Shipping Wars comes to Bellaire
BELLAIRE – In case you’re not a regular viewer of the A&E channel, the Bellaire Toy and Plastic Brick Museum was recently featured on an episode of A&E’s Shipping Wars show.
Dan Brown, owner and founder of the museum, originally had planned with the show to have the Scooby sculpture shipped up from Texas.
However, when those arrangements couldn’t be made, the show producers opted to put out for bid a pickup of the 6 1/2 foot dragon sculpture, along with a robot, to be picked up in Massachusetts and hauled to Bellaire.
Driver Jarrett won the bid a viewers were treated to his exploits in getting the massive, and fragile, creations to the museum in the All-American town.
A few mishaps ensued. First, Jarrett nearly left the dragon’s head at the pick-up location.
Then, after arriving a few hours late, he nearly had to make a return trip after Brown noticed a portion of the dragon’s back leg was missing.
“Everything that was pictured actually happened. It was all real,” Brown recalled. “Nothing was staged. Not all happened in the order it was shown, but that’s editing.”
Jarrett found the piece, was paid for his delivery and show continued.
That’s the end of the story for Shipping Wars, but not for Brown nor the museum.
Just days after the episode’s initial airing, Brown received a call from a couple from Puerto Rico who were coming up to tour the museum.
Legal reasons have forced the museum to be called the Toy and Plastic Brick Museum. But the sculptures are made of Legos. The couple were Lego fans, realized the extensive assortments of sculptures and themed-rooms of Legos in the museum and wanted to make the trip.
That likely wouldn’t have happened with the Shipping Wars exposure.
“We are a well kept secret. Most of our tourism is from word of mouth,” Brown said. “When just looking at pictures, or even a short commercial, it’s hard for people to conceptualize just what we have here.”
The Shipping Wars episode took care of that. So while neither museum nor Brown received any financial compensation for the show, it amounted to more than a few minutes of (relatively) free advertising with a viewing audience of more than 3 million people.
Safe to say, business has been picking up, especially with the adult collectors and hobbyists, whom Brown refers to as ALFs (adult fan of lego).
They are the ones who drive the tourism to the museum. And thanks to this nationwide exposure, that tourism is sure to improve.
Hughes may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org