‘American Pickers’: Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz ‘Couldn’t Find Anything’ on First Picking Trip With a Production Company

by Jonathan Howard
(Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images)

Things didn’t start off perfect for the American Pickers. Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz have had their share of mishaps and issues. However, the first time they did a pick with a production company, things did not go to plan.

When they got the production company to tag along, Frank wasn’t even supposed to go on the trip. That changed at the last moment. They hit the road and the cameraman wasn’t sure what he was in store for. Fritz and Wolfe took him through Pennsylvania and finally into upstate New York. Wolfe detailed the trip back in 2013 with Script Mag.

“We get to NY, I pick Frank up at the airport. Mark Portner’s in the back of the van asking where are we going, and I said, ‘I don’t know… wherever we want.'” That is when Wolfe said things started to go bad. “We start driving into PA, and we’re picking. We couldn’t find anything. I can’t believe I finally get a production company… granted it’s only one guy with [a] camera in [the] back of my van… and we can’t find anything. I remembered a guy I picked five years before, way in Upstate NY, by Niagara Falls. We went. The guy was there. We pick him. Got all this stuff. It was great.”

While it seems that the trip turned itself around, things didn’t stay smooth. By the time the American Pickers had made their way through two states, they thought they had great footage. Despite their feelings, the camera guy had a different take on things.

Camera Guy Tells ‘American Pickers’ Footage Was No Good

Taking a camera guy through two states to show him the cool aspects of what you do can’t be easy. The American Pickers stars needed something good to show for their efforts. When Pennsylvania didn’t work out, they moved to New York. They even got a good pick at a reliable spot.

Even with all of that going for them, Wolfe and Fritz were told that the footage wasn’t good enough. They weren’t going to use it for anything.

“Then the camera guy in the van called a few weeks later and said the footage he shot sucked and wanted to use my footage for [the] past four years that everyone has seen. I said are you freakin’ serious? You don’t have any footage from that awesome trip of three days with us that you can use. You want the shit I have filmed that everyone for the last four and [a] half years has seen?”

That had to be a tough pill to swallow. While it must have been frustrating, it turns out that they didn’t need the new footage. American Pickers made its way to television on the History Channel. Since then, it has had success and the pickers have gone to many great spots.