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Madman Muntz
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    (January 3, 1914-June 21, 1987)
    Born in Elgin, Illinois
    Birth name was Earl William Muntz
    Sold used cars, TVs, car stereos, Stereo-Pak four-track cartridges, VCRs, cell phones, satellite dishes and motorhomes
    Founded the Muntz Car Company which sold the Muntz Jet sportscar (1951-53)
    Known for appearing in TV ads for his companies
    Taglines included 'I buy em retail and sell em wholesale -- it's more fun that way' and 'I want to give em away but Mrs. Muntz won't let me. She's crazy!'
    He paved the way for Crazy Eddie and thousands of other loud and obnoxious pitchmen.
    He sold only 400 Muntz Jets and lost about $1,000 on each.
    He was so obsessed with publicity that during the height of the Red Scare, he asked an aide, 'Do you think I'd make the front page if I joined the Communist Party?'
    He was married eight times.
    He named his daughter Tee Vee (although she usually went by Teena).
    He was a self-taught electrical engineer who mastered the art of 'Muntzing' -- simplifying complex electronic devices.
    In the 50s, he was the first retailer to sell TVs for under $100 and in the 80s he was the first to sell cell phones for under $1,000.
    He became so famous from his ads that USC students spelled out his name in a football halftime show (1943) and Panner Motor Tours listed his car lots as the 7th biggest tourist attraction in Southern California (1946).
    Dan Bunker, who directed a documentary about him, said 'What set Muntz apart was his chutzpah.... He took chances, risked failure and reaped the rewards.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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