American Pickers portrays the life of a picker to be one that is constantly on the move. Mike Wolfe (along with Frank Fritz until recently) crisscrosses the country in a van looking for forgotten treasures. But do they actually drive that much?
American Pickers is a television show, and flying would probably be cheaper and easier for the cast and crew. But Fritz told a crowd at the 2012 FRY Fest that that’s not the pickers’ way, and they do drive to every location. CBS Sunday Morning said Wolfe drives up to 70,000 miles a year.
But there is something that American Pickers is hiding from viewers. They’re not alone.
Behind Antique Archeology’s Ford Transit van are a fleet of other cars, vans, a motorhome, and a massive U-Haul that carry the cast crew and all of the things that the pickers buy. Fritz told a crowd that producing the show is much more elaborate than what makes it on television.
First, they buy a lot more than what viewers see each week. Fritz estimates that American Pickers cuts about 80 percent of the things they film, meaning only the weird, unique, or rare picks make the final cut. And when you see them loading the familiar van after each successful pick, the audience doesn’t see them taking everything back out and then loading it into the U-Haul that travels in their not-shown-on-TV convoy.
The cast insists that producers don’t plant items or stage any scenes. That’s partially why they film so much footage. It’s just not that interesting. Though, Fritz told the crowd that he hated it when editors cut his or Mike Wolfe’s best jokes.
Want to Be on ‘American Pickers?’ Here’s How
That last part isn’t exactly true. American Pickers makes it seem as if Danielle Colby chases down all the leads and passes them off to the Wolfe while he’s on the road. Though she does work for Antique Archeology, television doesn’t work that way. A show like that can’t just pull up in your driveway and risk you saying no to filming. So, producers pre-screen potential pickers and vet them through an audition.
But that’s good news for anyone who has a barn full of junk and is curious if anything of value is inside. The History Channel even has a website where you can apply. Though, they may want to update it since they parted ways with Frank Fritz before this season began.
“Have any items, a collection or junk you want to sell? Don’t quite know what’s in your barn or storage shed? Frank and Mike want to hear from you,” the site reads. “The American Pickers will be touring the country again soon. Email us a text description of your junk or collection: If selected, you could be on American Pickers!”