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The Senior Pitchman’s Reunion

In 2008, the first Senior Pitchman’s Reunion was held in Las Vegas. All pitchmen over 60, no Johnny Come Lately’s. These are the men and women who pitch svengali decks, kitchen gadgets, mops, shamwows, knives and all the other products that are demonstrated and sold in flea markets, carnivals, streets, malls, mega-stores and television.

Nancy Magill and I attended this wonderful convention and interviewed the participants for hours, with Magill manning the camera. We released those in a School for Scoundrels DVD “The Senior Pitchman’s Reunion.”

In 2010, we went to the second reunion and will be releasing a DVD soon from those interviews.

The Horn Nut Scam

In the course of a tour de force round of stories and virtuoso performances of a number of entertaining pitches and ballys, Bobby Reynolds explains the Horn Nut Scam, a ruse he used as a child to sell worthless Chinese horn nuts as Chinese Water Lily bulbs.

The scam is evidently very old and has some interesting associated stories.

The nut looks like a water buffalo head, and the horns will float upwards when the nut is placed in water. A hole is drilled between the horns, and a gladiola flower is glued in place. Three or four of these are floated in a bowl of water.

Horn NutHorn Nut

Nancy Magill and I were delighted to participate in both of the Senior Pitchmen Reunions in Las Vegas. This is a gathering of pitchmen over sixty years old, people who sold medicine in the medicine shows, svengali decks in the carnival, puppets on the street corner, and kitchen gadgets, miracle cleaners, dusters and a million other items on television and now on the internet.

We videod four hours of interviews at the convention in 2009, and that became our DVD, “The Senior Pitchman’s Reunion, 2009” from School for Scoundrels (available at

This video is from volume II, “The Senior Pitchman’s Reunion, 2010.” We should be releasing this volume in the next month or so.

— Pop Haydn

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