Death of an Ad Man

The king is dead, and none among us is worthy of his throne. I’d never met him or even read his name until today, but his words have etched deep grooves in my mind, into which my ad copy has gratefully slipped:

In Japan, the hand can be used like a knife…
NOW how much would you pay…
But WAIT, there’s more…

Yes, Arthur Schiff, whom the Post’s Paul Farhi calls “the unseen king of the infomercial,” has died at the age of 66. His most enduring creation? A blade of legend, which he supposedly renamed in his sleep, transforming the pedestrian Quikut into the exotic and powerful Ginsu….

His breathless (and deathless) prose is one leg of the holy trinity of influences on my writing style, along with late-night televangelists and the carefully crafted rantings of a certain Doktor of Journalism. I doubt I type a word without his having some sway upon it. Often copied, never equaled, a giant has passed from us into that good night.



  1. Minh

    Amazing how little press his death is getting.

    An interesting tidbit is that the Ginsu Knives were orginally named EverSharp, which didn’t sell quiet as well.

  2. cpd

    I’ve read conflicting things about that — the Post article said that they were originally called Quikut. It may be that the company that made them was called Eversharp but that the knives themselves were called Quikut.


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