Trash evolves into PBS treasures

Two savvy scrounge artists scour the country for castoff treasures in the scruffy half-hour documentary "Second Hand Stories" (8:30 p.m., PBS). Filmmakers Christopher Wilcha and John Freyer begin their journey in New Jersey as they pick up the decommissioned 1977 ambulance they purchased on eBay for $2,500. They drive the heap across the country, buying indispensable stuff at yard sales, consignment shops and thrift stores. When they need to raise money, they sell their loot, often for a tidy profit.

Along the way, they meet an unhappy inventor who poured a fortune into a "Wobble Light" (which they snag for a few hundred bucks). They also discover a country-music fan and audiophile with hundreds of unique concert recordings of Johnny Cash, the Carter family and other acts. The filmmakers put him in touch with the Smithsonian. They also hear deeply personal stories, including the tale of a now-deceased collector who had a house filled with old cameras and ephemera. The entire soundtrack of "Second Hand Stories" is derived from vintage vinyl the boys buy on their journey, and some of the film is shot with super-8 cameras purchased at a pawnshop.

Tonight's other highlights

  • On his way to the altar, Dean still pines for Rory on "Gilmore Girls" (7 p.m., WB).
  • A fertility clinic faces litigation on "The Guardian" (8 p.m., CBS).
  • Brian, Hutch and Matt face eviction on "The Joe Schmo Show" (8 p.m., Spike).
  • Cabot (Stephanie March) departs on "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (9 p.m., NBC).
  • "Independent Lens" (9 p.m., PBS) celebrates Brazilian artist Vik Muniz. Don Cheadle is host.

Series notes

A submerged murder victim presents unusual difficulties on "Navy NCIS" (7 p.m., CBS) ... A chat with the president on "Whoopi" (7 p.m., NBC) ... A musical reality check on "I'm with Her" (7:30 p.m., ABC) ... Waiting for perfection on "Frasier" (8 p.m., NBC).

Late night

John Cusack appears on "Late Show with David Letterman" (10:35 p.m., CBS) ... Jay Leno welcomes Martin Short, Heidi Klum and Barenaked Ladies on "The Tonight Show" (10:35 p.m., NBC).

Halle Berry is booked on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" (11:35 p.m., NBC) ... Randy Quaid appears on "The Late, Late Show with Craig Kilborn" (11:37 p.m., CBS).

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