Madman Muntz

Advertising Pioneer + Inventor + Businessman + Electrical Engineer
Born Jan 3, 1914

Earl William "Madman" Muntz was an American businessman and engineer who sold and promoted cars and consumer electronics in the United States from the 1930s until his death in 1987. He was a pioneer in television commercials with his oddball "Madman" persona – an alter ego who generated publicity with his unusual costumes, stunts, and outrageous claims.… Read More

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News + Updates

Browse recent news and stories about Madman Muntz.

  • Madman's Masterpiece, In Plum News Times
    Google News - Jul 13, 2011
  • Wheelspin; Museums Get Lively With Sleepovers And Films
    NYTimes - Aug 12, 2007
  • Motoring; Yes, He Changed His Spots, But Cal's Still The Car Sales King
    NYTimes - Apr 08, 2007
  • Advertising; Fake Products And The Movies That Loved Them
    NYTimes - Jan 09, 2006


Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of Madman Muntz.


1914 Birth Born on January 3, 1914.


1940 26 Years Old During a vacation in California, Muntz discovered that used cars sold there for far higher prices; so he moved to California in 1940 at age 26 to open a used car lot in Glendale. … Read More


1946 32 Years Old Muntz started plans to sell television receivers in 1946, and sales began in 1947. … Read More
1952 38 Years Old …  In 1952, Muntz TV Inc. grossed $49.9 million ($ in). … Read More
1953 39 Years Old …  Muntz admitted his business lost $1,457,000 from April to August 1953, and although he tried to reorganize, Muntz TV filed bankruptcy and went out of business in 1959. (The company would be reorganized and last through the 1960s, but without its namesake at the helm.) However, Muntz's success continued in the sales of cars and general consumer electronics. … Read More


1962 48 Years Old Muntz audio products were so profitable by 1962 that he cancelled his agreements with tape-duplicating companies and founded his own company to manufacture prerecorded Stereo-Pak cartridges. … Read More
1963 49 Years Old Bill Lear distributed the Stereo-Pak in 1963, intending to install units in his Learjet aircraft. … Read More


1970 56 Years Old 1 More Event
The market for Muntz's 4-track system had faded by 1970 due to competition from Stereo 8, which reduced costs by using less magnetic tape and a less-complex cartridge mechanism. … Read More


1977 63 Years Old Thanks to Muntz's talent for mass-market advertising and self-promotion, by 1977 the projection receivers were a multimillion-dollar business. … Read More
1979 65 Years Old In 1979, Muntz decided to sell blank tapes and VCRs as loss leaders to attract customers to his showroom, where he would then try to sell them his projection TV systems. … Read More
1987 73 Years Old 1 More Event
Shortly before dying of lung cancer in 1987, Muntz centered his retail business on cellular phones, satellite dishes, a motorhome rental company dubbed "Muntz Motor Mansions", and prefabricated aluminum houses. … Read More
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