I just heard the news that Ron Popeil has died. Ron was the guy you saw on TV, selling all kinds of gadgets. His most famous product was the Chop-O-Matic and it’s successor, the Veg-O-Matic. Who can forget Popeil’s Pocket Fisherman, heavily advertised on television during the 1970s? “They make great Christmas gifts!”
Ronco also produced several compilation record albums. Another company, K-tel, is most well-known for this, but Ronco did it too. You would usually find side-by-side racks in stores, selling the latest K-tel and Ronco records. I owned several, including “Star Trackin’ 76”, “Hit After Hit”, “Sound Explosion”, “Get It On”, and “Funky Favorites.”
Out of all the products Ron Popeil sold, this was my favorite. Mr. Microphone made it’s debut in 1978. Of course, I had to have one. It was a simple device which allowed you to broadcast your voice through any FM radio within about 20-30 feet. Being the radio and electronics geek that I was, I soon realized that Mr. Microphone could be modified to transmit a much further distance. After adding an external antenna, power supply, and connecting it directly to my stereo, I had my first pirate neighborhood FM station!
R.I.P, Ron. You were truly one of a kind!