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The Price is Right introduces the Showcase Showdown with the “Rainbow Wheel”
For those of you who grew up watching “The Price is Right” in the eighties and nineties, you might be surprised to learn that the format of the show shifted its formula only a few years after re-premiering in the seventies (it had run in the fifties and sixties as well).
Not only did the show move to an hour-long price winning extravaganza, but they also inserted a brand-new segment, “The Showcase Showdown”. This segment, to non-fans, is when, three at a time, winners who have made it on the stage of the show get to spin a giant wheel. If they get closest to a dollar without going over, they get to move on to play for the Showcase.
The Showcase Showdown was always my favorite part growing up. I loved the free money, and I loved that great big wheel. When I close my eyes, I can hear its beeping sound.
Unsurprisingly, that big beautiful wheel was not what they used when the Showdown premiered in 1975. Instead, they used a fairly boring “Rainbow Wheel”. Which you can see in action here at its premiere.
While the color is great, the wheel is flawed in that it is very difficult to read where it lands. Add to that the lack of rules surrounding spinning once around for it to count, and this wheel should have been a disaster. But Bob knows how to hype a game, and the excitement of new ways to win money more than makes up for a very weak spin on the part of contestant 3 and no one knowing how to play.