Vanna White has been the co-host and head letter-turner on Wheel Of Fortune for almost four decades, which is incredible to think about. It turns out, White had some game show experience before she got the role on Wheel. Three years before her debut on the show she now hosts alongside Pat Sajak, she appeared as a contestant on The Price Is Right.
Come On Down!
Vanna White has been coming into American homes most weekday nights since she joined the now-legendary game show in 1983 as its second hostess. The show has produced some of the most iconic catchphrases in American TV history, like “I’d like to buy a vowel” and “I’d like to solve the puzzle.” Meanwhile, The Price Is Right has been a mainstay of daytime TV since the early 1970s, and its catchphrase, “Come on down! You’re the next contestant on The Price Is Right!” may be the most iconic of any game show in television history.
Vanna White Caught The Attention Of Everyone
Those words are said four times to start the show (and another five times as the show goes on), as the first four contestants are pulled from the audience to start the games. On June 20th, 1980, the show’s original announcer, Johnny Olson, got to that fourth contestant to start the show and boomed, “Vanna White, Come on down!”
The camera quickly pans over to reveal a 23-year-old White, casually dressed in a t-shirt and jeans, with a pair of sunglasses on her head, squeezing by the other audience members in her row before she runs down to take her spot behind the pricing scoreboard on the far left. After she takes her spot, the legendary Bob Barker, who hosted the show for 35 years, walks out from behind the curtain and immediately addresses White.
“Backstage, they have monitors that the fellows on the crew can watch,” Barker says, “when Vanna was invited to come on down, one of ‘em read her t-shirt where it says ‘Get Serious’ and he said ‘I am. I AM!’” Today the comment would most certainly be questionable, speaking of the stunning White in such shallow terms, the early 80s were a different era, and Barker was the product of an even earlier era. Still, White does look beautiful, of course. Sadly, that exchange was the highlight of the game for White, as she never managed to guess the closest price on any of the items in the “One Bid” game that determines who plays in one of the Price Is Right’s famous pricing games.
Watch the entire episode below: