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As Seen on TV Paperback – September 1, 2002

4.2 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Lou Harry is the author of It’s Slinky! and The Love Voodoo Kit, and yet, inexplicably, he has never been nominated for the National Book Award. The first album he ever bought was K-Tel’s Believe in Music. Sam Stall is the author of Special Delivery, the story of America’s first septuplets. As a child he wanted a Pocket Fisherman, but his parents didn’t get him one. And he never forgave them.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Quirk Books (September 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1931686092
  • ISBN-13: 978-1931686099
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 0.4 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,741,135 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Did folks buy this stuff? They sure did, by the millions according to Harry and Stall. Some of these products would really be hard to parody, the Chai Ceramic Pet that grows vegetation, the Turbi Twist, a hair towel with an elastic loop (with the predictable AS SEEN ON TV on the box) the Copper Tongue Scraper, PROVEN EFFECTIVE was the bold statement on its packaging but it really does look just like a piece of bent metal! Each product has a spread with photos, copy and several colored panels (more on these later) containing background material and other trivia. I liked the Product panels best with their Description, Availability, Claimed Innovation, Upside and the Downside, just read the Downside to each product and really get the truth.

The six basic chapters are: Kitchen Marvels; Fashion and Beauty; Fabulous Fitness; Entertainment Breakthroughs; Home Improvement Miracles; Get Rich Quick. Between these chapters are some interesting features, pages 122 and 123 cover the rise of the home shopping channels where you will be amazed to find that QVC have studio tours. Ron Popiel, the founder of Ronco, has four pages explaining the background to the infomercial techniques he uses to shift the goods. Incidentally the Ronco story is covered in 'But, Wait! There's More!' by Timothy Samuelson, lots of product photos, vintage ads and packaging and a fairly accurate history of the Popiel family. Ever wonder what happened to yesterday's celebrities, check out pages 74 to 79 to see the Top 100 infomercial-land stars from Allen (Debbie) to Zappa (Dweezel) you'll be surprised who's listed, well, perhaps not. 'As Seen On TV' is a fascinating and fun book covering a subject that most of us would hardly think twice about.

But wait! There is more! DON'T TOUCH THAT DIAL!
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Format: Paperback
AS SEEN ON TV: A colorful, sarcastic, frequently hilarious trip into TV's vast late night wasteland of CHIA PETS, THIGH-MASTERS and SLIM WHITMAN, Lou Harry and Sam Stall's AS SEEN ON TV dishes the dirt behind fifty infamous products coming soon to a yard sale near you. From future clothing racks disguised as exercise equipment to spray cans of instant hair, these unforgettable impulse buys begat THE CLAPPER, MR. MICROPHONE and POCKET FISHERMAN, not to mention the immortal earworms "I've fallen and I can't get up!" and "Mounds and mounds of Julien fries!". BUT WAIT!...THERE'S MORE! You'll also get an in-depth interview with RONCO founder RON POPEIL, the king-daddy of all pitchmen, a list of celebrities (both bona fide and wanna-be) who have sold out to cash cows like THE PSYCHIC FRIENDS NETWORK, plus a look at the home shopping channel phenomenon. What more could any channel-surfing couch potato insomniac reasonably ask? Unlike most of its "video-syncratic" infomercial content, this book's a bargain at any price...that rare offer you really can't refuse.

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Format: Paperback
What a fun book! I definitely recommend this book to anyone who has ever gotten caught up watching infomercials or home shopping channels. It's fascinating to read about products that became hugely popular, even though in some cases, you look at them now and say "what were they thinking?".

It was especially fun for me because... as I turned each page, I had to wonder if the next product was one I've bought. LOL

Yes, I have succumbed to the "power of the pitch" and bought into the hype. And yes, I have purchased a few of the items in this book (George Foreman Grill, Steamer, etc... and I LIKE the Dr. Ho's Muscle Massage System!) but I'll never admit to how many.

Anyone who has heard "and that's not all" will enjoy the fact that a section with that title is included AFTER the index.

I only gave this book 4 stars because I wanted more products to be in it! It was so fun to read, I wanted more of it.
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Format: Paperback
"As Seen On TV" is a fond look back at those Kitschy products and their even tackier commercials for products as diverse as the Chia Pet to K-Tel records. These products would make household names out of people like Ron Poeil, Billy Mays, and Susan Powter as they pushed products to enhance yourself, your cooking, or your home. These 50 products, most of which are still on the market today and still being seen on TV were the forerunners of the dreaded infomercial which made their way into our homes back in the 1984 when the FCC loosened regulations on TV advertising. You'll chuckle as you read about these products, many of which you probably haven't thought about in years.

The book is arranged by product type including Kitchen Marvels, Fashion and Beauty Wonders, Fabulous Fitness, Entertainment Breakthroughs, Home Improvement Miracles, and Get Rich Quick. A history of each products is provided along with details about its use, inventor, and other interesting facts as well as photos. Ron Popeil is certainly the godfather of these products who got the ball rolling with the Veg-O-Matic, actually invented by his father. Popeil's list of products is long and often notorious and includes things such as GLH Formula #9 spray for balding men, as well as the Pocket Fisherman. The book includes a lengthy interview with Popeil as well.

Other items in the Kitchen gadget category include the legendary Ginsu knives...and who doesn't fondly remember those commercials where they sawed through knives and aluminum cans? Then there is a modern classic as former boxer turned pitchman, George foreman introduced the grill bearing his name.
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