Youre definitely in business if your attic contains Luke Skywalkers Telescoping Lightsaber from 1977, or the Care Bears Treat Heart Pig minted in 1982, or drum roll, please Barbie No. 1 in the original box from 1959 (back when she was a brunette).
Jordan Hembrough has been dealing in collectible toys since he was 16 and is the host of Toy Hunter, which debuts with back-to-back episodes 10 p.m. Wednesday on Travel Channel. In Wednesdays second episode, Hembrough goes goodie hunting in Bryson City, Asheville and Charlotte.
Theres a lot great picking down in the Carolinas, and I dont mean music, says Hembrough. Rural areas are best, hes found, for toy caches.
There were a lot of old mom-and-pop stores. A lot of them still have unsold inventory and store stock in the back. Theyre coming to light now.
Another good source of material is people who worked for toy companies. They tend to keep samples of their products in original condition.
Hembrough, 42, runs a New Jersey-based firm called Hollywood Heroes that deals in classic toys. Hes found that the most popular items are ones that adults today remember from childhood. Anything from the late 1960s on has a good market.
Ten years ago, I was doing well with cap guns, the Hopalong Cassidy and Gene Autry sets. That era is not popular anymore. A lot of the customers have died off.
Likewise with the Chatty Cathy doll made by Mattel in the early 60s and the Mrs. Beasley doll from the same era, which sprang from the popular TV series Family Affair.
Prices for old toys depends on three key things: whether its in pristine condition, whether all the pieces are still there and whether it still has the original packaging.
One thing Hembrough hopes to do with his program is erase stigma sometimes attached to people who collect old comics or vintage toys. His customers tend to be educated and upscale.
Ive met people whose toy collections will rival any kind of fine-art collection in the world dollar-wise, he says.
One old genre of toys that seems to remain popular today is anything Batman, beginning with sets that rose from the campy Batman television series with Adam West that ran 1966-68.
You think youve got the Bat Utility Belt made by Ideal in the 60s? Hembroughs interested. If its in great condition, he thinks he can get $17,000 for it.
Comedian and WLNK-FM (107.9) personality Pam Stone will be signing copies of her new book I Love Me a Turkey Butt Samwich: Finding A Farm Life After Hollywood, noon to 2 p.m. Friday at Poor Richards Book Shoppe, 135-B Brevard Court in uptown.
Former Charlotte personalities on the move: Sarah Lee Owensby, who did mornings on The Beat, leaves a New York station for a gig in Tampa; former WBT-AM (1110) afternoon host Jeff Katz is out at a Boston talk station amid a wholesale format change; and Malachi Rodgers, who used to do weather on Fox News Rising (WCCB, Channel 18), is moving from an Orlando station to WSPA (Channel 7) in Spartanburg.
At WBTV (Channel 3), the newsroom is getting renovated. Built in 1955, the venerable building has seen plenty of broadcast history, but demolition revealed a forgotten chapter. In the early days, WBTV produced its own wrestling shows. When workers tore out the walls of news director Dennis Milligans office, they found the old tile showers that the wrestlers used. Its an old building, and they have great stories to tell, and they tell them when you start tearing the walls out, says Milligan.
Americas Garage Radio Show, with hosts Chuck Crank Sperry, Chris Stick Romeis and The Car Chick and originating on WZGV-AM (ESPN 730), is going into national syndication with stations in Greensboro, Arizona and Colorado.