CueCat Inventor Serves Up Craziest Video You’ll See All Day

Remember the CueCat, the digital media punchline to end all digital media punchlines?

Remember the CueCat, the digital media punchline to end all digital media punchlines? The device was introduced by the Dallas Morning News way back in the dizzying late-1990s when a feverish hysteria over the magical World Wide Web was turning the shaggy inventors of “slow and cumbersome” online streaming services into billionaire sports team owners. The CueCat was nothing less than one of the worst inventions ever, and it was Dallas’ very own daily that owns the dubious honor of having invested millions in one of tech history’s most buffo footnotes, a device that really only functioned as a way to avoid typing a link into a browser window.

Well, we can rag on the DMN for the CueCat all day, but perhaps their error was not in their own idiotic vision but in being suckered into trusting someone who was selling them an idiotic vision (after all, this kind of suckering is very much a Dallas specialty). The salesman in this instance was a man with a name, J. Jovan Philyaw, that feels straight out of a Peter Sellers film. As Central Track tells us, Mr. Philyaw is a rather colorful character. After CueCat, he went on to help ruin Radio Shack. He has also peddled magic crystals, planted fake historical artifacts, and claims Mark Cuban is responsible for his divorce. At some point, he changed his name to J. Hutton Pulitzer, a move which allowed him to dabble in a bit of self-reinvention.

So who is J. Hutton Pultizer? Well, in his video biography (also above), he kind of sounds like the main character in Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master, that is, if that film had been written and directed by Ben Stiller. Brace yourself, the video is completely mental and, well, kind of hilarious in a unsettling sort of way. Here’s the tiniest taste of the bizarre brand of self-aggrandizement you are in store for in the video:

“A further testament to Jovan’s genetic instinct to survive, four generations of grandfathers on opposing sides in four major wars created 50-50 odds on both sides against the world ever seeing Jovan’s creative work.”


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  • JamieT

    “As Central Track tells us, Mr. Philyaw is a rather colorful character. After CueCat, he went on to help ruin Radio Shack.”

    I was familiar with Jovan and the Cue Cat (I believe someone with the same last name Philyaw – a son, perhaps? – and his wife were staples of Dallas media for a time, may still be), but I had not heard of his role in helping to ruin Radio Shack, so I followed the link to Central Track, clicking my mouse in lieu of utilizing either a CueCat or a QR Code.

    Searching, searching…ah, here it is, the tale of ruination:

    “Take this account from Jon Bois, a former RadioShack store employee, who wrote about having to sell “unsellable crap.” Once, his store was required to stock Brum cars, which no one in America had ever heard of. That’s because they are based on a British children’s television series that only aired on Discovery Kids. It also tried selling a CueCat, which was an infrared scanner that read barcodes, but no one wanted it.”

    Well, there you go.

    Useful to know. Keep up the good work on all of your equally informative blogging, Peter.

  • Brandon Snook

    Bill Gates, Richard Branson, Sam Walton, Ted Turner, Donald Trump, Jovan “J.” Hutton Pulitzer. One of these things is not like the others.

    • DubiousBrother

      I’m curious as to why you left Mark Cuban off your list.

      • Brandon Snook

        Because Mark Cuban wasn’t mentioned in the video…

  • Bizarro BigTex

    I was given three of these technological wonders by different friends. All immediately went into a junque box in the garage and have never seen the light of day since. Some day I may dig them out and place them on eBay, much like the lost gold of the Incas.

  • Words can’t describe that video. Holy balls.

  • A. B.

    Pulitzer 4 Prez!

  • FunkyEastDallas

    Okay, that video had to have been directed by the same guy who directed Biff Tannen’s biographical video in the Alternate 1985.

  • space2k

    I never knew that he rose from the ashes of the World Trade Center like an invincible cyber-phoenix.

  • RAB

    The clip the video purportedly shows of Harvard Business School is actually Harvard College. They’re separated by a river (and a wider gulf of prestige).