Grapefruit 45 Diet Pill Made Two of the Oddest Infomercials of the 1980s

Anyone who ever stood in a supermarket checkout line during the 1980s saw shocking tabloid headlines about topics such as UFO abductions, Loch Ness monster sightings, the latest Liz and Dick contretemps…and how the newest fad diet would result in “miracle” weight loss.

One of the more popular of these was the grapefruit diet, which touted the fat burning qualities of the citrus fruit. Of course, most people don’t want to spend their days consuming large quantities of grapefruit, so various products promised to deliver the benefits of grapefruit inside an easy-to-swallow pill.

Among them was something called Grapefruit 45, which was responsible for a couple of the strangest infomercials of the Eighties:

Not since wannabe televangelist Jonathan Bell’s ill-fated appearance on Dallas public access TV has a tuxedo been so incredibly out of place.

Yes, the man actually said, “That a babe, Dorothy!” The producers of this commercial must have thought the suave machismo of this gentleman would make females swoon, encouraging them to lose weight with Grapefruit 45 in the hopes that a well-dressed man with a Tom Selleck mustache would say, “That a babe” to them too. More likely is that this guy’s creepiness would make a woman instinctively clutch her can of mace while reaching for her rape whistle.

This same man made a cameo appearance in another Grapefruit 45 infomercial, this time playing a construction worker. (I wonder if the producers capitalized on his Tom of Finland looks by also having him play an Indian, a policeman, a cowboy, a soldier, and a motorcycle enthusiast.)

The real star of this Grapefruit 45 ad, however, is a very different example of American manhood:

“Do you know anyone who eats grapefruit that doesn’t lose weight?” I may have never been more mystified by a question in all my life. Sir, I can honestly say that I have never inquired about the grapefruit consumption of my acquaintances, much less attempted to correlate their grapefruit consumption with the amount of weight loss they may have experienced.

The way this farmer ends the commercial by simply declaring, “The Fat Burner Plan,” is downright hypnotic. I have to find a way to turn that into a ringtone.

HT: These commercials come to us through the efforts of the superb Museum of Classic Chicago Television.


  • 6 Responses to “Grapefruit 45 Diet Pill Made Two of the Oddest Infomercials of the 1980s”

  • In the second commercial there’s “no way” that construction worker would eat grapefruit for lunch…but he packs a grapefruit in his lunch box anyway just so he can squeeze it and toss it away.

    Comment by euGene on February 5, 2013 at 8:21 pm

  • Anyone else get the weird sense that Tuxedo Man/Construction Worker Guy is the “genius” behind Grapefruit 45? That would explain his bizarre presence in these infomercials.

    Comment by Thomas on February 6, 2013 at 2:28 am

  • I love how these commercials say that these results aren’t typical, but wouldn’t you love to have fabulous, non-typical results just like these! Pretty ballsy.

    Comment by bookendz on February 6, 2013 at 2:57 am

  • Tuxedo Man makes me want to eat ice cream. Lots of it. I thought I liked grapefruit, but now maybe I’d rather be fat.

    Comment by Julie on February 9, 2013 at 10:10 pm

  • Here’s a link to another Grapefruit 45/Fat Burner infomercial. This one might actually be the strangest one of all. Tuxedo Man shows up again, this time wearing a red sweater and clearly nothing under it. Somehow, this might be TM at his absolute sleaziest. Also, watch for the two different testimonial clips that each get partially recycled in one two-minute infomercial.

    Comment by Thomas on February 23, 2013 at 3:25 am

  • I dated Tuxedo man/Construction worker in ’84/85 .He was a fun boyfriend.Aspiring actor,Model.I was 12 and he was…well,over 21 but damn i wonder how he looks now.He was SEX back then

    Comment by Jeanne on December 16, 2014 at 4:22 am