When "The Price Is Right" Offered Elephants as Prizes

In 1956, the game show The Price Is Right offered a variety of prizes to its contestants — anything from rooms of furniture to trips to Paris to airplanes and 5-figure-priced necklaces. Nothing seemed to be out of the realm of possibility. At one point, the show’s creator, Bob Stewart, and producers brought in a circus elephant — not once, but twice. The first time, an elephant was brought on stage, where it promptly defecated on the coast-to-coast television broadcast. Cullen, always the master of recovery, allowed himself a laugh, but remained in total control of the stage. He looked into the camera calmly, waited for the audience howls to die down, and then deadpanned, "Be sure to join us next week when The Price is Right offers equal time to the Democratic party.” The show offered a second elephant as a bonus and got themselves into another bit of trouble. A Texas farmer got an elephant as a bonus prize when he was the winning bidder on a grand piano. Stewart intended it as a joke — the elephant was to supply extra ivory — and planned on giving the contestant a hefty $4,000 cash equivalent instead. It turned out that the farmer actually wanted the elephant, and Stewart was forced to fly one in from Kenya.