Thursday, December 12, 2013
The Associated Press
(Continued from page 1)
This June 22, 2013 photo released by PBS shows a man named Joe holding a Max Brother prop duck during the taping of the popular appraisal show "Antiques Roadshow," in Anaheim, Calif. Top-rated PBS series "Antiques Roadshow" is on the move, taping programs in eight U.S. cities for its upcoming 18th season. (AP Photo/PBS)
This June 22, 2013 photo released by PBS shows Ted Trotta, of Trotta-Bono, Ltd., right, looking at Lisa as she reacts about information about her Spontoon Tomahawk Pipe during the taping of the popular appraisal show "Antiques Roadshow," in Anaheim, Calif. Top-rated PBS series "Antiques Roadshow" is on the move, taping programs in eight U.S. cities for its upcoming 18th season. (AP Photo/PBS)
Orderly lines form for the stations that include rugs and textiles, jewelry, firearms and furniture. Then comes a big hurdle: Will an appraiser consider an item or the story behind it intriguing enough to pitch to the show's producers for an on-camera segment?
It's not necessarily rarity or a big price tag that will guarantee success.
"We are not easy to impress. We've turned down $200,000 items where the guest knows everything. We want storytelling; we're a TV show. We want the drama of the guest learning something," producer Bemko said.
That's done with viewers in mind. "If you're not excited by the object because you don't know what it is," she said, you will be after you're schooled in its history.
The crowd is friendly, not competitive, with a fair amount of mutual oohing-and-ahhing. Autograph-seekers extend their admiration to host Mark L. Walberg and volunteer appraisers including twins Leigh and Leslie Keno, who are very familiar to hardcore fans.
Leslie Keno, a Sotheby's veteran, said he values the chance to use material goods as a jumping-off point for lessons in history and culture. Plus, he said, "Antiques Roadshow" is a treasure hunt "that comes to me."
The series is based on the U.K. version that's in its fourth decade and has spawned versions in other countries. The U.S. one, produced by WGBH Boston and currently in "vintage" reruns, has visited all but a handful of states (hang in there, Maine, Wyoming and New Hampshire). This year's tour started in June with Detroit; Jacksonville, Fla., Boise, Idaho, and Anaheim, and moves on to Knoxville, Tenn., Baton Rouge, La., Kansas City, Mo., and Richmond, Va.
Although Bemko had expected the Southern California stop would draw a fair amount of Hollywood-related memorabilia, she was surprised at those toting it. Two pairs of Buddy Ebsen's shoes, one of them worn by the actor in "The Beverly Hillbillies," were brought in by his widow. Appraised value for insurance purposes: $20,000.
Happy endings are not guaranteed. There was a collective intake of breath when the sound of china hitting cement echoed through the convention hall, and one visitor was left minus a teacup.
"At least it wasn't the teapot," a friend offered, consolingly.