Natalie Solent

Politics, news, libertarianism, Science Fiction, religion, sewing. You got a problem, bud? I like sewing.

E-mail: nataliesolent-at-aol-dot-com (I assume it's OK to quote senders by name.)

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Jane's Blogosphere: blogtrack for Natalie Solent.


( 'Nother Solent is this blog's good twin. Same words, searchable archives, RSS feed. Provided by a benefactor, to whom thanks.
I also sometimes write for Samizdata and Biased BBC.)

The Old Comrades:

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Thursday, December 09, 2004
Ronco, Ronco, Rah! Rah! Rah! John Costello writes:
You mean to say you actually had Ronco in Old Blighty! But it was so, so... American! When I was watching Flash Gordon (the TV series, not the movie serial) out of Channel 9 in New Hampshire (I had to hold the antenna in a certain way so I could see it thorugh the fuzz) back in the 60s RONCO brought me Flash and other 1950s series. Remember the Ronco Vegematic? "And now, if you order this today, we'll include this 20 piece aluminum (or stainless steel) set of pans for just $19.99* extra, plus shipping and handeling! Yes, ladies and gentlemen..." It was the alleged owner on the TV (and I read later that it really was him) who did the sales pitch in a New Jersey accent.

What sort of accent did the pitchman use in Britain? The equivalent would be Cockney.

*now worth about $100.00.

A sort of all-purpose southern English accent as far as I recall. A TV accent.

TV was more of a challenge then. My family, wishing to take some sort of middle way between having a TV and not having one, compromised by having the oldest TV on the street. I am sure that this made me a stronger, hardier person. Channels were changed by turning a dial with all the care of a master cracksman opening the safe of the Bank of England. Our TV would only get ITV for about a forty seconds at a time before going wiggly. Good, said my parents with Roman sterness: in those days the BBC was considered more wholesome. As a result for my first few years of viewership I only ever saw adverts at the houses of friends. Gosh, how I adored those adverts. The one for the K-Tel gadget that allowed you to chop off the tops of broken bottles and re-use them as drinking glasses; what artistry! This ad recently featured in one of those "hundred best adverts" programmes. Some guy reminisced with many a chuckle about how his Dad got one and chopped his lips off.

Mr Costello says that Ronco are still going strong in the US. Here are some products. In fairness to what seems to be a family business, I must say that they seem much like anyone else's products.

That is actually my real opinion, although I would say it anyway because I'm afraid of getting sued. (By the amazing, all-new Ligitomatic. Claims, appeals and settles out of court in one smooth action!) This guy isn't.