Though Mike is based out of Iowa (his company, Antique Archaeology has also opened a store in Nashville) and Frank out of Illinois, fans of the show know the duo traipse all across the country looking for finds.
So it's not surprising that the American Pickers found their way to Memphis, unofficial capital of the Mid-South, an old part of the country with lots of old stuff in it. Nevertheless, driving down Front Street yesterday afternoon, having just punched the clock from work, spying Mike and Frank on a sidewalk surrounded by cameras was still a surreal vision. (True confession: I saw Mike first, and, in the context of being surrounded by cameras in downtown Memphis, my initial thought was that it was Flyer contributor and local filmmaker Chris McCoy — they do share a resemblance.)
The surrealism achieved Dalian proportions when out strode Prince Mongo, Memphis' court jester/civic joke/frequent mayoral candidate/Code Enforcement fiend/visitor from the planet Zambodia. The American Pickers AND Prince Mongo? I hastily illegally parked and took some photos. I realized they were in front of Prince Mongo's building near Union and Front. See the slideshow for more.
What did the trio talk about? What was Mongo selling and/or buying? Did they agree on a price for the auditorium chairs, or that weird net thing, or Mongo's bewigged neck-skeleton companion? Is it possible Mongo died 5 years ago and is now himself being picked? And what would Mongo be valued at?
All will be told, one hopes, in an episode of American Pickers in the near future.
From left: Frank Fritz, Prince Mongo Hodges, and Mike Wolfe Greg Akers