This week’s podcast: Pawn Stars rule Vegas

The Gold & Silver pawn shop featured on Pawn Stars

LAS VEGAS–This week, CHML’s Scott Thompson tracks me down in Las Vegas, where I’m hangin’ with the dudes from Pawn Stars, American Restorations and Counting Cars. I’ve interviewed the Harrisons from Pawn Stars before, but it was fun and interesting meeting Rick Dale and getting a tour of his restoration shop in Vegas, which is crowded with classic Coke machines, car parts, old TV’s and typewriters and so much more.

A Chumley bobble head. “Put that down!”

Also a blast Tuesday was following Danny “Count” Koker around one of his four car barns. The dude showed off several of his choppers plus his tricked out hot rods, including a 1932 Ford Roadster that was the inspiration of a Hot Wheels car I wore out back in the day. Koker used to be a Vegas horror movie TV host for many year and still likes to nap in a coffin!
Rick and Corey “Hoss” Harrison weren’t at Tuesday’s walk through of their Gold & Silver pawn shop (they’re doing one-on-one interviews with the press today) but the guys on the floor gave visiting reporters plenty of time and attention. Among the beauties on display was a 2002 CFL Grey Cup ring from Montreal Allouettes’ Joshua Cochrane. It’s valued at around 30Gs but the jeweler said its not really for sale. The shop likes to keep several trinkets, including a 2001 New England Patriots ring and a Tampa Bay Rays World Series ring, on display, to dazzle customers. There are no Stanley Cup rings, by the way, at the pawn shop–they’re just too hard to earn.
Jewelry, by the way, brings in around 70% of the revenues to the pawn shop. There’s plenty of art, too, including prints by Warhol, Chagall and Miro. I also spotted a couple of animation cels, including one from Tennessee Tuxedo, the TV cartoon which featured a dim-witted walrus named Chumley.

The Chumley cel is way over-priced at 12Gs. Translation: not for sale
Joshua Cochrane’s 2002 Montreal Allouette Grey Cup ring: $30,000
The New England Patriots’ Super Bowl ring is the one on the left
More proof smoking can kill you. The most expensive thing in the pawn
shop is this cigar box which once belonged to John F. Kennedy. There are
seven cigars inside. Cubans? You bet. Valued at $125,000

The Pawn Shop sees 3000 to 5000 visitors line up and shuffle through their doors every day, making it the biggest tourist attraction in Las Vegas after the casinos. We were told that 80% of the folks who visit buy something. Most purchases, however, are of the T-shirt and souvenir variety. There are Chumley and Hoss bobble heads, golf balls, you name it. A one dollar bill with the Old Man’s mug on it will cost you ten. Dollar bills autographed by the four main stars, Chris, Hoss, Chumley and the Old Man, go for 50 bucks. These guys aren’t giving anything away.
The pawn shop is just a few doors down from the Graceland Wedding Chapel where Jon Bon Jovi, and many others, was married. Such a sentimental town. A walk around the block is truly a step into the Twilight Zone with as you encounter the weird underbelly of America.

The Graceland Wedding Chapel, just a few doors down from the pawn shop
All shook down: Elvis used to work the strip, now works the flea markets
The Beatles also live on in incredibly bad outdoor art murals

Scott asks if I think Pawn Stars is a show that will last. I remind him its in its eighth season already and is No. 1 on History in both the U.S. and Canada.
I also talk to Scott about the Michael Jackson ONE show I saw Monday in Vegas. The latest Cirque de Soleil spectacular is pretty dern impressive. You can listen into the full podcast here.

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