Archive for November 28th, 2012

If you’ve seen the reality show Pawn Stars more than once or twice, you’ve seen the handiwork of Rick Dale. Rick, the owner of Rick’s Restorations, is the guy that turns the Pawn Stars’ junk into beautiful pieces of work. In fact, Rick and his crew are so good at what they do that his restoration business was spun off into its own television show, American Restoration.

Rick’s Restorations is open to the public. Inside the building is a lobby full of restored items on display (and for sale) and a gift shop. There’s also a free behind the scenes tour that takes about 10 minutes to walk through. No photography is allowed during the tour.

Here’s a picture of the lobby. Those gas pump globes on the wall were $375 each. The blue Pepsi machine on the left hand side was $7,500. In the middle of the room stood several restored gas pumps and Coke machines, most of which have been featured on the show as well.

The Rick’s Restorations Tour takes you into the working area of Rick and his crew. Unfortunately we went on Saturday, so Rick and his crew were elsewhere, off enjoying their weekend. The tour takes you essentially into a single hallway with five or six large windows, each of which looks into a different room. There’s a machine shop, there’s a work room, there’s a disassembly room, there’s a … I don’t know man, there were four or five rooms and they all had workbenches and tools in them.

As with Pawn Stars, there are entire message areas and websites dedicate to how fake reality shows such as American Restoration are. Reality shows most definitely contain set ups, scripts and actors, there’s no denying that — there’s also no denying that Rick and his crew are a bunch of talented guys who do some really, really nice restorations. If you’re a fan of Pawn Stars, American Restoration, or simply appreciate restored classics, definitely check out Rick’s Restorations while in Vegas.

Last year when the fam and I were Vegas, Mason and I visited the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop, aka the home of the his television show “Pawn Stars,” while Susan and Morgan stayed out in the car. This was my second time to visit the pawn shop, and the first time for Susan, Tim, and Dawn.

The Gold and Silver Pawn Shop is much smaller than it appears on television. After entering the store you will be funneled into the store’s current, which feeds down the right hand side to the back of the store and then back up the other side until you reach the exit. Depending on the amount of people inside the store it can actually be difficult to stop and look at things.

On the right hand side, the front half of the store consists of three or four large display shelves. Everything is either under glass or out of reach. Some things have labels marked “AS SEEN ON TV.” There are swords and watches and a few other things that you’re not very likely to buy while on vacation in Vegas.

Once you get past those display shelves you hit the gift shop area, which is filled top to bottom, front to back, floor to ceiling of Pawn Stars t-shirts, Pawn Stars shot glasses, Pawn Stars Bobble Heads, Pawn Star Posters … you name it. Just past that area is a small room with some of the store’s larger items. Last time I was there, I saw a cannon. This time, there was a jukebox. Once you hit that area it’s time to turn around and work your way back toward the front. You’ll hit more merchandise again — more t-shirts, more bobble heads, more everything. There’s a cashier in the back in case you want to pay right there, but even if you did, you would still have to follow the flow of the crowd to get out.

Near the front of the store is a small alcove which is where people actually pawn things. There’s a big sign above the desk that says “no photographs in this direction.” The people we saw over there didn’t look like the people you see on television. They looked broken and hungry.

Like my last visit, nobody from the television show was actually at the store.

If you are in Las Vegas and are dying to get a Chumlee bobble head, the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop is your place. I suppose it’s worth stopping at if for no other reason than to see what the miracle of television cameras can do for a location. I doubt I’ll ever go back.