I love stories like this one. If the two words – Ron Popeil – do not conjure up an image deep in your visceral memory, you probably don’t get much enjoyment from this website…. unless you just visit for TGU updates.
It’s 7:15 Saturday AM. I just texted my favorite Millennial in far-off St Louis to see if she has a clue who/what Ron Popeil is/was. I’m going to bet “no clue” but she often surprises me.
UPDATE: It’s 8:41 AM Sat…. Kid just texted me. SHE KNOWS WHO HE IS! Ya HOOOO! 🙂
On the opposite end of the generational spectrum, I’ll bet “Prince Albert” recognizes the name but is not sure why. And, of course, “Kennel” no doubt climbed Mount Kilimanjaro with him and Everett Case’s butler in March of 1956
Ron Popeil was / still is The King of The Infomercial. Someone in your extended family still has at least one handydandy kitchen do-hickey that Ron Popeil convinced them they could not live one more day without …. at 2:00 AM one morning.
They used it once, then put it on a back shelf in the pantry. It’s still in the original box. The box has Ron’s picture on it. What they actually bought was Ron, not the do-hickey.
Ron’s trademark phrases were “Set It…. and Forget It” and “….. and “But Wait…. There’s More”.
Every word, phrase, grin and nuance calculated to get your Aunt Clara and Uncle Edgar to Call Now…. Operators are standing by!
Ron Popeil was to TV shilling what Howard Cosell was to sports commentary. Both were sooooo over-the-top in their styles that “they” were the show more than what Ron was pitching or Howard was saying.
In his heyday of the 70-80s, I would defy you to stand on a sidewalk in any town in America and swing a dead cat without hitting someone who could do their imitation of Ron Popeil. It might not be a particularly good imitation but they think it was, and Ron knows that mainstreet notoriety means $$$$ for him.
Whatever Happened to Ron Popeil? ….. THAT is why you visit here. Where else might you learn that even if you didn’t know you wanted to know it?
Ron is 81 and living very comfortably in Beverly Hills. But Wait…. THERE’S MORE!
Ron Popeil ….. has been called the Einstein of the Infomercial. The Hemingway of Home Shopping. The Salesman of the Century.
After 14 years, $4 million, 35,000 pounds of fried turkey and uncounted thousands of pounds of potatoes, fish, bacon and other fried delicacies — much of it consumed by firefighters at station houses in Beverly Hills and Coldwater Canyon — Ron Popeil is ready to bring to market his greatest invention.
You’ve seen him on late night TV, hawking his revolutionary products. The blue eyes blazing with entrepreneurial zeal. The helmet of shoe-polish black hair. The meaty, sensual, Brando-esque lips formed into a broad, porcelain-veneered smile. The stentorian voice, like a boardwalk huckster’s.
But wait! There’s more!
Popeil has been called the Einstein of the Infomercial. The Hemingway of Home Shopping. The Salesman of the Century. He’s played himself on The Simpsons and has been parodied on Saturday Night Live. Weird Al Yankovic even produced a song about him, on which Popeil’s half-sister sang all the backup parts. Since he made his first commercial, in the early 1950s for the Chop-O-Matic hand food processor (“Ladies and gentlemen, I’m going to show you the greatest kitchen appliance ever made.”), he’s been copied by every television pitchman and woman who has plied the airwaves.
His most lucrative product to date, the Ronco Showtime Rotisserie & BBQ, has earned more than $1.4 billion worldwide.
Popeil has brought us such enduring products as Mr. Microphone, the Smokeless Ashtray, the Popeil Pocket Fisherman, the Ronco Electric Food Dehydrator and his spray-on remedy for bald spots, GLH Formula #9. (The GLH stands for Great Looking Hair.) Like all the rest, he came up with the name himself.
His most lucrative product to date, the Ronco Showtime Rotisserie & BBQ, has earned more than $1.4 billion worldwide. Maybe you’ve seen the infomercial: The charismatic salesman demonstrating from the pulpit of his in-studio kitchen. The rapt audience in folding chairs. The call and response.
Just set it…
AND FORGET IT!