Remember Micro Machines, those tiny scale model cars and playsets that were all the rage in the late 80s and early 90s? And who could forget their hyperactive spokesperson, John Moschitta Jr., who spoke at lightning speed in the commercials?
Moschitta’s cranked up vocal delivery made him an icon of the toy advertising world. But the ad world moves fast, and nostalgia has a short shelf life.
So what happened to the eccentric fast-talking pitchman after his Micro Machines glory days? We decided to find out by tracking down Moschitta and learning about his life and career after hanging up his tiny toy cars.
Though the Micro Machines craze has long since passed, Moschitta is still talking a mile a minute about his days as America’s most caffeinated toy shiller. Turns out there’s more to this guy than rapid-fire speech.
Born on August 6, 1954, in New York City, John Moschitta Jr. embarked on his entertainment journey in the late 1970s.
His journey to fast talking began at age 12 in Uniondale, Long Island. Inspired by the prospect of breaking a Guinness record and getting his name on TV, Moschitta chose fast talking as his challenge.
He believes his upbringing in a lively Italian family in New York, where he had to speak quickly to be heard, played a role in developing his skill.
He practiced tongue twisters, with “She stood on the balcony inexplicably mimicking him, hiccuping and amicably welcoming him in” being his favorite.
John’s first attempt to break the record was with Shakespeare’s “To Be or Not to Be” soliloquy. However, he couldn’t verify his record at the event due to the absence of the necessary technology. Later, he broke the record with “Ya Got Trouble” from “The Music Man”, speaking 534 words in 58 seconds, which is approximately 586 words a minute.
Moschitta’s talent was so unique that Bell Laboratories in New Jersey wanted to study his brain. Their research indicated that most individuals could only speak 8 to 11 words quickly before their speech became unclear. However, Moschitta’s speech remained clear, leading him to believe he had “rewired” his brain to achieve this.
John’s passion for entertainment was evident from a young age. He participated in school plays, majored in theater in college, and was more interested in performing than attending classes.
Claim to Fame
Moschitta’s rapid-speaking talent catapulted him to fame with over 100 commercials as “The Micro Machines Man” and a notable 1981 ad for FedEx.
He also provided the voice for the character Blurr in various “Transformers” series and movies.
His appearance on the ABC TV series “That’s Incredible!” where he recited the lyrics from “Ya Got Trouble” from The Music Man opened doors to numerous television offers.
One of his most iconic commercials was for FedEx, titled “Fast Paced World,” where he played a fast-talking executive named Jim Spleen. This commercial won six Clio Awards and solidified Moschitta’s reputation as “Motormouth.”
In addition to his television and film work, Moschitta has ventured into audio recordings. In 1986, he recorded a spoken-word album titled “Ten Classics in Ten Minutes,” where he summarized ten classic literary tales in one minute each. This was followed by “Professor John Moschitta’s Ten-Minute University,” where he delivered 60-second lectures on various subjects. Both recordings were re-released on CD in 2004 with accompanying books.
John’s career allowed him to meet a diverse range of personalities, from Rosa Parks to world leaders like the Chancellor of Germany and the President of France.
He performed for eight U.S. presidents. Some of his career highlights include reading the rules at the Academy Awards, hosting the 25th anniversary of the Clio Awards at Radio City Music Hall, and introducing The Pretenders at the US Music Festival in San Bernardino.
However, this fame also brought challenges. Several individuals, including New York comedian Fran Capo and British car salesman Steve Woodmore, tried to claim his title.
Moschitta faced off against these challengers on Good Morning America in 1990. Although Woodmore initially seemed to have won, Moschitta believed he was the rightful winner due to discrepancies in Woodmore’s performance.
Moschitta expressed frustration with the way the records were measured, noting that factors like breathing weren’t taken into account.
Despite the challenges and controversies surrounding his title, Moschitta realized that his place in the Guinness book didn’t define his career.
He has worked globally, performing for notable figures like eight U.S. presidents, the queen of England, and several Supreme Court justices. His talent allowed him to travel first-class and explore the world.
What is John Moschitta Jr. Doing Now?
Over the years, Moschitta’s high-profile spokesperson roles decreased, but he continues to work in the U.S. and abroad.
In 2020, he appeared in the film “John Bronco” as himself. He recently appeared in commercials for Kansas tourism and a New York hospital and is preparing for a film role in “The Auctioneer.” He also expressed interest in playing roles on TV shows, but feels typecast due to his “fast talker” reputation.
John has attended a few fan conventions but is selective about which ones he participates in, mainly due to his discomfort with the commercial aspect of these events.
He prefers conventions where fans pay an admission fee and can then freely approach celebrities for autographs without additional charges. He finds it disheartening to see fans, especially children, being turned away because they can’t afford an autograph.
John’s commitment to charity remains unwavering. Over the years, he has raised significant amounts for various charitable causes. He is particularly associated with “Inclusion Matters,” an organization that builds universally accessible playgrounds for children of all abilities. The initiative promotes inclusivity by allowing children with different abilities to play together.
Despite his vast career and numerous appearances, John values his privacy. He is not very active on social media and rarely checks the Facebook page dedicated to him. He appreciates the support from fans but prefers to maintain a distance from the often overwhelming world of online interactions.
In terms of future projects, John hinted at a collaboration with Hasbro related to the character Blurr.