My Personal Funeral For Don Lapre (w/ 6 Videos Of Other Terrible Infomercials)
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.
Don Lepre: Gone but not forgotten
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.