Tuesday, July 17, 2012 | 11:44 a.m.
By Dave Toplikar
Wearing sunglasses and a no-nonsense air of authority, Richard “The Old Man” Harrison from TV’s “Pawn Stars” made his way Tuesday morning into the Clark County Commission chambers to be honored — and to leave behind a couple of gifts.
One was a check for $1,000 for the Clark County Museum.
And the other was the loan of a piece of historical furniture for the museum — the U.S. Senate floor chair used from 1933 to 1954 by former U.S. Sen. Patrick McCarran of Nevada.
“It’s one of the few items, that when I looked at it, where I really needed a drool cloth, because it was so cool,” said Mark Hall-Patton, Clark County Museum administrator.
Hall-Patton watched outside the commission chambers as the heavy wooden chair with a leather seat was being carried out to be taken to the museum.
“Any other Senate chair, who would care?” Hall-Patton said. “Patrick McCarran’s Senate chair, coming into Las Vegas into the shop here, that was incredible.”
The chair will be displayed in the lobby of the museum, at 1830 S. Boulder Highway, as part of a display about McCarran, the namesake of McCarran International Airport.
Hall-Patton said the chair is of interest because questions have been raised about changing the name of the airport to Las Vegas International Airport. McCarran was controversial for his witch hunts for communists but was revered for his efforts to promote aviation.
Harrison, patriarch of the family that owns Gold & Silver Pawn Shop, presented the money and the chair during the commission’s regular meeting in the Clark County Government Center.
Harrison, the appraiser on the show, gave the OK for his son, Rick, to purchase the chair for $3,100 on the episode titled "Take a Seat," which premiered on April 18, 2011. The chair was acquired by a man from the estate of Eva Adams, who managed McCarran’s office.
In accepting the gifts, the commission proclaimed July 17, 2012, at “Pawn Stars/Gold & Silver Pawn Day” on the Las Vegas Strip and throughout Clark County.
“Who would have ever thought it was going to go as big as it has,” Harrison said of his No. 1 show on cable TV, which has almost 8 million viewers on Monday nights on the History Channel.
“To be honest, I’m proud of my accomplishments,” said Harrison, who started his pawn shop 30 years ago on Las Vegas Boulevard. The TV show has had three seasons and has been renewed for a fourth.
Harrison said they get about 4,000 people coming through the shop each day. Those visitors can be seen lining up along the sidewalk of the shop each day at 713 Las Vegas Boulevard South.
“It’s phenomenal what happened,” Harrison said. “I feel blessed because of it.”
The show has also been a boon for the museum because Hall-Patton and the museum are featured regularly on the show.
Commissioner Mary Beth Scow, who presented the proclamation to Harrison, said the show has generated much interest in the museum, which has seen its attendance grow by 84 percent this year.
“The visitation to the museum has been incredible and it’s only been because of this show,” Hall-Patton said. “Who would have thought that a show about a pawn shop in Vegas would become the No. 1 show on cable in all of North and South America, Great Britain and Italy, the Philippines and Singapore? We’re in 150 countries now.
“People are actually coming to Las Vegas to come to a pawn shop — not because they have to but because they want to — and to come to the county museum,” Hall-Patton said. “The advertising value of this is just incredible.”