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Pitch People (NR)
SJPL Films
Official Site
Director: Stanley Jacobs
Producer: Stanley Jacobs
Edited by: Stanley Jacobs
Cast: Jan Muller, Chester Nairne, Arnold Morris, Nancy Nelson, Lester Morris, Sandy Mason, John Parkin, Ed McMahon

Rating: out of 5

They slice, they dice, they shred, they spread, they wheel and deal, they cut through steel, they make you stronger, they make you live longer, they are Pitch People.

Producer/Director/Editor Stanley Jacobs starts at the beginning with the almighty medicine man and takes us on a journey through time in a humorous and intriguing study of the pitch person. Often overlooked and underrated, Jacobs brings to center stage the men and women who have made “the world’s second oldest profession” what it is today. By way of archival footage and a first-hand history straight from the hawkers’ mouths, we soon develop a greater appreciation for this eccentric subculture. Think about it—how could you NOT appreciate the talents of people who make millions of dollars selling products that you’re lucky to use once before filing away in the overflowing kitchen junk drawer?

Jacobs has clearly done his homework and the result is a documentary that is surprisingly entertaining and educational. It doesn’t hurt that he’s dealing with a subject we’re all familiar with. The pocket fisherman, the knives that never dull, the wonder duster—all household names. Of course, all of these items and more “can be yours for only $20 plus this special bonus if you buy now.” Yes, we’re all too familiar with pitch people.

Just how DO they do it? I laughed when I heard one of the pitch men say pitching was “an art,” but I soon realized just how right he was. Pitching is not only these peoples’ livelihood, but oftentimes a family tradition as well. Jacobs gives us the whole picture. He brings us not only the products and the pitch but the people behind the pitches—people like Ed McMahon and the Popeils who continue to impact society today.

Pitch People is a fascinating well thought-out documentary that will surely leave you with a greater appreciation for a people on the outer limits of society.

—K. Theis


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