The Herald Bulletin

October 30, 2013

Family takes 'Price Is Right' fan of more than 40 years to live show

By Nancy R. Elliott
The Herald Bulletin

ANDERSON, Ind. —

“Come on down!” It was 1972 when Bob Barker took the helm on “The Price Is Right.” Bette Elijah was watching Barker's very first episode, and she was hooked.

Elijah rarely missed a show throughout the years. At 88 years old, the Anderson resident still loves the show, now emceed by Drew Carey.

“It’s just so entertaining,” said Elijah, with a sparkle in her eye. “I sit there and giggle.”

Not only did Elijah love the host, Bob Barker, but she had a pretty good batting average on the guessing game.

“I try. It’s fun. Sometimes, I hit it right on the mark,”said Elijah.

“It’s something she’s always loved to watch,” said daughter Susie Rhule. “Our whole family knows not to call during the time the show is on, unless it is an emergency, of course.”

Elijah’s mom, Helen Blueher, used to watch the show as well. Elijah would call her on the phone as soon as the show was over each day.

Elijah was such a big fan that her husband, Jack, gave her the nickname, “Mrs. Barker.” He’ll say things like, “Mrs. Barker, would you like a cup of coffee?”

When the family learned a couple of months ago that “The Price Is Right” was coming to Muncie's Emens Auditorium on Oct. 23, there was no doubt about what to do.

“The minute we heard, we said, ‘Oh my gosh, we’ve got to go,’” said Rhule. Eight tickets were purchased, with a plan for all the women in the family to go together.

“(We) wrote letters to 'The Price Is Right' explaining the story,” said Rhule, who was hopeful that her mom would get tapped for a little of the spotlight that night.

About a month ago, the gals met up at an Anderson restaurant to strategize how to maximize their chances of getting Elijah chosen from the audience to ‘come on down.’

The results were plain to be seen last Wednesday night when everyone gathered for a pre-show dinner at the home of Elijah’s niece, Kathy Buck. Everyone sported a bright orange T-shirt with black lettering. Although each shirt was different, they all tapped into the Halloween theme.

Elijah’s shirt read “Bette is batty for The Price Is Right.”

Buck is the family poet who crafted the witty sayings. Her own shirt read, “This witch will come on down.”

Elijah’s granddaughter, Haylie Rhule, is pregnant. Her shirt read, “My baby boo loves The Price Is Right.” Kathy Buck’s daughter, Brittni, had a shirt that read, “I’ll do the monster mash for cash.”

It was a very happy clan, full of laughter and jokes that got together to eat before they made the jaunt over to Muncie. Elijah was clearly enjoying herself. She was accompanied by daughter Susie Rhule, Rhule’s daughter Haylie, another granddaughter, Nicole Brown, niece Kathy Buck, her daughter Brittni Buck and daughter-in-law Kristin Buck, and another of Elijah’s nieces, Becky Burk.

Elijah's husband, Jack, 90, stayed home that evening to hang out with son Jerry, Nicole’s dad, while the girls had their night out.

Elijah and Jack have been married 66 years.

“I’ll never forget the first time I saw her,” said Jack, 90, via telephone. The two met at a party, where Elijah arrived with a date. Jack still remembers Elijah in her red sweater and brown skirt. It was love at first sight.

Elijah is quick to acknowledge her husband and her close family, noting, “I’m very fortunate.”

As it turned out, despite all their enthusiasm and efforts, the family didn’t come back from "The Price Is Right" with any prizes. Still, the experience they all enjoyed was priceless.

“We had a blast at the show,” said Rhule. Mark Walberg hosted the Muncie show. "He was a great emcee. We had a ball."

"The crowd was being crazy and screaming and yelling and doing cartwheels down the aisle," said Rhule. They were treated to funny clips of Bob Barker and Drew Carey on big screens.

Most of all, it was simply sharing all the fun together in their tight-knit family that made Elijah's special evening a winner.

Like Nancy Elliott on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @ NancyElliott_HB, or call 640-4805.