‘Pickers’ episode feturing hospital will air June 24

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Wanda Freeman  Times Record // Dr. John Smith, right, visits the American Pickers camper during a break in filming of the popular History Channel series on Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013. Smith, seen with stepsons Tyler, left, and Ben, credited Tyler with sending an email to the series urging producers to come see the old Paris hospital, which he owns.

The American Pickers episode featuring footage shot in February at the now-closed Smith Hospital in Paris will be broadcast Monday, June 24 at 8 p.m. on the History Channel.

The episode is titled “Cowboys and Cobwebs.” The episode guide appearing on line describes the installment of the popular realty show as “Frank and Danielle pick a former trading post; vintage medical curios at Dr. Smith’s family hospital; Cotton’s roadside home.”

The Paris-based portions of the episode were shot on Thursday, Feb. 14. The program features pickers or collectors Mike Wolfe, Frank Fritz and Danielle Colby-Cushman and their nationwide hunt for interesting items and antiques. Fritz and Colby-Cushman were in Paris for the shooting. Wolfe was ill and could not accompany them. The production crew spent nearly all day shooting footage while Fritz and Colby-Cushman went through the old hospital with Dr. John Charles Smith, who owns the building.

The structure was selected for the series after Smith’s stepson Tyler Wade sent an e-mail urging producers to take a look inside the hospital.

“My stepson sent an email to them saying, ‘Gee, you ought to see this old hospital,’ and of all things, they responded. My wife sent them some information, and then they sent an advance team out here about three weeks ago. … They said, we’d like to do a show here,” Smith said at the time of the shooting.

On the day of the shooting, Smith said Fritz was going with him room by room looking through things. “Of course, Mike’s not here, so he was bidding with him on the phone,” Smith said at the time.

The day’s shooting started early but by mid-morning word had spread and a number of area residents gathered at the old hospital to watch the proceedings and catch a glimpse of or interact with Fritz and Colby-Chushman. After lunch in a camper, Fritz emerged and dozens of onlookers surrounded him. He accepted souvenirs, signed autographs chatted with fans and posed for pictures with them.

“We’ve got about two more hours in there,” he said at the time. “There’s a lot of cool stuff in there.”

The crowd of onlookers weren’t allowed inside the structure but members of the crew could be seen loading items into a truck later that night. You’ll have to watch the episode to find out exactly which items the pickers picked and purchased.

The hospital was built in the early 1900s by Smith’s family. It was closed in 1972 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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