A Slovan woman is invited to “Come on down!”

May 8, 2014
Linda Armstrong of Slovan, right, is shown with her daughters, Debbie Martinez, left, and Carol Bonilla, and her granddaughter, Alexis Martinez. - Photo provided by Debbie Martinez

Having tuned in to “The Price is Right” since a young and black-haired Bob Barker hosted it in the early 1970s, Linda Armstrong has heard the names of hundreds of contestants being called, followed by the well-known cry of “Come on down!”

Turns out that when her own name was called, ironically enough, she didn’t even hear it, thanks to the shouting and the applause.

“But it was true,” the Slovan resident said. “They called it.”

Armstrong will be able to relive the whole experience when her turn on “The Price is Right” airs today at 11 a.m. on CBS-TV (locally on KDKA-TV). The 67-year-old will be on the long-running game show with her daughter, Debra Martinez, now a resident of a Raleigh, N.C., suburb, in a Mother’s Day special.

Because she signed a nondisclosure form, Armstrong has to stay mum on what prizes she won or whether she made it all the way to the Showcase Showdown when the program was recorded March 18 in Los Angeles. But it was, without a doubt, memorable – Armstrong, her daughter and granddaughter milled in line from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. before entering the studio, and then they had to wait a little while longer before host Drew Carey showed up (he was held up by a talk-show appearance).

Nonetheless, Armstrong and her daughter were among the few who were called that day.

Though “The Price Is Right” was at The Meadows Racetrack & Casino last July auditioning potential contestants, that’s not how they ended up on the program. Someone with the program interviewed Armstrong when they were in line and she told them that she was “L.A. from Pa. who came all the way from Pa. to be on ‘The Price is Right.’”

Was Armstrong nervous?

“My goodness, yes,” she said. “I couldn’t breathe when I got up on stage. I thought they’d have to call 911.”

Martinez, who graduated from Burgettstown High School in 1989, is something of a veteran when it comes to game-show appearances, having previously appeared on “The Price is Right” 22 years ago and “Wheel of Fortune” in 2012. She said that “there are 300 people in the audience, so your chances of being picked are kind of slim.”

She added, “I’m so excited for my mom. She so deserves the recognition.”

Martinez will not be with her mother when the program is broadcast, but they will be sharing the experience on speakerphone and, of course, DVRs will be set.

Any other games shows in store for Armstrong and her daughter?

“I would sure like to be on ‘Family Feud,’” Martinez said.

Brad Hundt came to the Observer-Reporter in 1998 after stints at newspapers in Georgia and Michigan. Brad holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from George State University in Atlanta, Ga., and a master’s in popular culture studies from Bowling Green (Ohio) State University. He has covered the arts and entertainment for the O-R, and also worked as a municipal beat reporter. He now serves as editorial page editor.

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