The Great Refrigerator Hunt of 2009

Folks, my apologies for such a long delay between posts. I have been in tech for the last 2 weeks solidly, so 16 hour days and no time for reflection… at least online.

However, the blog entries have backed up, so heres hoping they flow for a while, while I’m mildly unemployed.

The Great Refrigerator Hunt of 2009. Essentially, this is a record of the search for a late 70s, early 80s side-by-side refrigerator in harvest gold. You’ve seen this thing, maybe not in your home (though its possible), but in a movie or something. They have a certain run-down-suburban-je-ne-sais-quoi.

Here is one which is a top-bottom (which, incidentally, was the essence of this adventure).

harvest gold refrigerator

So, being a props master in this town often makes me feel a little bit like Sam Spade… wandering lonely around the city, looking for answers that are impossible to find, and finding them in the most logical but least-looked in spots. Anyways, this episode was no different. I traveled high and low looking for this item. From all over the internet and on the phone to used appliance places in Brooklyn and the Bronx. But it was not to be found. I didn’t even need for the fridge to be harvest gold. As long as it was the right period and white, the shop would paint it to the right color. So, no big deal, right? People throw that crap out all the time, right? It should be easy to find.


I think I ran into a couple of problems on this mission.

First: the fridge was just a little too old to still be around. All of the side-by-side fridges I found had the water/ice thingy on the front, which is a later innovation. It was also a little too new to be vintage. Places like Demolition Depot in Connecticut carry old fridges, but they start in the 50s and run until the 70s or so. Basically, cool fridges. I didn’t need a cool fridge, I needed a crappy fridge.

Secondly: I think I truly mystified the people I was talking to. When you run a semi-legal appliance resale store in the south Bronx and a little white girl in short shorts (don’t judge me, it was August) rolls up looking for a very specific fridge that no one would possibly want for practical reasons, you are bound to be a little wary. And they were. Wary and completely unhelpful.

As a side note, I also think, having now seen a wide range of the used fridges that the Boroughs have to offer, I think the side-by-side fridge is a little too big to have been common in New York living anyways.

So, that said, heres a rough map of my search.

In the end, in true Sam Spade fashion, I am standing on the hot streets of Harlem, and I make a couple phone calls. The first is to my boss who is standing in the green room at Second Stage Theater, who stops mid-sentence to announce that she is staring at the right fridge. In the green room itself. Like, a place I go to at least 50 times a week. The second is to a friend who announces that he also has the right fridge, it is onstage being too old and too side-by-side for the show he is currently propping. Go figure.

Moral of the story? What you are looking for is not in the last place you look, its in the first place that you should have looked, but didn’t. And in true noir fashion, you have to go through all the phases and all the adventures to get there. Happy hunting.


About meredithries

Meredith is a set designer living in Brooklyn, NY. See her work at: This is a repurposed old blog. Because continuity is important. Malaprop is a malapropism
This entry was posted in Broke-Ology, I don't shop for a living I WORK, props, Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Great Refrigerator Hunt of 2009

  1. Michelle says:

    Ha ha! Meredith, I hear you. I am a set and props designer in Chicago, and I take excursions like this all the time. So frustrating. It’s kind of an adventure that would be great fun all the time if it weren’t for budget and time constraints. I’ll have to check out your blog more often – even though we’re too far apart to really help each other out, it’s good to hear a fellow propper’s process. I found your sight by image searching vintage fridges, which I have also been looking for. I found one that I love that looks dated, but I’m not sure how old it is. I think it’s right for the show (and for my tiny budget) but I was curious.

    Happy hunting!!


  2. Michelle says:

    Hi Meredith,
    I am different Michelle from the previous comment but I just want to say if you are still looking for a 1970’s era fridge I have one in my kitchen (still working right now) and it is even harvest gold.
    I am planning on buying a new one this month and I am letting Sears take it away so that I can get my $100 appliance stimulus rebate. If you or the other Michelle want it and can get it from Cleveland I am definitely willing to part with it once I get my new fridge.

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