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Detours

Author: GBH

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What happens to all that stuff on America’s favorite antiques show once the cameras leave town? DETOURS reveals the stories, secrets, and surprises of TV treasures which go beyond the screen. Join host Adam Monahan, a longtime producer with GBH’s Antiques Roadshow on a journey of discovery from behind the scenes of the hit PBS series. Each episode tells the deeper story of one object, amazing and amusing listeners along the way. From GBH and PRX.
58 Episodes
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Celebrity letters provide a glimpse into what was happening in that person’s life in a particular moment in time, beyond what the newspapers were printing. When a fiery letter written by legendary star Frank Sinatra was appraised on GBH’s Antiques Roadshow in Tulsa, OK in 2018 that glimpse revealed a raw response to a letter from a prison chaplain, asking forgiveness for the two men who abducted Sinatra’s son in 1963. What was the one point around the kidnapping deemed unforgivable by the entertainer? Join host Adam Monahan as he digs into the kidnapping and its tragic and lasting aftermath.
News that a famous Galileo manuscript at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor was revealed to be a fake raises questions about a similar letter that appeared on GBH’s Antiques Roadshow in 2014. Did the show get it wrong? And how can a fake be so convincing it fools multiple experts? Host Adam Monahan, joined by forgery-sniffing historian Nick Wilding, dig into a world of deception to uncover if the producers are in for a letdown.
An early-American desk and bookcase set was appraised in 2006 at GBH’s Antiques Roadshow for a whopping $250,000. But was this coveted circa 1775 two-piece secretary a match made in heaven? Join host Adam Monahan as he discovers how a shocking secret revealed after the show making the piece even more rare, along with a powerful new market trend combine to dramatically change the value.
Boston Red Sox fans are a committed bunch – to the game, the team, the players, and the belief that a curse from 1918 kept the team away from a World Series win until broken in 2004. So, when a guest brought a Red Sox calendar, discovered behind a barn door after almost 100 years, to GBH’s Antiques Roadshow in 2021, that fan commitment clearly shone through in the $20K-$30K appraisal value. Join host (and Red Sox fanatic) Adam Monahan as he takes a swing at tracing the events leading to the curse, how this particular long-ago brewery-sponsored calendar stopped time at the moment it began, and how fans rallied when the calendar went to the auction block!
Ask fans of GBH’s Antiques Roadshow if they have a favorite appraiser and you’ll hear many names, including one known for his big character, creative mustache styles and bold plaid suits. Nicholas Lowry is a poster expert and master auctioneer – two qualities that were integral to the story of a larger-than-life aquatic poster bathed in muted watery green depicting splashing swimmers and onlookers lining the balcony above, that made its way to the show during a 2004 stop in Portland. Join host Adam Monahan as he dives into the incredible story of Sutro Baths, San Francisco’s 1890 engineering marvel, playground, and entertainment spot, and the poster that more than a century after its printing was offered at auction and saw a dramatic result!
Calling all dog lovers and true-crime aficionados! In 2022 Linda brought a chipped, cracked, and stained ceramic plate featuring the portrait of a long-ago dog to GBH’s Antiques Roadshow in Santa Fe, NM. But why would the story around this unassuming item soon ignite controversy among appraisers as to the plate’s true worth? Join host Adam Monahan as he chases the fantastic story of Skippy, a Belgian Shepherd who in 1952 saved Linda from the arms of a kidnapper and was subsequently honored as Dog of the Year.
When GBH’s Antiques Roadshow visited Sacramento, CA in 2019 a red-covered two-volume book set was brought to the show by a guest eager to learn about a selection from her grandfather’s book collection. “The Narrative of a Japanese” by Joseph Heco was recognized immediately by appraiser Martin Gammon for its historical importance, but how would this 1895 publication make a modern-day connection 150 years later? Join host Adam Monahan as he examines how an email received by the series after the episode aired led to an incredible connection between the book’s owner and a TV viewer who recognized something in the appraisal missed by both the guest and the expert!
In 1999 a box of artifacts from the sinking of the Titanic made its way to GBH’s Antiques Roadshow, including blurry photos of the eerie ice-filled wreck site, a handwritten diary, and -- a biscuit. But how could something so simple and fragile have survived the ship’s sinking? And could the biscuit and other items from the famed shipwreck find a place in today’s collector’s market? Join host Adam Monahan as he dives deep into the story of one tragic night, a honeymooning couple’s tale of survival, and the ship that continues to capture the attention of people more than a century later.
Until 2023, zero paintings created by the beloved PBS artist Bob Ross had ever been brought to GBH’s Antiques Roadshow. That all changed at the show’s recent stop in Anchorage, Alaska when a whopping six made their way in front of the lights and cameras. Paintings by Ross almost never show up in the open market – so how did so many appear that day and why? Join host Adam Monahan as he learns the colorful backstory of how Ross’ happy little trees and puffy clouds became art therapy for many, the artist’s surprising tie to Alaska, and if the market for his work is the stuff dreams are made of.
In 2014 a gorgeous painting was brought to GBH’s Antiques Roadshow in Bismarck, ND. The appraisal was selected by producers but ultimately cut from the episode before it aired. What made this piece of art so controversial? The late 1800s oil featured a nude woman. Join host Adam Monahan as he uncovers the tricky question of which parts of the body can be shown on broadcast TV and how issues of culture, politics, religion, viewer complaints and FCC regulations all play a role. But does this painting get a second chance on the airwaves?
It’s a little-known fact that appraisers on GBH’s Antiques Roadshow are not paid to appear on the show. What keeps them on-set for 10+ hour days season after season? The special excitement from coming face-to-face with a once-in-a-lifetime object. So when a guest brought what they thought to be Rodin’s sculpture “Eternal Spring” to the show in Fort Worth, TX, would the piece of art turn out to be an extraordinary find or a fake? Join host Adam Monahan as he uncovers the surprising story of the sculpture and the lasting mark left on two appraisers.
Can you put a price on Christmas? Years after a visit to GBH’s Antiques Roadshow, Santa and Rudolph original puppets from the beloved 1964 stop-motion-animation holiday special Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer made their way to the auction block. Join host Adam Monahan as he uncovers the story of the puppet’s discovery and restoration, the bidding surprise at auction no one expected, and whether efforts to keep these cultural touchstones on public display succeeded!
The legendary comedic duo Laurel & Hardy have a very dedicated fanbase. But will a relic toy soldier from their 1934 film, Babes in Toyland, have the owner laughing all the way to the bank? We follow one soldier’s march from appraisal to the auction block, to find out what it’s really worth. Along the way Adam crashes a meeting of the international Laurel and Hardy fan club - yes you read that correctly -- and tracks down the one other soldier known to survive from the film.
In 1977, while preparing a move to New York to make it big as an artist, a young Keith Haring gifted a lithograph titled “Bean Salad” as a goodbye present to his friend Mike. Mike couldn’t bear to display the gift, but also couldn’t part with it, and after 45 years he took the lithograph to the Santa Fe recording of GBH’s Antiques Roadshow where it was appraised for $100,000-$200,000. But what was the unspoken history between the former friends? Join host Adam Monahan as he checks in with the guest to fill in the missing pieces and speaks with Haring’s sister to learn more about the life and work of the famous pop artist’s impactful and tragically short life.
At each appraisal event for GBH’s Antiques Roadshow, along with staff and crew, it takes over 100 volunteers to ensure the event runs smoothly. Each is trained in the specifics of their role for the day, including the most important training point -- never talk to guests about their items prior to their appraisal! So, what happened during a 2022 visit to Boise when that cardinal rule was broken? Join host Adam Monahan as he recounts how one forgetful volunteer’s query opened the door to a connection of historic proportions, one so profound that executive producer Marsha Bemko called for cameras to immediately be brought over to capture the unimaginable moment!
An astonishing maritime painting depicting a 19th century yacht race was brought to GBH’s Antiques Roadshow in Tampa, FL in 2005.  Although unsigned, the extraordinary depiction of billowing sails and light-reflected sea spray clearly pointed to the work of artist James Buttersworth and was valued at $250,000 to $500,000 – the caveat being that more research would be needed to definitively prove the artist’s identity. Join host Adam Monahan as he speaks with art experts, museum curators and learns what public opinion revealed about the artist’s true identity and whether the mystery has finally been resolved.
A coveted 1959 No. 1 Barbie was appraised for GBH’s Antiques Roadshow in 2016 with a value of $3,500-$4,500. But with today’s Barbie mania following the release of the mega-hit movie, has a nice pink glow washed over the market for the stylishly superstar doll? Join host Adam Monahan as he toys with the question, speaking with Barbie historians, market experts and analyzes recent auction activity to reveal whether Barbie collectors will see a boost or a bust!
A family photograph, long rumored to feature the wild western outlaw, Billy the Kid, is brought to the set of GBH’s Antiques Roadshow in 2017 where it is quickly and roundly declared as inauthentic. In fact, there is still only one truly authenticated image of “the Kid” known, although countless more have made the claim—some with more plausibility than others. But why does Billy the Kid’s image remain so sought after and so notoriously rare? Host Adam Monahan digs into the case, and along the way discovers a story about the limits of technology, the value of historical accuracy, and the power of belief.
In 2018 GBH’s Antiques Roadshow visited one of the coolest locations the show has filmed at to-date, the Hotel del Coronado, right on the beach in southern CA. So it was surprising when a guest brought a well-used kitchen table to be appraised and even more surprising when it was revealed to be from the 1959 American National Exhibition’s “kitchen of the future” displayed in Moscow over which an icy debate took place between then Vice President Richard Nixon and Premier of the Soviet Union Nikita Krushchev. Join host Adam Monahan as he traces the history of this Cold War debate and how one viewers’ letter corrected crucial information about the table that witnessed history in the making!
Controversial items are nothing new to GBH’s Antiques Roadshow, but when an artist’s study sketch was brought to the show’s 2007 event in Baltimore, MD it seemed unlikely to be one. However, it was because of the bigger picture – literally –a mural created for the state of Indiana by Thomas Hart Benton and unveiled at the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair in which lurks a controversy that continues to this day. Join host Adam Monahan as he traces the story of how one artist challenged the era’s standard view of history and insisted that depicting both the good and the bad were important records and lessons for generations to come.
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Comments (9)

Saba Qamar

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Feb 9th
Reply

ncooty

I think this just highlights the integrity of the show and the good nature of the appraiser. Glad to know they're all human as well. :)

Aug 19th
Reply

ncooty

_Gift_ is a noun or past participle. It is not a verb. The verb is _give,_ and a thing is _given_, not _gifted._

Aug 9th
Reply

ncooty

I didn't hear anything in this story to indicate that the club was stolen or in any way misappropriated. In fact, the Tongan academic seemed to use some very loose language to imply that this object is a living ancestor, a view I'm not convinced other Tongans would share, but one that clearly fits in certain quasi-academic fields that sanctify and project victimhood. If the Tongans at the time thought this object was a living member of their society, then why did they sell it or give it away? Maybe they didn't think of it that way, but then, this would be a lost opportunity for a social-science academic to tell a story of imagined victimhood. It's a dangerous thing to suggest that cultures or genetic sub-groups should not mix, and to enforce it even through possession of artifacts. (Stolen objects are obviously a different matter.)

Aug 9th
Reply

Ali Ahmed

Thanks

May 17th
Reply

ID24297236

It’s Mr. Belvedere.

Feb 27th
Reply

Steve M.

Are you recording new shows?

May 2nd
Reply

Ann Wagner

fascinating stories!

Nov 24th
Reply (1)