‘Bonanza’: ‘Price is Right’ Legend Bob Barker Guest-Starred in Classic Episode

by Megan Molseed
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Known for his perfect hosting voice and popular mini-games, Bob Barker kept “The Price Is Right” running for over thirty years. However, did you know that along with his iconic role on the price-guessing game show, Barker has a background in acting? The famous host is credited as playing a character named Mort in a 1960 episode of the hit Western series, Bonanza.

He was the host of the show that popularized the phrase “COME ON DOWN!” Television viewers who have spent any time watching daytime programming will immediately recognize the famous game show icon.

The popular western series “Bonanza” has been declared to be one of the longest-running western series on television. “Bonanza” places second behind CBS’s Western series, Gunsmoke.

Set in the 1860s, the show follows the well-to-do Cartright family in Nevada. Bonanza starred Michael Landon and ran for a total of 14 seasons.

Barker Gave Michael Landon’s Bonanza Character a Run For His Money

Barker’s “Bonanza” episode features a crooked marshal named Denver McKee. As it turns out, McKee is behind multiple crimes in the area. McKee’s turn to the role of “bad guy” came from a desire to raise money to provide everything he felt his daughter, Connie needed. No matter how exorbitant or luxurious.

The game show host makes an appearance as Mort during a welcome home party for Connie. Connie has returned from time away at school. In the episode, Little Joe (Michael Landon) competes with Mort for the young woman’s attention. Eventually, Connie leaves Little Joe to himself at the table as she joins Mort (Barker) for a dance.

This appearance came twelve years before Bob Barker would begin his run on the popular game show. Before his “Bonanza” appearance Barker, with his one-of-a-kind voice, was pursuing a career in broadcasting.

Early in his career, Barker hosted his own radio show, aptly called “The Bob Barker Show.” His reign as a game show host began in 1956 when he took on the hosting role of “Truth or Consequences.” Barker would often host pageants such as the “Miss USA” pageant and “Miss Universe” between 1967 and 1987.

For well over three decades from 1972 until 2007, Bob Barker made his way into our living rooms each morning. Because of Barker, “The Price Is Right” has become the show that had generations watching during summer vacations, or during school sick days.

Bob Barker retired from hosting “The Price Is Right” in 1972. By that time, the famous host had celebrated 50 years on television.

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