‘American Pickers’: Here’s Why the Show Dedicated an Episode to One ‘Special’ Picker

by Taylor Cunningham

The History Channel’s “American Pickers” has created a cult following. And that has kept the reality show running for an impressive 22 seasons. With the nostalgia of vintage America and the always loveable guests, fans tend to watch and re-watch the reality show enough to keep ratings high.

One such loveable guest many of us remember is Staunton Al Morkunas. In his episode, Morkunas allowed hosts Frank Fritz and Mike Wolfe to pick his sizeable toy collection.

Staunton’s charm and personal history left a lasting impression on the “American Picker’s” crew and the fans. Staunton was born in 1947 in a German refugee camp. He later arrived at Ellis Island with his mother and father. His family struggled financially throughout his entire childhood, and those humble beginnings led to his hobby of collecting toys. He initially started collecting things he thought would be an investment. But instead of selling his items, he held on to his toys, and his collection grew throughout the years. It wasn’t until the last month of his life that he decided to open his collection for sale, and he chose to do so on American Pickers.

Morkunas died from Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma on August 8, 2017. He had touched the hearts of Wolfe and Fritz so much that they dedicated a memorial episode to him six months later. But he didn’t just leave his impression on the American Pickers’ cast and crew members. Staunton Al Morkunas’s family received an outpour of condolences from fans on his funeral service dedication page because of his warm and genuine personality.

The History Channel aired its memorial episode on February 14, 2018.

What Happened to Frank Fritz From ‘American Pickers?’

Drama has been following “American Pickers” with the departure of Frank Fritz. The reality show’s co-host took a break from the long-running series during the Covid-19 pandemic, and Mike Wolfe continued to host alone while fans waited for Fritz to return as his enthusiastic side-kick. However, Fritz never stepped back on the set of “American Pickers.”

At first, rumors led us to believe that Fritz had walked away due to health issues. Fritz suffers from Crohn’s and had left “American Pickers” during its 8th and 9th season because of the disease. But later, it was revealed that Fritz and Wolfe were actually at odds and had not spoken in over two years. It seems the two had been fighting over Fritz’s alcoholism. Fritz has been open about his struggle with addiction and says that he has been sober for nearly a year now. However, it does not appear that Fritz and Wolfe will be able to repair their friendship. Fritz will not be returning to the show.

For now, “American Pickers” will continue to be hosted by Mike Wolfe. There have been no announcements about a new co-host or if the History Channel will renew the show for a 23rd season.