“Brittany Littlejohn, come on down!”
And with that, the 23-year-old builder constructionman with Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 5 was on her way to winning $500 in cash, a wine cooler, a gas grill and a quad — the last two of which she probably won’t even see until she’s back from her upcoming deployment.
Littlejohn was one of about 30 Sailors from Naval Base Ventura County (NBVC) who was invited to the set of “The Price is Right,” the long-running CBS game show hosted by Drew Carey in which contestants try to guess the price of merchandise. They joined dozens of other members of the military for the special Veterans Day episode that aired Nov. 9.
Actual taping took place nearly a month prior, so on a hot September day, the Sailors, wearing their Service Dress Blues made of wool, headed down to Los Angeles.
“We didn’t know at that point who’d be picked for the show,” she said. “All we knew was that they were looking for cheerful people with lots of personality. I thought, ‘Cheerful with lots of personality? I’m already that way!’”
In Los Angeles, all the military personnel were lined up in groups of 15. Each person was asked two questions: Are you excited to be here? And what do you like to do for fun?
“I knew this was a once-in-a-lifetime moment,” Littlejohn said. “So I said that yes, I was excited to be there, and I said I liked to dance. They asked me what kind of dance I’d do if I went on the show, and I said, ‘I’ll do whatever dance you want!’
“That got me on the show.”
Littlejohn ended up being the only competitor from the Navy.
“They told us to have poise and to be professional,” she said, “but I knew from past episodes that everyone was the total opposite.”
So when she heard her name and that trademark “Come on down!” she admits: “I kind of lost my mind. There’s no name for the dance that I did. I was just so excited.”
It was, she said, “pretty epic.”
Then came the hard part. The competitors had to name the correct price for a wine cooler. A Seabee in the audience suggested that Littlejohn say $900, and she was about to do that when the competitor next to her, having heard the suggestion, beat her to it.
“So I said $1,100, and I was right on the nose,” she said.
The next thing she knew, Drew Carey was handing her five $100 bills.
“He was very funny,” Littlejohn said. “He was really happy, really nice. He hands me the money and asks me what I do for the Navy and I tell him I’m a Seabee construction worker. Then he quotes John Wayne in ‘The Fighting Seabees.’ I found out later he’s prior military.”
Carey served six years in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve.
Next, Littlejohn competed in the showcase — a gas grill and a quad. She won that, but then lost the wheel spin on the Showcase Showdown.
“I was still happy to be on the show,” she said.
So now she has a wine cooler that she hasn’t opened yet — “I’ll probably give it away as a Christmas present,” she said — $500 that will cover the taxes on her winnings and a quad and a gas grill that are expected to arrive by February.
She’ll be deployed then, but her roommate has promised to take good care of them.
“I’ll put them to good use when I get back,” Littlejohn says. “I’ve never been on a quad, but I love dirt-biking. And I was raised barbecuing. My parents own a barbecue restaurant in Berkeley, and to this day I’d rather grill than cook!”
She said her parents and other relatives all over the country are proud of her.
Her one regret is that she didn’t give a shout-out to her housemate, Julia Burchell-Smith.
“I gave a shout-out to NMCB 5, but not Julia,” she said. “I can’t believe I did that.”
Maybe some barbecue will make up for it.