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Alamo Drafthouse Latest Austinites to Get Dose of Reality

Cinema chain featured on A&E's 'Shipping Wars' tonight

By Richard Whittaker, 3:18PM, Wed. Jan. 9, 2013

Can the truckers get the prints to the Alamo Drafthouse's American Genre Film Archive in time? Only 'Shipping Wars' knows.
Can the truckers get the prints to the Alamo Drafthouse's American Genre Film Archive in time? Only 'Shipping Wars' knows.

What is it with Austin and reality TV shows? Seems like every time you turn on the idiot tube, there's another shot of the 'Hi, How Are You' frog and the Allens Boots sign. Well, tonight's the Alamo Drafthouse's turn as they feature on a new episode of A&E's Shipping Wars.

If you've never seen the truckcentric series, it's a pretty simple format: A crazy bunch of drivers have to get an unusual load from point a to point b. Yes, hijinks ensue.

Tonight, Roy Garber will be transporting a bunch of rare prints for the American Genre Film Archive. That's the Drafthouse's collection of 3,000 rare, unique and sometime even lost prints. Can he get them across the mid-West in time for a special screening, or will blow-outs blow out his schedule?

It's almost surprising that it's taken so long for reality TV producers to come knocking at the Drafthouse' door. After all, they've been just about everywhere else in Austin recently.

Shipping Wars station buddy Storage Wars Texas has been through town regularly. In the episode 'Piñatas and Ta-tas', Jenny Grumbles showed off a pair of sweet Reidell skates to Vicious Van GoGo of the Texas Rollergirls, while 'Aust-in-Translation' had central casting hicks Ricky and Bubba baffled at the Museum of Natural and Artificial Ephemerata.

• Last summer, National Geographic's America's Lost Treasures swung by the Bob Bullock before taking its own trip to Ephemerataville.

• Not to be outdone, Discovery's Oddities went hunting for something special for gaming guru Richard Garriott's multiple cabinets of curiosities, with a trip to the carny-themed Big Top Candy and the Museum of the Weird.

HGTV virtually moved in, with episodes of Bang for Your Buck, House Hunters and The Outdoor Room shot locally.

• Who could forget the hirsute pleasures of IFC's Whisker Wars?

And that doesn't include reality competitions. The Lone Star-flavored season nine of Top Chef shot around Austin, including at the regular home to the Chronicle's Paper Cuts live music series, the Palm Door, before crowning Uchiko's Paul Qui with the winning toque. Next week, three Austinites take up their makeup brushes for the challenge of SyFy's Face Off (read more about that here, and keep checking back for weekly blogs on how the show goes).

Seems like opening the store up to the cameras can be good for business. Talking to Museum of the Weird owner Steve Busti, and he said that he saw a definite increase in visitors after Oddities, many of whom said they heard about his creepy collection via the show. It's a similar story for Face Off season two star Matt Valentine, who now gives makeup and effects classes around the nation.

Shipping Wars episode 30, "Frankenship Horrors" air on A&E TV tonight, Jan. 9, at 8pm Central.

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