tv Trish Regan Primetime FOX Business June 8, 2019 2:00am-3:00am EDT
thank you for being with us. we hope you will join us on monday. we thank you for joining us tonight. see you >> abracadabra! >> oh, my god, it's my card! >> 400 years of magic secrets... >> did he ever tell you how he did any of those tricks? >> as many times as i asked, he'd never tell me. >> ...hidden in these dusty volumes. >> a lot of them were seen as occult books, and people were a little scared of them. >> the collector himself a closed book. >> so your dad is some man of mystery. >> he's a man of many mysteries. >> it's smoke, mirrors, and money. >> lot 250, "a magician among the spirits," by houdini. we will start the bidding at... [ door creaks ] [ wind howls ] [ thunder rumbles ] [ bird caws ] >> i'm jamie colby in chicago
today with a story about magic, but also about something magical that happened between a father and son many years after the father was gone. >> my name is rex conklin jr. my dad died when i was in high school and left me a huge collection of magic books. some were old. others were ancient. many held the secrets that magicians have guarded for centuries. >> i meet rex at the magic lounge, one of chicago's best-known spots for magic lovers. hi, rex. i'm jamie. >> hi, jamie, pleasure to meet you. >> i understand that your inheritance is magic, but it's this? >> it's all about magic. my dad collected books, posters, going all the way back to the 1500s. >> 1500s? that's right out of harry potter. cool! rex's father, rex conklin sr., is born in 1904 on detroit's southwest side. what do you know about your dad's childhood? >> i knew he grew up very poor
in detroit. his father was a conductor on the streetcars and didn't bring a lot of money home. >> for entertainment, in an era before movies were big, little rex is drawn to a type of performance then sweeping the nation -- magic shows. >> as a very young boy, probably about six or seven, he saw a performer named howard thurston perform in detroit, and that's what really ignited his interest in magic. >> step up, girls and boys, and see how easily it is for your eyes to be deceived. >> thurston amazes little rex. billed as the "king of cards," he's seen here doing a show outside the white house. >> howard thurston was the most successful magician from about 1908 to 1936. >> magic historian gabe fajuri. >> he made his reputation as a card manipulator. that's how he started out in vaudeville. >> did he have a signature move? >> actually, yeah -- one called "the rising cards." >> howard thurston's magic still mystifies...
>> we're going to do one of my favorite tricks. >> bill cook, a professional magician, is going to show me that signature trick of thurston's, "the rising cards." >> go through that half, pick out a card that you like, a card that calls to you. >> that would be me. >> queen of hearts. >> yes! >> i like that, okay. this is the easy part. >> okay. >> you picked the queen, and we'll put the cards back inside the box. watch. up. all the way. come on. >> you're talking to the card, and she's moving up. is it still the queen? >> of course it is. >> oh, my god. it's my card! >> all the way. >> what little kid wouldn't be enthralled? as a teen, rex dabbles in magic himself, then gets a job as a streetcar conductor, like his dad. when the great depression hits, he loses it and takes odd jobs to get by. things don't turn around for rex until the early '40s, when he opens his own lead-parts-manufacturing shop in
milwaukee. >> i think he was starting to become somewhat successful, and he had, you know, a little bit of money. >> "a bit of money" for the bachelor to indulge his childhood fascination -- magic. he becomes a card-carrying member of the society of american magicians and makes a name for himself, not as a performer, but as an important collector. by the late 1950s, he's acquired a pretty impressive library of magic books, going back centuries. that's when doris pagliasotti, 21 years his junior, suddenly appears. the couple marry in 1959. >> when they were married, my father was 55, and my mother was 34. >> at their ages, children weren't likely "in the cards," but rex has found the love of his life. >> i don't think he had any plans to start a family at that age, but he was very excited. >> then, presto! doris is pregnant.
in june 1960, rex jr. arrives. but the really big surprise comes 30 minutes later -- his sister, connie. you're twins? >> my mother didn't know she was having twins. >> they had no idea. >> they didn't know. >> do you think that was life-altering for your dad? all of a sudden he's a dad with twins. >> oh, absolutely. >> rex jr. and connie grow up in this house in a suburb of milwaukee. did dad do tricks? >> he did small tricks, card tricks, and things with coins. >> did he ever tell you how he did any of those tricks? >> he would never tell me, as many times as i asked. >> nor does he fill his son in on the hundreds and hundreds of magic books around the house. >> i had built-in bookcases in my bedroom, and they were full of magic books, and then we had a breakfront in our living room where the books were all under lock and key. >> hands off. >> hands off, except when he opened the case and stood with me while i looked at the books. >> son and father never explore the secrets in those
pages. in 1977, rex sr. suffers a stroke he's 73. rex jr. is just 17. >> i never had the opportunity to know him as an adult, which i really missed. >> but his strange inheritance, that library of magic, will make his father reappear in ways he could never imagine. >> i found out so much from this one letter. >> but first, our "strange inheritance" quiz question... >> the answer after the break. is this our new car? it's a new buick envision. and i got it with wi-fi for all of your wi-fi stuff, wireless charging for your phone. cool! wait til you check out the back! that's a lot of groceries. look at my strong man! don't patronize me...
so they can do what mthey want offline.ine social security, securing today and tomorrow. see what you can do online at socialsecurity.gov >> so, which pop singer was granted a patent for a magic trick? it's "b," michael jackson. in 1993, jackson and his co-inventors got a patent for their "lean shoe," which attached to pegs in the stage floor, so performers could lean beyond their center of gravity. >> "the years of our life are 70, or by reason of strength, 80," says the bible. by that measure, rex conklin sr., 73 when he dies, has a pretty fair run. but his 17-year-old son can't see it that way. nor can he see much wonder in his strange inheritance -- shelves upon shelves of books
about magic. it's not until he becomes a father himself and moves the collection to his home that he revisits the dusty, old tomes. is that what drives you? "now that i'm a dad, i want to know more about my own dad"? >> sure, because i wanted to get a better understanding of who he was, for myself, obviously, but also for my children. what's the legacy that i'm going to pass along? >> book by book, rex jr. explores his father's ancient texts, magicians' handbooks, and bizarre diaries of the occult. between the pages, rex finds a copy of a letter his dad wrote to a fellow magic enthusiast. he always knew the great magician howard thurston inspired his dad to dabble in magic. now, from this one letter, he learns that the great magician also started him collecting. >> he talked about how howard thurston gave him his first book. >> so, now you get a little
nugget. >> i did. that was really one of my first clues. >> rex has little clue about the importance of his dad's acquisitions. to understand that, you'd have to be well-versed in the dark arts. >> a lot of them were seen actually as occult books, and people were a little scared of them. ray ricard, a rare-book collector, says rex's inheritance includes some of the oldest magic books in existence. >> some books actually had handwritten prayers that were put in the front of the book that were required to be read before you could actually open the book. >> like "the history of magick," published in 1657... >> the spelling of the word "magic" is m-a-g-i-c-k, which indicates books that are related to the occult, if you will, so superstition, some spiritualism, witchcraft. there's also "hocus pocus in perfection," published in london in 1789... and "the conjurer unmasked" from 1785. but the rarest of them all?
a first edition of reginald scot's "the discoverie of witchcraft," from way back in 1584! >> reginald scot's "discoverie of witchcraft" is considered the first book in english published on magic. he decided that people weren't really witches. they were just clever tricksters and the book itself was issued to try to show people that they were not actually performing weird rituals or killing people. they were simply performing clever conjuring tricks. >> that same letter reveals the book had been in his father's sights for years. >> he wrote that he spent 20 years searching for a good copy of the book. >> what did he pay for it? >> he paid about $1,200 at the time, so in today's dollars, maybe $21,000. it was a substantial amount of money. >> how relevant is the book today? >> it's an important book in the history of the art. some people say that with the tricks that it describes, you could, to this day, make a living as a magician. >> this i have to see to believe. magician bill cook volunteers
to show me a trick straight from the pages of "the discoverie of witchcraft." >> pick a walnut, any walnut. >> the one that speaks to me? >> put it on top of the book. i'll come back to it in a little while. do you have a finger ring or something special i could borrow, a necklace? >> i'm actually wearing a ring of my grandmother's. >> really? can i borrow that? >> are you gonna give it back? >> well, i'll be nice today, and i'll give it back. oh, it's very pretty. >> it's very sweet. >> i need you to hold onto it, underneath the cloth, right there at the top if you would, please. hold it out, a little farther away, and don't let it go until i tell you to. >> okay. >> like now, let go. >> [ gasps ] >> and that's when the ring vanishes. now, i had you pick a walnut earlier. >> yes. >> i brought with a walnut cracker. would you pick up the walnut and put it inside of the, uh... yeah, all the way. >> i hope my ring is in there. >> listen, you can actually hear it break. [ walnut crunches ] >> [ laughs ] >> awesome. that should be enough. take a look inside the walnut. >> i hope you didn't swap the
stone. wow, that really is it. >> yep. >> i got to think about this one. i can't figure it out. that's great, bill. >> that's one of the oldest tricks in recorded magic history. >> so, rex's father basically was acquiring the hogwarts library, book by book. and as rex sifts through it all, a question occurs to him -- why did dad stop? the answer comes at the end of that telling letter that his father wrote to one of his collector friends all those years ago. what did it say? >> he says, "most of these books have become valued and highly treasured friends. however, the time has come in my life when the spiritual call is greater than the material, and my interest in the really great rare and scarce works of magic is waning." >> what year was it written? >> in 1960, shortly after i was born. >> so, what do you interpret that passage to mean, in terms of his life changing?
>> he's probably thinking about, "okay, you know, my children were just born, you know, twin babies. i'm in my mid to late 50s. by the time they're out of school, i'll be an elderly man. so, what's important to me in life right now?" i found out so much from this one letter. >> then he finds this one, written ten years later -- a note from father to son, tucked into the pages of one of the magic books rex jr. will inherit, to be delivered at a time and place of fate's choosing. >> he says, "it's 11:30 at night. you've just finished your third day in fifth grade. i'm so proud of you. you're everything i always wanted in a son. you're my pride and joy of my heart. you're so big and strong, the greatest boy i've ever known. i hope you never change." >> oh, what a passionate, considerate letter you'll have
forever. >> yeah. >> he wasn't in good health at that time, and i think that's why he wrote this note. >> for decades rex jr. just enjoys having his strange inheritance around. he's a marketing consultant in his 50s, living near atlanta, georgia, married, with three daughters, when opportunity knocks. >> a friend of mine told me that there was an upcoming sale at christie's, and it featured some books on the occult. >> rex thinks, "why not?" more than 400 magic books fill his shelves. he takes the oldest -- that 1584 first edition of "the discoverie of witchcraft" -- and puts it on the auction block. what are we talking? >> the world record. >> here's another quiz question for you... the answer when we return.
at comcast, we didn't build the nation's largest gig-speed network just to make businesses run faster. we built it to help them go beyond. because beyond risk... welcome to the neighborhood, guys. there is reward. ♪ ♪ beyond work and life... who else could he be? there is the moment. beyond technology... there is human ingenuity. ♪ ♪ every day, comcast business is helping businesses go beyond the expected, to do the extraordinary. take your business beyond.
>> so, which famous general was a member of the international brotherhood of magicians? it's "c," desert storm commander norman schwarzkopf jr., who is said to have practiced his magic tricks to relieve stress during the war. >> in june 2015, rex conklin jr. puts his rare, first-edition copy of reginald scot's "the discoverie of witchcraft" up for sale at a christie's auction in new york. why'd you pick that one to sell? did you know it was valuable? >> i definitely knew that it had value, and, you know, i thought it would be fun to have a book in a major auction. >> collector ray ricard is following the sale online and bidding on the book.
>> it was definitely going up in price, second by second. the value went very quickly from the low estimate right up through $30,000 before you knew it, so i dropped out. >> bids continue to climb -- $35,000, then $40,000. $45,000! when the hammer falls... what are we talking? >> it sold for $55,000. [ cash register dings ] >> the sale is a new world record for any copy of the book. it gets rex thinking about the more than 400 remaining items he inherited from his father. >> i've enjoyed having his collection for many years now, but i'm at a similar point right now where, you know, the material is a little less important to me. >> in chicago, he approaches gabe fajuri, president of potter and potter auctions, which specializes in magic sales. gabe tells me rex has plenty of gems left. >> the first one is a book by houdini. it's the second book he wrote, "the unmasking of robert-houdin."
and this one is from houdini's library, so it has his bookplate, a beautiful autographed postcard of houdini inside. it's also inscribed "a friend of houdini for 35 years, howard thurston." >> houdini's such a big name. you have another houdini book. >> mm-hmm. this is the last book he wrote, "magician among the spirits." >> what else? >> a copy of henry dean's "hocus pocus, the whole art of legerdemain." this is a bestseller from the time it appeared in print, first in 1722. >> good condition? >> i mean, if i look this good when i'm this old, yeah, i'll be very happy. this is a book that actually does a trick and... >> okay, i'm ready. >> so, when you flip through, you may see some pictures of some soldiers. >> i do. >> you breathe on the book, and when you flip through it again, you may see some different pictures, perhaps of flowers. >> upside down? >> and when you breathe through it again, most of the pages are blank. >> gabe says no single book will top rex's previous record-breaking sale. but with 400 volumes on the
>> now back to "strange inheritance." >> it's december 2016 in chicago, and rex conklin jr. is ready to auction off more than 400 rare magic books from the collection he inherited from his father. >> at $750. $750, we have... >> i feel my dad in this room today, you know. all his prized possessions are around me. it's almost like having him here. >> and now a copy of houdini's "magician among the spirits," including a beautiful photograph of houdini. looking for $1,500. $1,600 right here. looking for $1,700. fair warning at $1,600.
sold! [ cash register dings ] >> remember the other houdini book gabe showed me? the one signed by howard thurston, the legendary performer who sparked rex sr.'s love of magic? it hammers home at $2,600. oh, and "the history of magick" -- with a "k"? >> $2,000. i need $2,600 is next. sold! >> $2,800! >> lot 159 -- henry dean, "the whole art of legerdemain, or hocus pocus in perfection." fair warning at $3,200. sold for $3,200. >> the big numbers keep rolling in. that french "blow book" that gabe demonstrated? it fetches $3,200. >> warning at $850. >> a signed photo of famed magician harry kellar? $3,400. and this book from 1785, "the conjurer unmasked"? $4,200.
it's a steady beat of the hammer, and guess what? $1,500 here, $2,000 there -- it starts adding up. by the end of day, the total is an expectations-beating $105,000. >> overall, i thought it went really well. i'm pleased. it is emotional for me today, to see his things that i've lived with for so many years, but it's another chance to say goodbye and flip a new page. >> but i got to tell you what makes this strange inheritance story so magical for me. i've come across collectors of all sorts of things that were so obsessed, their families wondered if anything else meant as much to them as their stuff. but rex's dad set aside all his "highly treasured friends" the moment his children were born. and the strange inheritance he left his son leaves no doubt what he valued most in life. >> "i know i haven't much longer to live. my final advice to you is never
be afraid to admit your mistakes. never miss mass on sundays. be kind to your mother and sister and your wife when you find the right girl. play life's game straight, be a good boy, and a just man. [ exhales ] love, with the depth of my heart, daddy." he was from, you know, a different generation, but he also had a very big heart. >> did you know he loved you that much? >> i did, yeah. rex jr. has sold most of his father's books and mementos, but he's keeping three rare and valuable howard thurston posters. his plan is to leave one to each of his three daughters, a reminder of how the magic started for their grandfather all those years ago. i'm jamie colby. thanks so much for watching "strange inheritance."
and remember -- maybe you can take it with you. >> announcer: a century-old amusement park that could be lost forever. >> we're dying on the vine down here. >> "our time is over." that's serious. >> announcer: a divided family on the verge of a painful split... >> no amusement park in the world has been owned by a family as long as this one. >> the family loyalties just tend to get disintegrated. it's just a pattern for disaster. >> announcer: ...and a reprieve from the governor. but will it be enough? >> it's the day after labor day. the amusement park's not open down there. my father is flipping in his grave right now. [ door creaks ] [ wind howls ] [ thunder rumbles ] [ bird caws ]
>> i'm jamie colby, in ocean city, maryland, an irresistible atlantic resort town known for its golden beaches and this historic boardwalk. now, the population may read 7,000, but more than 8 million visit every single year. and i'm here to meet a family that has a strange inheritance that's been an icon on this boardwalk for more than a century. hi, doug. >> hi. >> i'm jamie. >> nice to meet you. >> so nice to see you, too. your family really is so well known here. >> yeah, i'm afraid we are. yeah, we've been here a long time. >> a long time, indeed -- since 1890, to be exact. doug trimper's great-grandparents daniel and margaret trimper purchase two city blocks of oceanfront land. they start with a pair of small hotels but in 1902 decide to risk everything on a new
attraction. daniel wants to bring in a ride unlike any seen before in maryland. he orders a massive carousel from the herschell-spillman company. with a diameter of 51 feet, the merry-go-round is one of the largest built up to that point. how special is the carousel? >> it's pretty unique. there's 48 hand-carved animals on it, with real horsehair tails, and it has oil paintings around the top. i mean, it's just not the sort of thing that's made anymore. >> the carousel is originally powered by a steam engine, and rides costs a nickel. but those nickels add up. when daniel trimper dies in 1929, he leaves ownership of a thriving operation to his seven children, and they pass it on to theirs. under the third generation of trimpers, the park enters its golden era with the leadership of daniel trimper iii and doug's father, granville.
>> my father -- all he ever wanted to do was to run the amusement park. he was the youngest person in the planet's history to own and operate a ferris wheel. >> starting in the 1960s, granville upgrades the park's rides in both scale and theme. in 1964, he commissions a former ringling bros. art director to build a haunted house. granville later opens the trimper's wheels of yesterday attraction -- a fleet of vintage cars that includes a 1914 overland driven by the tv and movie comic jack benny. in the 1980s, he restores the famous carousel and erects the park's first roller coaster. >> he had big ideas for the amusement park. you know, that was his dream. the man was just crazy about amusement rides. >> over the next decades, profits keep climbing. but the park's success is an exception to the rule within the industry. amusement-park historian jim futrell tells me that,
since the 1960s, family-run operations like the trimpers' have become a dying breed. >> with the interstate highways and the shift to corporate theme parks, a lot of the family-owned parks fell by the wayside. >> what does a family-owned amusement park do with that kind of competition? >> well, i think you have to know your place in the market. >> trimper's did seem to know its place, trading on its rich history and tradition. >> no amusement park in the world has been owned by a family as long as this one. >> in the world? >> in the world. and these are rides that have been around for generations, and people come to these shore communities for generations. [ people screaming ] >> but nostalgia must compete with ever wilder thrill rides at bigger parks. trimper's attendance tumbles in the 1990s. then, at the turn of the 21st century, another challenge arrives in the form of another wild ride... the real-estate boom. >> in that decade alone, 15
amusement parks closed throughout the country on the seashore just because the value of their land outstripped the value of the business. >> oceanfront amusement parks across the country are selling out for big paydays. coney island's vintage astroland takes $30 million to build condos. panama city, florida's, miracle strip goes dark in a $15 million deal. >> it's tough to say no to something like that. >> but granville, now in his late 70s and still park president, has zero trouble saying no. he'd much rather hold on tight to his family's boardwalk empire than cash in his tickets. and doug is a chip off the old block. >> you're making people happy, and the thing my dad liked the most about his job was sitting on that bench every night, watching people be happy. >> but after five generations, more and more trimpers share a slice of the pie. and some family members no longer feel the amusement-park magic.
we spoke with one shareholder, who wished not to be named, who told us some owners just feel the business no longer makes sense and think the time's come to sell. joe harrison, one of the trimper family attorneys, says this divide is a common theme among family business. >> trying to keep a business in a family for a long period of time is very difficult. the family loyalties just tend to get disintegrated. it's just a pattern for disaster. >> ownership of trimper's is now split among 7 families, with a total of around 22 stakeholders. doug says two of those families are becoming increasingly vocal about wanting to sell the park to cash in on the real-estate boom. how hard is it to have to deal with a family member who is only saying, "show me the money or else"? >> it was a probably the only thing in my father's life that really caused him any real anguish. >> in 2007, the majority of the
trimpers' family board of directors still want to keep the park open but find themselves backed into a corner. that's because the beachfront-development boom causes the park's property taxes to skyrocket. >> the new property-tax assessments came out, and i was like, "oh, my god," you know? "what's happened here?" our property taxes increased $500,000 at once. our annual profit generally ran, at that time, around $300,000, so it was a -- >> those numbers don't work. >> no, they don't work at all. >> that must have been sad for your dad. >> nobody wants to be the trimper to close the park. he said it wasn't gonna be him, and yet he didn't have any more answers. >> granville and doug know they better come up with some answers if this century-old amusement park is going to make it. >> do you have any idea how many children you have to spin in a circle to pay $1 million of taxes alone? >> that's next. >> announcer: but first, our
the answer is "a," military training. >> in 2007, father and son granville and doug trimper are scrambling to keep open their family's century-old amusement park along the boardwalk in ocean city, maryland. the development boom has caused the park's property taxes to soar, making it impossible to stay in business. >> there's only a level of government spending that is sustainable by businesses before the businesses have no more to give. >> the tax hike ups the pressure from trimper family members who think it's finally time to get out of the amusement business and sell their valuable beachfront land. i don't get it, doug. you sell off the amusement business and you build condos and a shopping mall here, you're gonna make 10, 20, maybe 50 times more money! >> well, i believe that, but my
whole family's always been in this business, and it was a legacy that it's we all feel an obligation to try and do our part to continue. >> what, then, about selling some of its attractions, like the wheels of yesterday or even that vintage 1902 carousel, to make way for new thrill rides? jim futrell, who's written a series of books on amusement parks, says some have done that. so, tell me the value of a park like this. >> some of the irreplaceable rides that they have -- you know, the antique carousel, the haunted house -- those things you don't find anymore. they're really living pieces of history. back in the 1980s, they took off as a collectible, and you saw a lot of parks that, at that time, were kind of struggling see that as a way to raise some quick cash. >> collectors have always been especially interested in the ride that put trimper's on the map. oh, my goodness.
only two dozen herschell-spillman carousels are still spinning today, and just five of those include a unique menagerie like the trimpers'. >> what is really wonderful about these rides is that each one of these was carved by a person. so, there is blood, sweat, and tears in each one of these animals. >> and what's this? >> this is a hippocampus. >> a what? >> it's a hippocampus. it's essentially a sea monster. >> is it more valuable because it's so rare? >> i've only known about one or two of these to actually be auctioned off. it could easily go probably six figures back at the peak -- >> six figures?! >> back at the peak of the collecting craze. >> in the end, selling the carousel would be giving up on the trimpers' family legacy, and granville refuses to do that just yet. but he does realize change is needed. and so granville, who had been the heart and soul of the trimper operation since the 1960s, puts doug at the controls. >> my dad was getting on in
years and ill at the time that this happened. i was the next in line to do it, so just started doing what had to be done in order to try and survive. >> doug's first step toward survival? with the help of attorney joe harrison, doug appeals the park's land-value assessment, which was based on sky-high property sales prior to the national real-estate crash. >> it was my job was to try to go ahead and show them that the numbers that they had were just out of whack in that environment at the time. >> doug, meanwhile, takes his fight to the public, writing letters to local newspapers and politicians. >> "do you have any idea how many children you have to spin in a circle to pay $1 million of taxes alone? just how much can anybody bear? people say, 'you ought to put condominiums in down there.' no. we want to run an amusement park. the new county property-tax assessments just came out. they sealed the deal for us.
our time is over." >> "our time is over." that's serious. the public response is overwhelming. politicians across the state jump on the "save trimpers" campaign. even maryland governor martin o'malley tours the park and puts the trimper's land appeal on a fast track. the state assembly goes a step further, taking up a bill that could provide additional relief. will the tax relief come? more importantly, if it does, will the trimpers take it? the surprising answer next, on "strange inheritance." >> announcer: here's another quiz question for you. the answer when we return.
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at comcast, we didn't build the nation's largest gig-speed network just to make businesses run faster. we built it to help them go beyond. because beyond risk... welcome to the neighborhood, guys. there is reward. ♪ ♪ beyond work and life... who else could he be? there is the moment. beyond technology... there is human ingenuity. ♪ ♪ every day, comcast business is helping businesses go beyond the expected, to do the extraordinary.
take your business beyond. >> announcer: now the answer to our quiz question. the answer is "b," denmark. >> in 2007, doug trimper is fighting to save his family's century-old amusement park. soaring property taxes are threatening to bankrupt the business. unless doug can get the taxes reduced, his family's board of directors may vote to sell the park. >> those were scary times. we're dying on the vine down here. >> dying on the vine? it had reached that point? >> yes, it had. >> in march of 2008, success -- doug and his lawyer finally get taxes rolled back to 2004 levels, plus about a 4% increase.
you set a really great example for people to not take "no" for an answer. >> well, you can't always save your business, but people in this country have to fight back a little bit at government that has become so big and so controlling. >> government control is the problem doug sees with the maryland state assembly bill that would allow the trimpers to operate as a historic amusement zone. that would lower their taxes further but also lessen their ability to run the business independently. so doug turns the offer down, saying he never wanted special treatment from the government. why not get every penny you're entitled to? >> we've never believed much in entitlements. we just want to be part of the community and do our share and be treated fairly. >> but in october 2008 comes another setback. at the age of 79, doug's father,
granville trimper, dies after a battle with prostate cancer. the fight for the park's future must continue without its most persuasive advocate. doug realizes his father's death could mark a tipping point. when he died, did he leave a will? >> he certainly did. >> what did he want to happen to the park? >> oh, he wanted to continue it. >> but with each generation, park ownership is further diluted. according to one major shareholder, who wished to remain anonymous, some family members would still rather cash out than continue the challenging amusement business. >> there's a feeling by a portion of the corporation that they still needed to do that so that they could cash out and have the money for their own lives. >> they're not the only ones demanding cash. to cover the steep estate taxes that come due after his dad's death, doug must finally sell off at least a piece of his father's legacy --
the classic car museum. how difficult was that? >> that was real difficult. you were glad because we needed the money to help with the estate taxes, but it was really kind of sad to see part of him going out the door, you know? i mean, it was very emotional. >> the 2008 financial crisis, which hits shortly after granville's death, is causing panic around the world and even more anxiety on the boardwalk. if you're sitting on millions' worth of real estate, do you sell, or do you hold? what's your price that you could not refuse to sell the park? 10 times more money than you're taking home a year doesn't mean that much to you? that's next on "strange inheritance."
century-old park to his heirs. for now, doug trimper gets to keep running this strange inheritance. but according to doug, some family members are eager to cash out. how often do you hear from that other side of the family? >> we have an annual meeting, and there's still quite an effort to get us to sell the park. >> do they really understand how important it is to you to maintain the legacy that your father, your grandfather, your great-grandfather started? >> th-they really don't. and they can't, 'cause they weren't here. they weren't a part of it. >> what's your answer to them? >> we're sorry, but, uh, we're not ready to give this up. >> what's your price that you could not refuse to sell the park? 10 times more money than you're taking home a year doesn't mean that much to you? >> not to me. i mean, i guess we could have sold out quite a while ago and all have more money, but, uh, it's just not what we want to do. we just -- we love this business.
♪ >> it's memorial day, the official kickoff of the season here on the ocean city boardwalk. and thanks to doug, yet another generation of parkgoers get to enjoy the classic amusements and rides. [ people screaming ] but the battle for the park's survival never really ends. now entering the fray is the next generation of trimpers, including doug's sons, chris and brooks. like their grandfather granville, they vow that they won't be the trimpers who close the park. >> i believe getting our business to the sixth and seventh and eighth and ninth generation is our challenge. >> it's gonna be a long road ahead of us, but i'd rather be on that road than somewhere else. >> hello, trimpers! they'll know they've risen to that challenge so long as they can keep that grand old carousel
installed by their great-great-grandfather running. i think it's time i went for a ride. >> absolutely. >> i like this one, doug. >> well, it's all yours. >> i'm going sidesaddle. all right, brooks! hit it! it's my first carousel ride in 20 years. >> well, i think it's about time, don't you? >> i do, too! i mean, why do i feel 10 again? >> this place will do it to you. >> as i ride the carousel, i cannot help but marvel that i'm spinning in the same circle where kids have spun for more than 100 years -- before a great depression and two world wars, even before the birth of flight. it's also hard not to feel gratitude to the generations of trimpers who have seen this amusement park not just as a family business but as a public trust. in a sense, they've allowed their strange inheritance to be our strange inheritance, too.
♪ granville trimper made it his business to service this carousel every single day. he was a man of tradition. but his legacy almost never was. the carnival kid and high-school valedictorian earned a scholarship to the prestigious sorbonne university in paris, a much higher-powered career in engineering or management calling. but granville turned it down. he was so much more comfortable in his greasy overalls, fixing the rides, than in a suit and tie. so this family-run amusement park lives on and goes strong into its second century, leaving five generations of trimpers with a heck of a ride. i'm jamie colby for "strange inheritance." thanks so much for joining us, and remember -- you can't take it with you. do you have a "strange inheritance" story you'd like to share with us?
we'd love to hear it! send me an e-mail or go to our website -- strangeinheritance.com. bartiro" begin right now. maria: happy weekend, everybody. welcome to the program that analyzes the week that was and helps position you for the week ahead. my exclusive interview with the krerk o of walmart. and bank of america's ceo. a weaker than expected jobs report in the month of may with the you be employment rate holding steady at 3.6%. economists were expecting 185,000 jobs.