I must admit lately I've been captivated by two reality TV series about pawn shops.
One is "Hardcore Pawn," which airs multiple 30-minute episodes during primetime Wednesday nights on truTV. It's based on Les Gold's business, American Jewelry and Loan, which is just outside Detroit. Gold runs the business with children, Seth and Ashley, and things get interesting when they disagree about who is in charge and how the business should run.
Matters are complicated by outrageous customers who seem to do bizarre things to get their five minutes of TV fame.
The other show is "Pawn Stars," which airs multiple 30-minute episodes during primetime Thursday nights on the History Channel. It's based on the Harrison family's business, Gold and Silver Pawn Shop, which is on the outskirts of Las Vegas, and run by Rick Harrison, his father Richard "Old Man" Harrison and his son Corey Harrison. Another employee featured heavily is Chumlee Russell, who provides much of the comic relief as he comes up with various ideas to bond with the family. This show is very interesting as people bring in historical and vintage items to sell.
"Pawn Stars" branched out recently with a new show, "Pawnography," at 10 and 10:30 p.m. Thursday nights on the History Channel. Rick, Corey and Chumlee put up various items of value from the pawn shop that contestants vie for — against the three guys, who want to keep the stuff to sell in the shop. The contestant with the most money at the end of the trivia round goes up against trivia master Rick Harrison for the whole shebang of merchandise offered that night. Both answer questions without being told how many they got right. The one with the most answers correct wins the merchandise, but the two must barter first. Rick wants to keep his stuff so he'll offer a cash amount for the contestant to walk away because he is very confident he scored higher than the contestant. The contestant then can accept the deal or challenge Rick if he thinks he got the most answers correct.
Here are a few questions about pawn shops.
1. What is featured in the symbol representing pawn shops?
2. How long have pawn shops been in existence?
3. Pawn is derived from the Latin word pignus, meaning what?
Answers: 1. Three gold balls suspended from a bar. 2. More than 3,000 years. 3. Pledge.