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Vegas hit ‘Pawn Stars’ filming new road series

Updated July 24, 2022 - 6:25 pm

Around the time “Pawn Stars” premiered on the History Channel, the late Richard “Old Man” Harrison, gave the show’s snap synopsis: “It’s like ‘Antiques Roadshow,’ but with skin in the game.”

The PBS vehicle “Roadshow,” of course, was a touring show. If you live in Billings, Montana, and find an old Philco radio, the “Roadshow” might well swing through give you a ballpark figure.

“Pawn Stars,” meantime, has typically seized home-field advantage, set at its Gold & Silver Pawn business in Las Vegas.

But the “Pawn Stars” are crisscrossing the country for its next several episodes of a yet-to-be titled “Pawn Stars” road series premiering this fall. We’ll see Rick Harrison, Austin “Chumlee” Russell and Corey Harrison making deals in Denver; Seattle; San Francisco; Austin, Texas; Valley Forge, Pennsylvania; Washington; Wiston-Salem, North Carolina; and Savannah, Georgia.

The first stop was Denver, on July 7. This week Team Pawn heads to Seattle and San Francisco. The series’ long-term vision was to energize the format by taking the scenes away from the familiar, cozy Gold & Silver showroom. The regular “Pawn Stars” series is between seasons, with its “road trip” version filling the open dates.

“It really is different, because we’re out there hitting the pavement, and people are bringing in their treasures and seeing what we’ll offer them,” Chumlee said last week in phone chat “And that’s the difference. ‘Antiques Roadshow’ just tells you the estimated value of an item. They’re giving you these super-high inflated values that you might get an an auction.”

But with “Pawn Stars, the distinction has always been that the value is tied to profit.

“We tell you what we can pay for it, knowing that we need to sell it,” Chumlee said. “So obviously, we’ve got to make a profit. That’s the business we’re in.”

Chumlee went to the limit on a favorite item during the Denver trip.

“I saw a really cool Pokemon (Trading) Card that I was really really trying to buy, but the guy had his value that he wanted,” Chumlee said. “I even offered him full, top-of-the-market value for it because I wanted it for my collection. He just thought it was worth a lot more than that.”

“Pawn Stars” is on pace to surpass 600 episodes 2023. The show has ventured outside of Vegas occasionally, and might return to the road-tour format if these shows are a hit.

“We like to make sure that we’re doing whatever we can to keep people interested in the show, you know?” Chumlee said. “We’ve been at this a long time. We like to spice things up.”

Thilmont remembered

The local journalism community, especially its connoisseurs of cuisine, have been shaken to learn of the death of ex-Las Vegas Review-Journal food writer Greg Thilmont. The dedicated, veteran journalist died in Las Vegas on July 15. He was 52. Early reports are Thilmont died of a heart attack. Official results are pending.

Thilmont’s brother, Matt, says his friends are discussing a memorial this fall.

Thilmont was a co-author in the “Eating Las Vegas” books. As the co-founder of that series, Vegas food critic John Curtas said on Facebook, “Greg never met a roadside diner he didn’t love, or a hike he didn’t want to take. He was a proud westerner who could appreciate the merits of a grilled cheese sandwich or a Mexican hole-in-the-wall with the sharpened palate of a trained gourmand … while never losing the Everyman’s touch.”

Another friend and colleague, food journalist and former R-J staffer Al Mancini, said of Thilmont, “He was an accomplished food writer, a true fan of Las Vegas, and a generally good guy. While we never worked together, I was always happy to see him at events, or at restaurants. He was one of the good guys — motivated by love of the beat he covered, rather than ego or other selfish concerns.”

On a personal note, I worked with Thilmont in the mid-late 2000s in our Greenspun Media Group days. He was one of the early online editors in the company, along with P.J. Perez, another great journalist and wonderful guy.

Greg and I also shared the same hometown of Pocatello, Idaho. Invariably, whenever one of us was visiting Poky, we’d check in with the other. Greg would routinely remind, “Make sure you hit Buddy’s!” speaking of the cozy, family-owned Italian place we both had favored since we were kids.

The last time I heard from Greg during one of his Idaho road trips was about two years ago. He’d just checked in at the Lava Hot Springs Inn just outside Poky, which is run by my father, George. Greg was fascinated that my family owned a business in the tiny town of Lava. He said had “a great soak” at the pools. He said he wanted to visit again, someday, when we both could be there.

Whenever I’m in those pools, or enjoying the famous Italian salad dressing at Buddy’s, I’ll think of my buddy Greg, a proud Las Vegan who had a lot of Poky in him.

Cool Hang Alert

Jaime Lynch of Zowie Bowie is presenting her first solo show at Stirling Club’s Spirits Lounge at 6 p.m. Wednesday. “This has been a longgg time coming,” Lynch says on Facebook. Over the years, Lynch has sung in “Fantasy” and performed in “Peepshow” at Planet Hollywood. She also delivered two of the more memorable numbers I’ve seen in Vegas.

Lynch learned and sang “Boogie Oogie Oogie” on the fly during an Oct. 1 karaoke charity event at Ellis Island in 2017. The performance drew a $10,000 donation from an associate of UFC president Dana White. And Lynch held her ground to finish “Dream On” during a powerful windstorm at Circa’s Stadium Swim on New Year’s Eve 2020. Spirits Lounge is, fortunately, climate controlled.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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