Denise Neil

Price was right for local real estate agent

My memories of summer mornings at my Grandma's house have a distinctive "The Price is Right" soundtrack.

It starts with the bouncy theme music. "Bum bum ba dummmmm! Bum bum ba dummmmm!"

It continues with the catchphrases.

"Come on down!"

"A new car!"

"Closest to one dollar without going over!"

"A Mark Goodson television production!"

It includes the distinctive digital beeping of the spinning big wheel. The high-pitched dinging that accompanied a successful bid. The "bum-bum-ba-wahhhhhhh" that announced an idiotic bid.

And that yearning yodeling that accompanied the "Cliff Hanger" climber as he reached the summit of suggested retail pricing.

Local real estate agent Jamey Blubaugh has those same childhood memories —his grandpa always watched "The Price Is Right" in the morning — and they're part of what propelled him toward CBS Television City in Hollywood when he and his brother visited nearby Anaheim earlier this month for a real estate conference.

Jamey, who is one half of the local "Blues Brothers" Keller Williams team, said he'd traveled to California several times in the past and always regretted not visiting any television or movie studios.

Before he went on his most recent trip, he secured tickets to a taping of "The Price is Right," and when the real estate conference was over, he and brother Jeff Blubaugh and their wives left the kids with grandma at the hotel.

Jamey, whose mother-in-law Elisa Ramirez is a hard-core "The Price is Right" fan who insists on being undisturbed between 10 and 11 a.m. each weekday morning, described the pre-taping process as long and arduous.

Ticketholders were interviewed in groups of 12 before being herded into their seats. Jamey, a self-described ham, wore a Kansas State T-shirt and loudly joked with producers and fellow audience members throughout the morning. He had a feeling he was drawing attention.

"My family kept telling me, 'If anyone would make it on the show, it'd be you,' " he said.

But he was still surprised when his name was called to "come on down."

Jamey can't say how he did on the game show, which is hosted by Drew Carey. Producers made him promise not to discuss it. But he did indicate that he was happy with the outcome and promised that Wichitans would be amused by his on-camera reactions.

Retail prices are sort of a specialty of his, hinted Jamey, who grew up in Danville, the son of Ron and Brenda Blubaugh. His father was a master bargain shopper, and Jamey would accompany him on shopping trips to watch him.

"He would go and buy all the sale items and then he would stand there outside the car to make sure they rang it up right," he said.

Jamey and his brother are hosting a viewing party and charity breakfast the morning the show is scheduled to air. It's set to be on at 10 a.m. March 16 on CBS and KWCH, Channel 12.

The watch party will be at their real estate office at 10300 W. Maple from 9 a.m. to noon. Breakfast will cost $5, and proceeds will go to a local charity.

No doubt the person paying the most attention that morning will be Jamey's mother-in-law, who became emotional when she heard the outcome of her son-in-law's "The Price is Right" visit.

"After I called her she started crying — she's a crier," he said with a laugh. "She's calling everyone and telling them. I think she's telling strangers."