Breckenridge Texan

Mary Capps has time of her life on trip to ‘The Price Is Right’

Mary Capps has time of her life on trip to ‘The Price Is Right’
November 19
13:37 2023

By Carla McKeown/Breckenridge Texan

At age 80, Mary Capps is a firm believer in the idea that you’re never too old to follow your dreams. And, she did just that in September when she flew — with a few family members — to California and went to a taping of “The Price Is Right.”

Mary Capps, second from right, was joined by her daughter, Melinda Stalcup, left, and two of her grandkids, Bethany Boone, right, and Phillip Gilley. (Courtesy Photo)

If you watch tomorrow’s airing of the TV game show, you might just catch a glimpse of Mary, along with one of her daughters, Melinda Stalcup, and two of her grandchildren, Phillip Gilley and Bethany Boone. Look behind the first contestant, three rows back, Mary said. They’ll be wearing bright yellow t-shirts. The show is scheduled to air at 10 a.m. (Breckenridge time) Monday, Nov. 20, on CBS.

Mary lives in Stephens County near her daughters, Tamara Boone and Melinda Stalcup, and other family members. Her son, Scott Capps, and his family live in Oklahoma. She was a paraprofessional with Breckenridge Independent School District, as well as a subsitute teacher. In fact, she still subsitutes sometimes.

Not only did Mary get to fulfill her dream of going to “The Price Is Right,” but she also flew on an airplane for the first time and visited California for the first time. And, although she didn’t get picked to be a contestant on the game show, Mary still had the time of her life. “I never dreamed I could do something like that,” she said. “And, I waited until I was 80 years old.”

The trip came about when her grandson Phillip, a pilot with an airline, offered to use his family discount to take her anywhere she wanted to go. It didn’t take much thinking on Mary’s part; she knew she wanted to see “The Price Is Right.” She said she’s been watching the game show since it started, in 1972 with Bob Barker as the host.

Although Phillip wasn’t the pilot for their trip, he and his mom, Melinda, and his cousin Bethany accompanied Mary on the trip.

Mary Capps is wearing the special t-shirt that was signed and given to her by George Gray, the announcer of “The Price Is Right.” On the table is the shirt she wore to the taping of the show. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Tickets to the game show are free, and Mary and the others got there by about 7 a.m., she said. One thing that many people may not realize is that for a one-hour episode, the audience is there for about seven hours.

“Between each contestant’s turn, (show host) Drew Carey comes down and talks to the audience,” she said.

Mary explained that their morning started out in a long line outside the studio with the other audience members, aka potential contestants. Once their names were checked off on the list, everyone went into a holding area. “It’s full of people, and they’re playing loud music,” she said. “Of course, everybody’s just talking, because they say the more active you are, the more likely it is that you’ll get picked. Some of them were getting up there doing line dances, and I said, ‘I think I can do that.’ So, I got up there and was moving around. Everybody was hollering, ‘Go, Mary, go! Go, Mary, go!’ And, some of them were saying ‘Memaw,’ because that’s what my grandkids were calling me. ‘Go, Memaw, go!’ … Everybody was so friendly; it was like a big happy family.”

In that short amount of time together, the audience members got a chance to know each other, Mary said. One young man they met had just turned 18 and got picked as one of the contestants.

In all of her conversations about “The Price Is Right,” Mary was careful not to reveal any of the outcomes of the contests, citing the rules of the show. Since she didn’t get to compete and didn’t win anything, she was free to talk about her own experiences.

During the wait for the show to begin, the audience members were taken into another room and asked questions about themselves. “They ask for your name and where you’re from and what you do for a living,” Mary said. “Of course, my daughter and my granddaughter are paraprofessionals (with Breckenridge Independent School District), and when it came to me, I said I was a paraprofessional for 20 years. And, she said, ‘Oh, so your daughter and grandkids are following in your footsteps?’ I said, ‘Yes, they are. And, I worked with special ed kids, and I enjoyed every minute of it.'”

Then, they got to go into the studio where the games are played.

One of the things that surprised Mary about the show was how small the studio is in real-life. “To me, (on TV) it looks like a huge place. It’s not a huge place,” she said. “But, you know, with cameras, they can just do anything to make things look bigger or smaller. I couldn’t wait until the first time after I came home to watch it, because I know now how it’s all set up and everything. I never, ever, ever dreamed that I’d be on a game show like that.”

Mary Capps and her family saw some of the sights of California on their trip, including the Hollywood sign. Pictured, from left, are Phillip Gilley, Bethany Boone, Mary Capps and Melinda Stalcup. (Courtesy Photo)

During the taping of the show, Mary and her family didn’t get a chance to talk to the show’s host Drew Carey. “But, he seems like a really nice guy. He wears tennis shoes and no socks, but he’s real nice,” she said with a laugh. “And (show announcer) George Gray is real nice.”

In fact, during a break in the show, Gray made a special presentation to Mary, giving her a “The Price Is Right” t-shirt that he had signed.

In addition to going to the taping of “The Price Is Right,” Mary and her daughter and grandkids also saw some of the sights of California, including the Hollywood sign. As much as she enjoyed “The Price Is Right,” Mary wasn’t too impressed with California, especially the traffic and the cost of things. On the other hand, she enjoyed her first plane ride and said she was treated like royalty on the flights to and from California.

Mary, who will be 81 in January, said she would advise others that “You’re never too old to do what you want to do.”

For her next trip, she said she told Phillip that she’d like to go to the Billy Graham Library in North Carolina.

But, she is willing to brave another trip to California to see, if the next time she goes, she will hear George Gray call out, “Mary Capps, come on down! You’re the next contestant on The Price Is Right!”

At 80 years of age, Mary Capps took her first plane ride, flying to California with several family members. Pictured, from left, are Phillip Gilley, Mary Capps, Bethany Boone and Melinda Stalcup. (Courtesy Photo)

Cutline, top photo: Mary Capps and her “Dream Team” went to “The Price Is Right” in September, and although she wasn’t chosen as a contestant, she still had the time of her life. Pictured, from left, are Melinda Stalcup, Phillip Gilley, Mary Capps and Bethany Boone. (Courtesy Photo)


UPDATE, Nov. 21, 2023: If you didn’t get a chance to see Monday’s episode of The Price Is Right, you can watch it on the CBS website. Just click the following link:



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