Pawn Stars returned a few weeks ago on History Television. The series, which airs Tuesday nights at 9 p.m., has turned Rick Harrison, his dad the "Old Man," his son "Hoss" and favourite sidekick "Chumlee" into rock stars on the strip as I discovered on a trip to Vegas late last year. These guys are so mobbed they each have their own personal assistants who go out and fetch them beer and other essentials.
The surprisingly compact Gold & Silver Pawn Shop, which is well off the strip in a seedier part of town, draws around 7000 tourists a day. Harrison says 80% of the visitors buy something, although most of them just but souvenirs. The place is crammed with Chumlee T-shirts, bobble heads, books and key chains, so much so that they had to build a large warehouse room onto the back of the shop to hold all the overflow merchandise.
The above video features Chumlee explaining how he got his nickname. Boomers might recall Chumlee was a dim-witted walrus character in the Tennessee Tuxedo cartoons of the early to mid-'60s. (Don Adams did the voice of Tennessee, a penguin in a fedora).
Pawn Stars is the No. 1 show on History Television and regularly pulls about 600,000 overnight, estimated viewers in Canada. History in the U.S. has renewed it for four more seasons totaling 80 episodes. Read more in this article I wrote that appeared in Saturday's Toronto Star.