LITTLE FALLS – Some might see a barn full of dusty old items as junk. Others, see it as a treasure trove, as is the case for Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz, stars of History Channel’s show American Pickers. The duo visited just such a barn in Little Falls last week, filming an episode of the show to be aired this fall.
“It was my daughter-in-law’s idea,” said Herkimer County Sheriff Chris Farber, who serves as executor to the estate. “We weren’t sure what to expect.”
Farber’s wife emailed American Pickers to describe the property and express interest back in March, Farber said. The show’s producers responded that they were interested and were considering 50 sites scattered throughout New York for an upcoming episode. They requested pictures.
When they received pictures, the producers called to say they were very interested and sent two point people to check things out in person, Farber said.
Word followed quickly from the show: The Little Falls property was number one on American Pickers’ list.
“Originally, I wasn’t really interested in doing it,” Farber said.
But then he reflected on the property’s former owner and his wishes.
“Mike liked to show off his collections,” Farber said. “He was very proud of them. He collected just about everything there was to collect.”
“He was the original ‘picker,'” Farber continued. “He picked before it was cool. He saw the value in everything.”
“He had always wanted to open a museum there,” Farber said. “But it wasn’t practical. And I thought, what better way to honor him and show off his things than by putting them on national television?”
So it was settled.
The film crew showed up about 9:30 a.m., May 11.
“Ironically, that day would have been Mike’s 97th birthday,” Farber commented.
Producers had requested the Farbers not tell anyone of their plans ahead of time in an effort to avoid crowds, Farber said.
“It’s happened to them in the past where word got out and they had 200/300 people waiting for them,” Farber said. “They try to avoid crowds like that and just want to get their work done.”
The show’s team spent 15 hours with the Farbers at the Little Falls property, and ended up purchasing 54 items.
“Some things I thought they’d be interested in, they weren’t, and other things I didn’t think they’d care about, they did,” Farber said.
He had done some homework ahead of time so had an idea of what prices to wrangle out of the Pickers.
And of course, Farber did his best to plug Herkimer County throughout filming.
“I talked about Remington Arms and Redco Foods and many local businesses,” he said. “I tried to portray how vibrant the county is and that it’s full of great people.”
The crew of course did attract some attention throughout the day, Farber said. When passersby recognized Wolfe and Fritz on the property, and subsequently posted it on Facebook, a small crowd started to gather.
Farber, who is also a fan of the show himself, had a great time.
“It was pretty cool,” he said with a genuine smile. “It was really fun to be with them for a day. The crew is great and Mike and Frank are very cordial.”
American Pickers airs on the History Channel Wednesdays at 9 p.m.