Reality shows are all over television today. They’re a dime a dozen. Any viewer who has surfed through the channels even once knows that nearly every network on television—if not every network—is top heavy with reality television series. So the question is what to watch? This critic personally recommends History Channel’s hit series, “American Pickers.” There might be those out there who are unable to check it out for one reason or another. Fret not. The show is available on DVD. And the latest collection of episodes, “American Pickers Volume Four” is available on DVD now, too. Volume Four has what are some of the best episodes from the series to date. In Volume Four, Mike and Frank travel to upstate New York where they meet Kathy. Kathy has inherited her late father’s farm and is looking to sell all the things that her father had accumulated in his life so as to pay for the farm. That’s just part of the guys’ adventure through New York. In another of the pair’s adventures, Mike and Frank trek through Tennessee where they meet one of the most memorable individuals in the show’s history. He simply goes by the name, “Junior.” Those episodes and more are all in “American Pickers Volume Four.”
In the episode, “Too Hot To Handle” Mike and Frank are driving through upstate New York. The pair happens on Kathy. She and her husband had inherited her father’s farm after his death. Her story of her father is another prime example of what makes American Pickers such a great show. She explains that her father had served in WWII, and how that linked to his massive accumulation of stuff. Ironically, if not for her father’s collection, Mike and Frank might never have met Kathy and her husband. While they’re visiting with the couple, Mike picks a pile of bicycle parts that dated circa 1890’s. Frank, on the other hand, finds an old Yankee Z motorcycle, which he bundles with a Newark news paper box and oil can of sorts for $250. The picks don’t end there. Mike finds a pond boat, which he picks for $20. He follows that up with a pick of a gas tank from a 1930’s era Harley Davidson motorcycle. He bundles the gas tank with a classic radio for $100. From there, Mike also finds an old Ribbon mic that he gets for $125.
After Mike and Frank end their visit with Kathy and her husband, it’s off to Lincoln, New York, where they get some help from the local fire department to get into a building that’s going to be torn down. Once it’s torn down, the land on which it stands was to be donated to that fire department. The guys make a pretty good pick here, too. Frank finds an old G.I. Joe jeep and trailer that he gets for $20. Mike finds an old carousel toy that he gets for $40.
The first two stops on Mike and Frank’s trip through upstate New York yield lots of good picks, and some equally great stories. But the one stop that stood out more than the others in this trip was the guys’ visit with mother and daughter Marlene and Julia. The pair lived in a house that was used as a stopping point on the Underground Railroad. Mike and Frank are even shown the hidden passages used by slaves to hide in the house. They find their share of great picks during their visit. As great as the picks are, what makes this stop so interesting is that apparently Marlene’s daughter, Julia, turns out to have quite the crush on Frank. Even Mike jokes with him about it. The way that she flirts with Frank will have audiences rolling. It makes this stop one of the most memorable in the show’s run so far.
Speaking of memorable moments, the guys have another truly memorable moment later in Volume Four in the episode, “Keep Out.” The guys are in Tennessee during this episode. As they’re driving through the state, they happen on a property that’s loaded with really cool stuff. But it’s also loaded with signs warning people to stay away and to keep out, etc. Mike and Frank take a risk and drive up anyway. What they find is a really big tough looking guy who simply goes by the name of “Junior.” “Junior” looks tough, but as the guys find out during their visit, he’s really just a “softie.” It turns out that he’s willing to sell his stuff to Mike and Frank. The reason he’s willing to sell is really the heart of what makes this episode so memorable. It turns out that “Junior’s” wife had died a year ago. So he realized all the stuff on his property was just stuff. Without her there it didn’t mean anything anymore. So for all his big touch and gruff exterior, here was a guy who was obviously a very gentle and loving person. That one moment when “Junior” tells Mike and Frank about his wife, it was obvious how much he loved her. He even starts to tear up a little talking about her. Yet again, more proof of this show’s heart. Sure the guys make a lot of picks, including a Dukes of Hazzard garbage can and tray and a PET ice cream sign. But that single moment, not the picks, is what stands out in the entire episode. Of course, it isn’t the only visit that the guys make during this episode. Audiences can check out who else Mike and Frank meet during their trip through Tennessee when they get the double disc set themselves. “American Pickers Volume Four” is available now. It can be ordered online at http://shop.history.com
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