So called because the contestant involved got to play with a home viewer by phone, trying to share big cash prizes up to a total of $15,000; it's named for its reference to the phrase spoken by E.T. in said 1982 film.
NOTE: This should not be confused with the extremely short-lived Telephone Game which was played three times in November 1978.
- During much of the 1980s, The Price is Right had a feature called "Play Along," where viewers were invited to send postcards to the show for a chance to receive the same prizes won by the in-studio contestants. The Phone Home Game took this concept to another level, having the person whose postcard was drawn participate by telephone in a cooperative effort with the in-studio contestant to split a cash prize of up to $15,000. The home player communicated by way of a telephone receiver as part of the game's prop.
- The in-studio contestant was shown a game board listing seven grocery items, each having an amount of money concealed beside it. The home player had been prepared with a list of the products and their actual prices. The home player gave the in-studio contestant three prices, one at a time. The in-studio contestant had to match the price to the correct product on the board. If they were correct, the two contestants earned the amount of money concealed next to that product on the board, which was not revealed until the end of the game. If the pick was wrong, no money was earned, and both the wrongly guessed product and the product which actually matched the price were taken out of play (since the price of the incorrect choice was revealed).
- Once all three prices were played, the money concealed beside any correctly guessed products was revealed, and the two players split the winnings evenly.
- The home player was only supposed to give a price to the in-studio contestant; if the home viewer read out the name of an item, the team would lose a turn.
- The seven products concealed the following prize amounts: $200 and $1,000 were each on the board twice, and the top three prizes of $2,000; $3,000; and $10,000 each appeared once, for a top prize of $15,000 split between the contestants.
History and behind the scenesEdit
- The game lasted from September 12, 1983 (#4991D) to November 3, 1989 (#7405D).
- At least two pairs of players split the full $15,000 prize; there were also contestant pairings who failed to win any money, including one in which the home player named a product instead of a price on all three turns, thus completely wasting the game.
- The home viewer was called before the taping of the show began and was put on hold until the game was played. The staff reasoned that keeping someone on hold for over 20 minutes would be impolite, so the game was always played in the first half of a show.
- The podium housing the seven items in its entirety was rarely seen on-camera.
- Until the set revamp in 2007, there was still a jack for The Phone Home Game's telephone to be plugged into on the frame of one of the show's Big Doors.
- Contestants calling from home would remain eligible to be in-studio contestants on The Price is Right.
- This was the only game in the show's history that would get teased by Bob the day before it was played ("tune in! I just might be calling you!"), even though the show was taped weeks or months in advance.
- The Phone Home Game took an annual hiatus early November until late January due to the “Christmas Memories”-themed Home Viewer Showcase taking place at that time. Despite this, the game was played often when active. During the 12th season when it was first introduced, it was sometimes played two or even three times a week.
- The most number of times this game was played in any season was 35.
- The Phone Home Game was retired because the staff thought the game took too long to play and didn't draw enough interest.