In honor of the 2017 American Indian Heritage Month we are honoring Bob Barker.
One of the most successful American Indians is Bob Barker. He has been the Master of Ceremonies of a variety of contests from game shows to beauty pageants. He also played a fictional version of himself in a cameo appearance in the movie by Adam Sandler called
“Happy Gilmore,” (fictional as in Mr Barker wouldn’t get in a fight on a golf course in real life).
Many people of Generation X grew up with Bob Barker on the game show The Price is Right. I, Publius Jr, would get mad from my high chair when I was a kid when national tv news would break into the Price is Right to talk about Watergate hearings. Bob was a part of the two generations before as a radio broadcaster and the host of Truth or Consequences.
Bob taught us how to be a discerning smart shopper, comparing prices of similar items. He also taught us how to control the Pet Population by having “your pet spayed or neutered.”
Bob hosted the Miss USA & Miss Universe Pageants from 1967 to 1987. In 1988 he requested the pageant officials to stop awarding the winners with fur items, being he was an animal rights activist and he was against the fur apparel industry for alleged cruelty to the animals.
Bob Barker’s Early Years
Robert William Barker was born on December 12, 1923 in Darrington, Washington to Byron John Barker and Matilda “Tillie” (Nee Matilda Kent Tarleton). His father was a foreman on the electrical high line. His father fell from a tower and died as the result of his injury in the fall in 1929. His mother remarried and became Matilda Valandra and had a son, Kent Valandra, a half-brother to Bob.
In 1931 the family moved to the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota. It is located in the south central part of the state just east of the Pine Ridge Reservation. Bob is listed in the US Indian Census 1885-1940 as an official member of the Sioux Tribe (he is 1/8 Sioux). His mother Tillie was a school teacher on the reservation.
Eventually his family moved to Springfield, Missouri where he graduated from Central High School in 1941. He went to college in Springfield at Drury University on a basketball scholarship. He was a member of Sigma Nu Fraternity. Their fraternity stresses ethical leadership development. Bob had to suspend his studies when the United States entered into World War II in late 1941.
Bob Barker US Naval Aviator
He trained to be a US Navy Aviator (pilots in the Navy steer ships, the Navy calls their fighter pilots aviators), but before he was assigned to a sea going squadron WW2 came to an end. To see more about his training to be a Naval Aviator go to navy.togetherweserved.com
Bob Barker got married to his High School sweetheart Dorothy Jo Gideon on January 12, 1945 while he was still training to be a Naval Aviator.
After the War, Bob returned to Drury University and earned his degree in Economics, graduating summa cum laude.
While Bob was still in college at Drury he had his first job in broadcasting at KTTS-FM in Springfield, Missouri. After he graduated from college he and his wife moved to Lake Worth Florida where he was a news editor and announcer at WWPG 1340 AM (now WPBR) in Palm Beach.
In 1950 Bob decided to move to Los Angeles to pursue his career in Broadcasting. He was given his own show on KNX 1070 AM in Burbank called, “The Bob Barker Show.” His show ran for 6 years. He would often have audience participation as part of his show. In 1956 Ralph Edwards happened to be listening when he liked Bob’s voice. Edwards tapped Bob to be the new master of ceremonies or emcee on The New Truth or Consequences show.
Truth or Consequences 1956-1975
Bob Barker was the host of Truth or Consequences until 1975. One of these days Buzzr will have it on again. It was a long running show that was part quiz show and part zany stunts. If one couldn’t participate in the Truth of the gameplay there would be Consequences.
The Price is Right 1972-2007
On September 4, 1972 Bob began hosting The Price is Right and was the emcee of the longest running most successful game show. This is largely due to Bob Barker as the host. The show was not brand new it had run from 1956 to 1965 with another game show legend Bill Cullen. Mark Goodson & Bill Todman were shopping around a modern revival of the show. CBS went with it as long as Bob Barker was the host.
The Price is Right was the first game show to transition from 30 minutes to an hour successfully in 1975.
On October 15, 1987 Bob stopped putting dye in his hair and went gray (looks more white).
I have to say Bob entertained me when I was at home sick from school, and later was someone to watch when I got my work done early at the motor pool when I was in the US Army.
On June 15, 2007 was Bob’s last day on the Price is Right.
If you would like to know more about Bob Barker’s career in broadcasting and television and movies go to Internet Movie Database’s Biography on Bob and learn more about this great American Indian.
Animal Rights Activist
Bob Barker became a vegetarian in 1979 and also began to promote animal rights in the public eye, and also on the Price is Right. He would remind viewers to help control the pet population by having your pet spayed or neutered. He really points to his late wife Dorothy Jo for encouraging him to become a vegetarian and to promote animal rights.
He encouraged other game show hosts like the late Bert Convy and Jack Barry to make notes to viewers about animal rights.
Bob has devoted his retirement more to this cause especially since his wife Dorothy Jo passed away from Lung Cancer in October 1981.
Awards & Honors
It would not be right without mentioning all the awards and honors Bob earned over the years.
- 19 Emmy Awards
- 1999 Lifetime Achievement Award for Daytime TV
- Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
- Hall of Famous Missourians (class of 2007)
- Part of Bower St in Springfield, Missouri renamed “Bob Barker Way”
- Time Magazine’s Greatest Game Show Host of All Time
- NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame (class of 2008)
- Game Show Network (GSN) Lifetime Achievement Award
(SPOILER) Oh and Bob knocked out Happy Gilmore –1996 movie
I, Publius Jr would just like to thank Bob Barker for helping me to learn how to comparison shop, and learn how to be a better person. Thanks Bob.
Help Control the Pet Population and have your Pet Spayed or Neutered.