Okay, so this “review” may not be all that current since this show aired last week, but I have this amazing time-shifting, wormhole driven doohickey called a DVR that lets me watch shows whenever I want (translation: whenever the kids let me).
If you’re not familiar with it, American Pickers is a show for anyone who loves junk. Boy that sounds bad — It’s a show for anyone who loves looking for treasures in other people’s trash. It’s also a show dedicated to taking advantage of old people, but we won’t go into that today.
In this episode, we meet Ron. Ron is an old guy who wears a purple hoodie with the draw strings pulled tight, so all you see is his large, pointy nose and and his toothless gums. Ron likes to dig tunnels underground and reinforce the walls with cinderblocks, old doors, furniture, and anything else he can scrounge. Ron collects plungers. Ron is very frightening. The show made him look kind of cute and cuddly, but seriously, if I was his neighbor, I’d be moving. This sequence made me think there is something Silence of the Lambs-ian going on in those Pennsylvania hills.
The Mole man portion of the show was more about hoarding than it was about picking, but the light at the end of the tunnel was a brightly colored, cheerful room Ron had decorated with amazing old signs and fixtures. Everything was balanced precariously so if you weren’t careful, you would topple countless items.
After they left the mole hill, Frank and Mike went into the nearby town and looked through a retired antique dealer’s personal collection. I could have spent days there. This guy had some amazing things and the pickers left with a nice antique wind-up toy worth around $800.
Later in the show, we meet a woman who buys barns–contents and all–tears them down and then sells all the pieces. She offers some of the items she finds in her current project to Mike and Frank. Now that would be a job I would enjoy. Not all the grueling work involved in tearing down a barn, but looking around in old stables and haylofts. I could do that.
I love this show. The offerings on TV are few and far between for collectors, so I hope this one sticks around for a while and dives into a few more rabbit holes, or mole hills.
You can catch the full episode over at the History Channel’s web site:
sarah and kaitlyn says
This guy IS SEXXY!
John Burkert says
I have posted NOT SEEN ON TELEVISION footage of Ron the “Mole Mans” place on youtube. Youtube decided to pull our clip from the show, so I decided to put up a 4 part video tour of Rons we made ourselves. Here is the first of the 4 part video tour
Thanks for sharing this, John. I put up a post with the clips here: https://www.coolandcollected.com/remember-the-mole-man-from-american-pickers/
When are you going to start selling tickets for the grand tour?!
janice scheer says
hay if you get this i live in redwood falls and the number is in the phone book if you r inter my grandma can supple you with almost any thiong you r looking for plz look me up ill help u
John Burkert says
Hi Janice- you can get ahold of us through e-mail at email@example.com
Ronald and I would be happy to come up and check out your grandma’s stuff!
I am John Burkert, Ron’s friend and “picking” partner from the episode. There is nothing “silence of the lambs” going on at Ron’s place. He is well known locally, and liked by everyone he meets. I have been salvaging old properties with Ron since 1989, and we have a lot of fun. Ron is probably the LEAST frightening person I have ever met. He is very unique, excentric, maybe not your average every day guy, but he is truly one of the most interesting and fun people I have ever met. He may look a little different, but who’s place is it to say whats normal and what isn’t? He enjoys what he does, and it doesn’t hurt anybody. He has tours through his place and kids and parents alike come through together and generally have a great time. They didn’t even scratch the surface on the episode as to what is all there at Rons place. He is different I agree, but that is what makes him so interesting. He is just like a big kid, thinks about nothing but fun. I am glad you enjoyed the episode, but trust me… There is nothing bad or evil about Ronald. My wife thought the same about Ron as you do, until she met him-after that she liked him just as much as everyone else. You shouldn’t judge before you have all the info. Another plus side to Ronalds wierd talent of finding good junk, we make a TON of money doing it! Ron keeps what he wants and I sell the rest!! If you were his neighbor, trust me, you wouldn’y want to move. To all of the local community he is the “go to” guy when they need something. If you were looking to build a garage, Ron could get you all the materials for less than a quarter of what you would spend normally. If you needed to furnish your place on a budget, Ron would be there to get you the best stuff for the cheapest price, and sometimes, if you were struggling, he would help you out for free! Thanks for watching, and once again, I am glad you enjoyed the episode. Ron and I are probably going to be on the show again with Mike and Frank salvaging an old abandoned property, so keep watching!!
Hi John- I respectfully rescind any negativity I may have inferred! To be honest, after watching that episode i was almost jealous of Ron. I’d love to have a tunnel under my house, but if I started digging, my HOA would have me in court faster than OJ.
Seriously though, I’m glad you wrote in and gave us a different view of Ron and his contributions to the town. He is by far the best “pick” on the show so far, and I’m thrilled that we’ll be seeing you guys again. Cheers!
John Burkert says
No problems. Ron is a neat Guy. That episode didnt scratch the surface of that place. There is so much to see back there. Maybe I should post one of the videos I made over the years? Anyhow, thanks for watching!
Curious as to where you and ron are… I thought you guys were great!!
Josh Stanford says
John I personally would love to see your videos of Rons place. He seems like a very, very interesting person.
e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org– be happy to share videos and pictures
Mark burfield says
I would like to know where Rons place is at..could I find out..
I loved that episode of AP. Although I would not venture into the tunnels myself, Ron is a neighbor I would be glad to live near!
I think he is very talented, artistic and innovative!
D in Ohio says
Why do you have to use foul language on the show? I like to watch it but it really upsets me listening to the language you use. Consider your audience. i enjoy your probram, so clean it up.
What show are you watching? Bad language?
The purple hoodie gent made me think of Graham Greene and his short story “Under the Garden”. He could be Jabot. I think he has more treasure deeper, hence his parting statment.
Just saw this episode. When they got to the section with Ron and his rooms I was speechless. Just blown away, fascinated. Genius. Brilliant.
Code Red says
I think that episode was my favorite by far! Ron is such an interesting person and I would love to watch and maybe if I would be able to visit his property one day. I will definetly be sending John an e-mail.
scott in PA says
This was the most interesting thing ive ever seen, to be honest i was abit freaked out, but mosly amazed on the complexity of it all. and on a side note, he looks just like the butler from Young Frankenstien.
Yes! Marty Feldman. I thought so too!
I grew up in Butler but we had always driven up past the property and I always wondered what all the building were. You can see the roofs and tarps from the road. I enjoyed the episode.
Kinda has the rainman effect when you watch him…I like it…
steve 85 says
what area of pa. are you guys from? I’m from berks county.
Just watched fhis Episode in the UK Fascinating place Ron has there and good luck to the fellah. I was fascinated with his tunnels
Scott hart says
I saw the episode when it first aired and I was blown away, I thought It was very cool and my son still asks me to this day , let’s both of us build tunnels where we live, of course mom is not allowed in, he said I could have a man cave/tunnel and he could have a kids playroom with his toys and legos and ps3 and tv with cable, and I agree that yes it would be awesome. We also live in PA, but south of where Rons place is we are in the kennel square area, but if I could find out where rons place was I would for sure try and find a way to take the trip with my son and hopefully we could get a tour, I would live it , but I know my son would really love it and he would remember it forever, maybe John Burkert will see this and send and invite for me and my 8 yr old boy (Nicholas) via email for a tour , my son says he wants to bring one his toys to give to Ron to out in one his rooms , have a nice night everybody
Email John his email is in the comments somewhere. Hope ya get or already got your boy there!