Fran-Barry Squeezed on Amazing Race
by Rochell D. Thomas
Fran and Barry, The Amazing Race
Fran and Barry didn't need CBS' The Amazing Race (Wednesdays at 8 pm/ET) to add more stamps to their passports. In the 40 years they've been married, the couple — who became the seventh team eliminated — have visited 45 countries, setting foot on almost every continent and in every hemisphere in the world. A 63-year-old retired doctor and a 61-year-old retired accountant with grown children, they also didn't need the money. So why did they run? "It was all about the competition," Barry told TVGuide.com the day after their elimination episode aired. "We weren't just happy to be there. We thought we had a chance to win!" Here's what else they thought of the greatest race on earth.
TVGuide.com: You two may be a lot older, but you've also seen the world. Didn't that give you an advantage over the other Racers?
Fran: We actually have been to most of the countries, although not the cities. We've been to Italy but not Sicily. We had never been to São Paulo. We had never been to Oman.
Barry: One thing that was an advantage for us was that we had driven on the Autobahn in Germany, and we knew that there's no speed limit. Most of the other teams drove what they thought was the speed limit. We actually revved it up. We caught up and passed a lot of teams that way.
TVGuide.com: How fast were you going?
Fran: You really want to know?
Barry: We were going about 180 kph [112 mph].
TVGuide.com: Whoa. Let's slow it down and go back to Brazil, where you famously walked by the clue box at least three times. How is that possible?
Fran: I'd like to say someone was standing in front of it, but I don't know that. [Laughs] Once we walked over the bridge and didn't see it, we started looking everywhere else. Up. Down. In a church. We didn't see the box.
Barry: The clue boxes, in general, were not hidden in tricky spots. It was just the stress of the situation and not being as focused as we'd normally be, and we just missed it. [Laughs] No excuses!
TVGuide.com: One of CBS.com's Amazing Race outtakes shows you two in Germany frantically searching for the Mercedes car key, which Barry was holding in his hand.
Barry: That was my doing. I've never driven a Mercedes before, and when we got the Mercedes, the key was already in the car. I didn't realize that slab of metal was the key. It looked almost like a credit card.
Fran: It's just like a rectangle. It's not cut out like a key, so it looks like half the key is missing.
Barry: So I'm thinking the key fell off that piece or maybe it snapped inside of it. That's when I panicked.
TVGuide.com: Fran, you've been sky-diving before, and in the first episode you walked down the outside of a building. How is it that you can do those two things but you're afraid to bungee-jump?
Fran: First of all, we both love rappelling. And we sky-dived about 12 years ago in California. The big difference is that there's an instructor on your back who has to open up the parachute — you're not doing anything. [With] bungee, you're on your own, and just the thought of diving 240 feet headfirst with this cord tied to your leg absolutely terrified me.
TVGuide.com: What did you tell yourself in order to be able to step off the bridge?
Fran: I closed my eyes, put an imaginary veil over my face and just went. To tell you the truth, I have no clue what happened from there. When I watched it on TV, I looked as terrified as I felt.
TVGuide.com: Barry, was there anything you were afraid to do on the race?
Barry: I'm not a water person, so jumping off that platform [in Moscow] was scary — although we practiced swimming and took swimming lessons in the weeks prior to going on the race.
TVGuide.com: You had time to take swimming lessons? How long before the race started did you know you were going to be on the show?
Fran: Three weeks. Every other day we swam and lifted weights, and every other day we went on the machines at the rec center. We were prepared physically.
TVGuide.com: Barry, why did you and Lake get into an argument at the airport ticket counter?
Barry: We were in fourth place and Lake was in third. We showed up after he did and asked the fellow behind the counter the quickest way to Palermo. He pointed out that in fact there was a connection on Air Italia that got in a half hour before. He also mentioned that the previous team — Lake and Michelle — had not asked that question. He gave them a flight on Lufthansa, which got in a half hour later. As we're getting our tickets, Lake started to move over to see what we were doing. At that point, he was entering our "space," so to speak. Our relationship then sort of deteriorated.
TVGuide.com: Why did you seem surprised to learn you won first place in Oman?
Barry: We knew we were in the top two, but when we were heading to the castle, Joseph and Monica were behind us. They peeled off, and we knew there was a shortcut, so we didn't know when we came in if we were first or second. When we were first, we were obviously thrilled.
TVGuide.com: You did well with those maps! I would have followed you.
Barry: The other teams did mention that maybe they should just follow us and outsprint us to the end. [Laughs]
TVGuide.com: How was your night inside the "pleasure dome"?
Fran: It was a youth hostel, really. Our room had three bunk beds — six guys who were going to be sleeping there.
Barry: There was stuff all over the place. A bunch of the guys had been staying there for weeks and using that as a base.
Fran: We were actually short one bed. Barry and I just slid into a top bunk, turned sideways and fell asleep. We didn't get up until the alarm went off.
Barry: We didn't even move. We were so tired!
TVGuide.com: You gave BJ and Tyler $20. It's a competition. Why did you help?
Fran: It is a competition, but BJ and Tyler helped us many times. They got the guy at the ferry to take us to the silversmith to get the next clue.
Barry: We followed them to the fountain in Rome. First off, we liked them very much. Secondly, we had a relationship. Thirdly, I really don't think that we felt that we'd be helping them all that much.
Fran: They're very resourceful, and they didn't need our $20.
Barry: They should have given us the $20 back — they got all that money!
TVGuide.com: True. They made out like bandits on the plane. Were they allowed to tell people you were on The Amazing Race?
Both: Absolutely not!
Fran: They went up to business and first class. In their personable way, they told [people] that their belongings and money were stolen and whatever they could give would be fine. And people gave!
TVGuide.com: Which team would you travel with if given the opportunity in the future?
Fran: You mean who will travel with us?
Barry: We'd certainly let "the hippies" travel with us, and I think MoJo — we like them, they're a nice young couple. They come off a bit strange on TV, but actually they're quite pleasant and Monica's quite brilliant and smart, as well as being beautiful.
TVGuide.com: Once you were eliminated, what was the first thing you did?
Fran: We washed our shoes out. They were full of sand.
Barry: Then we had a beer.http://www.tvguide.com/News/Insider/?cmsGuid=%7BA01088AC-6484-4290-86D7-E502288FDDC2%7D