Nobody asked him to "Come on down!" CBS' The Price is Right celebrates its 40th anniversary on Tuesday's episode with host Drew Carey welcoming favorite contestants from the past, but don't expect to see the show's original, much-loved emcee Bob Barker. He wasn't invited. (CBS declined comment; a source with the show says Barker will be seen via vintage clips.)
A renowned animal advocate, Barker has been publicly critical of the show for giving away a trip to the controversial Calgary Stampede in Canada, notorious for its many horse deaths. Is that why he was snubbed? "I don't know why I wasn't asked to take part in some way," the 88-year-old Barker tells TV Guide Magazine. "But I do know I am ashamed of the show and surprised at their complete disregard for the welfare of animals. Were I still there, a prize to attend the Calgary Stampede would never have been considered. We never did anything that condoned animal cruelty. Apparently, things have changed."
This isn't the first time The Price is Right has had Barker barking. "They previously gave away tickets to SeaWorld in Florida where the mistreatment of dolphins and whales is just unacceptable," he says. "When that happened, I phoned various producers and [personnel] at the show and left messages but nobody would return my calls. So when the Calgary Stampede prize came up I didn't bother calling anyone there. I just went to the press and lashed out at the show every chance I could. And I let everyone in Canada know how I felt."
Since retiring from the show in 2007, Barker has fiercely campaigned to establish animal law programs and courses at top U.S. law schools, and has thus far been successful at Harvard, Stanford, UCLA, Northwestern, Duke, Georgetown and Columbia. Plus, he's fighting to bring three African elephants, currently housed at the Toronto Zoo, to a more weather-appropriate sanctuary in California and has pledged the full cost of air cargo transportation — $880,000!
This is retirement? Cracks Barker: "I think I'll have to go back to television to get some rest!"
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