Some parts of Tuesday, Feb. 2 are still a little blurry for Larnell Phillips, and people can see for themselves the reason why on Thursday, April 28.
The Zebulon resident was scheduled to be in Los Angeles for a church conference that week in February, so he did what many people dream of doing and registered for tickets to the CBS game show “The Price is Right.”
“I had that time available, and I just wanted to be able to say I was at ‘The Price is Right,’ ” said Phillips, a U.S. Postal Service carrier in Wendell and Zebulon and pastor at Zebulon’s Shiloh Temple Tabernacle. “I was just excited to know I was going to be inside with the people, and in priority seats.”
Fast-forward a few months, and life mostly carries on as normal for Phillips – except for the part about him expecting to receive any day now the five prizes plus cash he won while making it as a finalist on the popular television game show.
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Phillips believes his enthusiasm won producers over when he was being interviewed for consideration as a contestant, asking him questions like where he is from and what he does for a living.
“They want people who are excited about being there,” he said. “I was so excited. I was in (Los Angeles). I’m at ‘The Price is Right’ studios.”
After hearing his first name, Uthers, followed by, “Come on down,” Phillips made it onto the stage with the closest bid on a two-diamond ring, his first prize.
He doesn’t recall, for certain, the exact amount of that winning bid and some of the other numbers he turned in while in the spotlight, and the game show’s producers prefer not to release too many specifics prior to shows airing.
Joining host Drew Carey on the stage, Phillips played the Punch-a-Bunch game, in which he had to choose whether the actual price of four prizes was higher or lower than the presented price.
Choosing all four correctly, winning four small household appliances in the process, earned him four punches at a grid of pockets concealing slips for cash prizes. It also earned him the right to spin the wheel in the second showcase showdown. He was the second of the three contestants to spin, and he won to move on to the showcase.
“It was crazy, I’m telling you,” Phillips said. “The wheel, it’s heavy, but your adrenaline is flowing.”
Phillips does remember clearly the jitters he experienced when he reached the showcase.
“They stopped the recording because I was sweating so bad,” he said. “They said are you OK, and I said I’m just so nervous and excited.”
Phillips said he’ll probably keep the diamond ring he won as a memory of his appearance on the show, and he said he may spend some of his Punch-a-Bunch earnings on a future vacation.
Ultimately, he said the rare opportunity wouldn’t have been possible without his church and the conference that landed him in Los Angeles.