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Pitch People (1999)

7.8
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The art of the "pitch" has always played a fascinating role in society. The men and women who have perfected this craft and how they make a livelihood selling various products by way of a ... See full summary »

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The art of the "pitch" has always played a fascinating role in society. The men and women who have perfected this craft and how they make a livelihood selling various products by way of a visual demonstration make up a world unfamiliar to most people. Written by Stanley Jacobs

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It's not what you sell, it's how you tell them the price. See more »

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22 October 1999 (USA)  »

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$350,000 (estimated)
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Quotes

Arnold Morris: When I get an audience in front of me and I can entertain them, I'll sell them.
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Soundtracks

Waltz of the Snowflakes
From "The Nutcracker"
Composed by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (as Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky)
Performed by The Czecho-Slovak Radio Symphony (as the Czecho-Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra)
Conducted by Ondrej Lenard
Courtesy of Naxos of America, Inc.
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Entertaining & Informative Documentary
8 March 2015 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is a wonderful documentary about the history of infomercials, it is fun to watch. It's great to see some familiar faces of 1990s infomercials, telling their stories of how they got started in the business, and the art of the pitch. Being a product demonstrator is no easy job--we learn what is involved in working, for example, a State Fair: the preparation, the long hours, the lengthy scripts that must be committed to memory. It is also fascinating to hear these guys and gals talk about how to sell things, in a way they are the ultimate salesmen, they are actors whose "applause" is people handing over money.

I didn't realize that the infomercial existed back in the 1950s, at some point they became too expensive to air, but with the advent of Cable TV, and some deregulation, they came back sometime in the 1980s, and by the 1990s they were all over the place. The documentary also traces the origins of pitchmen to the old traveling snake oil salesmen, and even earlier--for how long have human beings been selling things to each other? Ron Popeil did not agree to participate in the film, but we learn through his relatives Lester Morris and Arnold Morris about the background of their products empire.

If you get a kick out of infomercials, you'll love this film. But even if you hate them, I think you will find the film entertaining, informative, well organized and well edited.

I'm surprised that this documentary isn't better known--it really is good.


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