It might surprise you to know that one of the top search terms people use to find my site is “American Pickers Danielle’s Tattoos.” No, really. But just look at them. It makes sense now, doesn’t it?
At the start of this episode, Danielle sends Mike and Frank to visit another “Frank.” This Frank has a bunch of carnival items and loads of “smalls” — small items that are easy to store and easy to sell. Mike and Frank hone in on a vintage pretzel trade stimulator that is shaped like a barrel. When you put a penny in the slot, pictures spin like a slot machine, and if you get three pretzels, you actually get some real pretzels to eat. “Owner Frank” wants $400 for it, which is too high for “Picker Frank.”
The pickers see all kinds of great items, but “Owner Frank” wants retail prices for everything. One of the coolest items they see is a 1958 Sky Raider arcade machine which has you shoot down UFOs. Apparently, there are only 50 of these machines known to exist. “Owner Frank” wants $600 for it, so there’s no sale. Mike eventually braks the ice by buying a two-sided Freers ice cream sign for $40. The pickers go back to the pretzel barrel trade stimulator and finally are able to buy it for $200 after bundling in an Esso thermometer for an additional $50.
Meanwhile, back at the shop, Danielle has been tasked with selling the large carnival ride that has been collecting rust for a few months. Mike and Frank paid $1,500 for it, and want to double their money, which is no easy task, since this thing is gigantic, and would take up most people’s entire yard. Danielle had the quote of the show, in describing it: “Everyone thinks its really cool, they want to look at it, they want to ride it, but they don’t want to take it home. Sounds like every bad girl I’ve ever known.”
Mike and Frank do a little freestyle picking, and stop at a house to look at a 90cc Yamaha motorcycle dirt bike they see for sale on the side of the road. Norm is the owner of the bike, and is happy to show Mike and Frank the bike, along with his 1967 Ford Fairlane 390 GT. Mike immediately forgets the bike and is struck with Fairlane Fever. The car has its original motor with some slight modifications to the headers. Mike calls his friend, Richard, who is a Ford expert, to see what a fair price would be. He learns that anything under $8,500 would be a good deal.
Mike is absolutely giddy over the chance to buy this car, and his poker face is gone. Norm asks for $8,000 and Mike counters with $7,000 for both the car and bike. Norm says he would take $7,500, but Mike abandons the bike and offers $7,000 for just the car. Mike he is now the proud owner of another rusty old car, and Norm is very pleased.
Next, Danielle sends the pickers to the International Clown Hall of Fame, a museum dedicated to clowns, but they also have lots of non-clown items for sale. When Mike and Frank arrive, they are greeted by Greg and Karen, dressed in full clown regalia!
They all take a tour of the museum where Mike is excited to see Cookie the Clown’s costume from the Bozo Show. Mike also tries to ride a little clown bike, but wipes out dramatically.
Mike sees a painting of Dom Deloise in clown makeup and is amazed at how much it looks like Frank. Frank is not too thrilled at the comparison but plays along.
Once the tour is done, they get down to business and look at some of the items that are stored in a back room and the basement. Mike pounces on a vintage papier-mache elephant on a circus wagon for $40. He also buys an early leather Indian costume for $100 and a saxophone for another $100. The saxophone was apparently left with a note at a hotel as payment for lodging. Frank buys six reproduction circus posters for $30, which he thinks can be sold quickly since they are already framed.
Greg and Karen saved the best for last, when they reveal a folk art animatronic carnival. Mike inserts a quarter and it lights up and moves! The clowns want $1,500 for it. Mike offers $500. After some intense clown negotiating, they settle on $900.
We are shown that the pickers sold the carnival item for $1,200. It’s rare that they actually have a sale price, since most of the items picked seem to end up back at the shop and are seen in future episodes.
Danielle is at the shop with Mike’s Brother, Robbie, who is fixing a motorcycle, when a customer walks in and states he’s looking for a large item to restore. Danielle shows him the carnival ride, but he’s not convinced, so she has Robbie try to seal the deal. Robbie comes through and they sell the huge contraption for $3,000.
Mike and Frank return to the shop and visit John, the mechanic they hired to fix up the Ford Fairlane. John got the car running, but the restoration was fairly extensive, and ended up costing over $4,000. Mike is uneasy with the fact that he’s spent $11,000 on the car so far. He calls Richard again, to come and appraise his car. Richard thinks the car is worth $14,000, so Mike can sleep a little easier, knowing there is still room for some profit.
During the closing credits, Mike tries to follow Frank in his VW. Needless to say, he gets left in the dust, literally.
In my opinion, Mike and Frank didn’t unearth any truly exciting items in this episode, but I did enjoy the clowns quite a bit. What did you think? Oh, and if you like American Pickers as much as I do, be sure to enter to win a DVD of the first season of the show.