Friday, December 14, 2007

A Ronco Christmas

'From Ronco....the Perfect Christmas Gift....' - ah, how that phrase brings back the memories.

You know, for a small-town English household I think we had quite a lot of Ronco stuff - the Veg-O-Matic, the Buttoneer ('leave the sewing to grandma!') the thing you could brush the sofa with then flip round and the dust would come off again (what was that called?) and of course, the Christmas LPs - most notably 'Ronco Presents - A Christmas Present' (co-ordinates 9, 3 on the grid display above - blue snowscene cover just level with that bloke's shoulder).

Johnny Cash singing 'Peace On Earth', Tony Bennett doing 'Chestnuts Roasting', Doris Day's lip quivering take on 'Toyland' and a tremendously euphoric orchestral 'Carol Of The Bells' - they were all here. Big stars, yes, but there must have been contractual tussles a-plenty because no-one was singing the Christmas songs they actually made famous (Johnny Mathis did 'White Christmas' if I recall...not right that is it?).

Anyway easily the best thing about the record was the gatefold sleeve that opened into an ingeniously crafted cardboard pop-up of Santa's workshop at the North Pole; we used to put this proudly on top of the telly every year it was so good! Yes! You can keep your Radiohead box sets!

I've been after this track in particular from 'A Christmas Present' for years and finally tracked down a digital version last week from what I suspect is the internet equivalent of a dodgy bloke in the pub car park.

So here it is in all its glory for your Yuletide delectation. It'll make you happy! It'll make you want to sip 70s cocktails! It'll make you wish you kept your Record-o-Vac-o-Matic to give that vinyl a right good hoovering!

Aretha Franklin - 'Kissin' By The Mistletoe' (date unknown - timeless)


  1. Me and a childhood mate used to have two harbingers of Christmas

    1) Blue Peter - tinsel/coat hanger/candle arrangement

    2) Ronco Ad's - glass froster/ceiling measurer/egg scrambler all used to finish with the product under a tree, a sprightly version of 'Deck the Halls' and the motif that ran "available at Woolworths, Winfield, Timothy Whites..."

    Loving that song - I'm picturing bustling scenes, and being loaded up with fancy bags and hat boxes.

    Have a peep at this link for plenty more 'budget' tinsel tune comp's. Sort of like flicking through the racks at Woolworths, Winfield, Timothy Whites...

  2. Ronco are still around here in the States. Their founder Ron Popiel (sp?) sells stuff in infomercials.

  3. I saw some on You Tube - they're excellent. But Mondo - Winfield was Woolworth's shurely? Timothy White's! Legend!

  4. I really have been enjoying your recent posts, especially Kate Bush but I just haven't had time to leave comments. Just telling you now so you don't feel unloved and unappreciated.

  5. Bless you dear boy. It's good to have you back. And you've learned how to do italics too...

  6. Love the photo of all that vinyl. But I would, wouldn't I?

  7. I was in Woolworths today and I can't help thinking the spirit of Ronco lives on in JML products.

  8. Fantastic! I think that Gem Styler(TM) is an actual Ronco product they ripped off!

  9. Thanks for the tip. I think I've just found Mrs Mick's Chrissy present. I was bored with being married anyway!!

  10. As somebody said earlier on this year...'Oi! You two! Get a room!!' And dodgy blokes in car parks? I think that's more information than I wanted to know...sounds like Boycie from Only Fools And Horses.
    I always remember Chevron tapes...god they were crap. For £1.25, you could get things like Gladys Smith Sings A Tribute To Donna Summer (for 'tribute' read 'cheapjack rip-off by totally unknown slapper').
    Dear Davy...that euphoric Carol Of the Bells sounds very interesting...don't suppose you have a copy of that do you?

  11. Sadly, no.

    Although Gladys Smith does a nice version....

  12. Actually, Gladys Smith isn't quite right you know - they always had names like 'Jackie Stardust'...


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