Mike Wolfe has found some strange items in some even stranger places on American Pickers. But the craziest thing he rescued from a basement wasn’t some rare motorcycle or antique gasoline sign. This was much more precious to him.
Entrepreneur spoke with the American Pickers star in 2018 to discuss his life on the road. As well as share some fun behind-the-scenes tidbits fans didn’t get to see. And he has a treasure trove of bizarre stories from his four decades of picking. But there was one that stands out as one of the weirdest in his mind.
“There was a time when I got locked in a cellar, and the (homeowner) forgot I was down there,” Wolfe told the magazine. “And so he had left, and I was down there for like half an hour banging on the door. And he came back and was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I forgot you were down here. I came back to let you out.’ Just imagine what was going through my mind there.
That must be one of the scarier aspects of being a professional picker. You’re at the mercy of the homeowner oftentimes. But while most people are nice and are polite, there is a risk of getting Buffalo Billed.
Thankfully, the American Pickers creator didn’t seem to have any stories like that.
The host had a barrage of questions for Wolfe. For instance, she wanted to know which states he hasn’t picked but wants to. The answer: Wyoming and Montana. He’s never been to either. But movies such as A River Runs Through It make the states seem like beautiful land with loads of hidden history.
‘American Pickers’ Started On A Challenge
Mike Wolfe said the germ of the idea for American Pickers came from wanting to prove to his friends he wasn’t lying. After weeks on the road, he’d return home with an armful of picked items and a mouthful of “crazy” stories. Stories his friends didn’t believe.
“I believe he came up with the idea because none of us believed his crazy stories,” Danielle Colby told the magazine. “He would come back from a pick, two weeks on the road, he would have all these crazy stories about the people he ran into and the places he stayed. He had to film it to prove it to us. That actually worked out pretty well for him, didn’t it?”
Many of Wolfe’s stories intrigued his friends, as well.
“I shared some of my experiences with my friends, and they said, ‘You should buy a video camera,’ so I did,” Mike Wolfe explained during an interview with Southeastern Antiquing and Collecting Magazine.
So, he purchased some dashboard cameras, mounted them in his van, and spoke as he drove. It was the beta version of American Pickers.
“I made videos and posted them on my website,” Wolfe explained. “With those videos, I started pitching the concept, and I finally sold it to the History Channel.”