Remember ‘Real People’ on NBC? They Once Featured Flint Legend Gypsy Jack [VIDEO]
Wednesday was 'Must See TV' night long before NBC coined the phrase. And 'Real People' had millions of Americans tuning in to see one of the peacock network's first entries into 'Reality TV,' decades ahead of the Reality-TV era.
It was 40 years ago, give or take, when 'Real People' made a stop in Flint, Michigan to highlight a man with an unusual hobby, as the show often did. Roy Stevenson was a janitor at Flint's Buick Assembly plant back in the day, but most knew him by his nickname 'Gypsy jack.'
Planted firmly in the Midwest, Stevenson shows off his love for the Old West. Gypsy Jack may have lived in a home that was clearly on Flint's north side, but every inch -- inside and out -- seemed to pay homage to the American Frontier.
"I built my backyard in so I wouldn't have to see the cars and stuff go by that takes away from the atmosphere," he explains as he shows off the Old West storefront. "I put my false fence into a stage line, Western Union office, Wells Fargo Express, cigar store, and a blacksmith shop."
Not only does Stevenson's backyard include an undertaker's office, but the inside of his house is also complete with a funeral parlor and casket in the basement. Gypsy Jack explains that having such artifacts was perfectly normal for the time period he was so fond of.
"You would think I was a strange person, but that is part of the Old West, having an undertaker's parlor and a cannon on my roof for instance -- that's not there to blow away the Eastside," he quips.
He went on to explain to 'Real People' host Sarah Purcell that when people got to know him, they found out he was just like them, except he was living a different lifestyle.
Take a step back in time, and then another step back in time in the video below.
And thanks to JD Duncan, Gypsy Jack's grandson, for sharing this cool video.