I had the opportunity to be an audience member for the taping of the pilot television show, "The Great Big American Auction", starring Ty Pennington that will air on ABC in September. It was held at the Queen Mary in Long Beach on April 16th, and I arrived about a half early early because I wasn't sure if my journey would be affected by the fact that the Long Beach Grand Prix was running the same day. It turned out not to be a problem at all. I knew it would be a long day of sitting and waiting, but I was anxious to be a participant and to see what this show was all about.
After a late start, we were finally ushered into the beautifully lit and appointed art deco ballroom where the filming would take place. There was a center stage with an ultra shiny black floor (that was constantly dusted and polished with Endust by young crew members every time there was a break in filming), seating areas center and left, and a bank of Heritage Auction personnel to the right on phones and computers to enter bids from those sources.
They filmed us clapping and cheering, and finally Ty Pennington and a lovely young lady auctioneer from Heritage Auctions, who actually ran the bidding, come onstage. I must say, Ty is quite nice to look at! He is also a lot taller that I thought he would be, is ruggedly handsome, very funny and seems like an all-around nice guy!
The format of the show is very interesting. There were 16 items ranging from a Meteorite to a First Edition of "The Book of Mormon". Each item was auctioned off to either a bidder present on the floor, someone bidding on the phone or an on-line bidder. The twist is that every item had a moving back story, and every consignor of said item had some kind of hard luck story, or particular reason they were selling off their items. There was an impending lost home, children with debilitating health issues, a death in the family, a struggling single mom, a serviceman who wanted to spend more time with his family. You get the picture, there were lots of tugs at heart strings and quite a few tears.
I had an opportunity to meet a lot of interesting people. I actually sat between the best friend of the lady auctioning off her Early American painting, and the art dealer who flew in from San Francisco to unsuccessfully bid on it! I was seated in a rather active bidding area, so the chance of me being seen are relatively good!
By the end of the day my hands were sore from clapping, my face hurt from smiling and my rear end was practically numb. It ran a couple of hours later than they had told us, so I didn't hang around to get my priority seating tickets to the finale of "Dancing with the Stars" which films on Tuesday. I will be out of town, so I would not have been able to go anyway. :(
I did not get to meet Ty, but he came down to our row during a filming break to sign one of his books for someone. I certainly wouldn't mind meeting him one day! I will be watching in September to see the final end product. It should be a very entertaining show!
Ta Ta for now...