I got to spin the wheel on "The Price as Right" -- not as a contestant, but as someone visiting the set. And, yes, it's heavier than you think.
For years I've yelled at the TV because it looked like folks weren't even trying. But it's heavy and has two handles so you could really give it a good whip. (My results -- 65, not good enough to make it into any showcase showdown.)
The set, too, is pretty impressive. It's done up in '60s dayglo colors and almost jolts you to attention.
Contestants' row? That's the prime spot to sit. But, apparently, the folks who get there are so flustered (or dumb) there's a sign that shows them which direction to go to get on stage.
Outside the stage (at CBS studios), folks wait in line for hours. They watch old episodes of the show on monitors and frequently leave their spots for quick bathroom breaks. They discuss strategy, talk about the days when Bob Barker hosted and dream about what they'd do if they actually got on stage and won.
Interestingly, they don't write their own names on those huge pricetag stickers slapped on their clothes. Those are done by "Price is Right" folks who are insistent you use the exact name on your birth certificate. If you've got a nickname, it won't fly. For tax purposes, you are who you are.
Some names -- long ones -- are a challenge, those nametag folks say. But they manager to squeeze them in without going onto a second.
For many who visit, the nametag is their only souvenir of the show. Still, it's often enough. The Bob Barker stage (where it's taped) served as home to Carol Burnett, Sonny and Cher, the Smothers Brothers, Danny Kaye and Jack Benny.
But for the long lines of fans, its identity is pretty clear.
Fans say they have been to the Las Vegas and touring editions (one will stop in Sioux City Sunday), but nothing beats visiting home base.
Drew Carey, who now hosts the show, says it doesn't take much to get the crowd excited. "They're thrilled just to be here."
And how. Waiting in line, you feel like you're headed someplace special. Inside, you know it is.
In Friday's A&E section, I talk with Carey, who gives advice for playing some of those iconic games.