"Antiques Road Show": The lost transcripts

Certain unpleasant incidents on the PBS series have been kept under wraps -- until now.

By Christina Nunez
Published November 16, 1999 5:00PM (EST)

Appraiser: When you unveiled this, I was quite taken aback. It's a very unusual piece. Can you tell me about it?

Howard: It's a carved, painted wooden paddle that my wife's aunt picked up at a thrift shop for I think about $50, and she gave it to us.

I see. And do you have any idea what possessed her to spend one red cent on this piece of crap?

I guess it struck her fancy.

Someone should strike her with it! [Laughter.] I'm going to say that this is absolutely worthless. Will you do me a favor? Will you throw it away?

Certainly, if my wife will let me. Thank you.

Thank you. I'm glad we could help.

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Appraiser: So, Lillian, tell us about what you brought here today.

Lillian: Certainly. This lamp has been in my family about 100 years. It was my grandmother's, and now my mother, who is not in such good health and lives with me, uses it to read every night.

Man, is that an eyesore.

Yes, it is.

Now, you'll notice that the shade here is made of stained glass, which is typical of the bad taste of the period. If you look at the base of the lamp, see this insignia? Do you know what that means?

No, I don't.

Well, then I guess it's a good thing we're not counting on you to appraise it! The insignia shows that this lamp is French and very old. Therefore, it is valuable. Also, the market for very ugly lamps has skyrocketed over the last few years. Under ideal circumstances, a lamp like this would go for $25,000. But you'll notice there's a crack right here. Did something happen to the shade?

Yes, unfortunately my mother tripped over the cord one evening and the lamp fell. She broke her hip.

Well, your mother's clumsiness has cost you several thousand dollars. Any idea how much this would bring in at auction in this condition?

No, no idea.

Of course not. At auction this lamp with the crack would still bring in about $15,000.

Oh, my!

So your mother will have to be more careful from now on!

Oh, I can afford a nursing home for her now. [Laughter.]

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Appraiser: Well, Tommy, this is quite an interesting coin bank you have here. Where did it come from?

Tommy: My grandpapa gave it to my daddy and now my little brother and I share it.

Now, see the boy figure on the bank? Tell us what he's doing here.

He is sitting down in his bare feet eating watermelon, and his eyes are very wide and he has big lips.

Yes. Tommy, do you know what a racist is?

Ummm ... I'm not sure.

You are related to a few, I can tell you that! The bank portrays a stereotypical image of African-Americans that was common at the time. However, many people, both black and white, would pay a lot for this bank, because it is part of a history in which bad people like your family oppressed other people. Do you know how much this is worth?

[Crying.] I don't ... I want to go home!

Just answer the question.

But I don't know!

Then I'm not going to tell you. Now take your racist bank and get out of my sight.

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Appraiser: This is a remarkable story you have attached to this yearbook. The book is from Valley High, 1944, and in the back you have autographs from your classmates. Will you read this signature right here?

Randy: Surely. "Dear Randy, you are the best and I am thinking of you always. Have a great summer. Love, Norma Jean."

Wow. Now, this is Norma Jean Baker, also known as Marilyn Monroe, you say?

That's correct.

And how well did you know her in high school?

Oh, pretty well. She was a sweetheart, she really was.

Uh huh. Well, fortunately we were able to consult some graphologists on this, and they told us something very interesting.

What's that?

That you are full of shit, Randy. This is your handwriting and Marilyn did not even attend this school. I'm afraid we'll have to escort you from the premises.

Heh, well, you can't blame me for trying.

I'm just sorry it was such an uninspired attempt. Better luck next time.


Christina Nunez

Christina Nunez is a New York writer.

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