“Everything that can be invented has been invented” -Charles H. Duell, Commissioner of the U.S. Patent Office, 1899
There’s no better way to go down in history than to be remembered for a quote that is not only entirely ludicrous, but something you probably never said in the first place. This likely apocryphal saying was obviously uttered before such world-altering inventions as radio, television, computers or Swiffers came into existence. Man is always pondering ways to make life better through new items that had never been thought of before. Most of the major inventions of the 20th century changed the way we live our lives, and we honestly can’t think of a time when they weren’t there for us. They made it easier to travel, easier to work, easier to access information… technology was improving everyday life in America!
But something was obviously missing, and it wasn’t until the mid 80’s that an invention came along that finally eased the burden of people everywhere who were tired of getting their lazy ass up off the chair to turn on the lights. Our prayers were answered in the form of that miracle of electronic wizardry, The Clapper!
Have you lost your remote control and don’t want to get up to turn off the TV? CLAP! CLAP!
Need to turn on the lights but can’t remember where that pesky light switch is you’ve been turning on and off for 30 years? CLAP! CLAP!
Want to turn off those Christmas lights because they’re a fire hazard and might elecrocute your cat? CLAP! CLAP!
It’s kinda funny they showed someone clapping on Christmas tree lights in the original Clapper ad, because that’s what The Clapper was quickly reduced to once people realized how totally insane the whole idea behind the product was…. a cheap last minute holiday gift for the people you don’t really like, but would be ostracized if you didn’t buy them something. I’m sure The Clapper and Chia Pet twin pack will get you on Aunt Ethel’s good side for a long time to come…
Listen to the commercial again and notice that even the announcer for The Clapper seems like he’s mocking how ridiculous the product was. It’s too bad The Clapper announcer faded into obscurity, because it would have been awesome to have a famous product pitchman who wasn’t afraid to admit the merchandise he was trying to push was really just a bunch of useless bullshit…
And of course, no post on The Clapper would be complete without mentioning the commercial’s biggest star….
The old lady in the final scene of the commercial, who reminded us all of dear old Grandmama from the Addams Family, became such a part of Clapper lore that she has always appeared at the end of their ads, even three decades later. While the actress herself didn’t quite get the C-list celebrity fame that Clara Peller and Edith Fore unexpectedly got from their forays into the advertising world, her 5 second masterpiece of Clapper usage has been replayed so often for so many years that she is still one of the most famous old ladies in advertising history. Not bad for some poor lady who obviously fell asleep while watching The Late Late Show again and was obviously pissed that she missed them play The Star Spangled Banner when the channel went off the air…
Just when you thought The Clapper couldn’t get any better…. it got an ejumacation!
Yes, they made The Clapper better, so that it can now turn random things on and off in your house based on the number of claps it hears! Clap twice to turn on the lamp! Clap three times to turn off the Salad Shooter! I think Tony Orlando beat The Smart Clapper to this amazing counting technology by 15 years, utilizing it as a method for apartment dwellers to organize a booty call. But not even The Smart Clapper can overcome the biggest fault with the product that doesn’t involve human laziness… and this isn’t a joke, I lifted it straight from the Wikipedia article on The Clapper:
The Clapper can sometimes be triggered by coughing, a dog’s bark or clapping that emanates from televisions and stereo speakers set at high volume, making it somewhat inconvenient for households with dogs and loud appliances.
So there you have it… a product that is legendary for its tackiness, noteworthy for its worthlessness, and celebrated for its cheesiness. Well, here at The Nest, that’s worth a squirrely salute to this resilient piece of UL listed plastic that has been turning electrical devices on and off at random for thirty years, and entertaining us with clapping fools on the tube every December. Heck, I didn’t even mention that The Clapper plagiarized their catchy little “Clap On, Clap Off!” jingle! Epic!
And now, it’s time to pull the plug on this blog post…..