Thursday, August 10, 2006

 

The Mystery Man Behind The Magic Bullet


It is pretty much understood that anyone who's anyone has seen the infomercial for the Magic Bullet. (For all the squares who haven't seen it yet, there is a copy of it on Google Video. Take it all in.) Despite being only around for a few years, the Magic Bullet is already in the Pantheon of Great Infomercials, sharing company with the Ronco Electric Food Dehydrator and the Showtime Rotisserie. It usually comes on early on Saturday and Sunday mornings, taunting its hungover viewers with promises of 10 second omelets and muffins. "Breakfast, shmreakfast," you say? Then try some pasta or quesadillas on for size. The siren song that comes from the Magic Bullet infomercial is so strong that it is nearly impossible to turn off, no matter how many times you've seen it before. And with each viewing, you begin to appreciate how truly awesome the Magic Bullet is.

I know this from experience; I was once stuck in a hotel room in Austin because of a debilitating hangover and ended up watching the Magic Bullet infomercial back to back to back to back. Without changing the channel. By the time the last one ended I realized that the only thing that kicked more ass than the Magic Bullet was the infomercial for the Magic Bullet. Over the course of those two hours I came to appreciate the complex story line of a (possibly swinging) couple that needed to juggle all the needs of their eclectic guests in order to ensure a successful brunch (that possibly capped off a wild, no holds barred key party.) The actors managed to take their one note characters and stretch them into two, sometimes three note characters. They made me believe that they had to have this wonderful invention. Did I detect a hint of jealousy among the house guests? Or was that just the smell of the alfredo sauce warming up in the microwave? I'll never know for sure, because the director left some loose ends untied, which was a brave and bold move, but one that paid off. Of course the star of the production was the party host and inventor of the Magic Bullet, Mick Hastie. With his confident manner and witty banter, Mick worked his way throughout the kitchen feeding his guests while also teaching them about the three different blades that come with the apparatus. All that without even breaking a sweat. Suffice to say, I became a fan of his.

So I did what any fan would do; I tried to write Mick Hastie a fan letter. I began my search for contact information by exploring the Magic Bullet website, but there was only general info on the product itself, no way to get a hold of Mick or his agency. I did send out an email to their customer support center to see if they could answer any of my other questions concerning the infomercial. Here is the email I sent them:

From: Jim
To: customerservice@homelandhousewares.com
Date: Jun 30, 2006 11:58 PM
Subject: The Magic Bullet Infomercial

Hello,

I am trying to find casting info for "The Magic Bullet" infomercial and for Mick Hastie.
Is there anyway you could give me a cast list of the actors who worked
in "The Magic Bullet" project? Specifically, I am interested in the
actor who played Berman, the drunk with a heart of gold, and Hazel,
the pack-a-day smoker who has seen it all. I have searched the
internet in vain to find any morsel of info on these two under
appreciated actors.

If for some reason you can't pass any pertinent information to me,
hopefully you can answer the following questions for me:

1. Was the guy who played Berman a "method" actor? (I'm making a
drinking motion as I type this)

2. Does the lady who played Hazel really have an accent? Did she ever
consider taking the character in a different direction? ( i.e. wearing
a robe instead of a muu-muu)

3. Why didn't Mick Hastie use his "Perfect Omelet Maker" after he
mixed the eggs in "The Magic Bullet?" Are we to assume that "The
Magic Bullet" surpasses The Perfect Omelet Maker in ease of use and,
dare I say, perfection?

4. Was the premise of the commercial a take off of "The Big Chill"?
That'd be pretty morbid if all those guys had such a good time making
nachos in light of their friend dying.

5. Any off-screen romances?

Thanks for your time, and congratulations on the fine work you all
did. "The Magic Bullet" is truly a classic infomercial and will leave
quite a legacy.

-Jim


Other than a automatic response saying they received my email, I never heard back from them. I tried again, this time to the production company that produced the infomercial. I sent them an email similar to one above and again got no response. So I wrote them another email:

From: Jim
To: info@csquaredproductions.com
Date: Jul 10, 2006 4:28 PM
Subject: Magic Bullet Info

Hello,

A while back I tried contacting your company in regards to production
work they did on an infomercial featuring the revolutionary Magic
Bullet. I have yet to hear any reply back. I realize that the day to
day operations of infomercial production is quite hectic, so I'm not
upset that my questions have thus far gone unanswered. But if someone
could find the time to get back to me, or put me in contact with
someone who could be of service, I'd greatly appreciate it. I'm not
looking to discuss trade secrets or anything like that, I just would
like to find as much information as possible about the Magic Bullet.

-Jim

p.s. - Does everyone at your company get a discounted or free Magic
Bullet for all the heart and soul you put into the making of the best
infomercial ever produced? Because you should have.

Still, nothing in return. No response at all. Apparently no one working in customer service at C Squared Productions could take the time to write me an email. A simple "I don't know" or "Fuck off" would have been better than silence.

So I took it a step further. I contacted the production company that produced the Perfect Omelet infomercial, which was hosted by the inventor of the Perfect Omelet, Mick Hastie. With this email I took a different approach and tried to show them how important it was for them to provide me with contact info for Mick Hastie. I don't think it worked. It has been almost two weeks and I haven't heard a peep back from any of the people I sent the email to. For posterity, here is the final email:

From: Jim
To: arobbins@t2.tv
Bcc: pmeyer@t2.tv, lweitzel@t2.tv
Date: Jul 31, 2006 12:35 AM
Subject: Production Info

Hello,

I am trying to find casting and contact info for an infomercial I
believe your company produced. The infomercial was entitled "The
Perfect Omelet" and featured Mick Hastie. You may know him from
such other infomercials as "The Red Devil Grill" and "The Magic
Bullet." He has also been known to appear on various home shopping
channels peddling other wares.

Unfortunately, those are the only points of reference I can use to try
and identify him and familiarize you with him. Which is the reason I
am writing to you. I'm hoping you or your company has any information
on how to contact Mr. Hastie. I have scoured the internet looking for
contact info for him or for his company and I have come up empty.
From what I can gather (or can't gather, actually) the man has never
done a single interview with any media outlet. How unbelievable is
that? I mean Ron Popeil dries out some fruit and sprays paint on bald
spots and is getting interviewed on Larry King, while the man who has
invented products that are both "magic" AND "perfect" is to this day
being ignored. Magical perfection doesn't pique the public's interest
anymore? My have we become cynical.

Anyway, I'm trying to do my part in getting Mr. Hastie the credit and
accolades he deserves. For too long he has been an enigma wrapped in
a puzzle cloaked by an affable English accent. That needs to change,
and I hope you are the person that can help me initiate that change.
So if you have any info or know of anyone who you think might be of
some assistance please let me know.

Thanks for your time.

-Jim


While I'm still a fan of Mick's, I think he needs to go back to his roots and remember that without "info," there can't be any infomercials. And without infomercials, Mick Hastie wouldn't have reached the heights he's reached. So stop being a hermit, Mr. Hastie and let the world get to know you. After all, for a man who's done so much, you shouldn't have a wikipedia page so empty.

Comments:
Wow. And I thought my brother and I were the only people who lit up at the sight of the Magic Bullet infomercial. Kudos to you on your impeccable taste, and your flawless sense of what is awesome.
 
Dude, that was the FUNNIEST blog I ever read!!! I agree, the Magic Bullet is a great infomercial...I love it so much I made myself a badge with Berman on it saying "Yuck, I hate broccolie" and another with Mimi going "Curry powder for everything"
Finally another person thinks the Magic bullet kicks ass! Maybe now my mum won't think I'm so wierd. If you ever get Mick's address, hook me up or post it or whatever. I too want to congratulate him!
 
I am an actress in Kansas City and am currently in a production with the guy who plays Berman! He heard that Tom Leykis was talking about him in LA yesterday and we all had a good laugh about it. Good Times.
 
I have been desperately trying to find out who plays Hazel, because she looks like someone I dated back in 2001. Yes, I have very low standards.
 
"Did somebody say muffins?"
 
WHAT! . . . NO BUTTON 4 HAZEL???
I guess I understand as I think Berman's pretty "Grrrrreat" as well.
What fun that you enjoy the infomercial 4 The Magic Bullet!
It was lots of fun to make.
And--I have very "high standards" .. . which is probably why we're not dating anymore "
Anonymous".
Thanks for the Love you guys,
Hazel
 
Hazel, if you're reading this, I'd love to interview you for the site. Please shoot me an interview if you're interested.
 
Happy Sunday, Mr. J Funk,
Yes, it's Hazel.
I'm currently working on setting up a website so we can all be in touch.
I really didn't realize that so many folks were interested in us. This is wonderfully flattering and greatly appreciated.
Thanks for your support!
Somebody just said: "Muffins" . . . so I gotta scoot!
Hazel
 
Hello Out There!
This is HAZEL out here!
Come check out my new website @:
magichazel.com
There'a Email and Everything . . .
Let's "Tawk" . . .
 
YOU people are nuts, but very entertaining. Did you realize people wasted time on stuff like this :-)
 
Have you guys seen the magic bullet on the go informersial?! It's freaking hilarious berman and hazel hook up on a camping trip and when she comes out of the tent she says and I quote "thanks for the socks. Big boy" priceless...magic bullet for life
 
One more thing in the search for berman I may have a lead, my friend just started dealing blackjack at the sands casino in Bethlehem PA and he swears that berman was in the sexual harrassment video he had to watch before his first day, hopefully someone can take this lead and run with it...berman lives
 
I am envious that you got to watch The Magic Bullet Infomercial back to back to back! I usually stumble across it and then I'm hooked!

I like to think Berman is a method actor as well. (I thought his name was Vermin, in fact, I'm going to keep thinking that...)

Hazel is... well, just amazing. That cigarette that stays the same length of ash throughout. LOVE. IT.

For the record, I bought a Magic Bullet and was not impressed. However, this has not dampened my love of the infomercial.

So glad there other fans out there... there needs to be a club.

 
Haha I thought that was his name for the longest time too, but your onto something with this club we have to start it and demand the cast have a reunion private screening for the menbers
 
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