Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz from the HISTORY channel’s “American Pickers” came to Boca Grande Wednesday to see what hidden treasures they could haggle from rustic Whidden’s Marina.
Well, at least, that’s what I think happened.
For several television seasons, Wolfe and Fritz have shared their hunts for hidden antique treasures on HISTORY — and there they were on Boca Grande with their film crew.
What was interesting, if not odd, was how strict the Cineflix film crew — who could not and would not say their names due to a confidentiality agreement — maintained security and silence, as if it were a black-ops mission.
Even a call to the HISTORY channel was to no avail.
Wolfe and Fritz, I and others were told, do not grant interviews. Boca Grande residents hoping to get photographs with the television stars were told no pictures. What pictures were taken were shot from the road and public right of way. Several residents were chased off because the crew thought they may have been caught in the background during filming.
The Whidden family also was placed under a confidentiality agreement — so I was told by a member of the film crew — until their segment airs.
The timing is interesting. A couple of hours later and few blocks away, former first lady Laura Bush attended the ribbon-cutting of Mote Marine Laboratory’s satellite office on Boca Grande.
Did the first lady have Secret Service agents with her? Yes. But the first lady and the agents with her felt comfortable enough to allow her to walk freely and talk to Mote representatives and people in general.
I have to admit that it was a feeding frenzy of local media and residents trying to photograph Mrs. Bush as she walked around. She handled the situation with dignity and seemed to enjoy herself.
I also know how to follow rules and respect people doing their jobs.
In the 1990s, when actors Woody Harrelson and Elizabeth Shue were filming “Palmetto” on Manasota Key, the actors, director Volker Schlondorff and the film crew did their jobs, shot their scenes. Quiet on the set. But during a break between scenes, Harrelson and Shue were kind enough to take a few minutes and talk to local media.
No big deal.
All I thought I’d ask Wolfe and Fritz Wednesday is a few generic questions, like whether their TV show helped or hindered their haggling. Let’s face it, I’m no Mike Wallace.
My hope now is that the Whiddens were able to sell something and haggle a good price from the pickers. Like everyone else, I’ll have to wait and see what happens on a future episode of “American Pickers”.
Steve Reilly is a reporter for the Englewood Sun. Email him at reilly@