John Moschitta, Jr. on That's Incredible! (1981)


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I remember John Moschitta, Jr.'s 1981 appearance on That's Incredible! like it was yesterday. (That's Incredible! had a profound influence on me, that I think is reflected in my blogging.) The next day at school, my friends and I all tried to talk really fast. I bet that just delighted our teachers. After this episode, Moschitta, Jr. was hired by ad agency Ally & Gargano to star in the "Fast Paced World" Federal Express TV commercial that's repeatedly ranked in the industry as one of the top ad campaigns ever.


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UPDATE: In the comments, Christopher575 reminds me that Moschitta, Jr. also did a terrific Micro Machines commercial in the 1980s.

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  1. I have fond memories of That’s Incredible. A cheery look at American eccentricity.

    Also, I associate the show with Carvel sundaes. Because Wednesday is Sundae at Carvel!

  2. I always confused That’s Incredible with Real People.
    Didn’t one of ’em have people going Grass Skiing in the opening credits?

  3. Loved his work. My favorite was when he did a “Classics In A Minute”. He would give his humorous take on classic literature all rendered in a minute. I still have the audio clips and put a quick on the Tube here: http://youtu.be/pKhUoFCBhNE

    The Gone With The Wind and Alice in Wonderland are classic bits of humor.

  4. I used to have the classics in a minute tape, even though some of the classics were more than a minute….

  5. He’ll always be “The Micro Machines Man” to me. Wasn’t it a whole series of dozens of ads in the mid ’80s that he did for Micro Machines, not just one?

  6. He was also the fast-talking BLURR in the original Transformers cartoon (and reprised the role over 20 years later for the Transformers: Animated series).

  7. I can’t seem to find any good video of him being slowed down and pitched properly… the only slow versions of him seem to be TOO slow. Any wanted to run this through some modern audio software and see if what he is saying actually makes sense?

    1. You can hear what he’s saying if you know what to listen for. This is what he’s saying, starting around 0:47 when he talks to Mr. Dunlop.

  8. Check out any of these high school debate videos for rapid speaking. It’s an art to be able to speak this fast, comprehend it, analyze it, and come up with responsive arguments all at the same time.

  9. That’s such an awesome song. Might have to pick up tickets “The Music Man” when it screens at the LA Conservancy’s Last Remaining Seats series. Robert Preston was still alive in 1981. I wonder if he saw this rendition. Although I love him for “The Music Man” most geeks of my generation would recognize him from “The Last Starfigher”.

  10. I hope Cathy Lee Crosby has learned the difference between 4/10 of a second and 4/100 of a second.

  11. I was hoping the makers of the Atlas Shrugged film would get Moschitta to play Galt, or at least dub the Great Big Speech.

  12. I Finally Get That Dept:

    Thanks for the FedEx commercial link. I had an issue of Crazy Magazine as a kid(a meaner, punkier MAD), and it had this ad in the back. In the end, the guy turns out to be the Unabomber.

  13. Those “spreading” debates are truly awful. Makes me glad that the only high school debates I watched or participated in were in England, where, as far as I know, no one does that kind of crap. Aren’t debates supposed to be persuasive? How can anyone be persuaded by a hyperventilating looney? You want to cram a lot of facts into a tiny space, just hand the audience microfiche before the debate and let them read your argument.

  14. That’s Incredible (and the sister show, Real People) were my favorites back in kindergarten. If they used your idea on the show (or read your letter or something) they’d send you this awful silver-lamé jacket. During that segment on the show, they would cut to perfectly-coiffed, back-turned, heads-profile, male and female models in the jackets. It was the coolest thing ever. I wanted one of those things SO. BAD.

    front:
    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_S2iBAsw5Xek/Sft-soVSu2I/AAAAAAAAAto/xE8pjNsaiec/s320/DSC_0473.JPG

    back:
    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_S2iBAsw5Xek/Sft-tB1txWI/AAAAAAAAAt4/x2_TVqf-h78/s320/DSC_0479.JPG

  15. The spot’s director, by the way, is Joe Sedelmaier, who made a number of famous TV commercials in the 80s that were like surreal little Fellini shorts. Here’s a retrospective:

  16. Omigod, I remember every second of this. I watched That’s Incredible! religiously (as well as Real People). Thanks for making me feel ancient :)

  17. They had a few Yogis on the show – one compressed himself into a plexiglass box, another had an elephant step on him, and there was another who would let a ring with knives attached to it fall down on him but not get cut (one knife hit the ground right between his legs!)

    I am curious if any tricks were involved with any of these – Penn & Teller, white courtesy phone…

  18. This commercial was also featured in a board game called Commercial Crazies, where you would watch a commercial from a VHS tape and then answer memory-based questions about the commercial. Aside from the commercial being used, John Moschitta also explained the rules to the game at the beginning of the tape. I remember it being really funny.

  19. I slowed it down. Still can’t tell what he’s saying. Slowed Cathy Lee too, cuz it’s funny.

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