Collector’s Call host Lisa Whelchel loves to delve deep with enthusiasts on the lookout for something special as host of the popular MeTV original series. The beloved The Facts of Life actress takes a trip down memory lane in each episode with collectors who have amassed unique pieces worth, in some cases, a small fortune. Welchel enlists the expertise of a professional appraiser to not only come up with the total value of these collections but also try to tempt the collectors with a trade. One coveted item for another.
So far, season 4 featured iconic movie props and costumes, decades-old penny arcades, pinball machines, classic toys, Hollywood cars, motorcycles, and Barbie dolls. Not to mention the massive memorabilia treasure trove of KISS, Garfield, Betty Boop, The Monkees, and everything in between.
It has been quite the nostalgic ride for Whelchel as she travels the country hearing personal stories and building connections beyond the materialisc. Here the star previews the final episodes of the season. You’ll also find an exclusive clip centering on the September 10 episode centering on one superfan’s Cher collection.
How much fun are you having? You really have a dream job with this series.
Lisa Welchel: It’s so true. You’re absolutely right. It’s something that brings me back to my childhood. That’s one of the allures of the show. I also love it when I don’t know anything about particular items. There were shows about sci-fi, horror, costumes, and props. It just wasn’t a genre I was interested in, yet I learned so much no matter the collections. So yes, you’re right. It’s a great job.
We’re in season 4, but I think people are still discovering it. As you’re in public, are you finding more people recognizing you for this just as they do for Facts of Life or Survivor?
I’ve noticed it even more on my social media. Each Saturday I’ll post a little clip of what collection will be airing that Sunday. At first, just a handful of people would like it or comment. Now it’s building quite an audience of loyal followers. I think it has to do with the fact it jumped around in different timeslots every year for the first years. Now it’s in the same place, so people can tune in on purpose.
We’re almost to the end of the season. What has been a highlight?
There have been a couple this season. The premiere episode was the costumes and props from things I’ve seen. Who hasn’t seen movies from Marvel, Batman, Star Wars, Terminator, or Jurassic Park? I not only loved that collection, but I ended up bringing my whole family back to see it over the Christmas holiday. That was definitely memorable.
You have a few episodes coming up. One we have an exclusive clip for where we meet this Cher superfan. What are we going to see from that?
What’s great about that one is I grew up in my era years watching shows in the 1970s. We would all gather around the television and watch whatever show was on that evening. The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour was huge back then. Even though I’ve never been a particular Cher fan of her music and concerts, I’ve certainly been mesmerized by her and her acting roles. I had no idea the depth of her as talent and as a woman.
The show has gone on long enough now you enlist past collectors to work as experts for you like Marcia Tysseling was for this episode.
Not only that, but these next two episodes coming up it’s actually crossed over to my personal life. For example, we were filming a Cher episode. Marcia and I started talking about our love for games. Just recently I started a game night at my house and invited Marcia and one of the girls from The New Mickey Mouse Club with me and the first season of Facts of Life, Julie Piekarskiy, and she invited a friend. It has all bled over into my personal life. The [September 3] episode we have Rich Mayerik, who not only has this Gross Out toy collection. They didn’t show this, but he has a tiki collection. My son is also a tiki collector. I went out to a tiki bar with my husband, Rich, and his girlfriend, and my son and his wife. So I’m meeting friends along the way as well
That’s amazing. The way you described the game night with your friends. I think we may have a new MeTV show in the works. I think we have an idea here. A pitch!
You know what? I think that’s a great idea. I think MeTV was looking to do some kind of game show. That’s a terrific idea. We should pass that along.
You’re finishing off the season with an episode centering on a Queen collection. What can you say about this episode?
I certainly loved Queen and saw the movie, and it was great. But you really feel the connection with the collectors. You can’t help but develop an appreciation. I would say this one in particular this guy had a cracker from some themed restaurant he had. He had so many rare items. I respect these collectors so much. Some people think are they hoarders or off their rockers? I think it’s someone who is deeply passionate about what makes their heart come alive. It spills over to where I appreciate the same things they do.
Not only that but when the collections are appraised, we’re talking some serious money could be made here.
It’s so true. I met a collector recently who had a lovely home. He said he bought the home because he buys things he loves. He has set this parameter for himself where he’ll trade something or sell something to get other items. But at this point everything he buys is from money he has already made. His things keep going up in value, and he has been able to buy a house.
What are some of the things tackled that you want to see?
It would be from my own childhood. I would love to someone have things from commercials like in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s because we don’t really have those commercials anymore. It was a mainstay from my generation. I think that would be fun.
In the past, you’ve been gifted a Facts of Life mug from the set. Have you had collectors reach out to you about memorabilia from things you’ve done?
As a matter of fact, I just celebrated my 60th birthday and my husband got the email list from the producer of all the collectors. He had them all searching for this elusive item that I wanted, which was the Eastland’s pendant from the Facts of Life dorm rooms. One of the collectors we featured this year has one. Charlotte Rae had one, but I think her son sold it after she passed. We haven’t been able to find another one. My husband and this collector in New Jersey were able to make a reproduction of it for me, and I love it. But my eyes are still open and still hoping for the real thing.
Is there anything you collect?
No, but I tell you what. Any show I do from this point on I will make sure I ask for some kind of piece from the set or a prop or costume or something just for my own collection. I do have some items from when I was on Survivor. l love having those displayed. I’ll collect things from my career from now on because I didn’t do that before. Certainly, on the one hand, they are valuable. At the same time, they are never going to be more valuable than the person who used them on set. It’s a part of their life and what they created. I would encourage anyone who creates anything to ask for some type of memorabilia. Not for monetary value per se but for the heart value.
What have you learned from working on this show?
I think it’s to pay attention to what makes you feel good. Whether you are collecting something that is of value or just going into a store looking around. I would encourage you to look from the eyes of the heart. More than thinking this would match the decor or match a space. Instead, think about if it would make you feel good.
Anything you’re binging right now?
We just finished watching on Netflix the Down for Love. Last year we watched Love on the Spectrum. It was a show for those on the autism spectrum. This is a dating show for those with Down syndrome. It’s so incredibly heartwarming. You are so pulling for these young people to find love. It’s a great show.
Collector’s Call, Sundays, 6:30/5:30c, MeTV