Click to view video at NBC.com
Originally aired 38 years ago today, Saturday Night Live recently replayed “Consumer Probe” as part of its Christmas special. A lot of the humor is lost without watching Dan Aykroyd’s delivery as toy salesman Irwin Mainway (opposite Candice Bergen as the consumer reporter). You can view the skit by clicking above, but here’s its opening:
Consumer Reporter: Good evening, and welcome to the holiday edition of “Consumer Probe”. Our topic tonight is unsafe toys for children. For instance, this little bow and arrow set. [ holds up ] Pull the rubber suctions off, and the arrows become deadly missiles….
Consumer Reporter: ….Well, we’d like to show you another one of Mr. Mainway’s products. It retails for $1.98, and it’s called Bag O’ Glass. [ holds up bag of glass ] Mr. Mainway, this is simply a bag of jagged, dangerous, glass bits.
Irwin Mainway: Yeah, right, it’s you know, it’s glass, it’s broken glass, you know? It sells very well, as a matter of fact, you know? It’s just broken glass, you know?
Consumer Reporter: [ laughs ] I don’t understand. I mean, children could seriously cut themselves on any one of these pieces!
Irwin Mainway: Yeah, well, look – you know, the average kid, he picks up, you know, broken glass anywhere, you know? The beach, the street, garbage cans, parking lots, all over the place in any big city. We’re just packaging what the kids want! I mean, it’s a creative toy, you know? If you hold this up, you know, you see colors, every color of the rainbow! I mean, it teaches him about light refraction, you know? Prisms, and that stuff! You know what I mean?
Consumer Reporter: So, you don’t feel that this product is dangerous?
Irwin Mainway: No! Look, we put a label on every bag that says, “Kid! Be careful – broken glass!” I mean, we sell a lot of products in the “Bag O'” line.. like Bag O’ Glass, Bag O’ Nails, Bag O’ Bugs, Bag O’ Vipers, Bag O’ Sulfuric Acid. They’re decent toys, you know what I mean?
I’m guessing this 1976 skit was a big hit at the fledgling CPSC, whose offices probably still had that new-car smell. A full transcript of the skit is also online.
Happy and safe holidays to our readers!