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Frank Fritz's Best Moments From American Pickers

Frank Fritz made up one-half of the picking duo on History's hit television show "American Pickers" along with the show's creator, Mike Wolfe. Fritz had been in the trenches in many treasure hunts all across America since the show first aired in 2010. Wolfe and Fritz seemingly had perfect chemistry, which no doubt led to the show's appeal and longevity. Indeed, thanks to the charisma of Wolfe and Fritz, it was easy to want to follow both men as they uncovered items that ranged from the incredible to the incredibly strange. 

Longtime fans of the series were heartbroken when it was announced over the summer of 2021 that Fritz, for a variety of reasons, would not be returning to the hit show. In a statement reported by Entertainment Weekly, creator Mike Wolfe said, "I will miss Frank, just like all of you, and I pray for the very best and all good things for him on the next part of his journey."

It's no wonder that in the 300-plus episodes that Fritz had appeared in, he had his fair share of iconic and memorable moments.

Frank meets his longtime rock heroes Aerosmith

It's not every day that you get to meet one of the most influential rock bands of all time. But that is exactly what happened on the 16th episode of the 20th season, titled "Aerosmith Van." In the previous season, Mike and Frank were gobsmacked to find the weather-beaten van while on a pick in Chesterfield, Massachusetts. It was later confirmed by original rhythm guitarist Ray Tabano that this was indeed the original tour van for the now-legendary rock group, making this an incredibly important relic in the band's history. 

Flash forward to 2019, and on the aforementioned episode, fellow team member Danielle Colby works her magic by getting hold of Aerosmith's managers. She arranges for the band to meet Frank and Mike while finally reuniting with their beloved tour van, which had been painstakingly restored. Frank is beside himself as he gets to meet his rock' n' roll idols while showing off the now-mint-looking tour van, which was then used in Aerosmith's Las Vegas residency, according to Louder.

The force is strong with Frank

Over the course of the series, Frank Fritz and Mike Wolfe found some stunning movie collectibles. These include such cool finds as an original script for the John Wayne film "The Comancheros" and a helmet used in the Oscar-winning 1948 film "Joan of Arc." Though not featured on "American Pickers," Mike owns an alien costume from the landmark sci-fi film "This Island Earth" (via USA Today). The show has also featured a ton of rare film posters and lobby cards as well.

However, Mike and Frank made what might be one of their most iconic finds in Season 16, Episode 8, titled "The Greatest Pick on Earth." During a pick in California, the duo comes in contact with a collector named Sandy, who owns some very rare Star Wars items. This includes four Yoda prototype puppets from "Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back." The crew is able to get the actual model maker, Mario Chiodo, on the phone, and he confirms that only one Yoda came from his shop at Lucasfilm. Fritz, a sci-fi fan, is overjoyed to be able to make a deal for this fantastic historical prop.

Frank buys himself some KISS memorabilia

It may be one of the more understated items that Frank Fritz had come across during his tenure on "American Pickers," but you would be hard-pressed to find one that connected with him on a more personal level. On the 5th episode of Season 17, titled "Tunnels and Treasures," the boys find a wonderland of cool stuff from a man named Arnie. Arnie, who confesses to buying three houses and connecting them together to house his collection, takes Mike and Frank on a maze of countless stuff from a lifetime of collecting.

During what Mike Wolfe described in the episode as a "pop culture maze," the duo ended up in a room converted from a basketball court. Frank locks eyes on a vintage Kiss poster, which he admits he's never seen before. While Arnie and Frank bond over their mutual love for the iconic rock band, Frank finds an artist proof for the same poster that is signed and numbered. He ends up buying it, as well as a KISS action figure set complete with stage.

Mole Man Ron

It's rare when you see Frank totally stunned and bewildered by a location. However, that is exactly what happened when the boys were picking in Pennsylvania. Season 1, Episode 6, titled "Mole Man," sees Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz meet Ronald Heist, who is lovingly referred to as Mole Man Ron. Why do they call him Mole Man? Well, before they could even get into Ron's house, the duo has to navigate down a twisted tunnel of boards and random stuff. One highlight of the journey is when Frank and Mike have to walk on narrow planks of wood. Things only get odder as the two meet Ron and explore his strange collection, which included a room of plungers.

This episode would become something of a legend in the "American Pickers" universe and was even referenced in the aforementioned Season 17 episode "Tunnels and Treasures." Strangely, Heist was arrested for a burglary that took place in 2017, as reported by WPXI News. He allegedly stole $650 worth of goods.

Frank connects with his inner child

Similar to the KISS poster, there are certain items that the rust brothers uncover that truly hit home on a personal level. That was the case with Frank in Season 18, Episode 5, aptly called "Frank's Big Day." During a pick in West Virginia, the boys stop by a toy museum run by a man named Francis. While both Frank and Mike seem to really enjoy themselves, it was Frank whose eyes light up while looking at and discussing these vintage playthings. One item that catches his eye is a rare Goofy wind-up toy which Frank was able to buy for $450. 

Even Mike notices Frank's inner child coming to life and, during the episode, he remarks, "It was awesome to see little Frankie in his element with Francis." Fritz also scores some vintage Buck Rogers toys as well as other Disney items. Though he certainly made great buys, it was priceless to stoke some great nostalgic feels for a simpler time.