She won “A New Car!!!”
No, she didn’t get to drive it home.
Since winning the most iconic prize “The Price is Right” has to offer, Debra Field has gotten that question from friends and family many, many times.And others: “Did they deliver that car? Did you drive it home from California? How much do you have to pay? Can you turn the car in and receive cash instead of a car? Can you upgrade to a different car?”
Despite winning the new set of wheels, Field, a flight attendant from Monmouth Junction, New Jersey, says the best part of her game show experience was that it brought people together and brought them some joy during these tough times.
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“I really enjoyed everybody’s reaction watching it,” she said. “People sent me videos of themselves watching it. And because of the pandemic, everybody was home. All of my girlfriends and all of their kids watched it as a family, which I think is so cool.”
Field said appearing on the show felt like an out-of-body experience.
“You don’t know what you’re going to say, how you’re going to react. And apparently, from looking at the pictures and watching it (on television), I did a lot of praying and a lot of crying and a lot of thanking God,” she said.
She also says she couldn’t believe how much raw emotion she showed.
She had a great calming presence on her side though – host Drew Carey.
“There’s moments where I kind of, like, leaned into Drew Carey. He held my hand. I held his hand. Even the last number, before it came out, he grabbed my hand. And I really needed that. I felt it,” she said.
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She laughs that afterward, “I totally blew him off and jumped around like a crazy person. But I really felt the joy of the moment. And it did not go unnoticed how grateful I was to be able to win something like that.”
Field did not have an easy path to winning the car, batting her way to the win in Lucky Seven.
“They set up a really difficult game to win and they said I nailed it and I knocked it out of the park. Even Drew Carey said that. So that was really, really exciting,” Field said.
One other surprise for Field was the experience of spinning The Big Wheel in the Showcase Showdown.
“The wheel was much higher than I thought it was going to be, because I’m 5’8″. They say to reach high, and you barely can hold onto anything on the side. It’s kind of like a peg. You don’t get a really good grip on it. And the wheel doesn’t spin very smooth. It’s kind of like an awkward pull. And it is heavier than you think it is,” she said.
Being in the spotlight and spinning was surreal, she said.
“It really doesn’t feel like you’re on the show. After seeing it for so many years, you’re like, ‘I’m up here spinning the wheel.’ ”
Field, who woke up in New Jersey for an early flight with no idea she would end up on “The Price Is Right” mere hours later, said the full experience felt like destiny after she lost her house and had to move into her parents’ home with her kids.
“Destiny and a lot of luck, for somebody who is down and out on her luck, having a really rough year, just to bring a new car and happiness to my family was all in the bigger plan,” she said.
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And just what does happen after you win a car on “The Price Is Right”?
“After the show is over and you see your prizes, you fill out a form and it explains exactly what you won and that you have to pay California income tax on your prizes,” Field said.
“You see the form, you sign it. And they say, approximately one week before the show airs, you’ll receive a letter from accounting and you’ll see the amount that you owe. And then after the show airs, you can send in your certified check. And then after that, they will contact a local New Jersey car dealership” to get your car.
Ilana Keller is an award-winning journalist and lifelong New Jersey resident who loves Broadway and really bad puns. She highlights arts advocacy and education, theater fundraisers and more through her column, “Sightlines.” Reach out on Twitter: @ilanakeller; [email protected]