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My Personal Funeral For Don Lapre (w/ 6 Videos Of Other Terrible Infomercials)

Don Lepre: Gone but not forgotten
Don Lepre: Gone but not forgotten

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...

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

As best I can tell, unlike Lapre, the diminutive Rice twins actually espoused methods that were legal in order to make your fortune. Essentially, they ask you to find people whose lives have been turned upside down with turmoil (divorce, unemployment, death, etc), vulture in, and make money on their homes. And yes, it took me seven times watching that video to figure out what the Rice twins do because I was mesmerized by twin midgets in matching suits talking to me. Sue me.

 

5. TOM VU
Tom Vu was a beauty, another staple of the late night, drunken infomercial fare. This 1:40 clip has several delicious nuggets:

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

I always thought that if something ever happened to Matthew Lesko and former Notre Dame head coach Lou Holtz wasn't busy, you could put Holtz in that question mark-covered suit and have him act like a maniac on the steps of the capitol building and not miss a beat.

 

3. JOE FOWLER
I'm actually friends with Joe Fowler. Good guy. So my putting this chopped-up video of him orgasming to foods cooked in a NuWave device is not a punk-ass move at all because these are things I've said to his face. The sheer bliss he exudes in chomping into a morsel of steak or saying the word "moist" is one of life's little pleasures.

NOTE: WWE fans thinking "Hey, that guy looks familiar...well....

2. DR. VICTORIA VDROK

Let me start out by saying that if my doctors all looked like Dr. Zdrok, I'd not only go in for checkups more frequently, but I would actually have sick people cough and spit on me so I would have a reason to visit the doctor. Dr. Zdrok is an "Interpersonal Relationship Specialist," which I'm pretty sure is code for "hooker." The genius in this infomercial is in its subtlety. I mean, a spontaneously appearing skyscraper? A rocket ship launching into outer space? Um, what could those things possibly mean??

1. LINDA EVANS

Creepiest. Product. Ever.

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.


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