VIDEO: TV Crew Casts “Reel” for “Reality” at Wailuku Pawn

September 24, 2012, 5:54 PM HST · Updated September 25, 9:34 AM
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Kama’aina Loan. Photo by Wendy Osher.

By Wendy Osher

Reality TV film crews used old Wailuku Town as a backdrop for filming earlier this month of a proposed Pawn Stories pilot episode.

“Wailuku has had some issues over the last few years; and I think if this can make it onto TV, we can get a lot more business into Wailuku,” said Kama’aina Loan – Cash for Gold owner, Richard Dan.

“I think it will help everybody. In addition to me, I think it’s a big help to Maui,” said Dan, who thanked Maui Film Commissioner, Harry Donenfeld for helping to facilitate the production’s plans on Maui.

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The show’s owner, Bob McCullough, a pawn broker himself from Illinois, said he wanted to put together a show that did something positive for the pawn industry.

“We’re filming a TV reality sizzle that’s based upon what really happens in the pawn industry–which is everything from the pawn broker, their families, the employees… the customers–why they deal with pawn shop,” said McCullough.

“Whether they’re coming in to buy, to sell, to borrow–what’s really there? What are the stories that are behind the people?”  Unlike other pawn shop reality shows, McCullough said this one is different in that it is totally unscripted and a true reflection of what happens in the industry.

As the film crew visits seven cities across the US to compile the pilot, the goal has been to catch the stories behind the customers that come in and the things that they sell.

“Every one of these is like a fishing expedition. So we’re always trying to catch a good story,” said camera operator Carl Johnson.

Over the three days of filming earlier this month, production crews were pleased to come across some interesting finds–among them two post cards from the 1800s that were signed by Father Damien.

“That was really unique,” said Dan, who said that while he has seen documents signed by Queen Liliuokalani and King Kalakaua, he has not yet had anything signed by Father Damien in his history in the business.

With more than three decades of experience under his belt, Dan said he’s a bit jaded when it comes to identifying the strange items that have come through his doors.

“I bought the first class section of a 747, which I have upstairs… to me strange is hard,” he said.  “We bought a very old sarcophagus a few years ago.  We’ve also sold over the counter incredible Hawaiian coins–we’ve even had a Hawaiian nickel which we sold, which is a very rare coin,” said Dan.

Camera operators chuckled at a proposed sale of pharmaceuticals from the 1800s.  “I’m not sure if that’s totally legal,” said Johnson, who confirmed that no purchase was made on those items.

The next stop for the film crew is Seattle, Washington.

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