There’s an old Sam Cooke song, “What a Wonderful World,” that has the line “don’t know much about history.”
The History Channel, which once showed a lot of documentaries and specials on the Revolutionary War, the Civil War and the War of 1812, nowadays seems more user friendly. Don’t get me wrong, some of these new “history” programs are very watchable and entertaining.
One of these shows is called “Counting Cars,” and features Danny the Count, who owns a shop that does body work and painting and a lot of makeover magic on old and new cars. Mike is the troublemaker of the group, always getting crossways with Ryan, a painter extraordinaire, the Michelangelo of car painting. He comes up with some beautiful sketches and painting on motorcycles and cars.
Five or six other guys have various jobs and specialties. One of the more interesting things the guys do is take their cars and travel the highways and byways of Las Vegas, where their shop is stationed.
They look for cars to flip. In other words, they buy a car at a reasonable price and they give it a makeover and turn around and sell it.
Sometimes celebrities who are friends of Danny show up – Tommy Lee or Rob Zombie and even Wayne Newton have appeared on various telecasts.
They get some beautiful cars in their shop, too. I always go for the cars in the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s. My grandparents told me that when I was a small child, I was able to name the cars going down the highway.
My Uncle Don was a car enthusiast who later had an antique car himself. He always took care of his cars and had some beautiful Pontiacs during his lifetime. I’ve always enjoyed cars since then.
Danny the Count is an interesting guy – the star of the show. In his 50s and also the member of a rock band, Danny hails from Detroit. He talks like a rock musician and calls everybody “brother” and always refers to people as “cats.”
Danny is always respectful of our armed forces and always willing to do tributes on their bikes or trucks, always making sure he does an honorable job and thanks them for their service. If you met these guys on the street, you’d be intimidated by them. Most of them have lifted weights growing up. They walk around in sleeveless T-shirts always making sure they show off their “big guns.”
Another show the History Channel is called “Pawn Stars” – about a pawn shop run by Rick Harrison and his late father and his son Cory – with Chumlee, the class clown who gets into a lot of trouble. “Pawn Stars” has anything and everything for sale. It’s located in Las Vegas as well and will have crossover episodes sometimes between Danny the Count and Rick Harrison.
Another show that I’m interested in (as are my mom and Aunt Alice) is called “American Pickers.” These are guys who go around to various locations looking for old furniture, antiques, old cars, etc. The main focus of “American Pickers” is the two guys who are the stars of the show (Mike and Frank). They go all around the country. They even have come to Johnstown on a couple of occasions to check out some locals who have antiques.
What is depressing is that some of the people keep their antiques in these large warehouses and you wonder what they are going to do with it all. A lot of them have children who are not interested in picking. So, the interest is for them to sell as much of their stuff as they can.
Another one of my favorite shows is “Ancient Aliens.” This gets kind of deep in some ways. A lot of it I don’t believe in, but some of it seems to have concrete proof. Different experts come on the show and investigate the UFO phenomenon with video tapes that are submitted to them or find on the internet.
A lot of people may scoff at these videotapes that people have that look like UFOs or pinpoints of lights in the sky. But here is the thing, these are not locals coming up with sightings. Many of these people have advanced degrees and experience in aviation. These include astronauts going back to the moon landing, current Air Force military aviators, commercial airline pilots and policemen as well.
The problem is that most people scoff at the concept of UFOs and therefore many of these people who witness these events are afraid to come forward because the military and government had a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in effect. They feel that for whatever reason, they don’t believe in UFOs or are afraid of opening up a can of worms. They don’t want to alarm the public with these sightings.
Getting back to the “Ancient Aliens,” they really do make compelling arguments for some of these things such as the Egyptian pyramids and how they line up with the belt of stars and constellations and other strange coincidences. A lot of these arguments connect us with aliens and UFOs going back thousands of years.
They also deal with alien abductions and “Bigfoot.”
The History Channel hasn’t totally abandoned its true historical roots. There are some documentaries about wars and Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and Teddy Roosevelt. They really do help to correct misinformation about various presidents and public figures.
As far as UFOs go, those longtime readers remember I did a column on the Kecksburg incident near Ligonier, which involved a UFO that reportedly crashed into a farmer’s land in 1965. It was our version of the Roswell incident in New Mexico.