that?

BARKER: I was shocked because I had never sexually harassed Diane Parkinson. And I had -- it was not my idea. It was Jonathan Goodson's idea.

KING: To fire her?

BARKER: No, no, to have a press conference that I'm about to describe. To go back to the beginning, he called me and he said he had this letter from an attorney. And in the letter, the attorney said that she had charged me with -- was charging me with sexual harassment.

KING: She had been fired, right?

BARKER: No. She was never fired. She quit. She left the show of her own volition.

KING: She wasn't fired because of "Playboy" or anything?

BARKER: No, no. She left.

KING: She quit.

BARKER: She quit.

BARKER: Said that perhaps it could be settled for $10 million. And so he called me in. He said now, Bob, I think this could be settled quietly for less than $10 million. And He said, we can do that. Or, he said, we can fight it. and he said, if we fight it, he said, it could be embarrassing for you.

I said, it's not true and I don't want you to pay them anything. And I said, go ahead and fight it. And so he said then, let's have a press conference and put your story on the table. So I did. In our relationship, we were actually together very little. And there was very little sex actually. As god is my witness, I have never forced her to do one thing that she did not want to do, ever, sexually or any other way, ever.

I admitted that we had had a sexual relationship, very brief, but it had been consensual. And soon after she was deposed, she dropped the lawsuit.

KING: Whatever happened to her?

BARKER: I don't know.

KING: Were you shocked or did you feel betrayed? What was your reaction?

BARKER: Well, I was -- I was embarrassed. I was -- because sexual harassment is such a miserable charge. And I told my brother one time, when I was going into another press conference, I said, this is humiliating. I have to go in there and talk about my sex life. He said, Barker, at your age, you should be grateful you have a sex life.

KING: Damn right! How did your wife handle it?

BARKER: Oh, my wife was -- she died in 1981. This was...

KING: Oh, so all this was after...

BARKER: Oh, yes.

KING: So none of this occurred when you were a married man?

BARKER: Oh, no, no, no.

KING: Then we have Janice Pennington, who comes to your defense. She was with the show for 29 years before being let go. She stands up for you, right?

BARKER: Right. She knew that I had not sexually harassed Diane Parkinson.

KING: How is she doing?

BARKER: Well, I think she's doing splendidly. He and her husband have this "Hollywood Film Festival." And I just have been...

KING: Oh, that's them?

BARKER: Yes. I just read about it. It was a big thing this year.

KING: Why are there sexy, pretty young girls on "The Price is Right," which seems to be playing to middle America audience women daily?

BARKER: Well, I think that every show likes to attract young men, and they certainly help do that. And some people have suggested that we have some young male models on the show. But I think that's a terrible idea. I don't want some young guy back here attracting all the attention. I want people looking at me.

KING: And then we have Holly Hallstrom, who had -- to show that -- 19 years was with the show. Sued them, claiming she was fired for being overweight and age discrimination.


KING: Why was she fired?

BARKER: The show was up for sale...

KING: By the way, are you the boss of the show?

BARKER: Well, I'm the executive producer.

KING: You are. So you can...

BARKER: We all answer to someone.

KING: But you hire/fire?

BARKER: No I don't, really. I am a part of the decision on models. The other people on the show I don't hire, no.

KING: So what's the Hallstrom story?

BARKER: The Hallstrom story is this. She was one of four models on the show, but we don't need four models on "The Price is Right." We only need three, or maybe we even do the show beautifully with two. And they wanted to sell "The Price is Right." And they wanted the show to be as attractive as possible...

KING: Who owned it, Goodson?

BARKER: At that time, the heirs, Jonathan Goodson and his sisters and the various members of the -- the heirs owned the show.

KING: CBS does not own the show?

BARKER: No, they do not. So they did a lot of things, cut back on a lot of things, a long list of things. But they decided that they were going to reduce the models from four to three. So they offered Holly a very nice retirement package.

And it is my understanding that she accepted it, and then changed her mind. And that's when all the problems began.

Now, that was about seven years ago. And during that period, she has filed two lawsuits, both of which have been dismissed, and she's gone to one arbitration, which she lost, and so now it would seem that maybe she's out of the suing business.

KING: What do you make, Bob, of -- do you think Diane Parkinson just started a trend? Or there was a black cloud hanging over...

BARKER: Right on. No. Right on. They were all around when Diane sued. Diane, of course, she dropped her lawsuit. She got nothing out of it.

KING: But they all said why not?

BARKER: Why not?

KING: Take advantage of Barker.

BARKER: I think. I think. I think. It's not Barker. You see, they present it that way. But they have sued Freemantle. They have sued "The Price is Right" LLP. They have sued Pearson. They have sued various individuals, including Barker. We are only named as defendants.

KING: Was holly overweight or was the reason that you wanted to...

BARKER: Holly was overweight. But Holly had been over weight over a period of time. If we were going to fire Holly for being overweight, we would have fired her years ago.

KING: Who is with you now?

BARKER: Right now we have only one girl who is permanent on the show, Claudia Jordan.

KING: And the rest of them?

BARKER: And the rest, we're trying various models out, auditioning.

KING: What do you want in a model, other than the obvious?

BARKER: Well, obviously, they have to be very attractive physically. They have to look smashing in a swimsuit. And we would like to have them be bright and able to make a refrigerator come alive for you.

KING: And you've become kind of a marvel for men.


KING: I mean in a macho society, come on Barkey, you're a hero.

BARKER: You know, when the first -- when the Diane Parkinson lawsuit was filed, I went in to do the show and Roger Dobkowitz, one of our producers, was sitting in my dressing room with me. And I said, you know, this is humiliating. He said, Bob, this is the best thing that ever happened to you.

I said, what do you mean? He said, you wait and see. Well, no one believed her, and they believed me. And it worked out just fine.

KING: And, you know, you wound up getting standing ovations.

Don't you ever, Bob, truthfully, get tired of it, doing the show?


KING: Don't you stand backstage and say, oh, another vacuum cleaner?

BARKER: No I do not feel that way. If I felt that way, I would have quit long, long ago. I would have retired years ago. I thoroughly enjoy doing the show. And I think you must enjoy what you do or you...

KING: I love it, Bob.

BARKER: Well, there you are. I love what I do. And we're lucky. We should thank God.

KING: Damn right.

BARKER: We really should. At my age, to be doing something that I thoroughly enjoy and being well paid for it, I'm blessed.

KING: You never think of quitting?

BARKER: Well, every year I think, should I sign for another year? And I do. And then should I sign for another year? And one year I think I'll probably say, no, I don't think I will. And people will say, well, you're going to be bored. Well, I'd like to find out what it feels like maybe to be bored.

KING: Bob Barker's our guest. We'll be right back. You, come on down! Don't go away.


BARKER: Now, I don't think they heard your first words. What did you say?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I said, I want to kiss you.

BARKER: My dear, that can be -- yes, arranged. She had -- there's no sense in fooling around with a little peck on the cheek here, Darlene (ph). What did you say?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I said I don't even care if I win now.

BARKER: Let's forget this game. Let's get out of here, Darlene.




BARKER: Rod, what is the next name on your list? ROBERT RAY RODDY, ANNOUNCER, "THE PRICE IS RIGHT": Bob, it's Michael Kelly (ph). Come on down. You're the next contestant on "The Price is Right," Michael (ph).

BARKER: Michael (ph), I want you right about here, please. Yes. You look as if you might have just got in from Hawaii.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, actually, we just got in from the store across the street.


KING: We're back with Bob Barker, the host -- the host of "The Price is Right," one of the most successful, if not the most successful, daytime show ever and continuous now for 31 years.

"Come on down," how did that happen?

BARKER: It's not -- it's "come on down!" It was just words in a script. And Johnny Olsen...

KING: The famous Johnny Olsen. You'll know. His wife, Peggy (ph)...

BARKER: Right. Did you know them?

KING: Very well. They warmed up the Gleason show. And I knew Jackie very well. They were his warm-up crew. What they did was warm up audiences.

BARKER: They -- well, they -- Johnny and...

KING: Johnny used to host shows.

BARKER: Johnny and Penny (ph) hosted the show together in New York that I used to hear, and then Johnny hosted shows. And then he became an announcer and got in with the Goodson Toddman group, and every producer of a show wanted Johnny.

KING: To warm up your audience.

BARKER: Well, not just to warm up the audience, but to do the job.

KING: He was exuberant.

BARKER: He was as good as they get. That's how good he was.

KING: So he came up with the "come on down?"

BARKER: Well, as I say, it was just words on the script. But he said "Gloria Smith, come on down," one day. And he never -- that's been that ever since. It's part of Americana now.

KING: And who does it now?

BARKER: Rod Roddy.

KING: Who's been there forever now, right?

BARKER: He's been there 17 years, I'd say.

KING: There was a nighttime "The Price is Right." It lasted for six weeks in the summer of '96, never repeated until this past summer when six specials were played. Are they planning others?

BARKER: The specials are now scheduled for January 15, January 22 and January 29, to play. And we're going to tape them early in January.

KING: When you do a nighttime special, what's different? Money, I would imagine. The prizes are more expensive.

BARKER: Oh, yes. We give away bigger prizes. But the six specials that we did last year were honoring the armed forces. We did one for the Army, one for the Navy, one for the Air Force, one for the Marines.

KING: All the contestants were...

BARKER: The whole audience. On the Army night was Army. The whole audience on Navy night was Navy. And we took the contestants right out of the audience, just as we do on our daytime show. It would be Lt. Bill Smith, come on down.

And the three that we're going to do -- to start, we're going to do six this next year as well, I think. And the first one will be an all college audience because our show has become a cult thing with the colleges. And we love it because they give us great audiences. When they come in, they can pick up a whole audience and carry it you know? And we're paying homage to them on the first one.

The other two, I am not at liberty to discuss as yet, but if we do them, if we can pull off what we're trying to do, why, I think you may even have me back to talk about it.

KING: Is it an inexpensive show to do?

BARKER: No, it's not. It's a lot less expensive than a soap opera. Daytime drama, I should say, shouldn't I? Because of their cast, a lot of money for actors and actresses, and they have to have writers and so on. But it's not, I don't think -- I don't really -- I'm kind of removed from it now. But I don't think that it's inexpensive compared with other game shows.

KING: How do you pick the contestants?

BARKER: One of our producers goes out while they're in line.

KING: Waiting to get in?

BARKER: And he talks with every person in the line.

KING: How much in that audience?

BARKER: Three-twenty. And he isn't looking -- he doesn't have a list of qualifications. He's just looking for someone who's in a good mood that day. Someone he thinks I can have fun with. And I've been working with both these producers for so long, they know what I like. And they pick excellent contestants.

And you asked me why our show's been popular for so long. A point I think is the selection of the contestants. We take them tall, short, fat, old, black, white, brown. The country, as you well know, has become a melting pot. We want our audience to represent that. And I think that's one of the reasons that the show has lasted so long.

KING: So you want high-energy contestants?

BARKER: We want high-energy contestants, not necessarily. We want people who are in a good mood. They can be funny and fun quietly. They don't have to jump up and down and scream. If that comes natural for them, do it.

KING: If they dress funny like they did on "Let's Make a Deal," would that help?

BARKER: No, no, no, no. We don't want them to dress funny. We want them to -- they can come in a tie and three-piece suit and then have just as good a chance to be on.

KING: How many shows have you done? Have you ever totaled it up?

BARKER: I've done about -- I guess it's 7,000 now.

KING: Do you have a show that jumps out at you that sticks out?

BARKER: The most talked about single incident in the history of the show was a young lady seated out in the audience in a tube top. And her name was called to be a contestant. And she jumped to her feet. And she began jumping up and down and out they came. She came on down and they came on out on CBS.

KING: We'll be right back with Bob Bark and all this stuff. "The Price is Right," don't go away.


BARKER: Lucious (ph), the actual retail price of that automobile sitting right back there behind those doors that you have a chance to win playing card games on "The Price is Right" is $12,625. Lucious wins the car! Lucious wins the car! He's going to the car; he's coming back; he's up in the air; he's down on the floor. Congratulations, Lucious. We'll be back after these words.



BARKER: Are you ready?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm ready. I'm ready. I'm going to faint.

BARKER: No, don't faint. You tell them. Tell them, Show me that number.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Show me the number, please.

BARKER: There it is! you win the car.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, I didn't. Oh. I didn't.

BARKER: You did.


BARKER: Yes. Let me see.

There it is. You've won the car. You have won the car.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What am I going to do?

BARKER: You're going to drive.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Drive it home? It's got everything in it.

BARKER: Everything. Congratulations.


KING: We're back with Bob Barker. You've been twice named "The Guinness Book of World Records" as television's most durable performer and the most generous host in television history. Generous in that you're giving to your audience.

BARKER: Giving so much money and prizes away.


BARKER: You win.


KING: Have you ever tolled up how much?

BARKER: Well from "Price is Right" we've given away almost $300 million. I have gave away a lot of money on "Truth or Consequences." Not that much because prizes were not as big then. I have given away thousands of dollars when I was the host of "Miss Universe" and "Miss USA."

KING: You hosted both of those, right?

BARKER: Right.

KING: "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" is now a daytime strip. Are you worried?

BARKER: Am I worried? No. As far as I know, they're not even opposite us, are they?

KING: What do you make of that show?

BARKER: Well, I think that they may have -- you mean night time or daytime?

KING: Let's start first night time. Ran it too many times?

BARKER: They had a good thing, but they may have -- but on the other hand, they probably made so much money in such a short time, who cares how long it lasted.

KING: Except ABC is still paying the price.

BARKER: ABC, that was their decision. And now they're living with it.

KING: What do you make of the daytime idea.

BARKER: Is the daytime idea too late? The show -- it was...

KING: She's very good. Meredith (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

BARKER: I haven't seen it. The show has been canceled night time. Obviously because of ratings as we both know there's no other reason a show is canceled. Virtually no other reason. And so if America was tired of it night time, will it accept it daytime?

KING: Of the shows enlikened to you that have lasted a long time, your opinions on "Wheel of Fortune?"

BARKER: "Wheel of Fortune" is mind boggling to think that with that one little thing that they do, that they could keep that thing going this long is amazing to me. It's just a simple little game.

Mark Goodsen (ph) once told me, he said, Bob, no matter how good a show is, sooner or later it begins to suffer from viewer fatigue. He said, one morning America gets up and decides, I'm not going to watch that anymore.

There's nothing -- when it's on its way up, there's almost nothing you can do to stop it and when it's on its way down, there's nothing you can do to stop it. He's right. Course he was. But "Wheel of Fortune," no viewer fatigue. That show is just amazing and a smash hit.

KING: King World Television, the general manager at Channel 9 in Washington once was going to ask me to do a half hour interview show. He said we'll start it late in the winter. I got this syndicated show I have got to carry. It's going to bomb. "Wheel of Fortune" at night. It's going to bomb. It did not bomb.

BARKER: No it didn't. Well, look at "Jeopardy." "Jeopardy" was on daytime.

KING: Art Fleming.

BARKER: Art Fleming, originally. He did very well. Then they brought it back in prime access time and it's a huge hit.

KING: Merv Griffin conceived it. Not that's a hit. It's a difficult quiz.

BARKER: It is.

KING: So how do you explain it? Because a lot of people...

BARKER: If I could explain all these shows, I'd have 19 on the air myself, you know. "Jeopardy" is too difficult for...

KING: The average person?

BARKER: People underestimate television viewers, I think. I think that they are much more discriminating, much more tasteful than people give them credit for being.

Course there's some who are perfect happy watching some of these other shows. But a show like "Jeopardy," it's a hit.

KING: As Sinatra once said, there's a lot to be said for longevity. You don't last a long time without doing something right.

BARKER: You got that right.

KING: "Hollywood Squares" an example.

BARKER: On "The Price is Right" we have a variety of games. We rotate them. If you see the show Monday, you see a different show Tuesday, a different show Wednesday and so on.

Also, ours is a throw back to the old game shows. They weren't called game shows. But it's a throw back in that it's so flexible that I have time to have fun with the people. It's not a case of who are you, where are you from, what number do you want?

It's an interview. It's bringing out their personality. And I think the people at home enjoy seeing people just like themselves on television talking and expressing opinions and having fun.

KING: Absolutely true. When we come back, we'll talk about Bob Barker and the rights of animals. Don't go away.


BARKER: Is this a five -- you've seen this game on the show?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. BARKER: Have you seen people win?


BARKER: Have you seen them win on this game?


BARKER: Isn't it exciting? Are you excited now?


BARKER: You want the $2,921...


BARKER: But you'll get those along with them.


BARKER: If you don't want to take them...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm going to take them.

BARKER: You understand you'll get the car and those gifts. You'll get them both. If that is a five you get the car and the gifts. And that is a five. That is a five! That is a five!





BARKER: She says it is $28,152. When I pull that back, if it says "yes" on here, you win all three of these automobiles. Wouldn't this be an exciting start to our show? Wouldn't it?


BARKER: It would be. People will be talking about this. They will. They'd be talking about this. Is she a winner?

Yes! All three cars!


KING: Our guest is Bob Barker. Were you always, for want of a better term, an animal lover?

BARKER: Yes. As a kid, I loved animals. And I lived in a little town called Mission, South Dakota. My mother and I lived at a hotel which was a two-story building, which was the tallest building in Mission. KING: No dad?

BARKER: My father died when I was only 6-years-old. And this town was only 200 people. And so when mom was looking for me, she'd go up, there was a ladder up to the top of the hotel and she'd look for the dogs. I always had a pack of dogs with me. She'd see the dogs, well, there was Billy. I was called Billy in those days.

KING: When did you become an activist?

BARKER: Well, I had contributed financially to animal protection organizations but I had never really participated. I was invited to be the chairman of "Be Kind to Animals" week here in Los Angeles.


BARKER: About 25 years ago. I don't remember whether it was SPCA or not.

But in any event, I did it. I did interviews and radio and television and newspaper interviews and so on. And as a result, I was invited by groups to participate in their activities. And I did. And the more I got into it and learned of the exploitation of animals and the mistreatment and suffering of animals, I just felt compelled to try to do what I could to help rectify the situation. That's what I have been doing.

The thing that I am working on right now and devoting my own money to is this idea of having your animals, your pets, spayed or neutered. There are too many dogs and cats being born in the country. There are people and groups all over the country devoting their time, their energy and their money to try to find homes for these homeless animals and they're doomed to failure because they don't exist.

The only answer is to have your animal spayed or neutered. I close every show by urging people to do that.


BARKER: Bob Barker reminding you to help control the pet population. Have your pet spayed or neutered. Good bye, everybody.


BARKER: And then I have formed this foundation, the DJ&T Foundation, and we're funding grants for spay/neuter clinics and organizations that subsidize spay/neuters all over the country.

KING: What does DJ&T stand for?

BARKER: It stands for my wife, Dorothy Jo...

KING: Who's passed on.

BARKER: And -- who died in '81 and my mother, her name was Matilda, but everybody called her Tilly. And she loved animals. And so I called it the DJ&T Foundation.

KING: And how do people contribute? Where do they learn about it?

BARKER: I fund it. I don't appeal for funds.

KING: In your opinion, an animal is not a human to you, right? It's not entitled to equal rights?

BARKER: Oh, no. Of course not. A dog's a dog, a cat is a cat, a mule is a mule. Absolutely.

KING: But what you want for them is to have their own life in their own way.

BARKER: I want them to live their life the way nature intended. I don't approve of hunting. I don't approve of mistreating or making an animal miserable.

KING: But you're not a vegetarian.

BARKER: Oh, yes, I am.

KING: You are.

BARKER: I became a vegetarian out of concern for animals. But I'll tell you, I hadn't been a vegetarian long before I realized I could understand why people have become vegetarians for health reasons.

KING: How about wearing leather?

BARKER: I don't wear leather either.

KING: Soles of your shoes.

BARKER: I try to wear shoes that are not leather.

KING: You can buy shoes that are not leather.

BARKER: You can.

KING: So you really hold true...

BARKER: I try.

KING: Did you quit Miss Universe because of fur coats?

BARKER: Yes. I left Miss Universe and Miss USA because they had told me -- I had been trying to get them to stop giving away fur coats as prizes. And they told me that they would. This was 1987. They said 1988 we'll stop.

So I went down to Albuquerque to do the Miss USA pageant in '87. And I was shocked to learn that the contestants in the swimsuit competition were going to make their entrances in fur coats, slip out of them and model for the judges.

And I told the producers, I said, I can't do this. I speak out against fur. Now I can't be on the stage surrounded by these young women in fur coats. And they understood where I was coming from. But they had contracts and thousands of dollars worth of fur. So we talked about it. These conversations went on for two or three days. It leaked to the press.

And it was the best thing that ever happened to the anti-fur campaign. People who had never considered the animal mistreatment and the production of fur were suddenly reading about it. It was in papers, front page, all over the country. Remember? the fur flap, they called it. Eventually they used synthetic furs.


BARKER: Miss Arizona and all of the ladies are wearing simulated furs.


BARKER: And then -- but then, the next year they didn't stop giving them away and I left the show.

KING: What about fishing?

BARKER: Fishing. I don't fish. I fished when I was in Florida and I regret it. I fished when I was in South Dakota and I regret it because now I know more about...

KING: Kind of chicken how we throw things, sit up there and they can harpoon them in the mouth with a stick.

BARKER: I beg your pardon?

KING: It's a chicken way to do it.

BARKER: Oh, yes.

KING: I mean, I'm not against fishing. People fish and I eat fish. You don't eat fish either?


KING: I'm trying to get you somewhere, Bob.

We'll be right back with our remaining moments with Bob Barker. Don't go away.


BARKER: You win! Congratulations! Oh, yes.




BARKER: You still have a lot of money.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pull it. Pull it, Bob.

BARKER: I'm interested in figuring these things out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, not really.

BARKER: I forgot what you said. Did you say two?


BARKER: He said two. It's two! There he goes! There he goes! He's gone! He's out in the audience. I don't know where he's headed. He must have -- a friend or wife.


KING: How have you fared health wise? You had a stroke.

BARKER: I had a minor stroke in 1991. The doctors couldn't explain why I did.

KING: Minor stroke meaning what happened?

BARKER: Well I got up one morning and I realized that there was something wrong with my peripheral vision, and I got up very early and I thought, well, I'm going to call the doctor. I thought, he's not going to be open yet. I'll go work out.

So I'm out there working out. I was having a stroke, you see. But I worked out. I went over. He sent me to an ophthalmologist. He thought it might be something with the eyes. The ophthalmologist sent me over to a neurologist. He said, I think you've had a stroke.

So I went over and I was in the hospital for a few days. And I got out. I have never had any recurrence. I go for a checkup every year.

KING: And no resultant effects?

BARKER: No, no.

KING: How about the prostate thing?

BARKER: The prostate thing? Well, like so many men, my prostate is enlarged. And...

KING: Not cancer?

BARKER: No, no. Thank God for that, too. I have had enlarged prostate for years. It became -- it was interfering with my sleep. I was getting up so many times at night, that I was suffering from sleep deprivation.

So the doctor suggested that I have this -- he didn't even call it surgery, procedure, to reduce the size of the prostate. I did, and I'm sleeping better. I may start, you know, playing basketball, football, who knows what. Bungee jumping.

KING: Would you say you're in good health?

BARKER: Excellent health. This very morning my doctor called me to give me a report on recent physical. He said everything's beautiful. He said, fine.

KING: Was that -- your father died when you were 6?


KING: What did he die of?

BARKER: He died as a result of an accident. My father had been the foreman on the electrical high line through the state of Washington. And they had a problem with a big tower. It was covered with ice. And his men had all gone home.

So he went up the tower himself but he didn't have his own hooks. He put on some hooks that were too big for them, that linemen used. He slipped and fell and crushed his hip joint. That rubbed on his spine and eventually caused his death.

KING: Did you ever want to remarry?

BARKER: No, no. I have none. Thirty-seven years, high school sweetheart.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to know if your husband talks as much as home as he does when he's on the stage?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm glad you ask. I finally can tell. It's true. He never shuts up. Day and night.

BARKER: That's not true. You do most of the talking at home and you know it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But you never listen to me and I listen to you.


KING: What did your wife die of?

BARKER: She had lung cancer.

KING: Smoked?


KING: Did you smoke?

BARKER: I tried to, but I was very fortunate. It made me sick. I couldn't smoke. When I was growing up, everybody smoked.

KING: Everybody in broadcasting.


KING: Do you know anybody in broadcast who did not smoke in the '50s?

BARKER: No, no. Not a one.

KING: Technical. Beyond the camera, in FRONT OF THE CAMERA.


KING: Smoke on camera. You Smoked when you were on camera.

BARKER: Look at Humphrey Bogart, how he smoked. It was cool.

KING: Have you ever turned down a show you regretted?

BARKER: Have you ever turned down a show that I regretted? I don't think so. No.

KING: Never got offered to do something? You made some movies, too.

BARKER: I made a movie.

KING: What was that?

BARKER: "Happy Gilmore."

KING: "Happy Gilmore." You were funny.

BARKER: Thank you.


BARKER: There is no way that you could have been as bad at hockey as you are at golf.

ADAM SANDLER, ACTOR: All right. Let's go.

You like that, old man? You want a piece of me?

BARKER: I don't want a piece of you. I want the whole thing.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BARKER: I don't tape a price is right that someone doesn't ask me about "Happy Gilmore." And invariably it's a man, particularly young men. Young men love that picture. They say, why don't you have -- why haven't you made more pictures?

KING: Why haven't you?

BARKER: Because I refuse to do nude scenes.


BARKER: These Hollywood producers want to capitalize on my obvious sexuality and I don't want to be just another beautiful body.

KING: Few other things, Bob. Do you root for contestants?

BARKER: Absolutely. I want them all to win. I don't pay for those prizes and I want to give them away.

KING: And the joy they have in winning has got to be a kick to you.

BARKER: It is. It is. I feel like Santa Claus up there.

KING: You a fan of current television?

BARKER: I watch a lot of sports. And I watch movies. I watch old movies for the most part. I like...

KING: Turner Classic Movies.

BARKER: You got it.

KING: Maybe the best network of all. Even the promos for it. The intros with the band. I love that.

BARKER: Even the B movies look great, don't they?

KING: Claude Raines and Barbara Stanwyck and "The Lady Next Door."

BARKER: You see this young guy over here and he has about three lines and it's Robert Mitchum. And I love it.

KING: (UNINTELLIGIBLE). Have you ever wanted to do what I'm doing, one of these gigs?

BARKER: No. I got into what I do when I was so young, that it just -- I have just enjoyed it. I have never really wanted to do anything else. I can't really explain it.

If you like to play the violin, you can't say why do you like to play the violin. I have fun creating spontaneous entertainment with a guy, or a woman who's never before been on a stage, you know? And have fun with them.

KING: There's never been an, oh, gee, another show?

BARKER: Absolutely not. And if there is, if that happens I'd quit.

KING: That would be the time to say, bye. Barker...

BARKER: Thank you, Larry.

KING: An honor knowing you.

BARKER: Well, thank you. It's a pleasure to be with you.

KING: Bob Barker, one of the stand-up guys. He puts it out where it is. He's been the host of CBS' "The Price is Right" forever. That show will go on forever. We want to know who's going to host it when he goes. He don't plan on going. Knowing Barker, if he goes, he'll be back in three days.


KING: Anyway, stay tuned for Aaron Brown and "NEWSNIGHT." I'm Larry King. For Bob Barker in Los Angeles, good night.


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