In 2011, “American Pickers” was a far cry from the pop culture phenomenon it has become over the past half decade plus. At the time, the fledgling history hit was still carving out a place in cable television’s increasingly crowded reality series landscape. And at the time of the American Pickers crew’s downtown shutdown, it was unclear if Mike Wolfe’s Nashville ancient archeology shop was even open. However, the reality star called Music City home by then, so it’s not surprising that he brought the production to the city.
As for why the “American Pickers” team closed several city blocks in Nashville, the gang took over those blocks to film an intricate promo for the show, according to Entrepreneur.com. Said promo fronted Mike and his longtime co-star Frank Fritz in a full-blown American Pickers musical production. The ad was appropriately written by the legendary Dr. Pepper “I’m a Pepper” campaign, which featured David Naughton, the star of “An American Werewolf in London,” in a song-and-dance-heavy ditty about joining the Dr. Pepper-loving crowds.
The “American Pickers” version understandably features less dancing from frontmen Wolfe and Fritz, although the duo appears to have sung themselves. However, the ad features plenty of background artists, which more than make up for the general lack of movement from Mike and Frank. And given the ad’s lavishly over-produced production, it’s easy to see why a few blocks in downtown Nashville had to be closed to make the magic happen.