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Things You Forgot Happened In Pawn Stars Season 1

While the History Channel once featured a variety of historical documentaries, the network is best known for its reality shows today. "Pawn Stars" was not the first reality show aired by the cable channel, but it has proven to be one of the most popular. Soon after it premiered in 2009, Rick Harrison and his crew became unlikely celebrities.

The show has changed a lot since the first season, but the personalities of the main stars were established from the very beginning. Rick Harrison is the knowledgeable boss who holds everything together, Richard "The Old Man" Harrison is the grumpy curmudgeon who occasionally shows a softer side, Corey "Big Hoss" Harrison is the young know-it-all who is tired of being bossed around by his father and grandfather, and Austin "Chumlee" Russell is the not-so-bright comic relief. The Old Man passed away in 2018, but the others continue to star on the show today. There have been a lot of iconic moments over the years, but let's go all the way back to Season 1 of "Pawn Stars" and take a look at some things you may have forgotten.

Putting the "Pawn" in "Pawn Stars"

If you turned on a random episode of "Pawn Stars" from the current season, you might notice that there isn't very much actual pawning going on at all. Sure, the show takes place at the World Famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop, but almost everyone who comes into the shop is looking to sell their items.

However, if you go back to the first season, you'll notice that there are many more customers trying to pawn items. They offer Rick the item, he offers them a loan, and he temporarily takes ownership of it. We see an example of this in the very first episode, as a man tries to get a loan on his comically large table saw. It does lead to a humorous moment where Rick's employees struggle to get it out of the garage, but herein lies the problem with depicting pawning on the show: "Pawn Stars" mainly exists as light entertainment. You can see some fun (albeit staged) antics around the shop and marvel at unique historical artifacts, but no one wants to see people regretfully pawning their family heirlooms. Seeing as how the show centers around the guys running the pawn shop, it would be hard to sympathize with them if we viewed them solely as opportunistic creeps.

Corey and the Old Man's Bet

One aspect of the show that gets a lot of focus in the early seasons is Corey feeling, like Rodney Dangerfield, that he gets no respect. Corey has worked with his father and grandfather for years, which obviously has its ups and downs. In the second episode of the series, the Old Man takes Corey to task for claiming he could get $4,800 for a Rolex watch that he purchased for $2,000. Despite it being a valuable watch, the Old Man insists that the poor economy means no one will pay almost $5,000 for it. Corey is confident, though, and makes a bet with his grandfather — if it sells for $4,800 or more, the Old Man has to wear Ed Hardy pants to work. If not, Corey has to wear a suit and tie.

Corey has the watch touched up and quickly finds a customer who's interested. He starts at $6,000, so by the time he's talked him down to $5,000, the customer thinks he's getting a deal. Corey marches up to the Old Man with the receipt in hand, and proudly tells him that he's won the bet. The Old Man refuses to admit that he was mistaken, opting instead to refer to it as a "fluke." But he does hold up his end of the bargain, walking into the store wearing Ed Hardy jeans during the episode's end credits.

Oscar-winning Guitar

The third episode of the show sees an extremely rare and fascinating item come into the store, especially if you're a film buff. A customer walks in with a 1954 Gretsch Rancher guitar, which is a pretty valuable instrument in its own right, as the customer claims that only a handful were made. However, the real draw of the guitar is that it was played by Robert Duvall in the 1983 film "Tender Mercies," featuring the only performance for which Duvall has won an Academy Award. Duvall portrays a country singer in the film, and the guitar is featured heavily on screen. Rick doesn't even need to bring in an expert to verify its authenticity, because the potential seller has a picture of Duvall playing it, proving that it's the same guitar.

Sadly, the two are unable to come to an agreement on the price. The customer wants to get $10,000, and when Rick offers just $4,000, the two realize that they're so far apart that they'll never reach a deal. Rick admits that it's a very cool item that could probably go for $10,000 at an auction, but it's too niche for average pawn shop clientele. If only it had been a prop from one of Duvall's other films, it may have been an offer he couldn't refuse. 

How to Train Your Cousin

For the most part, people know that reality shows like "Pawn Stars" aren't all that real. Sure, all of the items that we see on the show are real pieces that people are trying to sell or pawn, but the workplace conflict we see is clearly either concocted out of thin air or at least played up for drama. "Pawn Stars" has been playing up the phony workplace drama from the very beginning.

Episode 6 sees Rick giving his niece Kirsten a job at the pawn shop, simply as a favor to his wife. Rick immediately complains to the camera that Kirsten "doesn't know the first thing about this business," despite the fact that she is a teenager looking for a summer job and should not be expected to have experience as an expert pawnbroker. Rick immediately pawns his duties off on Corey, saying that if he trains Kirsten well, he'll get a raise. For some reason (probably forced TV drama), Corey complains about the nepotism involved in his cousin getting a job, despite the fact that he works at a pawn shop owned by his grandfather and father. However, after this episode, Kirsten pulls a Chuck Cunningham and is never seen again.

Pre-Fame Cameo

Rick Harrison is never afraid to buy something old and beat up, as long as the customer understands that they'll be getting less for it, since Rick will have to pay to restore it. One of these items is showcased on the 8th episode of the series, where a customer named Ron brings in an old Coca-Cola machine that is definitely in need of a facelift. Rick pays $300, and he takes it to his restoration expert, Rick Dale, who touches it up for him. (Dale would eventually get his own spinoff on History, titled "American Restoration.")

In fact, fans of "American Restoration" will recognize the seller of the Coke machine as well. His name is Ron Dale, and he's Rick Dale's brother, who appeared on the first six seasons of "Restoration" (via IMDB). Yep, a guy sells a machine to Rick Harrison, only for Rick to send it to the guy's brother to have restored. So, does Rick Harrison make peace between two estranged brothers, or is this all just some free advertising for Dale's restoration shop? You decide.

The Gun or the Wife

The 8th episode also features one of the most infamous moments in the show's early history. A customer walks in with a flintlock pistol that he purchased from an estate sale for $800, and he's confident that he can make some serious money on it. He is also anxious to get rid of it, because his wife is not a fan of the gun, and he and Corey make some awkward jokes about him choosing between his wife and his gun. Despite the seller's confidence, he doesn't have the paperwork verifying the gun's authenticity, which is never a good sign.

When Corey brings in a gun expert, he reveals the ugly truth that the gun is a well-done imitation. The would-be seller is quite disappointed to hear this, but it's not until his exit interview that he really loses it. Still in disbelief that the gun is a fake, he storms away and launches into a profanity-laden rant, adding that his wife will be even angrier than she was before. If only we could be a fly on the wall for that conversation.

Peaches & Chum

Remember Peaches? She was on the show at one point. She had so many memorable character moments, like being in the background of a scene, and also being in the background of another scene. Peaches did, however, finally get a story of her own on the show's 9th episode. 

See, Peaches has a problem with being late. Classic Peaches, right? So Rick and the Old Man decide that instead of suspending or firing her like you might expect, they're going to make her work the graveyard shift. Does she have a life outside of the pawn shop that means she can't actually work nights? It doesn't matter.

Upon hearing that the young blonde is working the night shift, Chumlee jumps on the opportunity to join her, which Rick and the Old Man allow, instead of telling Chumlee how creepy he is. Not long after she starts on the night shift, Peaches begs to be put back on days, and they agree to this ... until she starts showing up late again. If this actually happened in real life, they might just fire her, but the show instead thinks that the purgatorial punishment of working with Chum is funnier.

Whip It

Sadly, not everyone who claims they have a movie prop has the same authentication as the customer with the Robert Duvall guitar. In the 11th episode of the show, a customer walks in with a whip that he claims is from an "Indiana Jones" film. He never clarifies which "Indiana Jones" film it's from, simply claiming that he bought it from a stuntman, which he assumes means he can sell it for $10,000-$15,000. Corey disagrees and brings in an expert whose specialty is movie whips (they really do have a guy for everything).

The expert says that if it's a whip that was actually held by Harrison Ford in one of the movies, it might go for tens of thousands of dollars. The seller, of course, gets his hopes up, but the expert goes on to say that there's no whip in an "Indiana Jones" film that resembles it. It could be a back-up whip that was used on set, but there's no real value in it as a movie prop. Thankfully, unlike the man with the flintlock pistol, this customer takes it in stride. At least he can still call it his "Indiana Jones" whip, as long as no one asks specific questions.

The Old Man and the Car

The Old Man is perpetually grumpy on the show, but he does have some things that truly make him happy. Like his son, he loves classic cars, and his 1966 Chrysler Imperial was a big purchase when he first bought it. However, by the time the first season of the show rolls around, the car has been sitting on the pawn shop's lot for six years, and it needs some serious work done. Thankfully, Rick and Corey know just what to do.

In honor of the Old Man's 50th wedding anniversary, Rick takes the car to his friend Wally, who makes it look like a new Imperial would have in 1966. To make the surprise even bigger, Rick and Corey convince the Old Man that they sold the car to a buyer for a mere $1,000. Of course, when he sees the refurbished car and simply says, "This is class," it's a genuinely heartwarming moment. Everyone on "Pawn Stars" likes to get snarky, but it's clear that the Harrison family loves each other. The sweetest part of all is when the Old Man says he wants to take his wife out in the car for their anniversary.

Up, Up, and Away Go the Profits

There aren't too many practical purposes for a hot air balloon in modern society. Gone are the days when a mustachioed eccentric would challenge you to a balloon race around the world, which means that the outdated mode of transportation is essentially a novelty item. Apparently, no one told Corey, because the 19th episode of the show sees him buying a hot air balloon for $38,000, after a convincing sales pitch from an expert. Corey believes that he could do all kinds of things at the pawn shop with a hot air balloon, although he never clarifies what they are, and Rick is understandably livid.

Rick brings the balloon expert to the pawn shop and asks for the money back, which he unsurprisingly refuses. Instead, Rick pays him to take tourists up in it until someone wants to buy the thing. The end of the episode sees Corey and Chumlee charging customers $150 for a ride in the hot air balloon, meaning that it will take more than 250 customers to make back their $38,000.

Bad Santa

At least once in your life, you've probably walked into the office and discovered that you were wearing the exact same outfit as a coworker. It's a bit embarrassing, and you have to field questions all day about whether it's on purpose. But at least it's not as bad as two people wearing Santa suits for Christmas. That's exactly what happened to Chumlee on the show's very first holiday episode, though. He is fully in the holiday spirit and walks into the pawn shop in a Santa costume, only to learn that the Old Man has already claimed the part, as he does every year. Of course, the Old Man puts no effort into the role, and Rick says he is "the grumpiest Santa you've ever met."

Chum gets even more laughs when he walks in later wearing a full elf costume. Thankfully, no one else has laid claim to this role, and Chum wears it for the rest of the episode. However, the biggest laughs come during the coworkers' Secret Santa exchange, where Corey gets a homemade sweater from his grandmother, and Rick can't stop laughing. Somehow, Rick is the only cast member who goes the whole episode without wearing a ridiculous outfit.

Forge Theatre

The final episode of Season 1 sees a customer walk into the store with what could potentially have been the coolest item to date. He claims that he has a Ford's Theatre playbill from April 14, 1865 — the night Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. Rick is obviously interested in buying such an important piece of American history, and since the customer only paid $500 for it at an antique shop, he's convinced it was the sale of the century.

Usually, Rick will call in an expert to verify whether an item of this caliber is authentic, but he doesn't need to here. Rick knows enough about Lincoln's assassination to see that it's a fake. The playbill proudly proclaims that Lincoln will be in attendance at the show, but Rick points out that Lincoln's presence was not a guarantee, and the theatre never would have bragged about it like that. Rick rubs salt in the wound by saying, "Not only is it a reproduction; it's a very bad reproduction." We're left to wonder if the guy is more embarrassed that he's out $500, or that he displayed such an obvious fake on national TV.