‘American Pickers’: When Did Frank Fritz and Mike Wolfe First Meet?

by Matthew Memrick
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In the eighth grade, treasure-hunting “American Pickers” duo Frank Fritz and Mike Wolfe first met, long before Fritz grew his famous beard.

The once-buds also started honing their famous picking skills long before there ever was a show, according to the website Grunge.

The two pitched the show for five years before the History Channel took it and made it a nationwide hit. The show started on January 18, 2010.

‘American Pickers’ In The Beginning

Back when friends were friends, and nobody got on each other’s nerves, the two men traveled quite a bit from Iowa. 

Over the years, they knew what to pick because they’ve seen what they liked so many different times.

“A lot of that stuff we gravitate towards,” Fritz said, “We’ve bought that stuff 10, 20 years ago.”

As the two told it in an interview with Sidewalks Entertainment, their first meeting came all the way back in eighth grade. The rest from there is both good and bad history.

The men were relentless in getting desirable stuff. The two talked about getting curtains from the “Tonight Show With Johnny Carson” show set. Wolfe credited Fritz for the colossal find.

“It’s all about bird-dogging,” Wolfe said. “And not giving up.”

During that interview, the men used to “freestyle” or went to random picks with success. They said they had mixed results but with good finds.

New ‘American Pickers’ Start From The Beginning

The duo started collecting everything. Staples, beer cans, stamps, coins, and even razor blades were the picks of the day.

From there, things took off, and the boys stored their picks in Wolfe’s father’s garage. But for Wolfe, this lifelong love of picking may have started earlier at age 4.

Wolfe added that he saw a bike one day and went around the neighborhood picking stuff instead of kindergarten. After school called his mom, she eventually cooled off and offered up part of the garage for her young son’s “picks.”

“So, at four years old, I had a man cave,” Wolfe laughed.

New ‘American Pickers’ Season, No Frank

In August, Outsider reported that the new season had a spike in viewership with just Mike Wolfe and Daniella Colby, and ratings told of 1.3 million viewers per show.

When fans got curious about Fritz’s show absence, the gritty details soon leaked out. The first thing that shocked many was that the two stopped talking for years.

Maybe Fritz was bitter a little bit as he told the U.K. Sun that his back was “messed up.” Without a call from his friend Wolfe, some things festered. That lousy blood turned into Wolfe taking over the show for the most part. 

However, it couldn’t have been all that bad as Fritz lost a little weight and got a break from the constant picking touring and their friendship.

Fritz added that the men had known each other for 40 years, and they had a special bond that, yeah, kind of came with the drama. Think of some famous friendships like Betty White and Lucille Ball or Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. These two pickers spent a lot of time in the trenches together.

Outsider.com