The subject of Sea monkeys came up recently with a new friend. She mentioned she had them growing up and pointed out that there would often be advertisements, in comic books, for them. She, of course, was correct. The ads were very persuasive.
Here is what Wikipedia has to say about Sea Monkeys, their history, and the ads:
“Sea-Monkeys is a brand name for brine shrimp—a group of crustaceans that undergo cryptobiosis—sold in hatching kits as novelty aquarium pets. Invented in 1957 by Harold von Braunhut, the product was heavily marketed, especially in comic books, and remains a presence in popular culture.
Initially called “Instant Life”, von Braunhut changed the name to “Sea-Monkeys” in 1962. The new name was based on the supposed resemblance of the animals’ tails to those of monkeys, and their salt-water habitat.
Sea-Monkeys were intensely marketed in comic books using illustrations by the comic-book illustrator Joe Orlando. These showed humanoid animals that bear no resemblance to the crustaceans. Many purchasers were disappointed by the dissimilarity, and by the short lifespan of the animals. Von Braunhut is quoted as stating: “I think I bought something like 3.2 million pages of comic book advertising a year. It worked beautifully.””
I, of course, still have an unused set at the house. This is the type one bought at a store and is a larger (and more expensive) version than the ones purchased through through the comic book ads.
The plastic “aquarium”, that was part of the kit, had several sections that acted as a magnifying glass so that one could better observe your “pets”. Its a good thing as even with that extra help the creatures were nearly invisible. Here is a photo (the “Sea Monkeys” are indicated for your convenience):
Yeah, pretty disappointing at best. In case you wondered what they REALLY look like, here is a well magnified photo of one I got from the internet (This one is pregnant):
So there you have it!!! If you grew up seeing these ads and never scraped up the money to send for the set, perhaps this will help you get past THAT disappointment. And if you did buy a set and felt like you had been conned…Well you were not alone!!!