Toeth's Game Show Insights
Celebrity Interview with Game Show Announcer Randy West
9 time game show contestant turned game show announcer. Randy currently announces Supermarket Sweep, The Price is right, as well as many other shows and events.
Toeth: How did you first start getting into the announcing job?
Randy: My interest in announcing game shows came from watching Johnny Olson perform his wonderfully entertaining warm-up and hearing the excitement in his voice on all of those great Goodson shows when I was a teenager. At Johnny's suggestion I pursued a career in radio that eventually brought me to Los Angeles. Once in LA, my appearance as a contestant on several shows led to me getting to know people who worked in production. The marriage of my radio experience with my love of game shows contributed to the passion to dedicate myself to building an announcing career.
Toeth: Of the 9 game shows you were contestant on, which is a great record, which was your favorite to compete on?
Randy: "What's My Line" 1971 was a magical experience as I was still in my teens, and it was my first appearance. You know how they say you never forget "your first"! "Press Your Luck" was probably the most exciting because of the unpredictability of the game and how I won on one of the three days on the very last spin against all odds. It was one of those great unpredictable game show moments.
Toeth: If there is another game show you could be contestant on, what would it be? If there is another game show you could be an announcer on, what would that show be?
From my years of work with so many game show production companies and their producers I'm probably no longer eligible to be a contestant on any American game show. But I can say without hesitation that there is certainly no greater show to be a contestant on than "Price" - the prizes can be huge, and the whole world loves and watches the show. It's an American institution!
As an announcer, "The Price Is Right" is the mother of all shows not only because of its legacy, but because it is by far the most demanding game show. The voluminous quantity of copy and the way the show is shot live to tape without any stops to accommodate the announcer makes "Price" the announcing equivalent of walking the high wire in the circus without a net. It's the best job on Earth if you love adrenalin!
Toeth: How did you get the job subbing for Rod Roddy on "The Price is Right"?
Randy: I can say that being prepared for an opportunity is only part of the synchronicity. Besides being qualified and experienced, uncontrollable elements such as timing and luck often play heavily. That was especially true in this case. Roger Dobkowitz's accessibility and wonderfully open attitude about people were added bonuses that helped a chance introduction develop into an opportunity to be considered for the job. I'm only saddened to know that one of the uncontrollable factors of fate that played a hand in this instance was my friend Rod Roddy's health challenges.
Toeth: Did you ever think you would get the job? And how is it filling Rod's shoes?
Randy: That's a thought provoking question because on one level I have felt for many, many years that I might possibly, someday, have an involvement with the show. That came from my admiration for "Price", my many years with Johnny as a mentor, and my friendships with a couple of staffers, such as former Technical Director Ray Angona.
Just the same, the reality of actually being offered the opportunity for what started as essentially an on-air audition is still quite unbelieveable. Because of my tremendous respect for Bob Barker and for the show's high standards of professionalism I consider this a tremendous honor that few announcers have ever been treated to. Both Rod's and Johnny's shoes are huge; I can't think about filling them. I'm just standing in their footprints hoping to maintain a level of professionalism.
Toeth: What is the hardest announcing job you've ever done?
Randy: Easy. "The Price Is Right"! But there have been some other very challenging gigs on live shows. I announced Nick's "Kids' Choice Awards" and "Big Help" shows live for many years from all sorts of strange venues... giant theatres, The Santa Monica Pier, Universal Studios, among them. Because they are not studios you may be in a makeshift room that is not really comfortable or well suited for the purpose. And because these show are live, script pages are being switched during the program and new commercial teases might be yelled in your ear with just enough time to scribble them on scrap paper before reading them.
Toeth: Out of all the game shows you've announced, which was your favorite to do?
Randy: I'm always most excited about the job I'm doing at the present, and that's especially true about "Price" because of my respect for the show and it's production team. I enjoy "Supermarket Sweep" because of its adlib demands in following the fast action. I also remember the thrill I felt working a number of shows with Wink Martindale and other icons. I've been very lucky to work with some really wonderful people.
Toeth: Thank you for taking the time to do the interview Randy!
Be sure to visit Randy West's web-site.