A retired postal worker from Houma won half a dozen prizes on an episode of "The Price is Right" television show that aired today.
He credits his name, James Taylor, and daughter, Claudia Ryder, for helping.
Ryder won all of the prizes on the show last year. After that, the family made plans to return to Los Angeles, where the show is produced. To be chosen as a contestant, audience members line up beforehand and are interviewed by producers. Taylor played on his shared name with the popular singer-songwriter, as well as his hometown.
“My wife and my daughter kept saying, ‘You gotta really build it up hard. You gotta really sell yourself,’ ” Taylor said. “I shook [the producer’s] hand and said, ‘Now you can go home and tell your family and friends that you shook hands with James Taylor. I can’t sing like him, … [but] I’m the craziest Cajun from south Louisiana that you can ever meet.”
The show starts by calling four contestants to compete for a chance to play games and win prizes by guessing the retail price of a certain item. Taylor was in the original four and got his chance to play after he guessed the closest price for a trampoline.
Taylor went on to win a set of designer bamboo sunglasses, a karaoke machine and a trip to Nashville. He won the bonus game and $1,000 to make it into the top two. Finally, he went head-to-head with another contestant to win it all, with a set of Vespas motor scooters, a 3-D television and a vacation to Germany.
Taylor had to keep a straight face when watching those final minutes on TV at a party today with family and friends. His friends didn’t know which family member made it onto the show, let alone that Taylor won it all.
“I didn’t change my expression or nothing,” he said.
The prizes weren't the highlight of the experience for Taylor. He said the friendly people and the camaraderie that came with being on the show was the best part.
Taylor prepared by watching several episodes and filling a legal pad with a list of items and their prices while familiarizing himself with the games. Despite the preparation, he said it still comes down to luck.
“You can throw it out the window because once you get down to contestant’s row, your mind goes blank,” Taylor said.