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Infomercial King Ron Popeil Discusses His Inventions

Aired April 13, 2001 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, ever buy one of these?


RON POPEIL, INVENTOR: This Veg-o-matic. Mr. Microphone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, what's that?

POPEIL: The rhinestone and stud setter. Popeil's Pocket Fisherman The inside-the-eggshell egg scrambler.


KING: Ever wonder why? Credit our guest, multimillionaire pitchman Ron Popeil, the man called the Einstein of infomercials. He's here for the hour, we'll take your calls. It's next on LARRY KING LIVE!

Ron Popeil is our special guest tonight. If you haven't seen him, you don't live on the planet. He has -- what -- what are you, a salesman who invents or an inventor who sells?

POPEIL: I'm an inventor who sells.

KING: How did it all start?

POPEIL: Oh, it started a long time ago when I was -- my father was an inventor. He invented the Veg-o-Matic, the Chop-o-Matic, and he used me to, in fact, assist him in marketing the products. And I was a customer of his, and so he made money off of me, and by the same token, I was his advertisement. He would send people down that were his customers down to the Woolworth store where I was working and say: "Look how easy it is!"

KING: And you would demonstrate?

POPEIL: Yes. I would be working in the Woolworth store...

KING: So, you it's a gene thing? You inherited this ability.

POPEIL: I think the inventing aspect, yes. So I made my father's -- I helped make my father's product successful, and then after a while, I decided to get into -- get involved in inventing and marketing myself. KING: What took you to television?

POPEIL: I was when working in a Woolworth store, Larry, in Chicago, on State Street. That was store number one, their biggest store. I was selling a product, and I had a friend come to me, and said: "Ron, did you know that you can make a commercial for $550." I said: "$550 to make a commercial? A one-minute spot?" He said, "Yeah." "Where?" And he said: "Down in Tampa, Florida. WFLA."

And I started thinking about it, they have cameras, and lights, and they have everything that is needed, and probably it wasn't being used all the time when they weren't using it for live TV. And that is why they could do it so inexpensively. I went down there two days later, and shot my first commercial on the Ronco spray gun.

KING: But then you had to buy your own spots, right?


KING: You had to have to have money to begin with?


KING: An inventor needs money.

POPEIL: No, a marketer needs money. An inventor needs money to develop a product.

KING: Right.

POPEIL: OK. Depending on how intense the product is, it's an electrical appliance...


KING: ... back you?

POPEIL: No. I used my own money, but you don't need a lot of money to start with.

KING: You don't?

POPEIL: No, it's a misapprehension.

KING: Today you would.

POPEIL: No, not even today, not even today. And I will explain why. When you -- when you create a product, or you use someone else's product, creating a product nationally is going to cost you a lot more. You have the development stage, you have go into tooling.

KING: But you've got to buy time, right?

POPEIL: You got to buy time. Time, you buy one week. You are successful, and then you take the profits and allows you to buy two and three weeks. You take the profits, and now you are on for a month.

KING: You use the money that you make -- it's a turn around? OK. We've got all this stuff there, we're going to be demonstrating a lot. For the benefit of radio listeners, I will try to describe it for you.

What was your -- what -- this is the Showtime rotisserie. We're going to begin with this, because you are going to cook something.

POPEIL: Yeah, I am going to cook something, and I hope we'll have time at the end of the show that you will have a chance to eat it.

KING: Eat it.


KING: How did this come about? And what makes it different?

POPEIL: Well, rotisseries are the healthier way to eat food. Chicken, meats, fish, all foods that have fat -- the heavier fat drips off, and the juices, which are lighter, spin around on the inside.

People today go to supermarkets, or they go to Costco, the clubs, and what do they see? They see these rotisserie machines. And you have the chicken, chicken restaurants that you see these chicken machines. And we are into health today. And so...

KING: But this one is unique?

POPEIL: Yes, it is unique.

KING: But couldn't you -- weren't rotisseries always for sale?

POPEIL: Yes, yes.

KING: But?

POPEIL: They were difficult to use. They weren't user-friendly. They were difficult to clean. And they didn't do the kind of foods that you can do with this, because of the shape and size. It has got to be small, it's got to be easy to clean, and you have to have a -- the product that comes out has got to be...

KING: Let's see it.

POPEIL: Yeah, let's do it. Let's do it. Here we have -- let's do it very, very quickly. Here are the spit rods, and all I'm going to do is take this chicken here...

KING: Just take this chicken.

POPEIL: I'm used to standing. Slide that on, and of course, we will match it up on this side over here. Pretty simple, put it in the middle.

KING: Clicks in.

POPEIL: Yeah. You put it in the rest area, takes the weight off someone's hands. Slide it back. I will raise up the window here. Get this out of the way.

After following the instructions, you said it, this is going to take about an hour, and so we'll have an opportunity to try that when it comes out. And that is all do you.

KING: That is all do you?

POPEIL: That's it. It's done.

KING: And that will roll throughout the entire...

POPEIL: Exactly.


POPEIL: But the key here it is only 1,200 watts. Now, a hair drier that women use today, or men, 1,200 watts. Not a lot of electricity. This gets hot on the top here, and there is a tray that also comes with it that you can cook two vegetables simultaneously.

KING: How many of these have you sold?

POPEIL: Oh, just under three million.

KING: What do they sell for?

POPEIL: Around $160. Four payments at 39.95.

KING: Four payments of 39.95.

POPEIL: Right.

KING: What was your first product?

POPEIL: My first product that I came out with with my commercial was the one I shot down at WFLA, was the Ronco spray gun, the gun that washes and waxes your...

KING: Ronco is Ron & Company?

POPEIL: Ron Company, yes.

KING: What does it do -- is it here?

POPEIL: We don't have one of those here. You put a soap tablet -- it was like a garden nozzle that was gun-shaped, and you put a tablet in the handle. A soap tablet would fit in. The water would come through the hose, pass the tablet, pick up the soap. And of course, you would adjust the force of the spray by using the nozzle, as any would use a nozzle.

KING: You invent all your own products? POPEIL: Today I do, yes.

KING: You don't buy any?

POPEIL: No, not today, anymore.

KING: We have here Mr. Microphone.


KING: What hell was this? It's like a little fake microphone you use...

POPEIL: It did over a $100 million at retail. Everybody remembers: "Hey, good-looking, I'll be back to pick you up later."

This product here -- by the way, I'm bringing it back this Christmas -- what's good about it, it works on any FM radio in the world. And so, you turn it to a certain station, 88.3 on your dial, we can set that to that, and you can talk into the microphone, and your voice is coming through the radio. And it has a range of about between 50 and 100 feet.

KING: So, you impress people?

POPEIL: Well, you can -- well...

KING: And be an announcer.

POPEIL: You know who used that?

KING: Who?

POPEIL: I remember John Dean used it. It was during -- around the Watergate time period, and his amplifying system went out. He went out and got a radio, battery operated, turned it on, and you could use this. We can't use it here in the studio because of feedback...

KING: Yeah.

POPEIL: But it's a fabulous product.

KING: And you're bringing it back?

POPEIL: And kids love it.

KING: Yeah, they all play with it.

POPEIL: Yeah, it's $20 retail, something like that.

KING: We got lots more to look at! The master is here, Ron Popeil. He turns them in! We will be looking at a lot of products, find out what's new from Mr. Popeil as well. By the way, tomorrow night: normally, LARRY KING WEEKEND is taped. We will be live. We'll have a special program dealing with the returning of the naval crew. That is tomorrow night, a live edition of LARRY KING WEEKEND. We'll be right back.


POPEIL: Hey, this Christmas party is getting a little too quiet. I think it's time we livened it up with my favorite Christmas gift, Mr. Microphone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, what's that?

POPEIL: Well, you set the dial on your FM radio, and, testing, testing, testing!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey! I'm on the radio!

POPEIL: These kids are having a fabulous time with Mr. Microphone, the cordless microphone that actually puts your voice on the radio.

There are no attaching wires, so you are free to move around.

Broadcast over any FM car radio.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, good-looking, we'll be back to pick you up later!

POPEIL: You can broadcast in mono or with a few moderators, in a stereo.

Professional entertainers use Mr. Microphone for rehearsing. And you can, too.

It is practical and great fun for whole family.




POPEIL: This luxurious bedspread, this elegant tablecloth were all made with the Ronco Flower Loom Kit...



POPEIL: Place in the drum, put the lid on, and spin...



POPEIL: "High-temp" the surgical steel wonder knife. Turn leftovers into money saving meals...


POPEIL: Introducing auto-cup by Ronco...



POPEIL: But nature's nondrying steam adds body to long or short, bleached or broken hair...



POPEIL: If your hips, buttocks or thighs start to have an unsightly rippled look, use Celutrol's massage glove.


KING: Our guest is Ron -- Are you a little nuts? You are a little nuts.


KING: Okay.

POPEIL: Of course I am.

KING: No, I just want to establish that. All right, the Veg-O- Matic.

POPEIL: Yes. This is the Veg-O-Matic here. You put a potato in, and slice it thin or...

KING: Down it comes.

POPEIL: Yes, right.

KING: The Chop-O-Matic.

POPEIL: Oh, that's this one here, but here is the Dial-O-Matic. And of course, the Dial-O-Matic you have a dial that you regulate the thickness OK, and then you are able to...

KING: Now, you invented this.

POPEIL: My father invented this -- my father.

KING: It looks so simple.

POPEIL: Yes. And of course the Chop-O-Matic you -- I did this in the Woolworth store, a bit over 30 years ago I was doing it, 35. Eggs for egg salad, ham for ham salad, horses for horse radish.

KING: And now we come to one of Popeil's most famous, the GLH, "Good Looking Hair" demonstration.


KING: OK, and I understand I'm going to play a part in this.

POPEIL: Well, you have a can of GLH right over there.

KING: Right here, this is GLH, the magic potion.

POPEIL: Right.

KING: Formula number 9, colored hair thickener, by Popeil. It covers bald spots and gives you great-looking hair. Now you are going to turn around, right?

POPEIL: And when you use it, Larry, hold it about one inch way from the bald spot.

KING: One inch -- there's the bald spot.

POPEIL: Yes, just cover it all up, that's all. OK. So you can't see any of the bald spot, and put some around the surrounding area, too. Close, very close, very close, OK, that's fine, that's good.

KING: It's gone.

POPEIL: No, not yet. You let -- you wait a few seconds to let it dry. I'm going to brush it now, and in brushing it, I am mixing the surrounding hair with it. And if you mix the surrounding hair with it, this is what it looks like. Of course I can't see it from here but your audience can.

KING: Perfect. OK, now, how long does that last?

POPEIL: That lasts until you wash it out with any shampoo.



KING: Every day.

POPEIL: We make a small travel size so if you jump in a pool...

KING: Is that paint?

POPEIL: No. It is a powder that builds on itself with static electricity. On a bald spot there's little tiny follicles of hair, and it colors that -- those follicles as well as the skin, and it builds on itself. The powder builds on itself.

KING: Doesn't drip down during the day?

POPEIL: No. No. Now, if you go into a steam room -- naturally, if you stay in long enough, and depending on how much you put it on, you could have a problem, but we don't have that kind of a problem.

KING: The pocket fisherman.

POPEIL: Popeil's pocket fisherman.

KING: Popeil's pocket fisherman.

POPEIL: It was invented by my father, reinvented by myself. Pretty nice product because fishing is my hobby, .

KING: May we see the original commercial? OK.

POPEIL: Go ahead.

KING: What do you do with this?

POPEIL: Well, what's good about it is, it folds up and fits in your glove compartment. Great for kids, has your hook, line, bobber and sinker in the handle.

KING: What's the toughest part about inventing? There's got be a lot of stuff...

POPEIL: That is the fun. Inventing is fun.

KING: Stuff that don't work, you get a good idea that doesn't always work, right? Not everything works.

POPEIL: Most of the products that I create end up working. I do occasionally -- I just had a project that I had to give up because I couldn't get it to perform the way I wanted it to perform.

POPEIL: Where was the Smokeless Ashtray?

POPEIL: Oh the Smokeless -- that was the era of cigars and cigarettes, and everybody being anti-cigarettes. I have a portable smokeless ashtray over here, and, I don't smoke but I will light it.

KING: Put it on the ashtray.

POPEIL: Yes, and of course, the smoke you have the smoke here, I will turn it on. Little loud, but, as you can see, the smoke -- but the problem here was that when people smoked, this smoke was still in the air. And so then I created the Ronco Clean Air Machine. I think trying to get power for this over here.

KING: OK, but basically it works -- it cleans the smoke out of the air.

POPEIL: Exactly.

KING: This takes it away in the ashtray.

POPEIL: And that was a great seller as well.

KING: And when we come back with Popeil, the world's most amazing bagel cutter. Do not go away.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you a nonsmoker bothered by smoke from someone's else's cigarette or cigar? Does the smell of cigar smoke offend you? Does smoke irritate your eyes? Now, put an end to this unpleasantness with the amazing smokeless ashtray by Ronco. Simply turn it on, and the special vacuum system automatically draws up offensive smoke, locking into it the filter chamber where it's trapped. The beautifully...




POPEIL: But you all know you're not going to spend 129.95 for it.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's the combination kitchen stool and sit-on compacter by Popeil.


POPEIL: And you are not going to spend $120 or 115...



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A simple twist of this handle and the mop head is rung damp dry.



POPEIL: 110, or even 100, not 90, not 80.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (speaking in a foreign language)



POPEIL: And not even 70 dollars, like you may all be thinking. (END VIDEO CLIP)


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Dentist helps remove unsightly tobacco coffee stains.



POPEIL: It's just 4 easy payments of $14.99.


KING: You ad-lib all those infomercials. They're not scripted.

POPEIL: Yes, no script.

KING: All right, tell me about the bagel cutter, found at Nate and Al's and other establishments.

POPEIL: Well, you know, at the time people -- a lot of people -- cutting bagels, when bagels just started to come into their own.

KING: People would cut your thumb off.

POPEIL: The hospitals were loaded with...

KING: Bagel injuries.

POPEIL: Yes, and so I just created a bagel cutter that, you know, you cut it up, it pops up from the bottom, and you can't cut yourself. Works on any size bagel, onion roll, English muffin, or (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

KING: You invented this.


KING: But aren't there imitators?

POPEIL: Yes, but this invention here, allows, the invention itself allows any sized bagel because of the design, you see. It's functional, a functional patent, but it has this design that allows you to have any size bagel to go it in. That's where the patent lies. Now you can make bagel cutters that are straight up and down, but then you have a problem popping them out.

KING: How many patents do you have?

POPEIL: Oh, I don't know, what, 30, 40, I have no idea.

KING: What does patent pending mean? POPEIL: Patent pending is when you apply for a patent, nobody knows, though, what you have applied for. There's an advantage to that. The competitor has to guess what your trying to patent on that particular product.

KING: So you want pending.

POPEIL: I want pending. I also want the patent so I can go after, like on rotisserie, the patents are coming through on that right now. I have received 5 patents already, and I have been notified by the patent office that I'm receiving another two or three coming in midyear, and probably some more...

KING: Someone recommended closing the patent office in 1900 because everything had been invented. That's supposed to be true story.

POPEIL: Ridiculous, ridiculous.

KING: OK, the rhinestone stud setter.

POPEIL: That was a product -- I don't know if we have one around here -- that was a product that later was on television called the Bedazzler, same item. And it put rhinestones and studs on jeans.

KING: Oh, I remember that...

POPEIL: ... and shirts, and stuff like that, purses.

KING: There it is. We've got it.

POPEIL: Oh, thank you. Yeah.

KING: There it is.

POPEIL: It was a neat product.

KING: Yeah, neat.

POPEIL: Yeah, we did a nice job with that.

KING: OK. Inside-the-eggshell scrambler.

POPEIL: I've got that here for you right now.

KING: The eggshell scrambler.

POPEIL: There is a story behind this. I spend a great deal of time in the kitchen, and I know that most consumers when they want to beat up an egg, they will use a fork like this, and I hated this slimy stuff in the scrambled eggs and the omelet. I hate it. In the commercial -- and we don't have a copy of the commercial -- but actually, it was a kid in the commercial that was actually gagging in the commercial because of that.

KING: We have that. So, show us what you do. POPEIL: Here we have the egg scrambler, and I'm going to take this egg, and I'm just going to put it on a needle, and I'm going to just push down on it. And I'm going to hold it here for about seven or eight seconds.

It homogenizes the egg yoke and white together into a perfect cream. Now, if you hard-boil this egg, you end up with a hard-boiled egg that has no yoke in the middle. There is no cleanup.

OK, it's done. I will take the egg over here, and take the fork, and -- but you've got to see consistency.

KING: It's done.

POPEIL: Of the egg. It is absolutely perfect. There is -- that is the difference. Now, the key here, is if you are making French toast, and you put bread in there, you get that white stuff sticking all over the side. With this here, you can in fact -- the bread absorbs all the egg, because it's a perfect consistency, and you get...

KING: That it does. Now, you sit around and you watch someone beat an egg, and that's where the idea begins?

POPEIL: No, I didn't like the slimy egg whites when I was eating them -- the scrambled eggs and omelets, so -- when I was much younger.

KING: We will take a break and be back with more. Still to come: the spatula, the kitchen magician, the record vacuum, the whiskey -- not whiskey drinking, the whiskey -- I guess it cleans up something.

POPEIL: No it doesn't.

KING: We've got a whole host of products here, we got things cooking. This is "LARRY KING LIVE, and we'll be back with Ron Popeil after this.


POPEIL: Introducing the Inside-the-eggshell egg scrambler. This amazing new kitchen appliances perfectly scrambles an egg inside the shell. Here's how it works: just push the egg onto the motor-driven needle, and the egg scrambler automatically blends the egg white and yoke in less than five seconds, giving you a perfectly blended egg. Compare eggs scrambled the old-fashioned way with the revolutionary Inside-the-Eggshell egg scrambler. Look at the difference!




POPEIL: Ladies and gentlemen, I'm going to show you the greatest kitchen appliance ever made. It is called Chop-O-Matic. The secret of this remarkable machine is every time I tap on the knob, the blades rotate automatically. That is what makes Chop-O-Matic so amazing.

The next time that you bake a cake, or if you are going to make some homemade candies or serve some of those delicious ice cream sundaes, add all the chopped walnuts, pecans, cashews, almonds if you wish. Takes only seconds to add that fine richness and flavor to all your desserts.


KING: Infomercial icon innovator Ron Popeil. "The New Yorker" magazine said: "He did what all experts said couldn't be done in modern economy, he dreamed up something new in his kitchen, went out and pitched it himself."

OK, now we have these grip spatula.

POPEIL: That's this over here, Larry.

KING: OK, what do you do with this?

POPEIL: Well, I created this product here because I always had a problem in the kitchen myself, and so many -- every -- anyone who cooks in a kitchen has this kind of a problem. They have a regular spatula and they're frying food.

People today still fry an enormous amount of food all over the world, and basically, they have hot oil, and they will turn over a hot dog or a hamburger, and when they do that, the oil splashes, gets around the stove, and you end up burning yourself. That says, people don't like to clean up messes, and they don't like getting burned. Voila! It's a spatula spread.

It's a spatula. Turn it on, turn it over gently. No splashes.

KING: Oh, it opens!

POPEIL: Yeah. It is a regular spatula when you want to use it as a regular spatula, or pick it up, turn it over. I went on QVC with this last -- about two weeks ago. They only bought 1,000 of them. They sold the 1,000 in less than one minute's time. In less than a minute! One thousand, gone, out the door.

KING: How do you know where are you going to pitch it? Is it QVC or...

POPEIL: You can't be on both. You can only be on one or the other.

KING: So, you're a QVC guys?

POPEIL: I'm a strong -- and they truly are the salesmen of the century, not me.

KING: What is motorized food dehydrator? POPEIL: Food dehydrator. Food...

KING: That's over there.

POPEIL: Yeah. Food dehydrators has been around for a long time, and they sell really well because people are into health, again. Why do people want -- well, 50 percent of the people who buy this machine are not buying it for health. They buy it for beef jerky! And it makes beef jerky inexpensively, versus $34 a pound, versus -- maybe around $3 a pound when you make it yourself. And you do it in about a day-and-a-half's time.

Apples and bananas -- now, we have young children. Instead of giving the kids candy, I give my kids banana chips, apple snacks. And you slice the apple, put it in a machine, 24 hours later it is dry.

KING: You use all your own products at home?

POPEIL: Most of them I do, yes. Most of them...

KING: Is your house a little...


POPEIL: I have two kitchens, one is washing, the other is for rinsing.

KING: What are you working on right now?

POPEIL: I'm working on a project that is a bread and batter machine -- and I am actually working on two projects, a bread and batter machine -- because people who bread foods, their hands get full of gunk.

KING: We shot tape of that. Let's watch it.

POPEIL: Oh, right.

KING: And?

POPEIL: There it is. Oh, that was in my -- in my...

KING: It was in your house.

POPEIL: Yeah. Well, this is in the area that I do a lot of tinkering, and -- the product -- it is quite large in size, but shrinks down because one piece nestles into another.

Inside, there is a plastic bag, a two-gallon plastic bag that is sold in supermarkets, and you put your egg in there and your food in there and your bread crumbs. It tumbles it around, coats everything. Your hands don't get dirty, and the machine doesn't get dirty, because you throw the bag away! End of story.

KING: Your products are made in Korea? POPEIL: No. One product -- two products are made in Korea, the pasta maker and sausage maker. That's made there, and of course, the Showtime rotisserie is made there.

Some of my products, like the food dehydrator, the 5-tray machine is made here in the United States, where it's not labor-intensive. You produce it here.

KING: How many products have you got going at once?

POPEIL: Not a lot. Just a couple at a time, because I don't have the staffing.

KING: You don't flood the market.

POPEIL: Well, I focus on one product, basically, at a time. Sometimes two, but normally just one at a time. So, a lot of my products are underused, because I'm focusing on the rotisserie now.

KING: By the way, as a reminder, if you're watching this show live at 9:00 Eastern, 6:00 Pacific, and you have more questions for Ron Popeil, he is going to do an on-line chat right after the show. Just log on to my Web site at, and go on-line with Ron Popeil.

And we'll be back with Ron. Don't forget, tomorrow night, live edition of LARRY KING WEEKEND, dealing with the returning men from -- and women -- from China. Don't go away.


POPEIL: We are unwrapping the greatest gift you will ever give to mom, dad, even the kids. It is the Ronco bottle and jar cutter, and an exciting new way to recycle throw-away bottles and jars into decorative glassware, centerpieces, thousands of things.

Emory cloth is included to make glasses drinking-smooth: a hobby for dad, craft for the kids, or great gift for mom.



KING: We're back with the amazing Ron Popeil, and there you see things cooking. That's -- what is that? That's roast beef in there, that's cooking. And that's in the Showtime Rotisserie and Barbecue.

POPEIL: Right.

KING: There's our chicken, which I'm going to taste at the end of the show.

POPEIL: Right.

KING: In the Showtime Rotisserie and Barbecue, which also comes with gloves so that you don't burn your hands when you stick your hand in. I just thought of that. That could hurt, right?

POPEIL: A little bit.

KING: Could hurt.

POPEIL: It could hurt a little bit.

KING: Now, you've got something over here. Before we do the next thing, that you said is your newest thing, never shown before.

POPEIL: We want to show the other products first. You want to do that first, and then we'll show them that? Because that's...

KING: OK, we'll do this, because that's -- now I got them waiting.

POPEIL: OK, great.

KING: What is this?

POPEIL: OK. I make a flavor injector, and I give this away with all the people who buy the rotisserie on in the television commercial, the infomercial.

And basically, people are familiar with these flavor injectors. You take your favorite -- I'm in the marinade business, and you can buy the marinades. You can make your own marinades, and basically, you suck up the marinade and you put it into your roast beef, or your leg of lamb, or your chicken.

KING: What's unusual about this?

POPEIL: Well, this is nothing unusual. This has been around for a long time, and I just...

KING: Give them away.

POPEIL: I give them away. But I've improved upon it. The problem with this particular one is: No, 1, if you have something super-thick in here, a crushed garlic, for instance, you can't push it through because of the hole.

KING: Too small.

POPEIL: Too small. So you create a product that has -- here, we have this one over here, We have different-sized plastic tubes now.

KING: Aha.

POPEIL: So now -- let's say we have -- in this concoction here, we have some parsley, olive oil, and crushed garlic. And all I'll do is, I'll suck this up into here like so. And I have some French bread over here, and basically, you put that in the French bread, and you can in fact, push it down and inject all that garlic, and have greatest garlic bread. Of course, with those tubes, and here is the medium size, I have soft cheese in here. You want to do cheese bread. You can, in fact, have cheese bread.

So, a variety of things. You can do in meats as well.

KING: If you have a heart condition, you drive...

POPEIL: No, you don't do that with that.

Here we have -- here we have something over here. We have some chocolate pudding. You can use jellies, jams, yogurts, and you can put that in. And, we have some chocolate pudding here. We'll squirt a little for that in there. And as you can see, I'll take a knife, and...

KING: We have the little chocolate pudding cake!

POPEIL: Like old Twinkie, huh?

KING: I love this.

POPEIL: Not bad. Here's a good one, though. If you take -- let me go back to this guy over here because I think this is kind of nice. Let's -- let me go back to one where we had the -- I have some egg beaters here, And you can do this with scrambled eggs. But I'll put the egg in here. And what I do in the morning sometimes, is put that -- let me get this out of the way --

KING: In the croissant.

POPEIL: Yeah. Put the egg in the croissant, I put it in the microwave, and I'll end up having a breakfast croissant in my own house, with a little chopped ham in there and chopped onion, it is delicious.

KING: You are amazing.

I'm going to get a call and then I want to see the newest thing.

POPEIL: OK, good.

KING: Pittsburgh, hello.



POPEIL: Hi. How are you today?

CALLER: I'm doing fine.

KING: What's the question?

CALLER: Here is the question. We've got a great idea. Now, how do we get it on television? How do we get a commercial made? He said, oh, you get it on television and then. with the profits -- that -- he didn't answer the first question.

Like a lot of inventors, we might not have a lot of money. I know the product's good, but...

KING: All right. Let's say he's got a great product and no money.

POPEIL: OK. We were talking earlier about how I made my first commercial at a TV station. I would suggest...

KING: What did you do?

POPEIL: I would suggest that first of all, you can make an infomercial at a TV station -- any small...

KING: But you need some money.

POPEIL: But it doesn't cost a lot to go to a TV station. If you have a full production -- now, when I shoot an infomercial, that infomercial is going to be -- it ends up being about $100,000.

KING: What does this guy do?

POPEIL: This guy is not going to spend $100,000. You have a small audience, a handful of people. You go to a small TV station, use their facilities, and you could probably reduce the cost down, from 100,000 down to something under $20,000.

KING: If he's got a great product, could he bring it to you?

POPEIL: He could bring it to me. I wouldn't use it, but if he was able to get ahold of me somehow, and that's not easy, I would counsel him on what to do with it

KING: But you wouldn't buy the product.

POPEIL: No, I would not.

KING: Why?

POPEIL: I don't have the time to market other people's products.

KING: OK. What's the new one?

POPEIL: Well, I was showing the folks how that flavor injector worked. That's something that's been around a hundred years, but it has some inherent problems. If you have, and here, we go back to this one over here -- if we have -- and you can envision this, Larry -- if you have a small hand, like some women do, they couldn't reach all the way up here to push the food out.

KING: Agreed.

POPEIL: OK, Solution to that problem is to put in steps like this. You see these steps here?

KING: Yep.

POPEIL: And so the consumer now, that has a small hand, can push down on that. That solves that problem.

KING: When is this coming?

POPEIL: This one's going to be out probably fourth quarter of this year.

KING: What do you call them?

POPEIL: Well, this is -- I don't have name for this yet. This does something that no other flavor injector for the home does yet. It takes solids, there's chopped walnuts in here. You could take whole cloves of garlic and put it into a roast beef and push the garlic cloves, the whole thing, right inside the middle of the meat. I'm going to take this pound cake here, and I'll go in the other side, and I'll just push it in. As you can see, it all empties in and...

KING: Walnuts.

POPEIL: You can do that in your leg of lamb. Your ham.

KING: That's a great bit.

POPEIL: That's a great bit. Thank you.

KING: Austin, Texas, hello.

CALLER: Ronnie, do you miss those old days when you and Mel Korey used to travel around and hit the...

POPEIL: Somebody knows me. Mel Korey, my ex-partner.

CALLER: The ex-partner. When you guys used to hit the county fairs and pitch those individual deals...

KING: You went to county fairs? You were a hawker at county fairs?

POPEIL: Absolutely, yeah.

KING: Austin, Texas, you went?

CALLER: No, I never went to Austin, Texas, but I worked...

KING: How do you know him, Caller?

CALLER: I was at the Katz & Bestoff drugstores, in New Orleans years ago, and know Ronnie for many, many years.

KING: So you'd come in and bring your product?

POPEIL: He was with a major chain in the New Orleans area, and I have to say that unlike those days, where there weren't any 800 numbers and no credit cards, going on the air and asking someone to call in, you'd have to have 12,000 operators to answer. We have telemarketing companies that do that today.

Those days, no 800 numbers, no credit cards. So we had to put our product in stores, go on television with our commercial, and then tell the people where they could get it. Christmas time, at Katz & Bestoff, and thank you so very much...

KING: And you went there and demonstrated, too?

POPEIL: No. The commercial did all the demonstrating. That was the advantage of a commercial versus me doing it in a Woolworth's store.

KING: Did you do county fairs, though?

POPEIL: County fairs, state fairs, flea markets, Maxwell Street in Chicago, on Sundays at 5:00 in morning. Cold winter, terrible.

KING: The amazing Ron Popeil. What's next in our list of surprises?

Don't go away!


POPEIL: There's nothing like a cold beer served in a frosted glass. And now you can frost glasses at home instantly. Introducing the Ronco glass froster. It frosts all kinds of glasses. Just press the lever and frost glasses for mixed drinks, for soft drinks, for wine glasses or dessert glasses.



POPEIL: You open the car, and bang! I don't have dents, as you can see, on the side of my car. That you both can relate to.


KING: That's Ron Popeil early this morning for our producers describing The Door Saver, which is not out yet?

POPEIL: I may -- I actually developed the project about five, six years ago. I just have not had -- just haven't had the time to market it.

KING: What do you do, put it on side of your car?


KING: Every time you stop?

POPEIL: No, no. I have it hanging in my garage between the two cars.

KING: Oh, it hangs. POPEIL: It hangs, and you get all the stuff to hang it. And no matter how hard you try to dent the other person's door -- I had more dents in my doors from people that were adjacent to me, whether they were kids getting out with packages, and of course, it wasn't a product, though, until you created two smaller ones that you could put in the trunk.

You had to have a complete package, because people say: "Oh, well, yeah. You stop the dents and the dings in your own garage, but what about in the parking lot?" So, it is not a complete package, and to make the complete package, we had to add two smaller ones that fit in your trunk.

KING: All your products fill needs?


KING: What's London Air Hosiery? What is stockings have to do with...

POPEIL: This an oldie. This is an oldie, Larry. We go back in the late '50s, early '60s with this product. It represented 58 percent of my business at that time when I went public in mid-60s -- I was -- mid-60s. It was guaranteed in writing not to run. We took a nail file and ran a nail file through it. We took scouring pad in the commercial. And this is one of the hottest products on television.

KING: Why isn't it everywhere?

POPEIL: Well, it is today. You can buy non-run hosiery everywhere. You couldn't patent it. I didn't invent this. We got the mills in North Carolina to develop the product, and they sold to it us, and they sold...

KING: Were they sheer and pretty?

POPEIL: Not as sheer as -- no. No. They were -- I wouldn't say they were sheer, as some of the sheerness that women like today.

KING: What's the Shower Bar?

POPEIL: Shower Bar was a product for shower that was a dispenser. There is nothing too novel about it. I'm not that proud about that particular product. It dispensed shampoo and skin...

KING: Did you ever have a major bomb?


KING: Never had a product that -- nothing.

POPEIL: I had a product -- wait, I did have a product...

KING: Everybody has to have one failure.

POPEIL: No, I didn't have a failure. KING: OK, what was the product?

POPEIL: But I did have a product that I didn't make as much money as I wanted to make. It was an inside-outside window washer. It worked with magnets. And I lived in a building -- I was 19 stories up in Chicago. My offices were in the Playboy building at the time. And we created this product. I had some other people assist me with it.

And basically, if you lived in an apartment building in New York or Chicago, you were -- you were subject to the owners of the building when they wanted to wash the windows. And if you lived in a wintered area, forget it! Your windows were dirty for six months out of the year.

And so, I created this product where if you could get outside the window by an opening of somehow, with magnets and a handle, and with a special paper that we created, everywhere you moved the inside, you could get the outside to follow!

However, the first time they used it in the Playboy building -- I moved it too quickly, and the darn thing fell down, and nearly hit a guy in the head that was walking...

KING: Get rid of that one, OK.

POPEIL: But a string solved that problem!

KING: Harrison, New York, hello.

CALLER: Hi. I am ready to go shopping, and I want to shop all at one time, I don't want to go from one infomercial to another. I want to buy half of what I have seen tonight. Where do I go?

POPEIL: You...

KING: Is there a Popeil number that you can use to buy everything?

POPEIL: Well, all my products can be purchased at 1-800-43- RONCO. Or you could --, my Web site.

KING: 1-800 -- you're not in stores too?

POPEIL: Well, a few stores carry the product, not a lot of top...


KING: 1-800-43-RONCO.

POPEIL: Right.


POPEIL: Or at my Web site, KING: Why not in stores?

POPEIL: Well, if you put your product in too many stores, it affects the television, because people will not buy in the quantity on TV.

KING: You make more on the television than you do through the store?

POPEIL: Yes. Yes, I do.

KING: Because it's more direct.

POPEIL: It is more direct, right.

KING: Fort Worth, Texas, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Ron. Hi, Larry.


POPEIL: How are you.

CALLER: Great, thank you. How do you get your ideas developed? Do you have a manufacturing company that builds your products for you?

POPEIL: No. Well, we certainly have a manufacturing company that builds them for -- they are different manufacturers for different products, I...


POPEIL: ... these products are my ideas. As I said earlier, if you have a product that is not labor-intensified, then basically, you want to have it made here in this country.

KING: Where do you go to make the prototype?

POPEIL: The prototype? The people in Asia in particular are very good at making prototypes relatively inexpensively, and that is where I go. I used to go here in the States, but it got quite costly, and so now all my prototypes are made in Asia.

KING: You could retire, couldn't you?

POPEIL: A long time ago, yes.

KING: But you keep on keeping on?

POPEIL: Yeah. I love inventing products. That's the fun. I don't like running a business.

KING: You don't like running a business?

POPEIL: I hate running a business. I'm trying sell my business, and just work on inventing products. KING: Our guest is Ron Popeil. Don't forget, when this show goes off, if you are watching us live -- these shows are repeated twice each night -- if you are watching it live, you can contact Ron at our Web site. We will give you that, how you push that in before we go off the air. We will be right back.


POPEIL: This is famous Kitchen Magician. Put whole potatoes into this exclusive automatic conveyor, and make hundreds of julienne fries in seconds. Stainless cutting disk change in a snap, letting you ripple cut, chop, grate, shred, or thin-slice.

Ripple cut a bunch of carrots, cucumbers, potatoes or beats. Chop onions without...




POPEIL: Level it off and dump it in. And that is all do you as far as the flour is concerned. Put a little olive oil in here up to that line. The button -- I will push up to "mix," and it will start mixing. Now I can take some herbs, and put some herbs in here and change the flavor of the pasta by putting a little dried oregano in there. That will work fine. So, you can make a lot of combinations.


KING: That was done at his house, he makes his own pasta. He's the unbelievable Ron Popeil. What's the roller measure?

POPEIL: Oh, Roller Measure was a product, I guess this is about 25, 30 years old, people getting new -- decorating their homes have to go around corners, and what I liked about this particular product here is that it is so easy to use for measuring large distances.

KING: What do you mean? You rolled and then it gave you the...

POPEIL: Yes, yes, it's a digital readout. Isn't that Clever?

KING: Yes.

POPEIL: And of course, it came with a three foot handle on it so that you could walk along and -- you have seen the people on the streets measuring things...

KING: Yes.

POPEIL: This is just a smaller version, that's all.

KING: You're a little sicko, Ron.

POPEIL: I am sick. KING: Yes, you are one sicko. What is that little thing?

POPEIL: That's a Trim Comb. We sold millions of these. These sold for about two dollars and 98 cents, 30, 40 years ago. It shaves your side bones, it trims your hair, it does a variety of things.

KING: You can make potato chips, right?

POPEIL: Not with this, no.

KING: I'm just asking.

POPEIL: Yes, with another product you can make potato chips.

KING: Vista, California, hello.

CALLER: Yes, I heard the food dehydrator is really good for drying marijuana buds so you can smoke them.

KING: Is that is true?

POPEIL: It is true, yes.

KING: It is? Well marijuana may be legal some day, may be able to help people. Houston, Texas, hello.

CALLER: Hello, I wondered if Mr. Popeil had ever considered inventing for the handicapped or the elderly?

POPEIL: It is a wonderful idea. And you know, I'm going to give some thought to that. Because right now, in creating products, my focus has been on...

KING: Mass marketing.

POPEIL: ... mass marketing. And I try to create products that are mass marketed. And I know, I have a father-in-law who is in that position, and I know the trials and tribulations that he has to go through, and some day I hope when I'm tinkering...

KING: With your mind you could come up with something clever for people in wheelchairs.

POPEIL: I'm sure I could. And I thank you for the suggestion, and I will work on that.

KING: We'll be back with our remaining moments, show you a few more products, and eat the chicken. Don't go away.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Records cost a lot of money. But what good is spending a lot of money if records don't sound good because of dust and static electricity? That is why I recommend to all our customers, the new Record Vacuum by Ronco. It's so easy to use. Just insert any size record, 33 and a third, 45s 78's, the new Record Vacuum automatically...



KING: We started this program putting that chicken in the Show Time Rotisserie and Barbecue. The magic gloves go on the hands of Mr. Popeil. The chicken looks well-developed, I might add.

POPEIL: Uh-huh.

KING: And we have just a couple of moments to remove it.

POPEIL: OK, let's...

KING: As we are removing it, lets take a call. Miami, hello.

CALLER: Good evening, gentlemen, how are you.

KING: Fine.

CALLER: I have a question, Mr. Popeil.

POPEIL: Certainly.

I grew up watching your products. I'd just like to know if you could share with the audience a little bit about yourself and your family and what inspires you and what is your...

KING: Well, we discussed that earlier. Your father was in business, your uncle was in the business.

POPEIL: Yes, my father was an inventor.

KING: You uncle was...

POPEIL: My uncle was his partner in the business. He took care of the business. He didn't get involved in the inventing or the marketing.

KING: And he wants to know if you have a wife and children.

POPEIL: I have...

KING: You have babies, like I do.

POPEIL: I have a 43-year-old, a 40-year-old, an 18-year-old, a 19-month-old, and my wife is four months pregnant. All girls, even with the one that's pregnant.

KING: All right, give me a piece of this.

POPEIL: Oh, before I do, I...

KING: There -- look at that the little baby pictures. POPEIL: I wanted to show you this -- easy to clean. It hardly gets dirty. And that's why so many people like it. I have a barbecue in my house, I hardly ever use it outside because it is hard to clean, and that is why people don't barbecue. Now, here is a...

KING: I'm used to seeing this because the wife cooks this at home.

POPEIL: Huh -- I know. You have one of our machines.

KING: I sure do.

POPEIL: I know you will be honest.

KING: That is a fantastic piece of chicken, now you're going to share this with the crew, right?

POPEIL: No. No. No. No, that is all for you.

POPEIL: Oh, come on. This is -- oh, boy is this good. Now why -- what keeps that flavor in tact like that? This is one of the best pieces of chicken you'll ever taste. No, I'm not kidding.

POPEIL: Thank you.

KING: So, what is doing it?

POPEIL: The juices keep moving around. The heavier fat goes down underneath that tray there. And you are getting all the flavor -- and the flavor is in juices -- when people have, whether its the fish that they're eating, or the roast beef, that roast beef we have in there is just like out of a restaurant.

And that is why it is the best-selling kitchen appliance of its kind in the world.

KING: If you want more information you can call 1-800 43ronco, R-O-N-C-O, or go on his Web site, or, if you want to talk to him, as soon as this program is over, which is momentarily, you can go on our Web site, and click in to him. Because he is going to go answer questions on the Web site. And our Web site is Check in with Ron Popeil. I thank you for a wonderful hour, delicious product.

POPEIL: Thank you.

KING: And a great piece of chicken.

POPEIL: Thank you.

KING: An extraordinary guy, Ron Popeil: Inventor, innovator, infomercial icon.

We've got quite a weekend ahead. There'll be a live edition of "LARRY KING WEEKEND" tomorrow night, checking in with the with returning Navy service people, and the families and a panel discussing it all.

Sunday night a retrospective of our interviews with incredible Tiger Woods, and guests next week include: first lady Laura Bush, Suzanne Somers returns, and Barbara Walters, among others. Thanks very much for joining us. Say tuned for CNN tonight. I'm Larry King for Ron Popeil and the whole staff. Good eating, good night.



4:30pm ET, 4/16

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