Moving Pictures
Feb 03, 2023, 05:57AM

Quirky Netflix Documentaries To Watch

Fun and facts with Pez, Pepsi and The Price is Right.

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I was too cheap to get the good cable, so I only have the networks and streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu. I’m not complaining; I can always find something to watch, and it’s usually in the form of some serial killer docuseries, psychological thriller, or “dramedy.” When those run out, the Netflix algorithm has figured out that I like watching quirky documentaries or quick docuseries about random topics. It’s always interesting to learn about something fun for no reason at all. Here are three I've watched recently that I recommend. The common denominator is their central character’s passion for the topics at hand, and the fact that it’s the people who make a good story, not the things.

The Pez Outlaw: Many remember Pez candy dispensers from childhood, but did you know that they’re so collectible people pay over $10,000 for a single one, and that there’s a guy named Steve Glew who’s notorious for making millions of dollars smuggling them from Eastern Europe into the U.S., spawning the hatred of the corporate “Pezident” to create a ruthless revenge plot against him? You won’t believe the story until you see it for yourself. Ever charming is the love story between Steve and his ailing wife at the center of it all. Check it out on Netflix. This story has more plot twists than an old school game of Candy Land. (John Yohe also wrote about this show for Splice Today.)

Perfect Bid: The Contestant Who Knew Too Much: In another example of odd things people become obsessed with for our eventual entertainment on Netflix documentaries, this one is fascinating as well. If you remember Johnny Olson booming “Come on Down!” on The Price is Right as Bob Barker welcomed people to the game show stage with his pencil-thin microphone and pearly white hair and smile, this film will hold your attention like a suspenseful round of Plinko. Ted Slauson was a Price is Right contestant in the early-1970s who made it his life’s mission to memorize the prices of every single item on the game, creating spreadsheets and a video game simulation until he knew them all. He appeared in the studio audience and on the show, garneredfame with Bob Barker and many contestants, even calling out a Showcase Showdown final bid down to the exact dollar amount. Check out Perfect Bid if you’ve ever been a fan; this fascinating documentary includes interview footage with Bob Barker.

Pepsi Where’s My Jet?: This series is a wild cola wars ride. John Leonard stars as himself; a former 20-year-old kid who took a Pepsi rewards offer seriously when the company presented t-shirts, bags and other standard gear in exchange for reward points, only they also (“jokingly”) offered a Harrier Jet for 7,000,000 points, and he figured out a way to earn the jet, since nothing about the ad said it was a joke, with an investor who became his friend. The story takes twists and turns over years through legal battles, courtrooms, cancer battles and even the heights of Mount Everest. Legal history is made and let’s say this: the series made me proud that when I ask for Diet Coke at a restaurant and the wait staff asks, “is Diet Pepsi ok?” I always say, “is Monopoly money okay?”


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