‘American Restoration’s’ Rick Dale Loves Bringing Back ‘People’s Histories’

Rick Dale History Channel photo

With “Pawn Stars” a runaway hit for The History Channel, its amiable spinoff, “American Restoration,” is bound to be welcomed, too.  The show that debuted with a quick four episodes last fall returns April 15 with a new set of half-hour episodes, showcasing the work of Rick Dale, who brings myriad items from the past back to their full glory.  There’s also his lively crew, including his cute, dual hair-color-sporting teenage son.  And, of course, there’s all their interesting stuff.

According to Dale, his intake of items has increased dramatically since his TV exposure began.  Even from his first “Pawn Star” appearances, “People have been sending me stuff.  You’d be really surprised how many things out there need restoring,” he says.  Those things have included arcade rides, barber poles, mail boxes, a Punch-a-Bag amusement park attraction, an X-Ray shoe fitting machine, a fuel oil delivery wagon from the early 1900s for which Dale sought help from Amish woodworkers to restore.  Then there was the instant coffee machine from the 1940s.

“The mechanics were very, very complex,” he notes.  “I was born in Southern California, but moved to Las Vegas and this machine had to have come from the first hotel ever here, so it had all that history.  I put it together and put wild paint on it, going back to the frontier days of Vegas.  I put a lot of heart into it.”

Dale’s fondness for restoring things began at age nine, when his father give him a bike that was “a junker.  He said, ‘If you want a bike, you have to fix it’ — and he helped me with the process a lot.”  Next came a soap box derby car.  A few years later came a motorcycle, then a car.  “Everything he bought me was a pile of crap,” Dale relates — which he would then transform into a gem.

Now his greatest satisfaction comes from the fact “I’m capable — or allowed — to restore people’s histories.  There are things in people’s lives that mean so much to them — maybe something their grandfather owned, something sacred to them.  When they come in and see it all finished, they cry, they break down.  It’s an amazing feeling.”

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This entry was posted in The Hollywood Exclusive by Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith and tagged , , , on by .

About Stacy Jenel Smith

I grew up in the San Fernando Valley when it was a kids' Shangri La in the 60s and we had Fabulous Eddie's miniature golf and trampolines on Ventura Boulevard. My big brother frequented The Third Eye psychedelic shop back in the day, but he wound up turning out anyway. Dad was an NBC video man who worked on "Laugh-In," Dean Martin's show, and specials by everyone from Sinatra to Fred Astaire. Mom was a first class home maker and PTA and GCA volunteer. They're still doing great. Anxious to get going in life, I quit college and jumped into journalism when I was still a teenager, and was writing for the New York Times syndicate and People magazine before turning 20. But that was a long time, many adventures, lots of traveling around the world and thousands of interviews ago. I go back to the very last days of hot type and getting to talk to Henry Fonda and Bette Davis, and Sammy Davis at the old Brown Derby...What a ride. That's in no small part thanks to my amazing writing partner, Marilyn Beck, one of the grand old-school Hollywood columnist stars -- a true star -- who knows how to do it right. I'm lucky, for sure. Now is fun, too. I love going out to events with my 17-year-old daughter (Jonas Brothers!). Seeing everything fresh through her eyes renews my excitement about the game. In-between I went back and finished school -- University of Redlands -- married, divorced, and at long last found my true love. My favorite things outside of the show business realm are being with my family, my faith and spiritual growth, learning new things (from doing Qigong to uploading stuff on Facebook), and running. See you on the trail.

2 thoughts on “‘American Restoration’s’ Rick Dale Loves Bringing Back ‘People’s Histories’

  1. Bradley

    I have a Personal watercraft that I think is a 1969 or so, and has a inboard Evenrude motor (maybe). It is 8 ft long and 4 ft wide. I do have photos of it. I am interested in having it restored. Please contact me so I can send you photos to see if you would be interested in doing the restoration. Thanks.

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