Fun Facts About Ron Popeil, In 5 Easy Installments

Ron Popeil/Facebook
Ron Popeil/Facebook

Long before there was Billy Mays, Anthony Sullivan, Matthew Lesko, or Vince “ShamWow” Offer, there was Ron Popeil, the so-called “Godfather of the Infomercial” and/or “Salesman of the Century.” But Popeil is much more than a straight-up pitchman. Here are 5 things you might not know about the Ronco founder.

1. HE’S AN INVENTOR FIRST.

Unlike other pitchmen (and pitchwomen) who are simply hired spokespeople for a particular product, Popeil is the brains behind the products he’s promoting. And that, according to Popeil, makes all the difference. "The fact that I’m an inventor first and salesperson second is the reason why so many people buy my products,” Popeil told Forbes in 2006. “If you create a product that’s needed in the marketplace, or a drug that will solve a medical problem, people are going to buy it. It’s so easy for me to sell my products because the market exists.”

But wait, there’s more…

2. NONE OF HIS INFOMERCIALS WERE SCRIPTED.

In addition to his many best-selling “as seen on TV” products, Popeil also invented many of the very same catchphrases you hear being shouted at the screen by today’s infomercial spokespeople, including the ubiquitous, “But wait, there’s more…” In a 2014 interview with the Tampa Bay Business Journal, Popeil claimed that the chatter heard on his infomercials was completely unscripted, including the Showtime Rotisserie’s famous “Set it and forget it” slogan.

But wait, there’s more…

3. HE INVENTED ‘GREAT LOOKING HAIR’ TO COVER UP HIS BALD SPOT.

In an interview with Forbes, Popeil explained that some of his inventions have arisen out of personal need. Case in point: Great Looking Hair, a.k.a. hair in a can. “I have a bald spot on the back of my head, and I saw the need for a product to fix [the problem],” Popeil explained. “So I created the spray-on hair. I carry a can of it in my briefcase wherever I go.”

But wait, there’s more…

4. NOT EVERY INVENTION HAS BEEN A WINNER.

In an interview with People, Popeil explained how his mind is always thinking of new products that the market needs. “While other people are shopping for clothes, I'm in the housewares department thinking out a new concept,” he explained. And while he’s undoubtedly one of the most successful inventors in the history of late-night television (he estimates that he has sold more than $2 billion worth of product), he has also brought a few clunkers to market. Including a home handwriting analysis kit and a subliminal message tape meant to help customers quit smoking.

But wait, there’s more…

5. THE BEASTIE BOYS REFERENCED HIM IN “CRAWLSPACE.”

The lyrics to The Beastie Boys’ song “Crawlspace,” off their 2004 album To the 5 Boroughs, begin with: “There's a party going on in here for real / I got more product than Ron Popeil.”

Contrary to many reports, the 1984 Weird Al song “Mr. Popeil” is not about Ron. As Yankovic explains in the album's liner notes, “It's not about Ron Popeil, the founder of Ronco, but about his dad, the guy who invented the Vegamatic and the Pocket Fisherman. He did pitches for them on TV before Ronco was started. Mr. Popeil was a big facet of American pop culture; he started the whole genre of marketing these gimmicky gadgets on TV. Around the time I was writing the song, I came across a magazine article about me, and right next to it I saw a story about Mr. Popeil's daughter, Lisa Popeil, who was a classically trained singer who had worked with Frank Zappa. I thought it would be great if we could get her to sing on the track, and she agreed to do it. It was very odd, though, to be in the studio directing Lisa how to sing her own name!”

Even Marvel Studios's Co-President is Confused by Avengers 4 Teaser Photo

Marvel Studios
Marvel Studios

​by Kwadar Ray

Marvel fans have been left baffled ​by a teaser photo the Russo Brothers released, which possibly has the name of the new Avengers movie hidden in the picture.

The photo shows co-director Joe Russo sitting on an empty stage while working on his laptop, with the caption, "Look hard ..."

Fans have been speculating the past few days on what the hidden message in the photo is and what it reveals.

​​Turns out, fans are not the only ones playing "Where's Waldo," as even Marvel Studios's co-president Louis D’Esposito cannot even figure out what he's supposed to be looking at. 

D'Esposito expressed his confusion in a hilarious tweet, which also reveals he's being left in the dark by the directors.

We do not know for sure what we're looking hard for. A majority of fans are assuming it's the title of the movie—especially since the ​Russo Brothers said the name will be revealed after the Captain Marvel trailer was released—but it may also be a hint to the story or something else. ​​

Perhaps, it's the rocket engine prop in the photo that also featured in Infinity War.

Nevertheless, everything will be revealed soon when Avengers 4 hits theaters on May 3, 2019, and when all the promo for it begins (which will hopefully be soon).

First Venom Clip Features Tom Hardy and Riz Ahmed

Marvel Entertainment
Marvel Entertainment

​by Kwadar Ray

Venom is making its solo debut when the movie hits theaters on October 5, 2018. Fans have been anxiously anticipating further footage from the movie after ​its trailer was released in April. Now, IGN has released a clip featuring Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) and Dr. Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed) in a heated confrontation.

As the clip shows, the conversation is cordial until Brock, a.k.a. Venom, gets into some of the allegations against the Life Foundation and their deadly pharmaceutical tests.

Drake and his team immediately shut down the interview. The clip ends with Brock being shoved away from Drake as he asks him if he's being threatened; Drake responds with a cryptic, "Have a nice life!"

Of course, the clip is significant because Brock has been obsessed with taking down Carlton Drake. Brock seems to be having a hard time cracking the story, and as his investigation starts to ruin his personal and journalistic life, he discovers and ultimately merges with the Venom symbiote.

Even though Venom would traditionally be considered the villain in a Spider-Man film, Ahmed's character will be even more villainous as an evil corrupt scientist.

And while Venom has ​a PG-13 rating, the movie is expected to be incredibly violent, with more than one decapitation rumored.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER