SALE SCAVENGERS TAKE OFF ON A POP CULTURE SAFARI, “THRIFTING” THEIR
WAY ACROSS THE COUNTRY AND DISCOVERING AMERICA’S SECOND
Christopher Wilcha And John Freyer Ply
America’s Byways In A Second-Hand Odyssey Of Yard Sales, Thrift
Stores, And Pawn Shops – Buying And Selling Unusual Objects
And Discovering Fascinating Tales Of Contemporary America
Pilot Episode Premieres Nationally Tuesday, October 14 at
9:30 P.M. On PBS
Kinky Kuffs. The Wobble Light. The Lake Executive Toilet Paper Dispenser
Radio. Christopher Wilcha and John Freyer are on a mission to discover
rare and unique items that they didn’t even know existed but
now can’t live without. Driving a decommissioned ambulance,
the two young men have set off to buy and sell their way across the
country in an offbeat, on-the-road adventure to discover American
stories through the forgotten objects that have accumulated in the
nation’s basements, attics and garages.
Their long strange
trip is the pilot episode of SECOND
HAND STORIES, premiering nationally Tuesday,
October 14 at 9:30 p.m. on PBS.
Starting out from New Jersey in a 1978 ambulance they bought for
$2,500 on eBay, the two relic hunters visit every second-hand outlet
they can find, from thrift stores and garage sales to military auctions
and university surplus centers, guided only by their sense of an
obscure treasure lurking around the next corner. Determined to maintain
a thoroughly second-hand experience, the duo record their journey
with a variety of vintage cameras they have spied along the road
and fill out the soundtrack with music from old records they have
bought for a song.
Second-hand scavenging brings the duo face-to-face with strangers
full of intriguing tales and minor epics about the objects they are
selling. Meet George Skinner, patent-holder of the highway wobble
light. He trades his sole prototype, the only evidence of his $250,000
investment, to Christopher and John for $50. Meet avid garage sale
shopper Leon Kagarise when Christopher and John discover his priceless
collection of homemade, live country music recordings.
As they make their way across the land of cast-off objects, fighting
cash flow problems and the disintegration of their cranky vehicle,
the duo also uncover some forgotten history and bizarre incidences
of discarded Americana: Who invented some of the most popular board
games of the ’60s and ’70s? (Sid Sackson) What company
manufactured the first professional skateboard in 1963? (Mikaha)
What record seems to turn up in every thrift store across America?
(Herb Albert’s Whipped Cream and Other Delights).
Equal parts video travelogue and pop-culture archeological expedition,
SECOND HAND STORIES reveals the passions and obsessions of Americans
by taking a closer look at the second-hand stuff they buy, sell and
collect and how it accumulates meaning along the way.
film The Target Shoots First,
about Columbia House, the mail order CD and tape club, was shown
on Cinemax in 2001.
His documentary The Social History of the Mosh Pit premiered
on MTV in 2002. John Freyer’s book All My Life for Sale (Bloomsbury,
2002) details the auction of all his possessions on eBay and subsequent
visits to the new owners.
Mark Mannucci and Jeff Folmsbee, creators of the Peabody Award-winning
PBS arts series EGG the arts show, are executive producers.
New York is one of the key program providers for public television,
bringing such acclaimed series as Nature,
American Masters, Charlie Rose, Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly,
Wide Angle, Stage on Screen, EGG the arts show, and Cyberchase – as
well as the work of Bill Moyers – to audiences nationwide.
As the flagship public broadcaster in the New York, New Jersey
and Connecticut metro area, Thirteen reaches millions of viewers
week, airing the best of American public television along with
its own local productions such as The Ethnic Heritage Specials,
York Walking Tours, New York Voices, Reel New York, and its MetroArts/Thirteen
cable arts programming. With educational and community outreach
projects that extend the impact of its television productions,
television “out of the box.” And as broadcast and digital
media converge, Thirteen is blazing trails in the creation of Web
sites, enhanced television, CD-ROMs, DVD-ROMs, educational software,
and other cutting-edge media products. More information about Thirteen
can be found at: www.thirteen.org.