A Few Words with Indiana Native, Game Show Host Marc Summers

Marc SummersIt’s hard to take a slice out of the Americana pie and not find a reference to the iconic Indiana native, Marc Summers.

“Hey man, remember watching Nickelodeon and Marc Summers hosting all those cool game shows?” you might say, flipping through the channels.

Or “Are those Junior Mints?” you might ask a friend at a movie theatre. “You ever see that ‘Unwrapped’ episode with Marc Summers?”

To Americans, Marc is as classic and timeless as the shows we often see him hosting. It’s true, but he’ll never admit it. He’s just too good and humble of a man to do that.

“I didn’t plan anything, man. It just happened,” Summers said about his career.

Television and acting have always been Marc’s passion. He says the love for the stage and the screen has been in his blood since the day he was born. And he’s pursued his first love ever since.

“I would take the bus down to the Indiana Theatre in Downtown Indianapolis,” Summers remembered. “Back then, that used to be the only place to buy Variety magazine. I would buy it for $.50 and read it cover-to-cover Monday through Friday. Then on Saturdays, I would get back on the bus and go buy the next one.”

In the back of Variety, Summers recalled, there used to be a hiring section featuring regional gigs. The prize job featured in the magazine, for a Midwestern magician hopeful like Summers, was a gig at Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky, OH.

Summers never got the gig at Cedar Point. And I guess, in a way, we should all be thankful he moved on and got to share his special talents with an audience far bigger than that of a few amusement park goers.

Summers attended school in Boston after high school. He eventually worked his way up in the industry. He started as an intern at CBS, where he would constantly scribble down ideas for game shows. Game shows were a big part of his childhood. They dominated network TV back then: shows like “I’ve Got a Secret” and “To Tell the Truth”.

So it seems only natural that he would help game shows become a part of future generation’s childhoods as well.

Marc grew up watching, learning, and eventually working with the game show greats like Bob Barker and Jack Benny. And it was from these legendary hosts that Summers learned the key to being a good game show host.

“You have to listen,” Summers said. “If you look at the greats, like Bob Barker. Barker was a star because he made everyone around him look good.”

“I was writer on ‘Truth or Consequences’,” Summers added. “My fun part of the day was to go out to the lunch truck with Bob (Barker) and just talk business. And we both idolized Jack Benny, because Jack Benny was the king of making everybody around him a star. And if you notice, that’s what Bob did too.”

Now, Marc is taking those same lessons of “it’s about the contestants, not the host” to The Price Is Right Live at Star Plaza Theatre, an homage to the classic American TV show that has captured the eyes and imaginations of Americans for decades.

It’s a smooth transition for Summers, who has been hosting the live show off and on for years, and whose first real love has always been on the planks, ever since taking the stage at Footlite Musicals in Indianapolis as a kid. And it shows in his performance.

Still though, it’s The Price Is Right: an American classic.

“It’s an institution”, Summers puts it.

But so are you, Mr. Summers. It’s a match made in game show heaven.