Skip to main content

tv   Lou Dobbs Tonight  FOX Business  May 22, 2017 10:00pm-11:01pm EDT

10:00 pm
your day. tomorrow on the show, brian returns and eboni williams and nick gillespie, hopefully you will be there took have a glorious night, i thank you. >> i'm baird jones. >> two eccentrics from new york's disco days. >> if you were on baird's list, your social life was assured. >> two oddball art collections. >> all right. >> mel brooks, david bowie, art carney, muhammad ali. >> but the weirdest thing about this story... >> and it's really solid. nothing's going to fall off. >> how the square from the burbs ends up with both. >> i can only imagine this driving around the streets of new york. >> will this two-for-one strange inheritance -- >> i've got $150, can get a $175? once, twice. first piece sold. >> ...ultimately add up? [ door creaks ] [ wind howls ] [ thunder rumbles ]
10:01 pm
[ bird caws ] >> i'm jamie colby, and today and i'm in the pocono mountains of pennsylvania on my way to meet an heir with a head-spinning story that will take us back to 1970s manhattan, the era of punk rock, disco and wild parties at studio 54. >> my name is hugh hooper. back in 2008, my brother hoop received a very strange inheritance. when he died three years later, he left one twice as strange to me. >> hugh, hi. i'm jamie. >> how are you doing, jamie? nice to meet you. >> so great to meet you. you know, i don't come out of manhattan for just anything, but i heard your inheritance is way cool. >> it is. it's crazy. but you can keep manhattan. i'll take the country. >> all right. let's see it. >> you wanna see it? go ahead. >> absolutely. hugh's strange inheritance is actually two separate art collections
10:02 pm
that belonged to two separate people. here's some of the first, parked on the pathway outside his home. what is this? >> well, this is hoop's cars. they call this the musicmobile. >> christmas albums, paul simon. [ playing notes ] it still works. and this is just a fraction of the far-out fleet he inherited. >> everything you could imagine, trucks, cars, little bmw isettas where you had to get in between the headlights. >> they do need a little bit of repair. >> well, i don't have the heart to touch it. >> that's because the creator of the auto art is his dearly departed brother, steven douglas hooper. >> this is me and my brother. >> steven is born in 1946 and raised in clifton, new jersey.
10:03 pm
according to big brother hugh, he's a cutup from an early age. >> my brother was normal until he was about 8, and then he changed. >> uh-oh. what happened? >> he started acting like stan laurel and mugging and dancing around. and he always had this crazy sense of humor. >> the brothers are drawn down two very different paths. hugh joins the army. little steven idolizes pop-art sensation andy warhol and the psychedelic painters of the 1960s. he wants to be part of that scene. >> as he got into high school, he just got totally into art. >> steven takes a few classes at a small art college. big brother hugh gets married and starts a family. >> where did he get the money to pursue a passion and not have to get a real job like the rest of us? >> well, steven had a job. he worked in a book binder. he operated a forklift. >> but when their mother has a serious health setback, the brothers must figure out a plan.
10:04 pm
>> we decided not to put her in a nursing home, so my brother gave up his job at the book binder, and i just paid the bills. my brother was like my hero. he took care of my mother. it's my obligation. we're blood of blood. they became best friends. >> the goofy falsetto-voiced tiny tim is just one of hoop's famous, near famous, or used-to-be-famous acquaintances, and he's driven achve fame,oo. when he gets his hands on an old
10:05 pm
bmw isetta, he covers it in psychedelic fur. the first hoop mobile is born. >> i am hoop, the self-proclaimed king of art. >> my brother loved to introduce us as twins, and then everybody would go, "hmm." we didn't even look like we knew each other. i was military. he was hippie. >> it's not easy to become a well-known artist. you have to do one more outrageous thing after another. >> that means turning more and more cars into zany sculptures. he's the canvertible and the voodoo volkswagen. >> he actually had a van. he cut the front end off of another van. he bolted it on the back of his. he had two front ends. he said, "i don't know if i'm comg or going. it's the time machine." he covered it in clocks, and he drove all over the place. >> around this time, hoop meets a new york preppie name baird jones, who also likes hanging with the glitterati
10:06 pm
and who has his own unique artistic vision. you're about to hear about the other half of hugh hooper's strange inheritance. >> this is a picture that james dean drew. this is tony bennett. >> signed "bennett." >> they're all signed. >> signed by muhammad ali, adolf hitler, charles manson, buddy hackett, paul mccartney and more. that's great. >> vincent price. >> after the break... >> but first our "strange inheritance" quiz question. which '70s hard rock band switched gears to cut the solid-gold disco hit "i was made for loving you"? kiss, iron maiden or the ramones? the answer when we return. ♪ ♪
10:07 pm
what we do every night is like something out of a strange dream. except that the next morning it all makes sense. to power global e-commerce fedex networks are massive, far-reaching and, yes... a little magical. slash dream
10:08 pm
♪ here comes the fun with sea-doo.
10:09 pm
♪ ♪ sea-doo has the most affordable watercraft on the market. starting at just $5,299 and get 0 percent financing. visit today. >> so, which '70s hard rock band switched gears to cut the disco gold record "i was made for loving you"? it's a, kiss. the song's cowriter, paul stanley, said he wanted to prove it was easy to make a disco hit. >> so, where were we? oh, right. in the middle of a story about how hugh hooper came into inherit not one but two strange art collections. one was a fleet of car sculptures created by his younger brother, steven, also known
10:10 pm
as hoop or the king of art, if you please. the second collection, as you're about to see, was curated apparently at significant cost by a classic new york character named baird jones. >> baird had a standard preppy uniform. khaki pants, baseball hat, and would send out these little invitation cards. >> author marianne macy met baird in the early '80s, when he's known as the columbia university grad student who throws the best parties in town. >> he was from a "social register" family. he had numerous graduate degrees. >> baird starts collecting art created by pop-culture celebrities, like these scribbled drawings by miles davis and jimmy stewart. others are by stars who are also artists, like anthony quinn and david bowie. baird works for clubs
10:11 pm
and discos like the famed studio 54, where he's a doorman and party promoter. >> he was extraordinary at getting together really unlikely combinations of people from preppy to downtown grunge. >> the young nightlife impresario rubbed shoulders with hundreds of new york celebs. he leverages those connections to moonlight as a gossip-column tipster. >> besides inviting me to all of his events, he used to provide gossip-column items for me. >> richard johnson is a longtime editor for the ultimate big apple gossip column, the new york post's page six. why did people love him? was it his personality or his connections, his ability to throw a good party? >> i imagine that there's a lot of couples out there now with children, who met at one of baird's party.
10:12 pm
>> no one knows when and where baird and hoop meet but by the early '80s, they're best buds. they love andy warhol and discover synergy in merging the psychedelic stars with the disco ball. baird and hoop join forces prompting east village artists at in clubs such as max's kansas city, palladium, and webster hall. >> they were big parties. you know, i mean, they were sort of cheesy. he would say on the invites, "copious hors d'oeuvres." so, they'd be 10 people deep. you'd be lucky if you could get one drink before they closed the open bar. >> some events feature baird's growing celebrity art collection. by baird's counting, he spends over a million dollars to add works by bob dylan, dee dee ramone, vincent price, and buddy hackett. he also snatches up works by simply notorious figures -- john gotti,
10:13 pm
adolf hitler, charles manson, and john wayne gacy. his art shows attract even more bold-face names. >> he kept a database, and so he could mail out, you know, 5,000 invitations at a time. if you were on baird's list, you know you're going to run into a 100 people you know. you're bound to see hoop. he sort of had the same crew always there. >> but every great party comes to an end. and in 2007, concern is spreading among baird's closest friends, like marianne macy. >> you know, the 4:00 or 5:00 a.m. lifestyle had to change. he didn't look healthy. people's lifestyles changed, and baird was still out there doing a lot of the same stuff. >> do you want to do it afterwards? >> no, right now is cool. >> i think it was more like work for him later. >> on february 21, 2008, baird jones, life of the party circuit, is found dead in his apartment. he's 53 years old. do you remember
10:14 pm
when you heard he had passed? >> i was shocked. i mean, he was way too young to die, and i didn't know that he had ever had any health problems. >> an autopsy reveals it was a heart attack. in his will, baird gives all his property to his good friend hoop, an estate said to be worth $2 million, not including his celebrity art collection. how surprised was he that he had gotten this inheritance? >> he was pretty surprised. he, he didn't expect it, really. >> i think it would just like baird to take care of his buddy, and that's what he did. >> do you want to see a bunch of the celebrity art downstairs? zero mostel. here's a, a jack kevorkian. >> the inheritance doesn't change hoop much. he busies himself with his cars, which are written up in the new york times. he's even interviewed by geraldo and featured in indie films. >> this is my matchbox mobile. i was commissioned by
10:15 pm
the toy company mattel. they gave me 500 cars. you can play with it, too. >> but as fate would have it, hoop's wild ride is coming to an end as well. >> tell me what happened. >> he had a rash. he just thought it was psoriasis. and then he got this one rash that didn't disappear, and it continued to get worse. >> the diagnosis -- cancer. >> my artwork gives me inspiration to keep going. i get up, and i look out the window, and i said, "i got to do a little more to that car today." [ barking ] >> hoop keeps up his life as an artist and new york character with help from his older brother. >> i gave him all kinds of nutritional stuff. he had no side effects from the chemo at all right until the very end. >> in september 2011, hoop dies at the age of 64.
10:16 pm
>> it's a hole in your life when you lose part of your family. nothing can fill it. >> hoop leaves everything to his big brother, hugh. >> we were opposites but totally bonded. what was mine was his, and what was his was mine. >> and now, what's hugh's are two strange inheritances in one, and as you're about to see, a big dilemma. what to do with it all? >> here's another quiz question for you. these three pictures are from the baird jones celebrity art collection. can you guess which was painted by leonardo dicaprio? "a," "b," or "c"? the answer after the break.
10:17 pm
when they thought they should westart saving for retirement.le then we asked some older people when they actually did start saving. this gap between when we should start saving and when we actually do is one of the reasons why too many of us aren't prepared for retirement. just start as early as you can. it's going to pay off in the future. if we all start saving a little more today, we'll all be better prepared tomorrow. prudential. bring your challenges. safety isn't a list of boxes to check. it's taking the best technologies out there and adapting them to work for you. the ultrasound that can see inside patients, can also detect early signs of corrosion at our refineries. high-tech military cameras that see through walls,
10:18 pm
can inspect our pipelines to prevent leaks. remote-controlled aircraft, can help us identify potential problems and stop them in their tracks. at bp, safety is never being satisfied. and always working to be better. abreak through your allergies.? try new flonase sensimist allergy relief instead of allergy pills. it's more complete allergy relief in a gentle mist experience you'll barely feel. using unique mistpro technology, new flonase sensimist delivers a gentle mist to help block six key inflammatory substances that cause your symptoms. most allergy pills only block one. and six is greater than one. new flonase sensimist changes everything.
10:19 pm
tthat's why at comcast,t to be connected 24/7. we're always working to make our services more reliable. with technology that can update itself. and advanced fiber network infrastructure. new, more reliable equipment for your home. and a new culture built around customer service. it all adds up to our most reliable network ever. one that keeps you connected to what matters most.
10:20 pm
>> so, which of these pictures from the baird jones collection was painted by leonardo dicaprio? it's "c." for the record, "a" was painted by jonathan winters, and "b" by dinah shore. >> in 2011, hugh hooper comes into his strange inheritance, two bizarre art collections created and curated by a couple of quintessential new york city characters. the first was his eccentric brother, hoop, who produced dozens of wacky sculptures from various automobiles. the second came from hoop's preppy party-planner pal, baird jones -- a large collection of artworks by a vast array of famous and notorious figures. he focuses first on his brother's car sculptures. two things are immediately clear. he has no place for them,
10:21 pm
and there's no place to sell them. >> all the fun in these cars had been had because he isn't here. >> so, hugh lets his brother's friends cart away any hoop mobiles they fancy. but, hugh, aren't you a little concerned that you'll lose that connection to him? >> no. no, the connection isn't in things. the connection's in your heart. >> hugh is less emotionally attached to the second weird art collection. the hundreds of celebrity paintings and drawings that he inherited through his brother from baird jones. who's that? >> okay. that's the queen of monaco. >> ooh. >> grace kelly. >> so, there's royalty. >> yes. >> jimmy stewart. >> jimmy stewart. >> yeah. >> harvey. that was the character. >> john gotti, "bikini," nice. you know what he was thinking about. >> that's one of my favorites. >> remember, baird jones spoke about spending a million dollars to acquire all this artwork. hugh decides to auction it all off.
10:22 pm
>> this is muhammad ali. >> in the ring. >> in the ring. >> hugh, you're going to sell this? >> yes, i am because who's going to enjoy it? nobody's getting any chance to look at it. that's what art is for, it's for people to appreciate. >> you think it's worth anything? >> i would imagine it is. what, i don't know. >> he's about to find out. let's open up at $1,500. $1,600, $1,700, $1,800. >> what's your "strange inheritance" story? we'd love to tell it. send me an e-mail or go to our website, ♪ whether you're after supreme performance... advanced intelligence... or breathtaking style... there's a c-class just for you. decisions, decisions, decisions.
10:23 pm
lease the c300 sedan for $399 a month at your local mercedes-benz dealer. mercedes-benz. the best or nothing. abreak through your allergies.? try new flonase sensimist allergy relief instead of allergy pills. it's more complete allergy relief in a gentle mist experience you'll barely feel. using unique mistpro technology, new flonase sensimist delivers a gentle mist to help block six key inflammatory substances that cause your symptoms. most allergy pills only block one. and six is greater than one. new flonase sensimist changes everything.
10:24 pm
10:25 pm
>> now, back to "strange inheritance." >> in june 2016, hugh hooper's ready to auction off what's left of his strange inheritance, a trove of celebrity artwork collected by a preppy new york party promoter named baird jones. jones is said to have poured more than a million dollars
10:26 pm
into the collection before he died and willed it to hugh's brother, hoop. hugh chooses robert rogal of rogallery in long island city to handle the sale. mel brooks, peter falk, jimi hendrix, adolf hitler. >> quite a weird collection but a lot of name-brand material. >> it's the steven hooper, a.k.a. "hoop," celebrity art collection. >> and off we go. internet and phone bidders are standing by. >> opening price on this one is $100. >> it starts quietly with a work entitled "self-portrait with butterfly" by the famous french mime, marcel marceau. >> at $100, $100 and quarter now. got a bid of, go $125. at $125 now, at $125, last call. sold at $100. mel brooks. >> this cartoon scribble by a famous funny man fares
10:27 pm
somewhat better. >> $400. peter falk. >> detective columbo beats that easily. >> $600. this john gotti. >> crime pays a little more. >> "bikini on mars," sold for $1,100. we continue. "horror hospital," ink and marker drawing, dee dee ramone. we're at $1,300 right now, looking for $1,400, $1,400. give me $1,500. sold at $1,500. >> and remember that muhammad ali painting called "sting like a bee"? >> $1,500, $1,600, $1,700, >> it packs a bit more punch. >> all done -- $2,800. >> alas, that's the biggest celebrity hit of the night. >> buddy hackett, sold, $250. rudy giuliani, $800. >> at this rate... >> david bowie, sold at $550. jimi hendrix. >> ...baird jones' million-dollar investment in celebrity art... >> sold at $300.
10:28 pm
henry fonda. >> looking like a big bust. >> pass it. pass, and we'll pass. moving along. >> this color-pencil doodle by actor ed asner starts with an minimum bid of 400 bucks. >> any bids, $400? and we'll pass. [ buzzer sounds ] >> will matthew broderick do any better? >> any bids at $100? >> $100 only. >> nope. >> and we're passing. [ buzzer sounds ] and we have now "courtyard of the old residency in munich." the artist is adolf hitler. we'll start at $50 and now $75. we're looking for $75 on this. last call, we're at $100. sold at $100 and glad to have it pass me. >> out of the 300 works put up for auction, about a third of them sell. the grand total, 43k. hugh expresses surprise if not disappointment. >> it was some things that didn't sell that really i thought would sell very easily.
10:29 pm
but i think it was a good sale, and it also honors my brother, and that's very important to me. >> the unsold items include works by james dean, fred astaire, phyllis diller, and kurt vonnegut, which, come to think of it, is a pretty good startnvite list for yet another cosmic-art happening baird and hoop are surely planning wherever they are. >> it will be a long time before we see anything like them. they were both really unusual people. together they were fantastic. >> so much that's hip in one generation is totally uncool to the next. old uncle hoop once drove his niece, hugh's daughter, to school in one of his hoop mobiles. the teen was mortified. after that, all hugh had to say to keep her in line was, "watch out, young lady, or uncle hoop will be driving you again tomorrow."
10:30 pm
i'm jamie colby. thanks for watching "strange inheritance." and remember -- you can't take it with you. >> a man who can have anything... >> he'd lay awake nights trying to think of a way to make a dollar. >> ...throws nothing away. >> you must have said to grandpa, "this can go, can't it?" >> yes. and we told him that a million times. >> one strange inheritance. >> wow, and it's packed! >> one heavy burden. >> how much do you have? >> oh, about 3 million pounds. >> one heck of a yard sale. >> this has got to be the largest i've ever seen in my life. i said, "if you can organize it, we can inventory it, and we can sell it." >> [ auctioneer calling ] [ door creaks ] [ wind howls ] [ thunder mbles ] [ bird caws ]
10:31 pm
>> i'm jamie colby. and today, i'm in tulsa, oklahoma. i'm here to meet the son of a remarkably successful businessman and epic hoarder. file this under 80 years of grit and true metal and 40 acres of scrap metal. >> my name is john hemphill. in february 2016, my father passed away. he left me a thriving company that's a testament to his business acumen. he also left me a 3 million-pound headache that says a lot about my dad, too. >> i meet john in the lobby of hemphill corporation. and this was your dad. >> yeah, this is dad. he started the business back in the '50s. and i'm running it now. come on. i'll show you. >> as john drives me around the company, i come to understand the "jekyll and hyde" nature of his strange inheritance.
10:32 pm
these look like cell towers. >> yeah, these are guide towers for wireless communication. and that's our main business now. >> but his dad built that business while indulging his industrial-strength urge for collecting. big stuff -- iron, scrap metal, machinery... things you can't squirrel away in a closet. take, john says, these assembly-line carts, please. did he really need this many? >> oh, my goodness. no. and he didn't need the ones that are out in the yard. we have dozens and dozens. >> it all starts with this serious little guy, elmer hemphill, born in 1935 on a farm near tryon, oklahoma, to parents elsie and marvel. >> he learned his work ethic from my grandparents because they believed in work. >> the hemphills, like other oklahomans, are hit by drought and dust storms during the great depression.
10:33 pm
many of their neighbors flee to california. but they stay put. when elmer is just a kid, a stranger shows up at the farm to buy some hay. and the boy jumps at the chance to make a sale. >> i see you got four bales of hay there. >> my grandma looked outside, and he was talking to a guy that had shown up. >> how much you want for all four? >> for all four? >> she went out and asked if, uh, she could help him. and he said, "this young man's already taken care of it." turns out he did make a fair deal, probably better than grandpa would've made. but, uh... >> how old was he? >> she said he was 5 at the time. >> so he was a pint-sized deal maker. >> yes. >> at age 13, elmer convinces the town banker to give him a business loan. what is a 13-year-old borrowing money for? >> well, he was gonna use the money to buy registered sheep and raise 'em and sell 'em. and he made some good money. >> he had a mind like a steel trap.
10:34 pm
>> earl hart grew up with elmer, and they became friends for life. >> elmer'd lay awake nights trying to think of a way to make a dollar. he was just determined to succeed. >> in 1953, the teenage entrepreneur heads to the big city, tulsa, with 600 bucks and a simple philosophy. >> it was "you never know how far a toad'll jump until you punch it." what it really meant was "you can't just sit back and hope things happen. you gotta go after it." and he was definitely one to punch the toad. >> like when he starts his own drilling company, then goes on to manufacture machine parts for aerospace and military applications. along the way, elmer gets married and starts a family. as soon as he's old enough, son john joins him in the business. signs of his dad's obsession are everywhere. john just doesn't yet see them. >> my first job was cutting weeds. and i remember a lot of the stuff
10:35 pm
that's still here back in the '70s. having grown up with all this stuff, i really never thought of it as being as crazy as it was. >> no kidding. after all, business is booming. by the late 1970s, elmer's company has 150 employees. and his family's growing, too. four kids and then a brood of grandkids, including john's daughter, kristen, a chip off the ol' block, who learns about business and life from her papaw. sometimes he failed. >> and sometimes he really succeeded. but either way, he kept a good attitude. >> he also keeps that stubborn dust bowl "waste not, want not" mentality that increasingly baffles john. >> he would keep a piece of pipe that was, you know, 1 foot long. >> bigger stuff, too, like this defunct drilling rig purchased for 25k for a railroad project in west virginia back in 1967.
10:36 pm
or this contraption that dates back to the '80s. >> he actually invented this drilling rig for a special project for the tulsa expo to lash on to a pier to help secure the foundation. >> the tulsa exposition center endures as a city symbol. the big rig just gathers dust. but john doesn't complain. no questions asked of dad? >> no questions asked, no. when he looks at something, he doesn't see what a lot of us see. he sees potential. >> in the mid-'80s, when the price of crude oil plummets, elmer punches another one of those toads and ends up in the business of building transmission towers for those newfangled cellphones. >> we started building cell tower sites, and we've been building 'em ever since. probably built about 5,000 of 'em. >> but with each new endeavor, elmer's stockpile of retired equipment gets taller and wider and, john knows,
10:37 pm
increasingly irrelevant to the business at hand. what will hemphill ever do with these extra-large hydraulic rigs or thousands of feet of fencing? and is anyone saying at that point, "oh, my god, we gotta unload some of this stuff"? >> no. it was pretty much known that we just needed to put it where he wanted it put [laughs] and live with it. >> but living with it is about to become geometrically harder, for elmer's no longer content with stockpiling scrap and equipment left over from hemphill's own jobs. now he starts actually gobbling up other companies' junk just because. >> i don't care what it was. and if it was cheap enough, he'd buy it. and he said, "someday, it'll be worth something." >> that's next.
10:38 pm
>> but first, our "strange inheritance" quiz question. radioshack, samsung or motorola? the answer after the break. i count on my dell small business advisor for tech advice. with one phone call, i get products that suit my needs and i get back to business. ♪ ♪ when heartburn hits fight back fast with new tums chewy bites. fast relief in every bite. crunchy outside. chewy inside. tum tum tum tum new tums chewy bites.
10:39 pm
but i keep it growing by making every dollar count. that's why i have the spark cash card from capital one.
10:40 pm
with it, i earn unlimited 2% cash back on all of my purchasing. and that unlimited 2% cash back from spark means thousands of dollars each year going back into my business... which adds fuel to my bottom line. what's in your wallet? >> so, what company
10:41 pm
made the world's first mobile phone call in 1973? it's "c," motorola. from a manhattan street corner, exec martin cooper called the headquarters of rival at&t to claim bragging rights. >> oklahoma business mogul elmer hemphill spends decades amassing a ginormous stash of industrial machinery, spare parts, and scrap metal that nobody, least of all his thriving company, really needs. having worked with his dad for years, elmer's son, john, is tiring of watching it all pile up. did he tell you what he was planning to do with it? >> he would always talk about how we could use it to build overhead bridge cranes and build fencing. >> but elmer's just a magnet that never lets anything go. eventually, he's drawn to other companies' scrap, like this plate-rolling system that elmer buys for $75,000, then puts out to pasture.
10:42 pm
>> if it was a piece of metal, he'd take it. i don't care what it was. and if it was cheap enough, he'd buy it. and he said, "someday, it'll be worth something." >> "if only it were just metals," says his son, john. >> he used to say that if a, uh, trainload of pencils was cheap enough, he'd buy it. >> that pencil train never arrives. instead, elmer catches the ones full of tractor seats, file cabinets, and office chairs. i assume i've seen it all? >> oh, no. no, there's -- there's a whole bunch more. >> bolts, bricks, drill bits, chains, springs, trucks, trailers, you name it. it all seems so random. >> it definitely is. >> it looks like junk. but, to him, was it treasure? >> oh, it was definitely treasure. >> if there's a day when john realizes his shrewd businessman dad is also, let's just say it,
10:43 pm
a hoarder on the industrial scale, it may be when this shipment arrives. what do we have here? >> these are, uh, machining tables from mcdonnell douglas. and they helped win the cold war. >> in what way? >> they were used to build the instruments and the parts for, uh, military aircraft. >> the cold war ends in 1991. but elmer's biggest hoarding years are still ahead of him. he grows his scrap collection to fill multiple warehouses and litter 40 acres of land surrounding his company hequarters. >> so, jamie, here's an interesting piece. and it's been sitting here for over 10 years. >> worth anything? >> it's really just scrap today. >> by this time, elmer's granddaughter, kristen, is trying to coax him to let go. >> something like this, you must've said to grandpa, "this can go, can't it?" >> yes. and we told him that a million times.
10:44 pm
>> but that old tulsa drilling rig stays, like everything else, including elmer, into his 80s. he's always been an iron man. but now there's rust on his fenders and creaks in his hinges. >> and, uh, one day, i said, "elmer, why don't you retire?" "oh, i don't wanna retire." he said, "when i die, i wanna be walking across this shop floor." >> in february 2016, elmer l. hemphill passes away surrounded by friends and family at the age of 80. >> it was the night of the super bowl. my stepmom, audrey, was right beside him. but we knew that it was time for him to go. >> son john inherits the business and all that heavy metal his dad hoarded while running it. >> all this steel -- how much do you have? >> oh, i'd estimate probably about 3 million pounds. >> millions? that's amazing. >> it just grew and -- and grew and grew and, you know,
10:45 pm
we just need to get rid of it. >> and he's going to leave that job to his heir, daughter kristen. >> my grandfather could be rolling in his grave right now. >> up next, getting on top of this heap. >> i've appraised everything in america that's ethical, moral, or legal. and when i saw hemphill's collection, i was overwhelmed. >> here's another quiz question for you. the st. louis gateway arch, the george washington bridge, or the beijing national stadium? the answer when we return.
10:46 pm
♪ here comes the fun with sea-doo. starting at just $5,299 and get 0 percent financing. visit today.
10:47 pm
won't replace the full value of your totaled new car. the guy says you picked the wrong insurance plan.
10:48 pm
no, i picked the wrong insurance company. with liberty mutual new car replacement™, you won't have to worry about replacing your car because you'll get the full value back including depreciation. switch and you could save $509 on auto insurance. call for a free quote today. liberty stands with you™. liberty mutual insurance.
10:49 pm
>> so which architectural marvel is the largest steel structure in the world? it's the beijing national stadium. dubbed the bird's nest, it was built for the 2008 olympics with 110,000 tons of steel. >> when elmer hemphill dies, he leaves his son john his oklahoma business empire. but the strange part of this inheritance is a stockpile of cast-off equipment, machine parts, steel, and scrap. it's a 3 million-pound headache. so john figures he'll leave that to his daughter, kristen, and son-in-law, jim. >> i told jim and kristen that if it's a project they wanted to tackle, that i'd love for them to see if they had ideas. >> i'm always interested in taking on new projects. so dad asked us. and we were crazy enough to do it. i really felt like i needed to step up and help my dad out and help the family. >> but you can't just call
10:50 pm
goodwill to pick it all up. so, where to begin? did grandpa keep notes on all this stuff? >> he did, actually. in the back room, there is a library full of notes that papaw took about each project. >> so do they give values? were there bills of sale? >> no, there wasn't values. >> thank goodness for ebay. with a couple of mouse clicks, kristen finds out these antique carts, built to roll on railroad tracks, can fetch 1,500 bucks apiece. elmer has hundreds of 'em. and parts of the steel yard that look like scrap could be worth tens of thousands to individual buyers. kristen's thinking, "maybe grandpa elmer was right." and if she finds the right buyer, she'll turn his scrap iron into gold. but her husband, jim, weighs in with a reality check. there's 3 million pounds of this stuff! >> i don't wanna spend two
10:51 pm
or three years doing this. >> so he and kristen approach kristen's dad with a proposal. how about a massive auction, on-site at hemphill and across the world on the internet? >> they said, "well, what would you think about auctioning it?" and i thought, "boy, i don't know if dad would want that." and then i went home that night and i'm thinking, "well, i don't know why i didn't think of that earlier." >> so kristen and jim call in various auction houses. the immediate response -- "you're nuts." >> most of the auctioneers that jim and kristen talked to basically said, "we can't handle this. this is way too much for us." >> when i saw hemphill's collection, i was overwhelmed. this has got to be the largest collection that i've ever seen in my life. >> louis dakil of dakil auctions in oklahoma city, however, is up for the challenge. >> i've appraised everything in america that's ethical, moral, or legal.
10:52 pm
and i said, "if you can organize it, we can inventory it, and we can sell it." there's one saying we have in our industry -- you can't outlive iron. >> i have told 'em if we make some big money on it, great. and if we don't, it's okay. i think success is it being outta here. >> sounds like it's time to let the bidding begin. >> some things that i thought were, you know, potentially going in the trash are treasures to some people. >> that's next. what's your "strange inheritance" story? we'd love to tell it. send me an e-mail or go to our website, will you be ready when the moment turns romantic? cialis for daily use treats ed and the urinary symptoms of bph. tell your doctor about your medicines, and ask if your heart is healthy enough for sex. do not take cialis if you take nitrates for chest pain, or adempas® for pulmonary hypertension, as this may cause an unsafe drop in blood pressure. do not drink alcohol in excess. to avoid long-term injury, get medical help right away
10:53 pm
for an erection lasting more than four hours. if you have a sudden decrease or loss of hearing or vision, or an allergic reaction, stop taking cialis and get medical help right away. ask your doctor about cialis.
10:54 pm
and get medical help right away. dearthere's no other way to say this. it's over. i've found a permanent escape from monotony. together, we are perfectly balanced, our senses awake, our hearts racing as one.
10:55 pm
i know this is sudden, but they say: if you love something... set it free. see you around, giulia ♪ you know how painful heartburn can be. for fast-acting, long-lasting relief, try doctor recommended gaviscon. it quickly neutralizes stomach acid and helps keep acid down for hours. relieve heartburn with fast- acting, long-lasting gaviscon. >> now back to "strange inheritance." >> in 2016, members of the hemphill family -- john, his daughter, kristen, and her husband, jim -- join forces to auction off 40 acres of cast-off machinery and equipment.
10:56 pm
it's a strange inheritance left to john by his dad, an oklahoma businessman with a love for all things iron and steel. louis dakil of dakil auctions says most of the bidding will take place online. and the plan is everything sells, no matter the price. >> this auction is an absolute auction. no minimums. everything that goes on the block will be sold. >> it takes kristen and jim three months to itemize and catalog grandpa's gargantuan inventory of heavy metal. finally, in august 2016, the big moment is here. how many lots are we talking? >> 1,186 lots. >> one of the first items up for bid, this antique trailer, fetches 300 bucks. these 100-foot monopole towers left over from elmer's early days
10:57 pm
in the cell tower business go for $230 each. things are selling fast, but cheap. >> i've been watching all morning, since 9:00. some things that i thought were gonna go for more are actually selling for less. >> [ auctioneer calling ] >> like these antique railroad carts, similar to one she saw on ebay for $1,000. hundreds sell, but for only 17 bucks apiece. >> [ auctioneer calling ] >> then there's that old railroad drilling rig, purchased in 1967 for 25k. it sells, but for only $4,000. and the gigantic plate-rolling system elmer bought in an old shipyard in south carolina for 75 grand sells for just 1,000. >> my grandfather could potentially be rolling in his grave right now. >> but kristen's delighted when this hydraulic plate shearer,
10:58 pm
designed to cut metal and alloy, goes for $2,025. and that rig elmer designed for the tulsa expo building, it goes for 4k. >> i had no idea how much that was gonna sell for, so that was a surprise. >> over the next 48 hours, the hammer falls on thousands of items. >> we sold some things for $4,000. we sold some things for 50 cents. so the price range was pretty large. >> so are you guys exhilarated or exhausted? >> both. i would say both. [ laughs ] >> the grand total -- 175,000 bucks. not exactly petty cash. but considering the time, effort, and money elmer invested, they have to admit, this was one toad that didn't jump so far. >> they love their grandfather. they love their father. but basically, his perfect storm was buying and storing,
10:59 pm
but never getting rid of anything. >> that's why, for john hemphill, the bottom line is all good. his strange inheritance is out the door. >> it's kind of, uh, oh, bittersweet because i know dad would wanna hang on to it. but i know it needs to be released. and ultimately, it's -- it's a good thing. >> back in 2013 when the hemphill corporation was renovating the office, elmer's kids surprised him with a gift befitting a successful entrepreneur -- a fancy desk, a big comfy chair and a flat-screen tv. elmer never touched it. instead, he took his ratty old desk, bought this second-hand trailer, put the desk inside, and drove around in it to every job site so he could be close to the action. and that's where you'd find him till the end of his days. i'm jamie colby.
11:00 pm
thanks so much for watching "strange inheritance." and remember -- you can't take it with you. we hope you will join us. god bless us all. >> president's historic first trip overseas, he was in israel today, can he bring world peace. and administration tomorrow set to release budget proposal. will it live up to any libertarian scrutiny. and russia investigation still dangling over the white house, new details about james comey and michael flynn, pack up the car, it's time to roll. >> president's first foreign trip has him visiting bastions of big three religion, between globing orbs and sword dances there are strange


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on