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On The Tube

Rest in peace?

3/27/2013

On the Tube 032813‘Crypt Collectors’ takes reality TV six feet under

It seems no one is safe from the woes of economic turmoil. And as it often goes in Hollywood, if there’s a devastating plight out there, some TV show producer is ready to exploit it. Now not even the dead can rest in peace.

With a legal loophole set by an outdated Oklahoma state law, Okie graves and tombs can legally be exhumed with the approval from beneficiaries established by the will and testament deeds of the deceased. In Oklahoma, all private family mausoleums must pay yearly maintenance fees of $6.66, according to state code 1.16.18.9.12-6.15.15.12.19. Many of these final family resting places have been left unattended and the fees unpaid for decades. So the historical stone structures will now go to the highest bidder thanks to the Discovery Channel’s latest real-TV bomb, “Crypt Collectors.”

A list of those already applying for bidder certificates shows there will be significant interest in the actual auctioning of coffins and tombs. The prize? Anything from a diamond ring or a designer power tie left clinging to the skeletal remains to jewels and riches historic figures were known to take with them to the grave.

The first episode is set to air on Tuesday, April 2, at 8 p.m. But if the Internet buzz is any indicator, it looks like “Crypt Collectors” isn’t going to remain contained to Oklahoma, and interest is building locally. With a little digging (pardon the pun), central Iowa tycoons have overturned a similar state code allowing for a “Crypt Collectors” auction in Des Moines tentatively planned for the show’s second season.

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Reached at his home in Des Moines, general contractor Robbie Leigh indicated his interest in obtaining the Hoyt (brother of famed William Tecumseh) Sherman mausoleum in Woodland Cemetery.

“Now it’s our turn” he was quoted as saying. Others who have applied for bidding permits include land developer William Napp, who hopes to turn the four side-by-side-by-side units next to the old receiving vault into one single unit to be called the Long Napp Mausoleum.

Those with an eye on the crown jewel in Woodland Cemetery may be disappointed. With Hibble family descendants still living and prominent in Des Moines, the Hibble Mausoleum is not available… yet. The Hibble trust has applied for a bidder’s certificate, and sources say they are planning to acquire several others in nearby sections to remove and replace with a six-generation high-rise mausoleum that would become the tallest in Iowa.

Local officials have not officially commented on the status or availability of other big names in Des Moines — the ones with streets named after them — but new bidders are turning in paperwork every day, according to “Crypt Collectors” producer Jerry Rigamor.

“We’re still not sure how far these wings can stretch legally,” Rigamor said. “We’re happy there’s interest in Iowa and in other states, too, but for season one, we’re going to feature just Oklahoma and go from there.”

Producers at Mediacom Channel 22 have said if “Crypt Collectors” doesn’t branch into Iowa, they already have a plan to air their own version of the show on the local access channel.

Some stones should be left unturned, regardless of the ratings. APRIL FOOLS

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