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tv   Stossel  FOX Business  April 2, 2016 10:00pm-11:01pm EDT

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"strange inheritance." thanks so much for watching, and remember -- you can't take it with you. [ bat cracks, crowd cheers ] ♪ >> a century-old movie theater -- the passion of a small-town businessman. >> his dying words were, "angela, don't let the theater go." >> but from here to eternity could be a long haul. >> anything that could go wrong went wrong. >> are the final credits about to roll? >> did he know that you would step up? >> i didn't get to tell him. i'm sorry. >> or will there be an encore performance? >> do you ever think to yourself, "i wish my grandfather would've just left me the house?" >> i wished that so many times -- more than you know. [ door creaks ] [ wind howls ] [ thunder rumbles ] [ bird caws ]
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♪ >> i'm jamie colby, and today i'm driving along the mighty susquehanna river that winds its way through central pennsylvania. i'm on my way to berwick, population 11,000, a tough old manufacturing town that built stuart tanks during world war ii. today it's best known for its wise potato chip factory and also its nuclear power plant. this strange inheritance is about another, smaller business, one that goes to the heart and soul of cities like berwick all across america. >> i'm angela diaugustine, and, in july of 2013, when my father passed away, he left us an unusual inheritance that none of us knew what to do with at the time. >> this weathered movie theater looks like the sort of place you might pass and think, "how does a business like this
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even make it in today's world?" angela not only inherited the theater, but like most berwick residents, she spent a bit of time here, especially as a teenager. >> i remember once, when i came to the movies here, it was "hush...hush, sweet charlotte" with bette davis. there's one scene where her hand gets chopped off, and it was so scary to me, i slept with my hands tucked under the covers. [ laughs ] >> everyone seems to have a story about this theater. whether it's the first kiss, the first date, those memories hold a special place in all of our hearts. >> i'm told berwick native ginny crake knows the history of the place as well as anyone. she meets me in the lobby. >> welcome to berwick. >> i haven't seen a movie for $4 forever. >> [ laughs ] well, it's certainly unique for our town. >> wow. >> in a community, you need a place that creates culture and creates interaction with your community members, and this is what it is. this is our downtown mainstay.
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>> just walking inside is a blast from the past. this concession stand harkens back to the days before large multiplexes, and so do the prices. >> how many years has this theater been here? >> it was built in 1868. it was an opera house. it was a playhouse. it has the original vaudeville stage. >> in the 1920s, it joined the silent movie era, and in the '30s, it survived a fire and reopened as the strand. angela's family, the diaugustines, have been here almost as long as the movie theater. like many who arrived in the town for factory jobs, they were immigrants from silvi marina, italy. vincent diaugustine was born in berwick in 1924. >> his mother was a professional woman. she had a hairdressing salon. across the street was a tailor. and she sent him over to help the tailor, and that tailor taught him his trade. >> after pearl harbor,
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the 18-year-old vincent enlists in the marines. his needle skills catch the attention of the top brass. he serves in europe, tailoring uniforms for high-ranking officers. during the winter of 1944, vincent is on leave back in berwick and runs into a former high school classmate, lucille zapatore. he takes her on a date -- where else but the strand. >> when they drove home, it was a little cold out and the windows were a little foggy, and he wrote in the steam, "i'm going to marry you." >> in 1947, vincent's prediction comes true. the couple go on to have four children -- frank, angela, vincent jr., and joseph. during the 1950s, it's a good time to raise a family in berwick. you could say it's a wonderful life. >> the old cliché that you never had to lock your doors was true, and we used to ride our bikes from morning until it was time to go to bed. >> like many industrial towns of the era, berwick is booming.
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american car and foundry alone employs 9,000 people building railroad cars. vincent, a classic go-getter, sets up his own tailor shop on front street. >> my father's a workaholic, and he's a perfectionist. he was very successful because he just was determined to be successful. >> from tailoring men's suits to selling them, vincent's reputation spreads beyond his corner store. >> he had people from all over come to buy the suits from him because no one else could fit suits like my father could. >> through the '60s and early '70s, vincent is in his element. he's confident in the future and borrows money to expand. in fact, he borrows more than he should. >> he started to put women's clothing in. and then, when another store came available, he bought that one as well and opened up and made a bigger women's shop. >> vincent becomes so used to things booming that he's slow to react when factories
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like american car and foundry shut down and big new malls start luring shoppers away from the old downtown. >> my father just kept trying to reinvent himself. he was doing other things to keep the business successful, selling slot machines, jukeboxes, antique guns -- anything he could. he was just trying to keep afloat. >> in 1974, vincent learns that the owner of the former strand, now called the berwick movie theater, has fallen on hard times and wants to sell. at the age of 50, vincent buys it for $30,000. always the consummate host, mr. diaugustine rules the roost with his teenage moviegoers. >> no smoking. >> i remember, when people got a little rowdy, vince would come around and tell us all to be quiet. but you always knew that he was there watching you and caring for you, and as a kid, you respected that. >> he had a passion for this movie theater. he loved seeing the people come. he greeted everyone.
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there were some people that couldn't afford the tickets, and he would, like, shuffle them in. >> more than 20 years pass, full of films like "star wars" and "titanic," until, in 1997, the manager at the berwick theater up and leaves and opens one of the big multiplex theaters -- a double cross. but vincent decides, at the age of 73, what the heck, he'll run it himself. >> my father would be popping popcorn for the evening, and when the reel broke, he was up there splicing the film back together. and after the movie was over, he was, with a broom, sweeping up droppings of popcorn. >> by 2007, vincent is 83 years old, and his businesses, including the berwick, haven't made money in years. he has $400,000 in debt and could lose everything. he has nowhere else to turn when he appeals to his daughter, angela, now 55 and an account manager for a fragrance company, to bail him out.
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>> so we were in a dilemma. he wasn't making a go of it. >> is it lights out at the berwick theater? that's next. >> but first, our "strange inheritance" quiz question. where was the very first modern movie theater opened -- los angeles, new york, pittsburgh, or west orange, new jersey? the answer in a moment. you can't predict... the market. but at t. rowe price, we can help guide your investments through good times and bad. for over 75 years, our clients have relied on us to bring our best thinking to their investments so in a variety of market conditions... you can feel confident... ...in our experience. call a t. rowe price retirement specialist or your advisor ...to see how we can help make the most of your retirement savings. t. rowe price. invest with confidence. doing small gigs,side gigs...gig gigs.
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>> so, where was the very first modern movie theater opened? it was in pittsburgh. the nickelodeon opened there on june 19th, 1905. ♪ >> in 2007, it looks as if all the work 83-year-old vincent diaugustine has invested over a 60-year career is about to be lost to crushing debt. then his daughter, angela, intervenes. she buys dad's buildings but leaves him full ownership of his businesses, including the berwick theater. >> i pitched in to help financially because he absolutely would not hear of closing any of his businesses. >> knowing he has a reprieve, vincent starts showing granddaughter renee how to run the berwick alongside him. renee already has a good association with the family heirloom, starting as a youngster. what do you remember about this theater when you were growing up? >> i remember being allowed to pour the soda.
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i was so excited because that was my first real job. >> you ever come here on a date? >> i did when i was younger. my first date was here. his name was ryan cordingly. i had a huge crush on him. he was my first boyfriend, too. >> vincent continues to inject his trademark enthusiasm into running four businesses, even at the age of 89. then in january of 2013, he suffers a devastating stroke. >> he thought that he was gonna run the theater forever. he wouldn't just say, "renee, can you run things?" he asked me, you know, "what am i gonna do? how am i gonna keep this place open?" >> his dying words were, "angela, don't let the theater go." >> on july 8th, 2013, vincent slips away. but the question remains -- who's going to honor vincent's dying wish? all eyes look to renee. >> i'm 23, just out of college, and right before i graduated, i remember saying that i really just wanted to do something meaningful.
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>> only days after her grandfather's death, renee decides to take on the challenge of running the berwick. >> did he know that you would step up? >> i didn't get to tell him. i'm sorry. >> at vincent's wake, the community flocks to pay its respects. >> a boy came by, and he just said, "your father helped me, and i wouldn't be alive if it wasn't for your father." another younger boy used to come here. my father used to give him all the history of the war, and he loved my father so much that he wanted to be sure to come to the viewing. >> soon, renee surveys the mammoth task before her. the theater hasn't been updated since 1969. moviegoers bring pillows because the seats are so uncomfortable. the curtains are tatty. and that's just the start with this money pit. >> we need a digital projector, which means that we would need
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a $70,000-plus upgrade. >> today, only a fraction of theaters, most of them single-screens like the berwick, have celluloid film projectors. more than 80 percent are digital. and on that note, i can't resist the opportunity for a last look at a relic of the 20th century. >> hi. >> hey. how are you? i'm jamie. >> i'm kim. i'm the film girl. >> film girl. love it. this is tonight's feature? >> yes. this is our full-length feature, about an hour and a half. >> how does this contraption even work? >> this is the brain. and it comes through here and straight up... and over to that side. >> it's a new film, but are movie companies making film this way? >> they are not. that is why we have to go digital, because our choices are getting slimmer and slimmer. >> motor up. [ machinery clicking ] we have a movie. instead of these huge reels,
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movies are now shown electronically and stored on a high-capacity hard drive. but at $4 a pop at the berwick, the $70,000 required for a new digital system feels like mission impossible. renee tries one fundraising event after another. >> we've had poster sales to raise money. we've done other small things. some things have been very successful. some things haven't. we did an indiegogo fundraiser. but it takes a lot of effort. >> in just a few months, renee manages to drum up $6,000 and, just as quickly, spends it on repairs. >> anything that could go wrong went wrong. our furnace broke, so that was an immediate $500 right off the bat. >> then in october 2013, the berwick theater has a real disaster. this one's a doozy. what was happening? people falling out at the theater? >> some people were passing out. it was really scary. >> that's next. >> here's another quiz question
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for you. what was the first publicly distributed digital film? was it "toy story," "star wars: the phantom menace," or "x-men"? the answer in a moment. it's true what they say. technology moves faster than ever. the all-new audi a4, with apple carplay integration. whewhat does it look like?ss, is it becoming a better professor by being a more adventurous student? is it one day giving your daughter the opportunity she deserves? is it finally witnessing all the artistic wonders
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>> so, what was the first publicly distributed digital film? the answer is b, "star wars: the phantom menace," in 1999. >> renee diaugustine-bower takes over running the movie theater that her grandfather, vincent, had owned for more than 40 years in berwick, pennsylvania. she's trying to do him proud, but that's not easy. first there were a series of small repairs, including to an old jalopy of a furnace. then comes a cold night
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in october 2013, during the 7:00 p.m. showing of "despicable me 2," that really tests her mettle. >> i got a phone call from one of the girls saying that people are acting weird. we found out that there was a carbon monoxide issue. >> it turns out the berwick did not have carbon monoxide detectors. no law required the theater to have them, so they were never installed. and the cause of the accident -- pigeons had gotten trapped in a furnace pipe. >> my husband actually made it down here before i did, and i came right down as well, and he had already done a quick sweep of the premises, and he about passed out. so i was like, "oh, my gosh. what is happening?" i was terrified. >> what was happening? people falling out at the theater? >> some people had carbon monoxide poisoning, and they were passing out. i immediately got on facebook and urged everyone that was there that night to go to the hospital. but it was really scary. >> anyone sue?
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>> we did have to pay some people's medical bills. some people were upset with me, rightfully so. if i had a kid and they got carbon monoxide poisoning, i would be upset, too. >> it's a huge relief when none of the 17 people taken to the hospital is seriously injured. the flue is cleaned out and the furnace pipe replaced. but it's a lesson for 23-year-old renee in crisis management. did you lose business? >> i don't think so. we put in our detectors everywhere, and i showed everybody what we did. it actually kind of raised awareness in the community. my grandfather had to have been with us for that, because it sounds so terrible, and it was, but it just somehow turned out okay. >> after being continually sidetracked, renee finally sets her sights on the berwick going digital. it's the only way to keep the movies playing in downtown berwick and honor her grandfather's dying wish. she looks at getting a small business loan,
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but the numbers don't add up. without that cash injection, the berwick theater could be just another small-town small-business casualty. do you ever think to yourself, "i wish my grandfather would've just left me the house?" >> i wished that so many times -- more than you know. >> what if you don't make it? >> failure isn't in my vocabulary, and it's just not an option. >> find out if that's true, next on "strange inheritance." ♪ every auto insurance policy has a number. but not every insurance company understands the life behind it. ♪ those who have served our nation have earned the very best service in return. ♪ usaa. we know what it means to serve. get an auto insurance quote and see why 92% of our members plan to stay for life.
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>> now back to "strange inheritance." >> less than a year after inheriting a movie theater from her grandfather in berwick, pennsylvania, and promising him to keep it open, 23-year-old renee diaugustine-bower is at her wits' end. the projection equipment needs updating to digital, which would cost $70,000, the furnace breaks, and movie patrons are accidentally given a dose of carbon monoxide.
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it looks, quite simply, like a horror show. luckily, there's a fairy godmother waiting in the wings. it turns out to be a longtime berwick theater patron. remember ginny crake? she's still in town and now works at berwick's united way. she suggests the berwick go nonprofit. that would allow renee to solicit charitable contributions to help fund the digital transition. >> it became pretty clear that local businesses couldn't help them unless they became a nonprofit. >> ginny introduces renee to local business leaders, equally dedicated to revitalizing downtown berwick. they agree to join the theater's board if it goes nonprofit and becomes what the i.r.s. calls a 501(c)(3). but even that could take two years, and the theater's coffers are running low. united way comes up with a stopgap solution. >> the united way's allowing them to accept donations on behalf of the theater under our nonprofit umbrella so that people can make donations now.
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>> it opens the door to so many more opportunities for us. we don't have a hub for the arts, something for kids to do, something for families to do. we want to cover all the bases. the digital switch is the number-one thing on our list, but it's just part of our whole entire goal. >> with great joy and fanfare, on july 19th, 2014, renee and her family celebrate the berwick's new nonprofit status and its longtime owner, vincent diaugustine. >> we've kind of designed this day to remember him and dedicate this place to him, but also to let everyone know that the berwick theater is about to undergo some major changes and that it's a new chapter. >> it's also great night for me to try my hand as an entrepreneur. okay. thank you very much. enjoy the show. tonight would have been vincent's 90th birthday. ooh! maybe i'll even get my name on the marquee. that'll be $4, please. thank you very much.
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what a great crowd. what's your favorite candy? sour patch kids. i have sour patch kids. and today it's on me. it may take a little longer than usual, folks. this is my first night on the job. i have never worked at the movie theater before. i realize it's no cinch to run your own movie theater. you, like, relax. i see you're not even helping out here. here are these, okay? enjoy it. >> thank you. >> pretty soon, it's all lights, camera, and action. >> so we're having a dedication, and we're gonna be dedicating the theater to my grandfather. >> inside, renee holds her own as she introduces the berwick's new board of directors. >> i'd like to introduce myself, not only as renee diaugustine-bower, the granddaughter of vincent diaugustine, but also the executive director of the berwick theater. >> what's your approach to bringing the theater back to life? >> now i have my dream team, which is the board. we want that downtown feeling
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back. the theater will soon close for the next year, when it'll be renovated and then reopen. but don't worry. they'll still be playing the standard hollywood fare at the berwick, including "transformers 19," whenever that comes out. where there's a will, there's a way. >> i think my father's probably smiling from ear to ear, and i think he's very happy and very proud of all of us. >> i'm pretty sure, with the town's support and renee's sheer determination, the berwick theater is going to be just fine. in fact, becoming a nonprofit might be just the ticket. and i did finally get my name in lights, but i'm still stuck working the ticket counter. i'm jamie colby, and i hope you enjoyed this red-carpet edition of "strange inheritance." and remember -- you can't take it with you. do you have a strange inheritance story you'd like to share with us?
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we'd love to hear it. send me an e-mail or go to our website -- strangeinheritance.com. >> was he a lifelong hoarder or a shrewd collector? the answer lies inside this salvage yard filled with rusty old cars. >> did you know how many cars grandpa had? >> the locals say it's a worthless eyesore. >> whoo-hoo! >> his grandson calls it an "iron gold mine." [ auctioneer calling ] which is the truth? we're about to find out. >> sold it! [ door creaks ] [ wind howls ] [ thunder rumbles ] [ bird caws ] >> i'm jamie colby, and i'm just driving in to enid, oklahoma, which is about 90 miles north of oklahoma city. population -- roughly 50,000.
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right here in enid, they have the third largest storage capacity for grain on the planet. but wedged in between enid's silos lies the tale of a cantankerous legend who left his grandchildren with a very strange inheritance. >> my name is stuart piontek, and in 2003, my brothers and sisters and i inherited something pretty unusual from my grandfather. his name was oliver jordan, and he died at 95. he was a child of the dust bowl. grandpa would hold on to just about everything that passed through his life, whether it was a tin can, an automobile, a piece of copper wire. >> and oliver jordan kept it all here. for 60 years. this salvage lot was his home, his sanctuary, his fort knox. hi, stuart! >> welcome to paradise. >> i found it! the rusted old cars in this shed -- some of them relics of the roaring '20s -- are a few of
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the more than 200 that jordan accumulated over his lifetime. born in 1908, jordan was raised on a wheat farm. but his real interest was that fabulous new invention, the car. >> grandpa was around machinery all the time, and automobiles were just beginning to happen. he got interested, and it was just a lifelong passion. >> jordan grows up, gets married, and then, at 34 years old, abandons his wife and three young kids for a 16-year-old girl in town. >> when my mother and her brother and sister were still children, my grandfather left the family for another woman. her name was ruby, and that was quite a scandal. everybody was hurt by it. >> in 1946, oliver buys a salvage yard in enid, where he and ruby live, and where he makes money selling old cars and parts. oliver runs the salvage yard successfully for seven years.
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but then in 1953, he gets into a nasty argument with the town of enid over zoning and regulations -- two words he detests. >> the city came in and told him he had to put in a bathroom and do some other things, and grandpa just didn't like to be told what to do. >> he was just not a rule follower. >> yeah, he was like, "then fine. i'll close the doors." and that's what he did. >> oliver continues to hoard old cars. he cuts himself off from most of his family and rarely lets another soul inside the shuttered salvage yard. >> pretty much everybody in this town would drive by grandpa's property and see all these old cars sitting right there. and some people -- they thought they were an eye sore, you know. >> enid native brad waken recalls venturing over to the old man's place as a very young car buff in the 1970s. >> i walked across the street. it was, "mr. jordan, i'm looking for a starter for a continental six-cylinder engine. do you have one?" well, after a long pause he basically said, "well, it's
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gonna be $50." well, came back about a month later with my $50. he said, "nope. $75." [ chuckles ] i learned a little bit of horse trading at that point in time. >> as a boy, stuart never gets to know grandpa oliver. stuart's mom, oliver's daughter, dies when stuart is only six -- a tragedy that separates him further from his grandfather. >> we would come to town to visit my grandfather, and grandpa had all these cars out in front of his property. it's like a little boy's wonderland. and he had them protected with a fence and with big mean dogs. we couldn't get past the dogs. >> did you ever wish that he spent more time with you? >> you know -- >> were you curious about him? >> yeah, i was eager for the opportunity to get to know him. >> after his mother's death, stuart and his family move away. when stuart graduates high
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school in 1984, he decides to take a summer road trip back to enid. >> i got a greyhound bus ticket and went out to enid on my own. he took me over to his shop, and for the first time, i got to spend some time with my grandfather. >> and with all those cars. sure, they look like heaps of scrap, but stuart comes to understand this was his grandfather's pride and joy, his collection. its centerpiece -- these two depression-era cords. >> grandpa had a fascination with the cord, because it was the first car that had front-wheel drive, and they had done some really ingenious things under the hood. >> after his high school road trip, stuart heads out west for college and then launches a in san francisco. then, in the fall of 2000, a call from out of the blue sends stuart scrambling back to enid. >> he opens the door [chuckles] and he's covered from head to toe in feathers.
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>> that's next. >> but first, our "strange inheritance" quiz question. the answer when we return. at ally bank, no branches equals great rates. it's a fact. kind of like bill splitting equals nitpicking. but i only had a salad. it was a buffalo chicken salad. salad.
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>> so, what was the lowest priced mass-produced american car? it's "b," the 1925 ford model t runabout. at $260, it sold for $5 less than the 1924 model. ♪ >> for half a century, cantankerous junkyard owner oliver jordan accumulates hundreds of old cars, some very rare and mostly intact, but all of them rusting as he grows old. then, in the fall of 2000, his grandson stuart gets a phone call that opens the door to a new relationship and to a strange inheritance. >> ruby, his companion of 60 years, had fallen off a ladder and broken her hip, and she was in the hospital. she called worried about grandpa, because he was back at the house and he was 94 years old. and that was the open door. >> and it took till his 90s, really.
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>> yeah, because of who he was. he didn't want to need anybody. >> stuart hops on a plane to oklahoma, not knowing what to expect. >> so, here i knock on the door. he's 6'4", and even at 94, he has got quite a commanding presence. and he opens the door [chuckles] and he's covered from head to toe in feathers. he and ruby had a couple of dogs, and one of the dogs had torn up the feather bed. there was something about him that still just commanded respect, even covered in feathers. >> seeing oliver in such a terrible state, stuart decides to stay in oklahoma for a while and take care of his grandfather. >> i was getting to know my grandfather through these cars. he was so proud to be showing them to me and me experiencing his life's work and his pride and joy. >> to stuart, two things become immediately clear. first, oliver knows he doesn't have much time left. and second, he's worried about the fate of those cars. >> at one point, he said, "thank god for you. thank god for you." and i think he was so worried
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about what would happen to his things. >> stuart's no car expert, but he does his homework and confirms that the centerpiece of the whole collection is indeed those cords from the 1930s, the ones he remembers from his high school road trip. what did the last cord sell for? >> i'm not sure, but maybe not more than 400 of these or 500 of these were ever made. >> best-case scenario. >> i'm thinking best-case scenario, restored, is probably $300,000, $350,000 maybe. >> thoughts like that lead stuart down a road that will take him more than a decade to travel and cost him plenty. just for starters, he lays out tens of thousands of dollars to ship in secure containers and build a steel storage building to house the most prized cars. >> it's his life's work, but also if these things are so valuable, why are they just rotting away here, you know? and someone has to step in and do something about it. >> in august 2003, oliver jordan dies at the age of 95, leaving
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his enormous automobile collection to stuart and his siblings. >> the original windows that they would stick in the sides... >> stuart tells me this 1924 rollin touring car is one of his personal favorites. the model was popular among bootleggers during prohibition. >> so, there's toggle switches on the dashboard where they would turn off the taillights if they were being followed by somebody. >> to hide the booze. >> that's right. >> but these cars represent just a snippet of oliver's vast collection. i've never seen anything like this, stuart. there are so many cars. >> it's quite a strange thing to inherit, isn't it? >> before he dies, oliver gives stuart some business advice. >> he said, "now, don't sell all of those cars and parts all at once. you sell them one at a time." 'cause you'd make more money that way. >> but after trying to sell a couple online, stuart realizes it would take the rest of his life to sell them one-by-one. turns out just getting the titles for all these old cars
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takes months. >> you had to get title to every single one of these cars? they're from the '30s. how do you that? >> let me show you. >> first, you have to find the cars' i.d. numbers. >> oh, my god. you can still read it! >> well, we had to polish it off. but we were able to actually get titles for the majority of the cars. >> the years click by like odometer miles. and stuart keeps spending more to authenticate and protect the old cars. a lot of plane trips from san francisco and back, too. by 2013, he says, he's invested $400,000 getting the collection primed for auction. ready or not, it's time to sell. >> hey, jamie. >> hi. how are you, yvette? stuart contacts auctioneer yvette vanderbrink to appraise the collection. so, is stuart sitting on a pile of junk or a potential gold mine? >> there's about 220 of them. they're mostly american cars, and they're pre-war, which is
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pre-1942. very rare cars, 'cause at the start of world war ii, they started limiting production. and you could only get one from a ration coupon. >> stuart and yvette make plans for a one-day auction right here on the salvage lot. word begins to spread about oliver jordan's old treasures. stuart soon learns that's not altogether a good thing. >> we arrived at the property and found someone had cut through the fence and then cut a hole in the side of this building the size of a human body, and they stole over 250 antique radiators, tons of chrome parts, a lot of nice stuff. >> the antique radiators alone are worth nearly $40,000. but the biggest loss for stuart is the theft of oliver's rare and beloved 1904 harley-davidson, possibly worth several hundred thousand dollars. >> so, it really set us back, and we had to hire additional security and we had to move the auction forward.
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>> that entails some word-of-mouth advertising by him and some seat-of-the-pants hot-rodding by me. you have this thing insured? >> yes, i do. >> oh, good thing, because there's a tree right there. that's next. [ tires squeal ] >> here's another quiz question for you. the answer when we return. when you think about success, what does it look like? is it becoming a better professor by being a more adventurous student? is it one day giving your daughter the opportunity she deserves?
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>> so, which of these deceased celebrity's cars sold for the highest bid at auction? it's the actor steve mcqueen. in 2013, his ford gt40 sold for $11 million.
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>> stuart piontek is racing to auction off his strange inheritance -- hundreds of vintage cars. his grandfather's lifelong obsession has become stuart's own. he's invested 13 years and $400,000 in the collection. ♪ i catch up with him at the hot rod association rally in oklahoma city. >> hi, my name is stuart. did you know my grandfather? >> while stuart works the crowd, i'm gonna see if i can get behind the wheel of one of these souped-up automobiles. >> how are you doing? hey, i'm jamie. >> hello, jamie. >> how are you? >> hello, i'm steven. >> tell me about this car. >> well it's a '37 chevrolet, so it's 77 years old. so, i've had it quite a bit of it's life. >> part of the family. >> yes, it is. >> oh, my. i've just gotten the keys. >> we can do that. >> let's go. >> all right. >> you have this thing insured? >> yes, i do. >> oh, good thing, because there's a tree right there.
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>> all right. hold on. whoo-hoo! now we're talking! [ tires screech ] this would work for me in new york. auctioneer yvette vanderbrink is here, too. so, yvette, you know, you see these shiny red cars, and, i mean, you can tell there must be some value here. but some of them look like junk. but they're not? >> no. they're not junk. you know, it's a different trend in the car-collecting hobby now. >> that trend is called patina. it refers to the factory-original paint that shows the ravages of time. some car collectors relish that vintage, barn-find look and spray a clear coat of varnish on top to preserve it. that could be good news for the rarest cars stuart has -- those two cords from the 1930s. but if you're like me, you're wondering what they might look like restored. i didn't have to go far to find
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out. remember brad waken, who once tried to buy a starter from old oliver jordan? he's now a cord aficionado. he's spent over 30 years restoring this cord. it's a stunning example of what a cord looks like in all its glory. >> we went through the engine, we painted it, we fixed the interior. it's something that we looked at restoring history and not just putting on a nice paint job and chroming everything. [ indistinct p.a. announcement ] [ auctioneer calling ] >> on june 7, 2014, it's finally the big day of the auction. >> we're gonna have fun and we're gonna book and i just killed 10 minutes. >> auctioneer yvette vanderbrink welcomes a crowd of at least 300 people. >> hope i covered everything for you. all right? >> stuart's sister starla crosses her fingers. >> it's been a lot of hard work. i hope that stuart just at least
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he gets back what he's put into it and that my other siblings, that what they've put into it, they get back. >> all right, guys! this was one of mr. jordan's favorite vehicles. >> stuart's put in 400 grand. will he get it back? >> $35,000. >> i have $40,000. >> $40,000. >> that's next. at mfs investment management, we believe in the power of active management. by debating our research to find the best investments. by looking at global and local insights to benefit from different points of view. and by consistently breaking apart risk to focus on long-term value. we actively manage with expertise and conviction. so you can invest with more certainty.
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>> now back to "strange inheritance." >> the buzz over oliver jordan's antique-car auction has brought collectors from all over the country to enid, oklahoma. some are just looking to buy parts, but others are here with plenty to spend for just the right vehicle. >> i came with a trailer and a pick-up, and if i have to, i'll run back and get a bigger truck and a bigger trailer to haul more cars. [ auctioneer calling ] >> you have to be quick to purchase in this game.
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these cars can go in less than a minute. >> [ calling ] sold it! [ calling ] sold it! sold it! sold it! sold it! $9,600. >> people seem in good spirits, and things seem to moving pretty well, so it's going pretty good. >> stuart's cautiously optimistic as oliver jordan's two beloved cords are about to go up for bid. stuart thinks they'd each be worth six figures if fully restored. but how much in this condition? >> the 1937 cord 812 beverly supercharged. this was one of mr. jordan's favorite vehicles. it's going to need every little piece restored. okay. $35,000. >> i have $40,000. >> $40,000. >> yes! >> now $42,000. [ calling ]
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sold it! $42,000. going to new york. >> what will the second cord fetch? >> tara, what do you got? >> i got $20,000. >> $20,000, and we're going. [ calling ] sold it! $22,000. >> it's over in seconds. the same anonymous telephone bidder pays $64,000 for both cars. stuart says he's not disappointed. >> in this condition, that's a great price for them -- as much as we could have hoped for. and it's really great because they're gonna move on. >> after an emotional day, the grand total for this auction -- $540,000. subtract the $400,000 stuart invested and it's a profit of
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$140,000 to split with his siblings. add in all that time the family invested in this strange inheritance, and it's no windfall. >> so, here we go. >> whoo-hoo! >> that's a good one. >> all right. >> then again, watching the grandchildren of oliver jordan pop open the bubbly has to make you wonder -- was their 13-year-old enterprise ever really about turning rusted iron into gold? or was it about a different kind of alchemy -- one, perhaps, that restores broken and brittle family ties into strong, lifelong bonds? >> we lost our mother when we were rather young, and we didn't really get to know her parents that well, and so this brought us closer. >> would grandpa -- what would he say? he'd say, "stuart..." >> i think he'd say, "i'm proud of you," you know? >> would that be important for you to hear from your grandfather? >> yeah, definitely. and that's really what it was
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about for me -- doing right by him and by my family. >> stuart sold all of his grandpa's cars, and he regretted losing only one -- the 1924 rollin touring car. it was a favorite of prohibition bootleggers, and on auction day, an 86-year-old woman came just to see it. she explained that her grandfather had driven it to the hospital the day she was born and then sold it to oliver jordan. of all the stories about this strange inheritance, this may have been stuart's favorite. so, stuart asked the man that bought the touring car -- for $4,800 -- to let him know if he ever resold it. stuart might want to buy that one back. i'm jamie colby for "strange inheritance." thanks so much for watching, and remember -- you can't take it with you. do you have a strange inheritance story you'd like to
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share with us? we'd love to hear it. send me an e-mail or go to our website, strangeinheritance.com. >> a world-famous musician dies and leaves his daughters his prized instrument. >> his love, his treasure, his heart, his voice. >> it's more than 300 years old and could be worth many millions. but this strange inheritance is about more than money. it's about a european countess, a father's legacy, and a huge financial dilemma for his heirs. >> it was very clear to us that he did not want it to be hidden away. [ door creaks ] [ wind howls ] [ thunder rumbles ] [ bird caws ] i'm jamie colby, and i'm on cape cod, massachusetts, heading

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