Millions of Americans called their cable companies Friday morning to complain that just before Bob Barker declared the winner of the Showcase Showdown their screens went to black and ten seconds later the credits rolled to a black backdrop.
Producer Roger Dobkowitz said: "Bob is an 83 year old man. All season long we have been building tension. Can Bob keep going? Is the skinny microphone going to slip from his hand just before signing off? We left that for the viewers to decide."
The producers also left open the following question: "Is Bob dead, and if so who is responsible?"
Many fans were unsatisfied with the finale considering the dramatic punch delivered in previous episodes culminating during Wednesday's show when model Rachel Reynolds was knocked unconscious with a low flying Plinko disk and announcer Rod Roddy choked on an out-of-date pretzel as he yelled: "Fred Pepitone come on down!"
On Thursday's show, during a sit down with associate producer Fingers Greco and members from Goodman-Todman, Fingers pointed towards "Jeopardy" host Alex Trebeck as the man who ordered the hits. Trebeck, a foreigner, is known as a greedy, selfish man who wanted to make sure he won best game show host at the following nights' Emmy ceremony and attempted to decimate the "Price is Right" team so Barker could not finish the show's run.
Trebeck, the host of America's second favorite game show, was in the studio shooting Thursday's episode when he read the Final Jeopardy answer "Bob Barker." Seconds later when Trebeck asked the first contestant, a tall, elderly woman, what her question was she revealed: "Who Tried to Whack Me?" and as Trebeck began to state that this was incorrect the woman peeled off her costume to reveal it was Barker himself, who then shot the troubled Canadian three times instantly killing him. Unfortunately he had not bet enough to win the game.
Barker and Greco escaped into a waiting limo while Johnny Gilbert chased them with a shotgun.
In the limo Fingers asked him why Gilbert was shooting at him. "Trebeck was a pimp," Barker said. "My enemy was Merv Griffen all along."
Griffen and Barker interests conflicted because every morning Griffen awakens, goes outside, catches a rabbit, skins it to make mittens, and then eats its flesh. Following this he lets his 100 un-spade cats wreck havoc on the neighborhood.
Before Friday's episode Barker and Griffen had a sit down and seemingly made their peace where Griffen agreed to spade his cats and stop wearing furry mittens and Barker agreed to let Trebeck win the Emmy posthumously and gave Griffen the rights to "Hi-Lo."
So with the hostilities ended viewers expected a dignified send off to the series.
"But everyone knows Griffen is a snake," Dobkowitz said. "He could have double crossed Bob, it's all in the mind of the viewer."
At this time CBS was still taking calls from angry viewers while Griffen denied any culpability, but, it was noted, despite the 90-degree heat, he was still wearing his furry mittens.