For the fans who traveled across the U.S., this was their day when TV game show legend Bob Barker hosts his last broadcast of "The Price is Right."
The silver-haired Barker, who has hosted the game show for 35 years, plans to officially begin his retirement Thursday.
Philip Barrett, 24, of Tampa, Florida, had camped outside the studios since Saturday to see Barker tape his last show on Wednesday afternoon.
"This is the chance of a lifetime," he said.
Die-hard fans from across the country huddled in sleeping bags for days to say goodbye to Barker and be a part of his last show. CBS sends out more tickets than its 325-seat studio can accommodate, so fans who want a seat need to get in line early.
Melanie Zepeda Velez, 32, traveled from Alberta, Canada. "I'm here because I need to kiss Bob," she said.
Fans hoped for a chance to bid on prizes, but mostly they came to bid farewell.
Barker's long run on the show has inspired fan traditions. Most female contestants kiss him on the cheek. Members of the military wear their uniforms. There is also the 83-year-old Barker's trademark signoff "Have your pets spayed and neutered" a tribute to his favorite cause and now a fan mantra.
Barrett had to hear Barker say it one last time. "I get teary-eyed just thinking about it," he said.
Exuberant fans have always been part of "The Price Is Right," which selects about 12 audience members for each show to play for prizes ranging from a grandfather clock to lavish vacation and car packages.
Fans passed their time in line talking game strategy and discussing rumors that Barker's last show would feature a rare million-dollar prize or that every audience member would be given a car.
But for many the real prize was a last chance to see their favorite host at work.
"I'd rather win a couch from Bob Barker than a million dollars from Howie Mandel," host of the NBC game show "Deal or No Deal," said Mark Dub, a NASA engineer who flew from Houston for the final show. "He's part of American culture."
Barker's final show is slated to air on June 15. His replacement has yet to be announced.
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