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Pawn Stars Image

The series depicts the staff's interactions with customers, who bring in a variety of artifacts to sell or pawn, shown haggling over the price, and discussing its historical background, with narration provided by either the Harrisons or Chumlee.

Pawn Stars image

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Numerous local experts in a variety of fields also regularly appear to appraise the items being sold or pawned, two of whom have gone on to their own spin-off programs. Antique restorer/metal artist Rick Dale is the star of the series' first spin-off, American Restoration, which premiered in October 2010,[9][10][11] and mechanic/auto restoration expert Danny "The Count" Koker stars in the second spin-off, Counting Cars, which debuted August 13, 2012.[12][13]

Pawn Stars began with Brent Montgomery and Colby Gaines of Leftfield Pictures, who were struck by the array of eclectic and somewhat seedy pawn shops in Las Vegas during a 2008 weekend visit to the city. Thinking such shops might contain unique characters, they searched for a family-run shop on which to center a TV series, until they found the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop less than two miles from the Las Vegas Strip.[16] It had been the subject of a 2001 PBS documentary,[17] and the manager and part-owner, Rick Harrison, had been trying unsuccessfully to pitch a show based on his shop for four years.[17][18][19] Both the shop and Rick had previously been featured in the Las Vegas episode of Insomniac with Dave Attell in 2003.[20]

The series was originally pitched to HBO, though the network preferred the series to have been a Taxicab Confessions-style series taking place at the Gold & Silver's night window.[21] The format eventually evolved into the now-familiar family-oriented motif used in the series.[22] History president Nancy Dubuc, who had been charged with creating programming with a more populist appeal to balance out the network's in-depth military programming picked up the series, which was initially titled Pawning History before a staffer at Leftfield suggested that Pawn Stars would fit better with the locale.[23] The network concurred, believing that name to be more pleasing and easily remembered.[22] The name is an intentional pun on porn stars.[15] The staffer adjusted its storyline to bring it in line with the network's brand, which included the on-camera experts appraising the items brought into the Gold & Silver, though she did not discourage the interpersonal conflicts among the show's stars.[16]

The series is filmed on location at the World-Famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas, Nevada. Although jewelry is the most commonly pawned item at the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop,[24] most of the customers featured in episodes bring in a variety of vintage or antique items to the store, which has 12,000 items in its inventory as of July 2011[25] (5,000 of which are typically held on pawn).[26] Each episode consists of segments devoted to approximately five or six of these items in which one of the staff members, usually Rick Harrison, his son Corey, or Harrison's father Richard (known as the "Old Man"), explains the history behind the object. When the buyer is unable to evaluate an object, they consult with an expert who can evaluate it to determine its authenticity and potential value, and in the case of items needing repair, the cost of restoration or preparing the item for sale. Whoever is evaluating the object goes over the potential value with the customer, including the expert's opinion, if one is given, often interspersed with an interview in which he explains the basis of his decision to the viewer. A price tag graphic at the bottom corner of the screen provides the ever-changing dollar amount as the two negotiate over the item's price. On occasion, Rick will purchase items in need of restoration before determining their restoration costs, thus taking a risk on such costs.[27]

In addition to spawning imitators and clones, such as the truTV series Hardcore Pawn, and History's own Cajun Pawn Stars, the success of Pawn Stars has been a boon to the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop, which has become a Las Vegas tourist site,[22] and has expanded its business accordingly. Originally averaging between 70 and 100 customers per day, the shop's traffic increased to more than 1,000 by October 2010. To handle the increased business, the shop hired nearly 30 new employees,[31] and underwent a $400,000 expansion of their showroom by two thirds, to 15,000 square feet,[16][22] the shop's tenth expansion since it opened.[32] Rick Harrison also mentioned in the fourth season episode "Over the Top" that he was building a gym above the Pawn Shop for the staff's use. The shop also now sells its own brand merchandise, whose designs originate from fans entering design competitions on Facebook, which saves the Harrisons the cost of hiring professional designers. The staff's presence on Facebook and Twitter also ensures audiences during local nightclub appearances, for which Corey Harrison and Chumlee Russell are paid $1,000 a night.[3] However, as a result of filming at the shop, the four main cast members can only work the main counter during shoot days, this is due to laws that require the identity of customers pawning items to remain confidential, and the tourists and fans taking photos and video in the showroom that would preclude this. When shooting episodes of the series, the store is temporarily closed to the public, with only a handful of vetted customers allowed into the showroom.[17][33]

Professional specialists are sometimes called in by the pawn shop to determine the authenticity and value of the items brought in and in some cases, to restore them. The following is a list of recurring experts who have appeared in two or more episodes.

Christopher Long, reviewing the first season DVD for DVD Town, praised the series for its cast and the educational value of the items examined, calling it 'addictive' and "...a big-time winner..." and opined that it is the best show on History, and perhaps cable.[43] In one issue of TV Guide, writer Rob Moynihan included the show in a list of "guilty pleasures."[8] April McIntyre of Monsters and Critics, whose negative view of pawn shops influenced her view of the series' setting, reviewed one episode of the series, which she labeled a "cool Antiques Roadshow." Though she found aspects of it interesting, she criticized what she perceived as an emphasis on cheap laughs at the expense of family patriarch Richard Harrison over the show's historical material, as well as Corey Harrison's weight. She ultimately saw potential for the series if aspects of it that she found to be in poor taste were curbed.[145] USA Today's Gary Strauss opined that the bickering among the Harrisons, as well as the customers seen in the shop, is "alternately amusing and grating." People magazine wrote of the show, "Think Antiques Roadshow, but with neon and far more tattoos."[146] Some of History's viewers were reportedly displeased with how reality series like Pawn Stars and Swamp People have replaced some of the network's previous history-oriented programming.[143]

The series has also attracted some criticism from other pawnbrokers, who while conceding its entertainment value, claim that the series' focus on the extravagant vintage items brought into the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop are not typical of the average pawn shop, whose business is predicated on an individual's fixed income who bring in conventional objects in order to pay their bills, such as electronics, tools, and jewelry. Corey Grigson and Charles Brown, who own a shop called Pawn Stars, estimate that their average loan to a customer is between $50 and $100. They also point out that appraisals are handled by the staff, who rely on experience, reference works, and research, and not the outside experts who are frequently seen on the show aiding the Harrisons.[147]

In 2010, Rick Harrison and the staff of the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop were awarded the Pawnbroker of the Year Award by the National Pawnbrokers Association for bringing the industry greater recognition and a better image with the TV show.[150]

In June 2011, Rick Harrison's autobiography, License to Pawn: Deals, Steals, and My Life at the Gold & Silver, was published by Hyperion Books.[167] Harrison's autobiography details his childhood, some of the troubles he faced before he got into the pawning business, as well as anecdotes from his time at the Gold & Silver. Also, The Old Man, Corey, and Chumlee have their own chapters in the book, reflecting on their life and experiences at the pawn shop.[168]

Rick Harrison - 'The Spotter': I'm Rick Harrison, and this is my pawn shop. I work here with my old man and my son, "Big Hoss." Everything in here has a story and a price. One thing I've learned after 21 years - you never know what is gonna come through that door.

The hit History Channel show Pawn Stars is coming to Valley Forge to tape an episode of the long-running reality series. Its hosts, members of the Las Vegas Harrison family of pawn shop owners, will negotiate the value and try to buy pieces from those who are willing to part with them.

Parents need to know that this reality series about the inner workings of a family-run Las Vegas pawn shop provides an interesting look at capitalism at its most basic level. The father, son, and grandfather who run the store are very sharp and drive a hard bargain. The tempestuous trio are clearly close, but they also bicker frequently (and loudly), usually over business issues. Expect plenty of bleeped swearing. The shop buys and sells a wide variety of valuable goods and frequently mentions high-end brand names.

But it's the naked capitalism that's even more interesting. There's no way to predict what people will try to sell at the pawn shop, and the guys will seriously consider even the most unusual objects -- if they think they can sell it later for a profit. That means they have to be experts in an enormous range of high-end products, capable of spotting both a fake Rolex and a real Picasso. After each negotiation, they explain what an item might really be worth and why they were willing (or not) to buy it. In the end, any object is worth exactly as much as someone is willing to pay -- a fundamental rule of business that's rarely seen as clearly as here. 041b061a72


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