K-tel International is the original "As-Seen-On-TV" company, famous for its hard-selling commercials marketing compilation music albums, such as The Super Hits series, The Dynamic Hits series and The Number One Hits series and consumer products, such asThe Record Selector, Veg-O-Matic, Miracle Brush, and The Feather Touch Knife. The company has sold more than half a billion units world wide.
K-tel's founder and CEO Philip Kives, a demonstration salesman who had previously sold cookware door-to-door and in a department store, used television advertising in 1962 to sell Teflon-coated frying pans to a large-scale audience. Kives bought and marketed a number of other products from Seymour Popeil, father of Ronco founder Ron Popeil. Products such as the "Dial-O-Matic" (a food slicer that allowed the user to "dial in" to control the thickness of slices), the Veg-O-Matic, and the "Feather Touch Knife." The combination of inexpensive goods and a simple but hard-selling pitch were a novel combination in television advertising in the early 1960s. It was the birth of the infomercial. In August 1965, Kives took his "Feather Touch Knife" on the road to Australia and by Christmas had sold one million knives, netting a dollar profit per knife. Initially, his main U.S. supplier was Seymour Popeil, the father of Ronco founder Ron Popeil. Yet as K-tel grew, Popeil pulled out, forcing Kives to source his own products. His best selling one was the miracle brush, selling 28 million units.
Kives was born on a small country farm near Oungre, Saskatchewan, Canada. Like the other farmers in the area, Kives’ family struggled and was on welfare for many years. After leaving the farm he tried his hand at a variety of jobs including cab driver, cook and food truck operator. He eventually found his talent in door-to-door sales. Within two years, he was trying his luck in Atlantic City, New Jersey working the carnival circuit on the Boardwalk, where he learned the art of the sales pitch. He re-located back to Canada and made the first of many deals with Eaton’s Department Store in Toronto Wanting to pitch to a larger market, he realized TV was the answer. With no cash to fund his venture, he cut a deal that would later evolve into his trademark two-part formula. He first agreed to pay for television advertising, if a store like like Eaton’s would agree to stock the product; then, he would offer television stations a “per inquiry” or PI deal whereby they would receive an upfront down payment (representing the guaranteed sale of a minimum number of products) and then a percentage of every product sold beyond that number. The twin set of incentives ensured that the stores and stations were on his side, and the formula worked brilliantly. Although in the case of the first Eaton’s deal the pan itself was a disaster – because the Teflon came off with the eggs – Kives realized that the pitchman style he had perfected on the boardwalk of Atlantic City was a winning formula for TV.
K-tel was formally incorporated in 1968. After a successful decade in the 1970s, the company expanded rapidly both through acquisitions in its core area of business and diversification into other areas. Kives' cousin Raymond Kives worked as president of the K-tel USA division from 1967 to 1977, and the K-tel Europe division from 1977 to 1984. In the five years prior to 1981, K-tel sold more than $150 million LPs in 34 countries. Its sales jumped from a respectable $23 million in 1971 to $178 million in 1981. The company diversified, forming subsidiaries in areas such as real estate and oil exploration[1 and also acquired rival Candlelite Records in 1980. K-tel lost $15.9 million when Candlelite’s customers refused to pay for their shipments. The company experienced a reversal of fortune when the high-risk ventures went bad, and in 1984 the publicly traded U.S. entity, K-tel International, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. In 1986, moreover, the Bank of Montreal foreclosed on the K-tel Canadian subsidiary, at the very moment of the USA Chapter 11 filing. Advised by Minneapolis-based Sullivan Associates, K-tel turned itself around, negotiating settlements with banks and other preferred and unsecured creditors. Six years later, after all the legal battles, a settlement was reached with the Bank of Montreal, and in 1991, Kives got his Canadian company back.
The comeback gained speed in the 1990s. By 1994, the company ranked #7 on BusinessWeek’s annual Hot Growth List, for earning a $2.7 million profit on sales of $56 million in 1993. Mickey Elfenbein, Kives' nephew, was appointed CEO of the K-Tel International division in 1993, until the late 1990s. K-tel achieved a resurgence in worldwide sales, primarily of music-related products, and had a successful NASDAQ IPO trading under the symbol KTEL.
Shortly after university, Henning was awarded a Canada Council for the Arts grant. The terms of the grant required Henning to study magic. He did so, traveling to view first hand the talents of such magic greats as Slydini and Dai Vernon. Doug studied under Tony Slydini and considered him his primary teacher of magic.
With the intention of returning magic to its “glory days”, Henning worked to perfect his craft. Garnering financial support, he developed a live theatrical show,Spellbound, directed by Ivan Reitman, with music by Howard Shore and co-starring actress Jennifer Dale, a musical that combined a dramatic story and Henning's magic tricks. The show opened in Toronto, where it broke box office records. Henning reworked the show after catching the attention of New York producers, and took it to Broadway as The Magic Show, with songs composed by Stephen Schwartz. Debuting in 1974, the show ran for four and a half years, and earned Henning a Tony Award nomination.
Following his Broadway success, Henning approached NBC with the idea of producing a television special. It wasn't until Henning suggested that he would reproduce live Harry Houdini's famous and highly dangerous water torture escape — for the first time since Houdini performed it himself — that the NBC executives signed him.
Henning spent the next eight months reworking his stage act for TV and practicing the water torture escape act. More than 50 million viewers tuned in for the December 1975 broadcast of Doug Henning's World of Magic, hosted by Bill Cosby. Henning successfully performed the water torture illusion, although he did not break Houdini's time record. The event was the first of seven annual broadcasts,which would eventually bring Henning sevenEmmy Award nominations, including two back-to-back in 1976 and 1977 for World Of Magic.
At the end of each World of Magic performance, Henning addressed the audience with the same monologue: "Anything the mind can conceive is possible. Nothing is impossible. All you have to do is look within, and you can realize your fondest dreams. I would like to wish each one of you all of life's wonders and a joyful age of enlightenment."
In 1983, Henning was the producer and star of the Broadway musical, Merlin. In 1984, he began a solo show on Broadway called Doug Henning and His World of Magic.
In 1985, a set of plush toys called "Doug & Debby Henning's: WONDER WHIMS" were made by Panosh Place and copyrighted by Marvin Glass and Associates. They were an attempt to get children to appreciate the magical wonders in the world around them. There were a total of six Wonder Whim characters. Each came with an animal friend, a personalized story, and a magic kaleidoscope wand of colors and patterns.
Bruno Bozzetto (born 3 March 1938 in Milan, Italy) is an Italian cartoon animator, creator of many short pieces, mainly of a political or satirical nature. He created his first animated short "Tapum! the weapons' story" in 1958 at the age of 20. His most famous character, a hapless little man named "Signor Rossi" (Mr. Rossi), has been featured in many animated shorts as well as starring in three feature films: "Mr. Rossi Looks for Happiness" (1976), "Mr. Rossi's Dreams" (1977), and "Mr. Rossi's Vacation" (1977).
In 1965, Bozzetto produced his first feature-length animated film: West and soda, a parody of American Western films. In 1968, Bozzetto released VIP my Brother Superman, a superhero spin-off. However, his best-known work is probably the 1976 feature film Allegro Non Troppo, a collection of short pieces set to classical music in the manner of Disney'sFantasia, but more humorous in nature, economical in execution and with more sophisticated narrative themes. After a long break, Bozzetto produced a live-action film in 1987, "Under the Chinese Restaurant", his last feature film work until assisting on the pilot for "Mammuk" (2002), an animated film set in prehistoric times (now being produced by Rai Cinema and The Animation Band).
In 1995, he produced an animated short for Hanna Barbera's "What A Cartoon" series entitled "Help?" and in 1996, in cooperation with RAI and with the support of Cartoon (Media Programme of the European Union), he created "The Spaghetti Family" a 26-episode cartoon television series.
In recent years Bozzetto has turned his hand to flash cartoons, most notably with the award-winning "Europe and Italy", a witty and graphically elegant commentary on European vs. Italian sociocultural attributes.
Tusk (French title: Poo Lorn L'Elephant) is a 1980 French drama film directed by cult filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky and written by Nicholas Niciphor, about a young English girl and an Indian elephant who share a common destiny. It is based on the novel Poo Lorn L'Elephant by Reginald Campbell.
Network Awesome - Sun, Mar 18 "It's important to me to create the largest wonder." -Doug Henning
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"It's important to me to create the largest wonder." -Doug Henning