Monday, July 04, 2011
DID YOU EVER SEND OFF FOR SEA MONKEYS?
Talking about my generation and how possibly millions of us kids got conned by this comic book scam. Instead of the cute humanoid family as depicted in its submarine suburban home, all we got was bloody daphnia, only good only to feed fish. But that was nothing compared with the invisible goldfish…
“If you so much as flipped through a single comic book sometime after 1962, von Braunhut’s ads might have gotten you curious about whether his doodads worked even approximately as advertised. For Sea-Monkeys, the ads portrayed a cheerful family of humanoid creatures bearing crowns of some sort and hanging out by their underwater castle. Mom had blond hair. The fine print said something about “caricatures,” but never mind—the bigger type spun a magical tale of pets that would be “like a pack of friendly trained seals” if you followed the directions. Von Braunhut wrote the copy himself, for at least the first couple decades. Ads for another von Braunhut invention, the X-Ray Specs (not to be confused with the English punk band X-Ray Spex), promised the power to see through obstacles and showed a guy grinning at a woman in a dress. Again there were words like “illusion”—the effect is created by feathers or grooves in the lenses, von Braunhut’s patents show—but that wasn’t where the average comic book reader focused his attention. In von Braunhut’s most impressive marketing coup, he peddled “Invisible Goldfish." The kit included a glass bowl, a handbook and fish food. That was it. He said they sold out. There was a 100 percent guarantee that the buyer would never see the fish, and I’m 100 percent sure that guarantee never failed. The greatest trick the Invisible Goldfish ever pulled was convincing the world they existed.” (Click here for the whole sorry story)
Posted by Mick at 7/04/2011 10:15:00 AM