Corky v. Corky as featured in one of many Redwood Coast Cellular ads

Corky Cornwell, the beloved, often-deafening local television cell phone pitchman who starred in countless in-your-face television commercials promoting “free phone” deals at his Redwood Coast Cellular stores, has passed away. He was 79 years old.

Cornwell was well into his working life when he found the calling most people would ultimately remember him for. According to a 2014 North Coast Journal article, he spent over three decades as a chip buyer for Louisiana Pacific before sensing in 1994 that cell phones might be a lucrative industry to hitch his energy to. 

“Cell phones was an area that had some interest,” Cornwell said at the time, not fully anticipating how widely used they’d become. “It just went nuts.”

Over the next 20 years, Cornwell would grow his cell phone empire to six stores and over 12,000 customers, all the while producing and starring in his own colorful advertisements that left many viewers struggling to quickly turn down the volume on their televisions. 

Longtime Humboldt residents will be quite familiar with Cornwell’s sales methods. But if you’re unfamiliar with exactly what this community has lost today, the Outpost has dug up a video sampling of the kindhearted buffoonery that was the small town legend’s stock and trade.

Hit play, below, and crank it up.