- Business and Employment»
From Sea Monkeys to Xray Specs: those (less than) amazing comic book ads
Back in the day, when they were not buying fake dog waste, whoopee cushions or joy buzzers at the local joke shop, a favorite retail outlet for adolescent boys (mostly) were those comic book ad pages.
Sea monkeys: they wear little hats, sit in chairs and can likely be trained to do all kinds of amusing tricks just like the ads say, right? Well, not quite. "Sea monkeys" are actually tiny 1/4-1/2 inch brine shrimp. Their eggs can stay dry and dormant for long stretches of time. Just add saltwater and presto- you have sea monkeys. You can still buy these as "sea monkeys" at some retail outlets, or you can save yourself a bunch of dough by purchasing live brine shrimp, used as fish food, at your local pet shop. You could order live sea horses as well- more substantial, but the ad neglected to mention the complex and costly equipment needed to insure their survival.
Xray specs: Leering teen peers at the bones in his hand just as a curvaceous blonde walks by. What these specs REALLY do is make you see a dark silhouette with a brighter outline. Otherwise, doctors everywhere could save on expensive Xray equipment.
Color TV: back in the olden days; before cable or digital or even regular color TV, you could still make your black and white TV color, sort of. All you needed to do was attach this "magical" plastic sheet across your screen with its see through shades of blue, red and green. This worked fine if the scene was a red fire truck under a blue sky with grass in the foreground - other times, not so much.
Monstrous: A life sized Frankenstein monster that stands on its own and can lean forward to frighten people was one a friend of mine actually bought way back in the day when we were kids. Unfortunately, Franky was merely a printed version on a flimsy plastic sheet. It could do all that stuff with a little help, or would have made a fine Halloween table cloth.
Hey, hey they're the monkeys: You could even buy live squirrel monkeys through comic book ads, dressed up in adorable kids' clothing. The ads pretty much glossed over the intricate care demands needed, never mind the fact that monkeys make terrible, destructive pets. Now in most parts of the USA you'll need a permit for a pet monkey ownership where it is not downright illegal. Baby raccoons and incubatable quail eggs were similarly marketed.