‘Cajun Pawn Stars’ ready to shoot again

Published 11:23 pm Monday, August 20, 2012

ALEXANDRIA, La. (AP) — Jimmie DeRamus said traffic at Silver Dollar Pawn & Jewelry Center has more than tripled since the shop in Alexandria became the subject of a reality TV show.

“Sometimes it’s more than that,” said DeRamus, who started Silver Dollar more than 25 years ago.

The DeRamus family and their store on Lee Street are the stars of the History Channel series, “Cajun Pawn Stars.” DeRamus spoke Thursday at a meeting of the Alexandria Exchange Club about the highs and lows of having his life exposed to a national (and international) audience.

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“Television can be a very, very beneficial thing or it can be a destructive thing to a business,” DeRamus said. “It depends on how they promote you.”

Thus far, Silver Dollar and the area have been beneficiaries.

The shop has been flooded with out-of-town visitors, DeRamus said — thousands of them a week during the times when school is out.

Many of the fans are young people. DeRamus said he wanted a show without “cussing, fussing and fighting.”

“Our goal from the start was showing an intelligent Louisiana,” he said.

“I’m tired of everybody thinking if you’re from Louisiana you take a bath once a week and brush your two teeth once a week. I wanted to show people we have something other than a bunch of alligators at the Arkansas line waiting to eat them up.”

The show focuses on collectible and historically significant items.

Experts are regularly called on camera to evaluate items and talk about their historic value. Pop ups and trivia questions related to history are also a regular part of the show.

“I think people are starving from something that’s family friendly,” DeRamus said.

“I think the Jerry Springers have run their course. A mother bringing a basket of laundry to the laundry room doesn’t want to have to worry about what her kids are going to see or hear on TV while she’s gone.”

Two seasons of “Cajun Pawn Stars” have aired so far with a total of 25 episodes. Fifty-two episodes have been purchased, DeRamus said.

A new slate of shooting begins Monday.

For the first season, the shooting schedule was 16 hours a day, six days a week, though that was scaled back in later shoots.

“People ask, ‘Is it real? Is it a real business?”’ DeRamus said. “If you want to know if it’s real, come on down. We have one of the most open sets in reality TV. We don’t lock anything down.”

“Cajun Pawn Stars” has filmed in nine Central Louisiana parishes. DeRamus said new episodes will expand outside the area to places such as New Orleans, Shreveport and Lafayette.

“People say shows like this have about a five-year run,” he said.

“But people in the industry tell me shows that appeal to families and kids may have legs longer than that.”