Thursday, November 3rd – TWO GUESTS! Rick Harrison of TV’s Pawn Stars Hour 1 and ST Joshi, Writer and Scholar Hour 2
For this evening’s double feature we will have on Rick Harrison from TV’s Pawn Stars during our first hour, and scholar, acclaimed author and expert on the lives of Ambrose Bierce as well as H.P. Lovecraft just to name a couple—- S.T. Joshi will be joining us during hour two for some discussion about literary history as well as discuss his role as an author and journalist in the world of secular studies.
In case you missed our Halloween special earlier this week, it’s available in the show archives for subscribers to Amy On The Radio.
Rick Harrison of TV’s Pawn Stars (Hour 1)
Rick Harrison will be the first one to tell you that he is a book nerd, doesn’t watch TV (even his own “Pawn Stars” show), quit school because he fell so far behind due to grand mal seizures brought on by Epilepsy all throughout his childhood and teens, never imagined anyone would be interested in ‘a show about four fat guys in a pawn shop’ and still sums it all up with a quick “Livin’ the dream” when asked how he is doing.
He may be a television star now, but he was, and always will be, just a regular guy. He began learning negotiation and business skills when he sold bags at the swap meet, leading to him starting a coin shop with his Dad, a Navy veteran (and the Old Man to fans and viewers of “Pawn Stars”) in Las Vegas in 1981 when the whole family moved from San Diego after the real estate downturn. At a young age Rick decided he wanted to open a pawnshop but when he went to get a Pawn license he was told the city had to reach a population of 250,000 before a new license could be issued. Every month he would dutifully call the city statistician and finally one fateful day in 1988 Las Vegas crossed the mark. Rick was first in line and thus was born the World Famous Gold & Silver Pawnshop.
Always the most eccentric and unique pawn shop in Las Vegas, Rick learned quickly that if a media person fell into the store, saw the art and other unique items in Gold & Silver and wrote about it or it appeared on a TV news program, the phone rang a little more. He thought the Harrison family dynamic and the uniqueness of the store would make for a good reality show and without any contacts to speak of in the entertainment business, began pitching his vision. After four years of pitching, he finally found Left Field Productions (the producer of “Pawn Stars”) and in just two short months, “Pawn Stars” was on HISTORY and was becoming an almost overnight success. It appears Rick’s vision resonated with people looking to ‘laugh and learn,’ spend a night with the family, or just see what the Old Man or Chumlee might say next. All four of the show’s stars are relatable, real and interesting guys and that translated across the screen.
Rick can spot a fake, drive a hard bargain and use his 30 years of real life and negotiation skills to make a priceless deal or bring a smile to someone’s face with that infectious laugh of his. He loves to share his unending wealth of knowledge cultivated through a lifetime of reading books and his unending quest to know more about anything than anyone else in his circle.
“Pawn Stars” is approaching its eighth year and continues to be a huge hit, airing in more than 150 countries and in over 30 languages. It is one of TV’s biggest cable hits and has millions of viewers on any given Wednesday night when it airs twice. The Gold & Silver Pawn Shop has grown from 13 employees to more than 50 and from 70 customers a day to 4 – 5000 a day.
In 2014, Rick was asked to become the national spokesperson for the Epilepsy Foundation, a role he gladly accepted. He is happy to use his celebrity to help create awareness and garner financial support for those affected by epilepsy.
When the Epilepsy Foundation started a local chapter for Southern Nevada, Rick wasted no time in creating his first event – the inaugural “Pawn Stars Poker Run,” which raised more than $100,000 and has now become an annual tradition.
In addition to his work with the Epilepsy Foundation, Rick oversees a large charitable initiative for Gold & Silver Pawnshop which allocates money to charities, awarding dollars to over 100 charities in 2013 alone. He helps his younger son, Jake, with his homework each night while spending time with his wife and gets his three step daughters meetings with celebrities like Justin Bieber and Eric Church. A modern day Brady Bunch is how he likes to refer to their blended family of three sons for him and three girls for her. He is the guy you want to have a beer with and be in your corner when you need a true friend. He is loyal to a fault which is why he is so well liked by his employees, his friends and the fans of the show. He wins awards regularly for the positive exposure he has brought to Las Vegas as a city through the TV show, a “Pawn Stars”-themed slot machine, the pawn industry, his charitable efforts, and so much more.
In October 2015, inspired by Downtown Las Vegas’ Container Park made from shipping containers, Rick opened Pawn Plaza, a colorful retail and dining destination located next door to the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop. Featuring approximately 6,000 square feet of retail space and 6,000 square feet of outdoor patio space right on Las Vegas Boulevard, guests can buy Hot Rod t-shirts, Rockabilly clothing, or grab a beer and some ribs with Rick himself when he is bartending weekly at his bar and restaurant, Rick’s Rollin Smoke BBQ.
The biggest acknowledgement Rick can receive isn’t fame or even fortune, it isn’t a great deal while negotiating at Gold & Silver Pawn, it isn’t meeting famous people (many are fans of his and the show and whom he does not recognize –remember he doesn’t watch TV!), or any of those marks of success. It is being a great family man and his entire family will attest that he is an amazing son, father, grandfather, and just plain old role model. It didn’t come easy for him, it took a lot of hard work. Learning to navigate fame for a plain old pawn broker, is a challenge, but Rick is a champ when it comes to meeting wounded warriors, classic rock heroes, make a wish children and anyone who is a fan of the show. He makes the time and never truly realizes how many lives he has touched across the board.
To many Rick is a genius, a TV star, a tough negotiator, a family man. But truly Rick is just a regular guy, sometimes missing his anonymity but always making the most of the serendipitous fame he has found himself surrounded by. He is a good man who always knows how to make the most of any situation.
Hour 2 – S.T. Joshi (Scholar, Author, and Literary Expert)
S. T. Joshi (b. 1958) is a leading authority on H. P. Lovecraft, Ambrose Bierce, H. L. Mencken, and other writers, mostly in the realms of supernatural and fantasy fiction. He has edited corrected editions of the works of Lovecraft, several annotated editions of Bierce and Mencken, and has written such critical studies as The Weird Tale (1990) and The Modern Weird Tale (2001). His award-winning biography, H. P. Lovecraft: A Life (1996), has already become a collector’s item. An expanded and updated version, I Am Providence: The Life and Times of H. P. Lovecraft, was published in 2 volumes in 2010.