We lost another icon of my youth over the weekend when Don Lapre, best known for his promises of mountains of wealth by merely placing tiny classified ads in newspapers around the country, committed an apparent suicide awaiting sentencing on fraud charges.
The late `80's and early `90's were the heydays for late night infomercials peddling get-rich-quick schemes and useless household appliances, and there was no one who epitomized the entrepreneurial spirit of duping late night stoners and drunks into buying a book about nothing more than Lapre.
Observe the master in action...
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As you can see, the Lapre infomercials hit all of the sleazeball high spots:
Host peddling his wares while strolling on a beach, implying that "You, too, could be strolling on a beach someday!"? Check.
Tales of pennies from heaven (five million pennies per week, to be exact) raining down in his one bedroom apartment? Check.
Testimonials from clients who look like they stepped off of a poster of area sex offenders? Check.
Price reduction from list price of $149 for the manual to $39 (WOW! Almost 80 percent off!)? Check.
Sadly, Lapre's tale of woe is one we've heard all too often -- with the newspaper and 1-900 businesses dying in the internet age, Lapre could no longer keep up and had to turn to a life of selling drugs. Well, actually, he turned to a life of selling fake vitamins. Same thing.
I would ask that in this time of mourning, we all place that tiny classified obituary in our hearts for a man who was the king of fake ways to illegally make money, the self proclaimed king of the infomercial, Don Lapre.
In honor of Lapre's memory, let's conduct a de facto funeral right here on Hair Balls and allow some of the other giants of the infomercial universe to speak on their products, and entice you with promises of untold riches, juicy red meat, and a bigger penis.
6. THE RICE TWINS
0:07 -- The first testimonial has a guy who made over $15,000 on a Tom Vu-style transaction, which means at that point he could finally afford to get the right side of his afro cleaned up.
0:39 -- Testimonial number two punctuated with the Uncle Sam, index finger point at the camera, which I guess is meant to be a subliminal call to action. "WOW! He pointed at me!! What's the phone number!?!"
0:42 -- As you can probably tell, the not-so-underlying theme of the Tom Vu infomercial is "If you come to my seminar, you will proceed to get more ass than a toilet seat!" This is my second favorite scene involving the legion of yachtskanks, because it's a bunch of them playing backgammon. Yes, backgammon. All I know is if I were independently wealthy and had six chicks on my boat, if a single one of them wanted to play backgammon at any point, I'd throw her over the side and tell her to swim back to shore herself.
0:56 -- This is my favorite yachtskank scene, the one where Vu stands next to a row of bikini ass, and he's practically inviting you to choose one of them, like the row of cars that Mr. Myagi presented to Daniel San in the first Karate Kid movie. "Choose, Daniel San...and come to my seminar!"
0:57 -- "You don't need to be genius to make a lotta money with my system. A lot of my students who are AVERAGE people make a lot of money. Why not you?" Gotta love a targeted marketing campaign that is so inclusive it has specific components targeted at dipshits. Awesome.
1:21 -- Holy Lego hair!
1:36 -- "Have some guts! Come to my seminar!" Yes, he's challenging your manhood. If you don't go to Tom Vu's seminar, you're a gutless turd.
4. MATTHEW LESKO
NOTE: WWE fans thinking "Hey, that guy looks familiar...well....
2. DR. VICTORIA VDROK
1. LINDA EVANS
Listen to Sean Pendergast on Yahoo! Sports Radio and 1560 The Game weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. and follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.