All around Air Force Maj. Douglas Johnson people were screaming. As his rivals stood shoulder to shoulder with him – the lights glaring in their faces – he held his breath. Would it be his turn next?
“Come on down!” reverberated through the room.
Johnson leaped on stage, shaking hands with none other than former Marine and game show host Drew Carey. Johnson’s dad, former Air Force Capt. Dale Johnson, cheered next to him on stage.
The father and son team participated in this year’s Fourth of July special episode of the "Price is Right," which honors the men and women of the armed forces and their military families.
“It was a lot of fun. The studio itself – the TV always make it look bigger than it is. It was really exciting to be there. To see the show taped, it was almost surreal,” the younger Johnson said.
Johnson senior added that it’s “way different” from what you see on TV. “You don’t see everything going on. There are four cameras, you don’t see all the cords getting carried around. You don’t see all the people in the background. There are stage people getting the audience to cheer on the contestants. It’s pretty crazy.”
Born on Father’s Day and with four sisters, the younger Johnson said he treasures the moments he has with his veteran father, who served during the Cold War.
“My dad and I have been watching "The Price is Right" forever – growing up we would watch it during lunch,” Douglas Johnson said. So, “It was special that we got to do that.”
This isn’t the first time "The Price is Right" has showcased the military. In 2002 there were several specials, including a show that saluted all the branches at once. It was followed by individual episodes saluting the Army, Navy, Air Force and the Marines. For the past five years, all the branches of the military have been represented in the audience on Veterans Day.
The episode with the Johnsons will be the first time a military-themed show takes place on July 4th, and the first time military personnel have played as pairs.
When the show was filmed, the younger Johnson had been stationed at Edwards Air Force Base, but was in the process of transferring. He has been deployed twice overseas, and he became a pilot so he could follow in his father’s footsteps.
The elder Johnson was with the Air Force for about eight years before he was hired by Delta Air Lines. He stayed with Delta for 25 years, and just retired in October.
“It was kind of exciting,” Johnson senior said of hearing the news from his son that they had been contacted by the show via email. "He called and said, ‘Come on down!’ ”
The team waited in the contestants’ row during the actual show until they heard those same words from Carey. And while there may be competition between the forces, on that day in Hollywood, there was a sense of camaraderie.
“Just meeting everyone was a lot of fun. I would absolutely do it again,” the younger Johnson said.
“We had a great time," the elder Johnson added. “They were really great to host us and to be there for military day. It’s going to air on July 4th. It’s great not only for the military, but for the country itself.”
The Johnsons said they were not allowed to speak about the outcome, but to see if they won, you can tune in at 11 a.m. EST or 10 a.m. PST. Their potential prizes ranged from a trip to Washington, D.C., and a new car.