‘American Pickers’ Found a Movie Squid Puppet From a Major Moment in Film

by Sean Griffin

Back in Season 23, American Pickers stars Mike and Robbie Wolfe found a prop steeped in Hollywood history. During the hit show’s run on the History Channel, Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz—and now Fritz’s replacement, Mike’s brother Robbie—have discovered countless movie memorabilia items. They’ve even encountered movie props used in famous films, such as their recent ‘squid puppet’ find.

Mike Wolfe loves collecting film props and memorabilia items, specifically from science fiction films. Fans won’t forget Wolfe’s purchase of a rubber alien costume from The Island Earth, a 1955 film. Wolfe once bought a personalized original script for Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Most notably, they uncovered a collection of Yoda sculptures that were crafted to the same scale as the one used in The Empire Strikes Back.

His incredible Star Wars find—an original artifact—set the American Pickers back over $6,000. However, Wolfe knows that film memorabilia collectors pay top dollar for Star Wars items.

As Season 23 rolls on with Mike and Robbie, the brothers continue in their film prop-hunting tradition. Recently, they uncovered a classic monster movie squid puppet. The squid puppet prop comes from the 1996 television miniseries The Beast. The prop represents an important moment from American film history.

‘American Pickers’ Buys Prop with a ‘Jaws’ Connection

In the episode, Mike Wolfe explains how the huge popularity of Jaws influenced other similar horror films. These films spawned after Jaws focus on large predatory animals terrorizing people. Peter Benchley, who write the novel on which Jaws was based, became an incredibly hot commodity in Hollywood at the time. Production of The Beast began shortly after Benchley released a book of the same name.

The squid prop the brothers purchased holds significant Hollywood historical value. It represents an age of horror films inspired by the classic film Jaws. Wolfe explains how the props made in films during this time were crafted with love and arduous labor. Nowadays, most of these beasts would be created with CGI (computer generated imagery). As American Pickers star Mike Wolfe notes, every detail on the puppet took a team of 16-18 people to operate. The eyes, tentacles, and functional beak of the squid all serve as a testament to the quality of the prop. The squid prop shares similarities with the Jaws prop. Moreover, the shark in the Finding Nemo franchise takes its name from the iconic Jaws prop: Bruce.

However, while no antique searcher would ever be allowed to purchase Bruce, this find was still an incredible one. The squid represents Benchley’s impact on filmmaking. It illustrates an age where practical special effects ruled over computer generated special effects. Hopefully, the American Pickers continue finding historic Hollywood props in the future.