Monday, June 8, 2015

Antiques Roadshow: the 20th season

I just returned last night from the second city of filming, Spokane, for the 20th year of Antiques Roadshow. The show films in the summer (this year in six different cities around the country), the takes are edited and episodes put together and finally aired beginning in January of the following year.

This anniversary season certainly got started with a bang, for just before we opened our doors for the thousands of clients to bring in their objects to be appraised, a small fire was discovered on set!

The first stop was in Tuscon (on May 30th) and as I was about to jump on the van to take me to the convention center, at 6:15 in the morning, a producer rushed up and told the van to take her to the set right away, leaving me stranded behind. I soon learned that a battery had started a fire on the set, Luckily, it was discovered almost immediately and, because of the quick thinking of our head of security, Sean Quinn, was put out with relatively minor damage to the set and no harm to any people or priceless objects.

Still, the fire made a mess, with smoke and ashes covering the set. The crew of the Roadshow and the convention center did a remarkable job of clearing things up and we got started only about 2 hours late. Of course, since we are usually filming for about 12 hours, we were on set until 9:30 that night, but everyone was amazed at how well the day went after that rather unusual start.

Last weekend we moved on to Spokane, Washington, where the filming went on in a more normal way. As at every stop, the crew and appraisers did an amazing job of running thousands of people with objects of every age and size through the process of, first, getting to the right appraiser, then getting their appraisal, and in the case of those few "special" items selected for possible airing, having their appraisals filmed.

Looking back on my 19 years of working as a print and map expert for the show, I am amazed at how it is still fun and often exciting to do the show, despite the extensive travel and long hours. After all these years, the show now has a stable of regular appraisers and we have gotten to know each other very well, spending a "fair bit" of time together in the bar and restaurants after the show finishes. It is also remarkable at how patient and friendly are all the guests, many who have to wait hours to see us, only to be told that their items have mostly "sentimental" or "decorative" value.

The people I spoke with in both Tuscon and Spokane were terrific and I saw a good number of interesting and wonderful prints and maps. I was filmed in both cities, so if the segment comes out well, you'll be able to see the result sometime next year. In the meantime, however, keep watching this year's shows (filmed in the summer of 2014). In Chicago I saw some great stuff and those episodes will be run for the first time this coming fall.