Billy Mays remains a TV pitchman, even in death

July 9, 2009 6:18:55 PM PDT
Death won't still the voice of Billy Mays or his mighty powers of persuasion. Viewers will continue to find the boisterous, bearded TV pitchman hawking household products for the indefinite future.

And at least one of his commercials is being introduced posthumously.

"Just stretch, wrap and it fuses fast," says Mays, demonstrating a product called Mighty Tape on a kitchen drain pipe in the new commercial. Moments later, he's seen, still wearing his signature sport shirt and khaki slacks but accessorized with scuba gear, as he repairs a hole in another diver's air hose underwater using Mighty Tape.

The commercial will begin airing July 20. Mays' advertising for other products in the Mighty brand line returned to the air earlier this week. The commercials were pulled after Mays' death June 28 of an apparent heart attack.

"Our feeling is, everyone wants to have Billy go on," said Bill McAlister, president of Media Enterprises, a sales and marketing company based in Trevose, Penn. "This is what he would have wanted."

Besides Media Enterprises, the 50-year-old Mays had worked with several other companies as the yell-and-sell spokesman for products with rousing names like OxiClean, Awesome Auger, WashMatik and Orange Glo.

It's not yet certain which among Mays' product pitches will continue to be broadcast, and for how long, said his attorney, Roger Pliakas.

"We're waiting to hear what the companies want to do," said Pliakis, who declined to specify the firms with which Mays was associated when he died.

"It's not a legal conversation but an informal conversation" with each company, Pliakas said. "We don't know all the specifics. We're just hoping it's all done in a tasteful manner."

On Thursday at 9 p.m. EDT, Discovery Channel will air a one-hour documentary, "Pitchman: A Tribute to Billy Mays." Mays had been featured in a 12-part series on the network called "Pitchmen."

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