- Associated Press - Monday, May 12, 2014

LEOLA, Pa. (AP) - Ever wonder how people get gigs on game shows?

It takes a little obsession.

Just ask Leola resident Christian Carrion, who has appeared on more than five of them

He and two friends will be hosting a rather obsessive 24-Hour Game Show Marathon in Philadelphia to raise funds for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. It runs from noon Saturday to noon Sunday, May 18.

His career as a contestant got started with “The Price is Right” about seven years ago, just when Carrion turned 18 and became eligible to appear as a contestant on game shows.

All Carrion wanted for that birthday was a plane ticket to Los Angeles, where “The Price is Right” is filmed.

“I told them I would take it from there,” says Carrion, who will turn 25 Friday.

Carrion, who lived in Connecticut at the time, had heard that the show’s host, Bob Barker, was retiring.

“I grew up watching him, so I really wanted to be on the show before he left,” he says.

Once in Los Angeles, he headed straight to the studio where the show is filmed.

“I was the first person in line,” Carrion says proudly. “I was there for three days. By the third day, there were about 4,000 people in line.”

He actually had fun waiting in that line.

“It was the first time I was meeting people who were into games as much as I was,” he says.

Carrion was rewarded for his earnest patience. His name was called to “come on down.”

“I was down there for most of the show because I kept messing up,” he recalls with a laugh.

He finally did win - a Broyhill sofa - and then got the chance to win a new car. All he had to do was guess the price of the car, down to the last digit.

Which is pretty tough to do.

“I got down to the very last number and lost,” he says.

But he got to keep the sofa (though he says it split apart in a move several years later) and a year’s supply of eye drops.

But it’s not the prizes that appeal to Carrion so much as it is the experience.

“I had so much fun meeting people I am still friends with today,” he says. “Though I have to admit, I did think about that car when I was late for the bus.”

It’s a different experience in the studio than it is watching on TV, of course.

“There is no music in the studio and a lot of tension,” Carrion says. “It’s really easier to play the game at home.”

That’s how Carrion got started, watching with his mom.

He owns a few hundred board games, including classics like “Uncle Wiggily,” ”Monopoly” and “Trivial Pursuit,” along with some not-so-classic ones like “Kojak, the Detective Game,” the “I Love Lucy” game and “Dr. Ruth’s Game of Good Sex.”

And he has plenty of home versions of TV games shows, including “Concentration,” ”Tic Tac Dough” and “The 25,000 Pyramid.”

It’s always been his dream to appear on as many shows as he can.

After “The Price is Right,” he began auditioning for everything he could.

He’s appeared on:

- “Hip Hop Squares,” MTV’s version of “Hollywood Squares.”

- “The Million Second Quiz,” on NBC, which was a quiz spread over 1 million seconds (or 11 days, 13 hours, 46 minutes and 40 seconds). It only went through a single million-dollar sequence, and Carrion lost everything in the process.

- “The Chase,” in which a team had to battle wits with an arrogant trivia genius known as The Beast.

- “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” with host Meredith Vieira in 2010.

It took seven auditions before Carrion won a place on “Millionaire,” but his enthusiastic, outgoing personality won Vieira over.

He won $15,000 and says the experience was wonderful all the way around.

Being on “The Chase” was a lot of fun, too, though after winning individually against The Beast (real name Mark Labbett), his team lost.

He is still trying to get on “Jeopardy.”

“I took the online test and passed it,” he says. “Then I went to New York for an in-person test in 2011, but they didn’t call me back.”

He got a job writing questions for “Pop Quiz,” a trivia show that was to run on VH1, but it never made it on air.

These days, Carrion works for a company that produces trivia questions for competitions. And he is still looking to audition for shows.

His ultimate dream though, is to host a show.

That’s part of the reason he is involved with the 24-Hour Game Show Marathon, which is in its third year.

He and his buddies and fellow game show fans, Cory Anotado and Bob Hagh, will be taking turns hosting well-known game shows like “Family Feud,” ”Concentration,” ”Jeopardy” and “Minute to Win It.”

The three will either serve as hosts or contestants for the entire 24-hour period. About 20 friends will be helping them out as contestants.

It’s a long 24 hours.

“The first time we did it, the excitement was insane,” Carrion says.

“But then everyone got tired and then delirious. Cory ended up in the hospital.”

This year, the goal is to raise $2,500 for Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

And, for Carrion, to get a little closer to becoming a game show host one day.





Information from: Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era , https://lancasteronline.com



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