The Comic Strip. A Shmoo.
One of my childhood delights was to read the comic strip and one of my favorites was L’il Abner. Do you remember the Shmoo from that strip?
In 1948, Cartoonist Al Capp introduced an armless pear-shaped character called the Shmoo into his daily L’il Abner strip. The unusual creature loved humans, laid eggs and bottles of Grade A milk and, in an instant, would gladly die and change itself into a sizzling steak if its hungry owner merely looked at it. Its skin was fine leather, its eyes made perfect buttons. Shmoos multiplied faster than rabbits. The Shmoo tasted like any food desired. Fry it and it came out chicken. Broil it and it came out steak. The hide of the Shmoo if cut thin made fine leather and if cut thick made the best lumber. Even the Shmoo’s whiskers made splendid toothpicks. The Shmoo satisfied all the world’s wants. You could never run out of Shmoon (plural of Shmoo) because they multiplied at an incredible rate. Anything that delighted people delighted a Shmoo
The Shmoo believed that the only way to happiness was to bring happiness to others. Ironically, they ultimately brought misery to humankind because people with a limitless supply stopped working and society began to break down. Seen at first as a boon to humankind, they were ultimately hunted down and exterminated by the U.S. government to preserve the status quo.
Capp’s readers became “Shmoo-struck.” Close to one hundred licensed Shmoo products were produced in less than a year, some of which sold five million units each, generating $25,000,000 in sales in 1948 alone! They made the cover of Time Magazine and even were air dropped to Berliners during the Soviet blockade in 1948.
A Shmoo Savings Bond was issued by the U.S. Treasury Department in 1949!
Shmoo merchandise is a highly collectible item today.
What was your favorite comic strip?