Who doesn’t remember the very first home automation gadget, “The Clapper.”
The Clapper was a sound activated electrical switch that plugged in to a standard outlet, allowing lights, televisions, radios, etc. to be turned on or off with 2 hand claps.
The company behind the clapper was Joseph Enterprises, Inc., a novelty and gadget company owned by San Francisco’s NECA (National Entertainment Collectibles Association) and based in San Francisco, California. Its two most popular products are The Clapper (‘Clap On! Clap Off!) and the Chia Pet (Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia!). The products are advertised on TV and social media – mainly during the Holiday shopping season.
The Clapper was pretty high-tech gadget when it hit the market with a nearly insufferable, hard to forget TV campaign in 1984. It was the same year that Michael Jackson released “Thriller”, Prince soar to the top of the charts with “Purple Rain”, Alex Trebek became the host of Jeopardy, 1984 also introduced us to Tetris, Who’s the Boss, and Apple’s Macintosh computer.
Of course, this was the same year that we had been reading about in George Orwell’s 1984, first published in 1949.
In case you we wondering, the little old lady in The Clapper commercials was Clara Peller of “Where’s the Beef” Wendy’s commercials. She had an amazing amount of selling power as Wendy’s senior vice president for communications, Denny Lynch, stated at the time that “with Clara we accomplished as much in five weeks as we did in 14½ years.”