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Ex-resident gets his chance to come on down

Peabody native competes on ‘The Price is Right’

Staff writer

When Peabody native and former area resident Mark Schmidt was selected as a contestant on “The Price is Right,” it was the climax of a decades-long fandom.

“I actually got the ticket for the show before I went to Hollywood,” he said. “That was the whole reason I went to Hollywood; I wanted to go see ‘The Price is Right.’ I really wanted to be a contestant, but you can’t guarantee that.”

Schmidt researched the show’s selection process before he visited.

One of the things he learned was that the selection process was less about chance than it appeared.

“The producer talks to all 300 people as they walk by,” he said. “They actually pick the nine people they want on the show. While it seems totally random, it’s not.”

Since the producer meets so many people, the secret to getting chosen is to be personable and make an impact, Schmidt said.

“If you really want to go on a game show, be the most up and outgoing person you can,” he said. “Just be friendly. When we were waiting to get in the theater, I talked to as many people as I could.”

The shock, however, is very real when contestants find out, Schmidt said.

“I was sitting right underneath the announcer when they called my name,” he said. “It was just exciting as heck.”

“It’s all a surprise, that’s legit.”

Despite being four rows from the front, Schmidt said hearing anything over the crowd could still be difficult.

“It’s so noisy in that studio that in order for you to know you were picked, a stagehand holds up a cue card with your name on it,” he said. “Otherwise you might not even hear your name.”

Having appeared now, Schmidt said he isn’t allowed on again for 10 years, and can’t be on “Let’s Make a Deal” for five years.

While not able to discuss specifics because the episode airs April 3, Schmidt said he played it cautious, preferring to guess right near his fellow contestants.

“I wasn’t really sure, I just knew what range the prize was going to cost and stuff like that,” he said.

What went on while the cameras were off was unexpected.

During commercials, host Drew Carrey entertained the audience with standup comedy, Schmidt said.

“Of course, I haven’t told anybody the outcome of anything yet,” he said. “We’re all waiting to see, so that makes it fun.”

A 1975 graduate of Peabody-Burns High School, Schmidt said his experience as a high school drum major and in the school’s theater program came in handy.

Before retiring four months ago, Schmidt also had several years leading conferences as a department head with a phone company in Denver.

“I’m certainly used to giving presentations and I’m not too shy about things like that,” he said.

Last modified March 18, 2020

 

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