“Hey good lookin’! We’ll be back to pick you up later!”
Few that watched television in the 70s could ever forget the presence of a man named Ron Popeil, who regularly hawked the products manufactured by his company, Ronco. A master of mail order merchandising in his day, Popiel gave the world such memorable devices as the Pocket Fisherman, the Veg-O-Matic (and plenty of other “O-Matic” gadgets) and the iconic Ginsu knives. But while all of these products were marketed toward adult audiences, there was one particular gizmo that was geared towards kids and teens – a fun little device known as Mr. Microphone. Let’s take a look back, starting with the flashback that is sure to bring back some memories.
With Mr. Microphone, anyone could be the host of their own radio program, transport their own personal PA system, and pick up dates with their newly acquired entertainer status. The secret was a simple AM radio transmitter that was built into Mr. Microphone’s plastic casing. Simply turn on a nearby radio, speak or sing into Mr. Microphone, and soon your voice was instantly transported to the airwaves. You could sing along with your favorite songs or become a bonafide star (at least in your own mind.)
Mr. Microphone was a huge success, with astronomical sales numbers that followed well into the next decade. And it proved to be a precursor to another huge fad that was just around the corner – karaoke. Even today, Mr. Microphones are quickly snatched up whenever they make an appearance at a yard sale or a thrift shop. And unlike many other gimmicks from yesteryear, its appeal is still easy to understand today – up-and-coming and wannabe performers may never land that elusive record deal or sing for the masses at Carnegie Hall, but with Mr. Microphone, anybody could be a star.
Did you broadcast your voice proudly over the airwaves, via this memorable toy? Better yet, did it ever help you land a date? Be sure to share your stories of stardom with us in our comments section, as we pay tribute to the infamous and unforgettable Mr. Microphone