Sunday, September 12, 2010

American Pickers Spotted In Louisville

Saturday morning while grabbing a hot breakfast at the downtown Hampton Inn of Louisville I noticed a few familiar faces. Okay I thought, those are the pickers! Gotta have some fun. I snuck up on Frankie Fritz and mumbled "hey you been pickin' in my territory." The response was quick just like his fast wit on the program.

"Where?" I hadn't  thought past the initial question and should have said something like Bobby Joe Hatfield up in Possum Holler. Anyway, if you've followed the History Channel's American Pickers show you may wonder just as much as I. How can these guys make much of a business with a small van 400 miles from home? Ten picks and sometimes the van is full with items that may only gross a $500 profit. I thought perhaps they ship stuff back to home in LeClaire, Iowa via common freight lines.

"The van is a magical stretches when we want it to," quipped Frankie with Mike Wolfe as the two began dreaming up answers to my question. They aren't any different than what's seen on the program, always clowning around. Seriously though, Mike reported they have a large box truck follow from them until it's full.

I didn't realize how popular the show was until I did some research. The average episode is viewed by 3.8 million people, making them modern folk heroes of sorts and a TV idea that experts said nobody would watch. So what kind of team makes up the pickers? Seven folks are involved in the program on the road that includes the box truck (not seen) a small RV, the Antique Archaeology van, and a lead vehicle with camera guys and equipment.

Spending a few minutes having a smoke in front of the hotel while the team was getting ready for the day I asked John the cameraman if they stage the greetings you see when the guys knock on somebody's door.

"We go ahead and set things up, so people know the guys are coming but everything else just happens(without any scripting or rehearsal)." I also inquired where the helicopter was. Most people probably don't notice the great camera work I do. A lease for hire chopper is brought in from time to time where John handles the aerial shots as well.

As natural as you see them on TV, joking around constantly, one of the team members looks at me and says "see what we have to put up with?" after Mike nudges the van forward almost pinning in John as if to say...

"Man we're ready, lets' go dude." Pictures are worth thousands with these two, but I'm not the type to push it into people's faces. Wide eyed with big smiles, these guys look like ten year olds ready to hit the playground.


  1. Wow, I live in Louisville and would have loved to have seen these two. Great post!

  2. 10 year olds with beards. :)