Ever since it first opened back in 1989, people have tried to pawn and sell a huge number of unique items to one of the most famous pawn shops there are, The Gold and Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas, Nevada. The place now hold thousands of pieces and resembles a museum with all the historical items including hand-written letters from presidents, pistols from a number of different wars, and a lot more. In fact, it probably has to offer anything that comes to your mind.
The great thing about this store is that over the last 12 years, we’ve got to witness how it operates all thanks to the reality show Pawn Stars. The everyday encounters of the owners of the shop with different people who have a lot to offer, along with the experts who appraise the artifacts, made Pawn Stars one of the best reality shows on TV. It doesn’t really come as a surprise that it has been on air for 12 years now and that it won a number of awards, including ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards for Best Television Series in 2011, 2012, and 2013. In addition, the show has been nominated for three Critics Choice Television Awards.
When the shop was approached with the idea to be filmed for a reality by History Chanel, the founder of the store, Richard Benjamin “The Old Man” Harrison, disliked the idea. His son, Rick Harrison, told Review-Journal. “He thought it was the craziest, stupidest thing he’d ever heard. I remember telling him, ‘Dad, you’ve got to come in Saturday for the sizzle reel.’ And he looks at me and says, ‘Rick, you’re never getting a bleeping TV show. It’s just not going to happen.’ I begged him to come in that Saturday. But we had to have him. He was the grumpy old man that everyone loves.
“At first, I just thought a season or two would be good for business,” he added. “It’s really bizarre. I’m just a fat pawnbroker, and now I’m known all over the world.”
Ever since 2009, a staggering 637 episodes have been shot.
“The Old Man” passed away in 2018, and Rick took the shop over together with his son Corey and Corey’s childhood best friend Austin Russell known as Chumlee.
Chumlee became a crucial part of the show and turned into a celebrity. He’s one of those characters who make people laugh and bring all the fun.
Speaking of the start of the show, Chumlee recalled on the podcast PodKats!, “They were making a short episode and we had about 12 employees at the time. They went through everybody, saying, ‘All right, who’s going to be our fourth member?’
“I didn’t watch too much TV, but I decided I’d go watch some TV, some reality shows, and I kind of realized what was missing was the funny part of the show, the whipping boy is what I called it at the time. Someone they could make fun of and laugh with.”
Chumlee turned out to be just the guy for the role.
While on the show, Chumlee also expanded his own business Chumlee’s Candy Shop, where he sells candy, clothes and different accessories.
“I would do a spinoff show, but everyone says the grass is greener on the other side,” Chumlee told Looper.
“But we love doing Pawn Stars, takes us about seven months to film it out of the year. I just don’t know if there’s enough in the candy shop, it’s in the shipping container right there.
“What I think we should do is a spinoff of the whole pawn [area]. There’s the barbecue next to me, I’ve got the candy shop, you know what I mean, Corey can have the pizza.”
At one point of his life, Chumlee weighted 350 pounds, but he then decided to make a change in his life and turned to a healthier lifestyle, following his friend Corey’s example.
“I went in and tested for sleep apnea, I had to do something about it,” he told Looper. “I got the machine and it just wasn’t that great, so I went to the doctor, just to get a consultation on getting a balloon, and by the time I left, he had me signed up to get all my procedures done to get a lap band. I’m sorry, not a lap band, a gastric sleeve. I mess it up. A gastric sleeve.
“They actually cut my stomach out and sewed it back up into a six-inch pouch and it settles somewhere around eight or nine inches, they say. And that’s been the tool I needed because it’s still a mental battle. I still have that mental battle. I always tell people I got that big because I enjoy eating food. Enjoyed the taste of it, it’s comforting.
“So I got the surgery, it’s helped me, it’s been a mental battle. I stay in the gym, but I try to go not continuously in there. I try to go there three days a week, I miss weeks here and there, but I just try to stay focused and eat well and live healthy.”
Chumlee shared two photos of him on Facebook showing him before and after his weight loss.
“Can you believe it, I’ve lost over 150lbs !! How many people out there have always struggled with your weight like I did?” he wrote.
“What has been the hardest part about losing weight for you? Drop your questions below!! I want to see how I can help you out.”
According to his friends, he’s not planning on going back to his old self and is dedicated to his new and improved lifestyle.
Last year, he took to Twitter to remind his followers of what’s important in life. “Success shouldn’t change you,” he wrote. “Any more than you’re normally, naturally gonna change and evolve as a person, which I think everyone does. But, if you let success change you, you’re not being true to yourself. I just stay true to myself, and if I make myself happy, along the way, I’m sure plenty of other people will be happy.”
We are so happy Chumlee is feeling the best he has ever had.