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‘American Pickers’

May 11, 2013
By Cindy Votruba , Marshall Independent

Although I probably couldn't see myself scavenging through a barn or 36,000 square feet of space, looking for some random, yet cool, item to "pick," but I enjoy watching The History Channel's "American Pickers." Like with my "Diners, Drive Ins and Dives" frenzy, I've been watching season one of "Pickers."

So some of the highlights of season one include the man who has an inflatable White Castle on his property to the "Mole Man," who constructed a 26-room underground lair, mostly by hand.

Most of the episodes have Mike and Frank, the pickers, traveling down the road in some state in their van, combing the sides for anything that may catch their eye. Usually, they're looking for places that may have visible "stuff" outside of buildings.

And they each have their own particulars that they're looking for - Mike with his old bicycles and antique motorcycles and Frank with his antique toys and oil cans. They also have a tendency to salivate over old movie posters (I just watched the first few minutes of an episode in Chicago where a Bruce Lee poster was featured), rusty antique gas pumps and old advertising signs.

The two are old childhood friends, and for most of the time, get along while they're trolling the side roads, looking for "treasures." Some of the things they extract from a grove or a shed I wonder why even bother? Here they are drooling, and I'm like, hope that's worth something. But I appreciate the little historical tidbits that go along with some of the items they pick. Whether it's about an automobile line or a certain brand of cash register, those factoids are fascinating.

What also amazes me about the show are the people Mike and Frank come across. I just watched an episode with Vic, who had five acres of stuff just strewn all over. There was the motorcycle and bicycle areas, which attracted Mike's attention and old cars.

Vic was being threatened by the local authorities with removal of his stuff unless he fences up his yard. Mike and Frank nap a fork and handlebars of an old motorcycle. I was still left thinking, "hope someone can make something out of that because it's just a rusty part."

As fun as Mike and Frank make picking look, I'm not sure I could do what they do.

Well, I don't have the money or skills to buy items and then try to sell them. But paging through old things, in my case, newspapers, can be fun. I remember coming across a newspaper from the 1920s in a Victrola that my parents have. I liked looking through the ads and the comics section. But that newspaper got lost somehow. I'm also finding myself being drawn to older glass dishes and just like Mike and Frank, old advertising signs. I have no place to put one, but the interest is definitely there. I'd just have to find the right sign and the big deal.



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