Santo Gold is without a doubt the most bizarre infomercial I’ve seen. This infomercial tries to do two very different tasks at the same time: sell a gold jewelry business opportunity and promote a “science-fiction space wrestling movie” called Blood Circus. Either one of these would be laughable enough on its own, but the combination of the two is downright unnerving.
The program begins with an ad for the movie: Frantic, dizzying scenes show wrestlers, lightening, and a severed human head, ending with the statement “Blood Circus is coming soon. Ask your theater manager for your free scream bag now.” Then the infomercial proper starts, and almost immediately the announcer interjects, “Some people wonder what the 24-karat Santo Gold process has in common with wrestling,” and proceeds to inform the audience that the “Santo Gold heavyweight championship wrestling belt” and “a rock singer called ‘Santo Gold'” both appear in Blood Circus. (Oh, yeah. That really clears things up.) Only after having totally confused and disturbed its viewers does this infomercial attempt to sell its product.
All the speaking in the main part of the infomercial is done by a narrator whose face we never see. His dull narration and stale visuals dispassionately chronicle the company’s manufacturing and clerical tasks. We’re thrilled to hear that “The highly trained staff examines thousands of names on computer sheets each week” and “Shipping labels are affixed to the packages”; we are dazzled by shots of a parking lot and people filling out paperwork at cluttered desks. The tedium of this segment is relieved only by the odd statements that occasionally pop up in the narration, such as “Our designers are at work around the clock to assure you the most elaborate…styles and fashions, as with certain auto factories” and “When you’re wearing Santo Gold, you’re wearing the present and the future.”
Eventually, we learn how “Santo Gold process products” came to be: “Nationally famous designer Santo was overwhelmed” when he saw a thick, gaudy men’s bracelet at a trade show. That bracelet, however, was 14-karat gold, which is a mixture of gold and metal. Therefore, Santo created a process in which pure gold is “electrostatically bonded” on top of a steel base. And, as the narrator insists, “There’s nothing like the feel of gold against your skin.” Indeed, these products are so special that “Each pair comes with its own adoption papers, date of birth, and history….You can even throw your Santo Gold a birthday party”—which sounds a lot like that way Cabbage Patch Kids used to be sold.
Although this infomercial is ostensibly meant to convince people to become distributors for Santo Gold products, relatively little time is spent on the actual business opportunity. And most of that is spent cataloging the pieces offered in the various kits available, which range in price from $39.95 to $139.95 (with the “Unisex Santonian” bracelet thrown in as a free bonus). The infomercial assumes that the jewelry will pretty much sell itself: “Just about everyone’s heard of Santo Gold, and everyone’s curious to see what the…items look like.” And, to further help the distributor, the company promises to promote the jewelry in national ads; apparently, the marketing prowess of the same people who produced this confusing, low-budget infomercial is supposed to be reassuring.
The culmination of all this weirdness comes when the infomercial shows a clip from the movie Blood Circus in which Santo Gold himself sings a song called (surprise!) “Santo Gold.” Dressed in a white suit and aviator glasses, Santo enters an arena filled with screaming fans. Santo, his background singers, and his entourage take the stage. Topped by a big gold bar, the swath of chains around Santo’s chest would make Mr. T and King Tut feel naked. The song itself, it turns out, is actually a mini-infomercial for Santo Gold products:
I got chains. I got charms.
I got bracelets for your arms.
Money back guarantee.
Santo Gold. Santo Gold.
We know you’re going to like it.
24-karat Santo Gold.
Santo looks somewhat like Rick Ocasek and the song sounds like it could be a really bad Cars tune. While Santo sings, we see a montage from the movie, mainly wrestlers beating up each other and a mummy. And, even stranger, what appear to be angels are superimposed on the screen; these beings comment on Santo and tell corny jokes such as “Why did the pregnant woman go into the pizza parlor?…They had free delivery.” Seeing all these disparate bits of Blood Circus, one comes to the eerie conclusion that, as dumb as Santo’s song may be, it probably is the highlight of the film.
Santo is, presumably, the expert in this infomercial, yet he never directly addresses the viewers to talk about his products or his business opportunity; we only get to see him singing a cheesy song in a lousy movie. And the viewer, in fact, has to infer what relationship among the Santo Gold jewelry, the movie Blood Circus, the gold designer Santo, the rock singer Santo Gold, the actor who plays the rock singer Santo Gold, the song “Santo Gold,” and the business opportunity precisely is.
The first time I saw Ed Wood’s camp classic Glen or Glenda? I wondered how a human mind could possibly conceive of such a thing. I had the same feeling after watching this program. If Ed Wood had lived long enough to direct an infomercial, it would have looked a lot like Santo Gold.
A big thanks to Phil Alexander for giving me a copy of this wonderfully hilarious infomercial!
Full Santo Gold Infomercial, Part 1
Now watch it all for yourself! Here is the first have of the mind-blowingly bizarre Santo Gold infomercial.
Full Santo Gold Infomercial, Part 2
It doesn't get any less strange in the second half.
The Santo Gold Song
Here Santo Gold sings the song "Santo Gold." Lots of shots from the movie "Blood Circus" are included.
What the Hell is Santo Gold?
In this segment near the beginning of the infomercial, the narrator attempts to explain the disjointed mismatch the viewer is about to experience. He doesn't succeed.
Blood Circus Promo
This hallucinogenic promo for Blood Circus features a lots of quick shots from the movie and offers a "free scream bag."