Toymaker Plays The Tonight Show!

On August 2, 2000 Rick appeared as a guest on NBC’s “Tonight Show with Jay Leno.” In keeping with the spirit of the program, Rick brought along one of his wackier inventions, a Motorized Ice Cream Cone. Here’s what happened:

Jay: Welcome, welcome. What’s your name?

Rick: My name’s Rick Hartman, I’m a teacher and a toymaker from Issaquah, Washington.

Jay: A teacher AND a toymaker…

Rick: I do both of them, yes.

Jay: And you’re also an inventor.

Rick: I’m an inventor, that’s true.

Jay: Now what is it you invented? This looks like ice cream.

Rick: Well, I invented U.S. Patent number 5,971,829.

Jay: Of course!

Rick: Don’t you know that one? It’s the Motorized Ice Cream Cone…

Jay: Now wait. Now wait. Back up. Now why motorized, for what reason?

Rick (picking up an old-fashioned sugar cone): Well you know, Jay, ice cream cone technology has basically been stagnant for the last 200 years. They work okay…

Jay: But what is it that’s wrong? I mean, that looks fine!

Rick (rotating sugar cone in hands): There’s all that finger spinning and the neck movements and the tongue stress from licking your ice cream. So clearly there was a need–and the U.S. Patent Office agreed–for a new and improved…

Jay: So you feel Americans are getting way too much exercise?

Rick: I think we need to improve it…

Jay (grabbing sugar cone): Wait a minute, wait a minute. You actually got a patent, so doing this, turning it is a huge problem?

Rick: You gotta define a need to get a patent, Jay, and clearly there was a need for an ergonomic ice cream cone!

Jay: All right, well show me what it is you invented here.

Rick (picking up motorized ice cream cone): Well this is the Turbo Twist, check it out…

Jay: Turbo Twist?

Rick: Turbo Twist! It’s got a clear acrylic housing revealing the gear reduction system inside. It’s got a 1.5 V motor…

Jay: Why do I think you’ve done infomercials?

Rick: Oh I don’t know. I watch Ron Popiel a lot!

Jay: Okay. It’s got a motor. But what does it do?

Rick: What you do is you put in a scoop of ice cream, you press the activator button and you watch it whirl! (Rick presses switch, sticks out tongue, and licks scoop of ice cream as it spins ’round and ’round on top of cone. Laughter and applause.)

Jay: Yeah, yeah! And you know the nice thing–you don’t get EXHAUSTED!

Rick: Yeah, it’s a real labor-saving…

Jay: You don’t get that carpal-tunnel thing from doing that!

Rick: That’s right!

Jay: Alright, well listen, I guess you’re going to be teaching for quite a while. No, that’s terrific, alright, thank you Rick, thank you very much!

Rick: Thank’s Jay, it was a pleasure!