Hey, hey, we're the sea-monkeys,
Go Retro says our ads monkey around
That's because we're really just brine shrimp
Letting all the little kids down...
If there ever was a mother of all retro product fails, sea-monkeys would have to be it. I never personally sent away for any as a kid, but I must admit was always curious about them. After all, those ads like the one above always made them look and sound so cool! "Own a BOWLFULL of HAPPINESS"..."MILLIONS THRILLED BEYOND WORDS"..."IN YOUR HOME - A LIVE SEA CIRCUS!" And would look at the freaky photos of them. Wowie kazowie! The company that ran these cheesy ads has been distributing sea-monkeys since 1960 in both the U.S. and U.K. I wonder how many kids were deflated once they followed the instructions and discovered that sea-monkeys were really just Artemia, which is the scientific name for brine shrimp. Needless to say, nothing like monkeys...more like sea-bugs. I think this second advertisement is hilarious because it includes a drawing of the little guys..."based on actual photos" (note it's also for "Super" sea-monkeys...as if they perfected on the scam product.)
Well of course I never expected these to be real monkeys, but maybe something a little more exciting than shrimp! Artemia has the ability to suspend its own life for up to 50 years, until ideal conditions occur, which is why they were able to ship them practically freeze dried and would "come to life" once the proper amounts of salt and water were added. Although, I'd be curious to know the success rate of this "toy." I received a small vial of brine shrimp eggs in a chemistry kit when I was young. I carefully added the right proportions of water and salt, and waited. And waited. Nothing ever happened.
There's an official site for sea-monkeys. Yep, they're still being marketed and sold, but at least now there's no hiding what they actually are. Still, I'm pretty happy that my water pets growing up were limited to goldfish.
What say the rest of you? Did any of you ever send away for sea monkeys? Did you ever get these critters to hatch?