I'm a fan of the TV show "American Pickers," but the show has a tendency to get in trouble whenever it ventures into the realm of movie history.
I was watching the "Zephyrville" episode, which premiered last summer, when a couple of whoppers popped up on the screen. I know a lot of my readers will immediately spot what's wrong with this picture.
In what is probably about the billionth example of "Never believe what they tell you" — and that's about a billion just in the realm of movie history — here we see yet again where "even" television gets it wrong.
Our version of the photo may not be as "official" as the original screen shot, but at least we got the name right. And that's only fair, considering it's Leo Carrillo, one of the most interesting figures in Southern California history.
It's not as though Leo Carrillo is just the answer to some obscure TV trivia question, or that he's defined by the malapropisms he often delivered as punchlines in the popular "Cisco Kid" feature films and TV show.
Along with being a pioneer on screens large and small, Carrillo was a philanthropist, preservationist, activist and civic leader — he has beaches and parks named after him, for cryin' out loud.
And when I say "parks" I mean multiple parks, as in more than one, spanning multiple counties — not to mention a 1.5-mile span of beaches in the Malibu area.
A longtime member of the California Beach and Parks Commission, Carrillo was at the forefront of preserving Hearst Castle, the L.A. Arboretum and the Anzo-Borrego Desert State Park, among many other landmarks.
All of the above-named sites have also been filming locations, and today's Leo Carrillo State Beach has a movie history going all the way back to the silent era.
Filming continues today at the beach named in honor of Leo Carrillo — which has been called the most heavily filmed beach in the world.
If he were alive today, Leo Carrillo would probably be fighting to preserve that 16-acre corner of the former Iverson Movie Ranch that has been up for sale for a few years now and is presumed to be fated for development.
For fans of early TV Westerns and B-Westerns from the heyday of the B-Western, Leo Carrillo remains largely associated with his "Pancho" character and his long partnership with the "real" Cisco Kid, Duncan Renaldo.
But there was much more to Leo Carrillo the actor than just "Pancho." He appeared in about 85 movies, often as a leading man, working alongside some of the biggest stars of the '30s and '40s.
But Carrillo did have the requisite "eccentric cowboy movie star car" — a 1948 Chrysler Town and Country convertible with a longhorn's head attached to the front end.
Believe it or not, the Duncan Renaldo/Leo Carrillo mixup probably wasn't the worst mistake on "American Pickers" that day. My vote for biggest flub in the episode goes to this one.
I might be pretty good at identifying rocks, but I don't claim to be a master at recognizing actors and actresses. Even so, I'm reasonably confident that this is a picture of Roy Rogers, not Gene Autry.
OK, so what, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, what's the difference, right? ... Well, the difference is they're two completely different cowboy stars, and the show's inability or unwillingness to go to the trouble to tell them apart is a slap in the face of all cowboy stars — not to mention their fans.
I'm sure the show meant well. Mike and Frank are always trying to honor the history they uncover on their picks.
And they seem to show genuine interest whenever they run across old movie memorabilia.
Even so, dropping not one but two boneheaded misinformation bombs in a single episode suggests something's seriously wrong in the fact-checking department.
I imagine the task of looking up the IDs for the Roy Rogers and Leo Carrillo photos — if anyone even bothered — probably fell on an unpaid 20-something intern. So we shouldn't be surprised — and I'm not.
People who have old movie history junk are notorious for not having their facts straight. The most likely scenario is the owner of the Leo Carrillo and Roy Rogers photos provided the errant IDs and the show just took his word for it.
Full beards aren't exactly a requirement for making it onto the show as a guest seller, but they definitely help.
Frank explains what they're looking for — you'll find one of the show's want lists below.
Another episode, another impressive beard.
After Mike and Frank, the next-in-command and one of big attractions on "American Pickers" is Danielle Colby, an accomplished picker in her own right and the show's no-nonsense office manager and pick finder.
It's no secret that Danielle has a number of other irons in the fire — including a second career as a burlesque performer, appearing under the stage name Dannie Diesel.
Danielle also was a member and owner of an all-female roller derby team, the Big Mouth Mickies, until a shoulder injury forced her to hang up her skates.
If you have your own massive hoard of junk and wish you could get on the show, there's a number you can call. It's on the above flier, along with the show's want list — click on it to see a larger version.