The other day, I gave one of our Executive Storytelling training workshops. In it, I showed one of my all-time favorite videos, the Turbo Encabulator (video below). I show it to demonstrate the best and worst aspects of using jargon. Most people do not even realize how much jargon they use in their various communication. This video is a humorous way of gently reminding everyone to minimize jargon. One of the program participants asked me for the actual text of the video (see below), prompting me to write this post.
You owe it to yourself to watch 90-second video to be completely awed at the delivery by a truly gifted presenter, Bud Haggert. If it wasn’t for the fact that nearly every important word is made up, you might believe he is talking about a very technical, highly complex piece of machinery, the Turbo Encabulator.
DAVE RONDOT, DIRECTOR, SHARES THE BACK STORY
Director Dave Rondot, shares the background of how the video came to be…
This is the first time Turbo Encabulator was recorded with picture. I shot this in the late 70’s at Regan Studios in Detroit on 16mm film. The narrator and writer is Bud Haggert. He was the top voice-over talent on technical films. He wrote the script because he rarely understood the technical copy he was asked to read and felt he shouldn’t be alone.
We had just finished a production for GMC Trucks and Bud asked since this was the perfect setting could we film his Turbo Encabulator script. He was using an audio prompter referred to as “the ear”. He was actually the pioneer of the ear. He was to deliver a live speech without a prompter. After struggling in his hotel room trying to commit to memory he went to plan B. He recorded it to a large Wollensak reel to reel recorder and placed it in the bottom of the podium. With a wired earplug he used it for the speech and the “ear” was invented.
Today, every on-camera spokesperson uses a variation of Bud’s innovation. Dave Rondot (me) was the director and John Choate was the DP on this production. The first laugh at the end is mine. My hat’s off to Bud, a true talent.
Wikipedia has an entry providing some nice background information on the origin of the Turbo Encabulator idea from Time Magazine. I even bought the Time Magazine issue on eBay. Engineers at General Electric had some fun and developed a product data sheet included in the GE Handbook (see picture below).
TURBO ENCABULATOR – COMPLETE TEXT
Here’s the script. Enjoy!
“For a number of years now, work has been proceeding in order to bring perfection to the crudely conceived idea of a transmission that would not only supply inverse reactive current for use in unilateral phase detractors, but would also be capable of automatically synchronizing cardinal grammeters. Such an instrument is the turbo encabulator.
Now basically the only new principle involved is that instead of power being generated by the relative motion of conductors and fluxes, it is produced by the modial interaction of magneto-reluctance and capacitive diractance.
The original machine had a base plate of pre-famulated amulite surmounted by a malleable logarithmic casing in such a way that the two spurving bearings were in a direct line with the panametric fan. The latter consisted simply of six hydrocoptic marzlevanes, so fitted to the ambifacient lunar waneshaft that side fumbling was effectively prevented.
The main winding was of the normal lotus-o-delta type placed in panendermic semi-boloid slots of the stator, every seventh conductor being connected by a non-reversible tremie pipe to the differential girdle spring on the “up” end of the grammeters.
The turbo-encabulator has now reached a high level of development, and it’s being successfully used in the operation of novertrunnions. Moreover, whenever a forescent skor motion is required, it may also be employed in conjunction with a drawn reciprocation dingle arm, to reduce sinusoidal repleneration.”