Eddie Moorer still isn’t exactly sure how it all happened.
He’s been wondering since late last year when his wife, Shelby, received a call on her cellphone that the History Channel show “American Pickers” was interested in him for an upcoming show.
“It seemed unreal,” said Moorer, a 71-year-old resident of Spring Place. “To this day we don’t know how or who called the History Channel and told them about me. I’d love to know exactly who it was because I’d like to thank them and talk to them about it myself.”
The interest paid off. Literally.
Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz, the show’s hosts, bought several items from Moorer on Jan. 8 while filming an episode, which is scheduled to air Monday night at 9. The show features Wolfe and Fritz as they travel through rural areas “picking” forgotten relics (some may consider them junk) to restore and resale.
Moorer said he was required to keep the filming date a secret and signed an agreement that he would not interview with the media until time for the show to air. Moorer kept his end of the deal, not even notifying his children until two days before the show was scheduled to film. But thanks to social media, news of the Pickers being in Murray County spread rapidly.
Several attempts to contact officials with the show, as well as publicists for Wolfe and Fritz, were unsuccessful in January following the filming and also this week.
When show representatives contacted Shelby Moorer, she was shocked. She immediately gave her home number so they could contact her husband.
Eddie Moorer, a native of Etowah County, Ala., said he had to meet with scouts and answer several questions before he was chosen to be on the show.
“They sent me a questionnaire about my stuff, my junk, my collection,” he said. “It asked questions about how I started, what got me into it. It also asked me why I was selling, and I said, ‘To keep peace in my family.’ They wanted to know what I was going to do with the money. I said, ‘Blow it.’”
Building and flying model airplanes was Moorer’s first hobby. An uncle brought him one to work on while he was in a hospital for an operation when he was around 7.
“I’ve always loved aviation, ever since I was a kid,” he said. “That got the airplane started. I was always mechanically inclined.”
When Moorer was around 12, he began asking his father for a motorcycle.
“I said, ‘Daddy, I just want a motorcycle. I don’t care if it don’t run,’” he said. “I finally convinced him. He bought an old motorcycle for $15. The punch line is that it was guaranteed not to run.”
Airplanes and motorcycles have made up the majority of Moorer’s collection for many years. He learned to work on motorcycles and engines.
In 1975, a few years after a divorce, Moorer decided he wanted to leave Alabama. A friend of his worked for Lance and got him a job in the Dalton area. He had plans of leaving his junk collection behind.
“I had stuff scattered all over Alabama, at my dad’s, my son’s,” Moorer said. “When I came up here, I wasn’t kin to anybody, didn’t know anybody. But this is home. They’ve been good to me up here. I started dragging some of my stuff from Alabama up here and people got to noticing ... I like anything that’s old and rusty.”
His collection grew to include go-cart frames, CB radios and many motorcycle parts.
“American Pickers” scouts thought Wolfe and Fritz would be interested in seeing the collection. They pre-selected items, but told Moorer to make the hosts “dig, make them do their thing,” he said. “I knew where they were coming from. I’d done it myself so many times. I did it, digging and running on wild goose chases.”
During filming, Wolfe climbed onto a shelf that contained motorcycles.
“I had several, I’m talking old, CB radios,” Moorer said. “That was something the scouts didn’t see. I don’t know if it will be in the show, but Mike held up that CB radio ... We haggled over the CB. We agreed on a price, and he was up on that shelf. He stuck his hand down, seemed like he was right there, and we shook hands on the deal.”
After a little more discussion about CB radios, Wolfe asked Moorer to “talk some CB trash.”
There were times the filming crew were laughing so hard “they had to say cut because we were acting so foolish,” Moorer said. “We all had a ball. Every time we turned around, they were having to cut because we were carrying on.”
Filming took most of the day.
In the end, the hosts bought several items including seven remote control airplanes, a 1937 Harley-Davidson Knucklehead engine, a Harley rolling chassis, a CB radio and a fiberglass Go-Kart Shelby Cobra body.
The airplanes were so large, it was hard for the crews to pack them in the van or a trailer used by the show, Moorer said. After a lot of back and forth with the show about getting people to ship the planes, someone finally contacted Moorer to say someone would be back to pick them up.
“The truck driver gets out, and it was Frank,” Moorer said. “While he was here that time to get the airplanes, he wanted to do some wheeling and dealing on some of my motorcycles ... Off camera, I ended up selling him one. There are some things like that you get out and see and you’ve got to have it.”
Moorer said he had a great experience filming the show.
“It was fun,” he said. “I really enjoyed it. I wouldn’t trade nothing in the world for this experience. I was blessed.”
He won’t say how much money he received for his items, but he says he followed through with what he said he would and “blew” the money.
“There may have been a bill or two paid out of that money, did some work on the house, but we ate well,” he said. “I’ve already spent all the money. We ate out for I don’t know how long. I’m not talking about McDonald’s either.”
Moorer purchased some radio-controlled helicopters, and “I’m talking about big ones,” he said. “I’ve been wanting to get into helicopters.”
“After it was all over with, I wish I had my stuff back,” he said. “Dadgum.”
The episode of “American Pickers” featuring Spring Place resident Eddie Moorer is scheduled to air Monday night at 9 on the History Channel.