American Pickers

American Pickers

(History Channel, 2010—) reality series

American Pickers logo.

The town of Johnston doesn't find itself in the spotlight very often, but at least one Johnston business was illuminated in December 2010. Several businesses, actually—auction barn, carnival, auto repair shop, and frozen lemonade truck—all owned by Paul Ruotolo of Simmonsville Avenue. The show was the History Channel's American Pickers, and the draw was several buildings full of antiques, treasures, and junk collected by Paul's late father, Thomas "Okee" Ruotolo.

Hosts Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz spent Monday, July 19, 2010, climbing and digging through barns and outbuildings on the Ruotolo property, eventually emerging with a 1967 Triumph Bonneville motorcycle, a classic Evel Knievel pinball machine, and an antique wooden horse racing game. Not everything they bought was shown in the episode. "They bought a lot of stuff," Ruotolo told the Johnston Sun Rise. "They filled up a U-Haul." Also not seen on the show: when production stopped for lunch everyone chowed down on locally sourced Italian grinders. Mike and Frank had hoped to attend that night's auction, but they ran out of time.

If you're searching for the episode it's called "What's in the Box?," from S3E3, and it aired December 20, 2010.

Wolfe and Fritz returned to the Ocean State in late 2013 or early 2014, having been invited to pick the cast-offs from the renovation of Belcourt of Newport. S11E7, "Frank's Holy Grail," aired April 9, 2014.

S14E18, "Frank's Birthday," found the boys picking a former Indian Motorcycle shop at 75 Benefit Street in Pawtucket. There they found memorabillia related to a local motorcycle club, Jesse's Roamers, dating back to the 1930s, and they brokered a sale of motorcycles and memorabillia to the National Motorcycle Museum in Iowa. The episode aired February 24, 2016.

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