While neither monkeys nor sea creatures, Sea Monkeys are translucent, breathe through their feet and grow two extra eyes.
Sea-Monkeys are a brand name for a hybrid breed of brine shrimp called Artemia NYOS.
By the time brine shrimp came to Harold von Braunhut’s attention in 1957, they’d long been raised as fish food.
He originally sold the crustaceans as “Instant Life,” and they came with hatching kits.
Rechristening the little creatures as “Sea-Monkeys” and portraying them as mermaid-ish made Von Braunhut a rich man.
He was also responsible for X-Ray Specs, Crazy Crabs, and Invisible Goldfish.
(The Invisible Goldfish kit consisted of a glass bowl, a handbook and fish food.)
“a BOWLFULL OF HAPPINESS — Instant PETS!”
The ads for Sea Monkeys showed a smiling humanoid family wearing crowns enjoying their underwater castle.
(Notice how the father has his tail strategically placed over his crotch!)
The ads spun a magical tale of pets that would be “like a pack of friendly trained seals”.
Von Braunhut wrote the copy himself, for at least the first couple decades.
There is some truth to this: When you buy a packet of Sea-Monkeys, they appear to be lifeless dust.
Pour the dust (actually brine shrimp eggs) in a tank of purified water, and the Sea-Monkeys spring to life.
As exciting as that was, the only trick Sea-Monkeys performed was swimming toward light.
Sea Monkeys in Space
In 1998, astronaut John Glenn took about 400 million Sea-Monkeys into space, aboard the shuttle Discovery.
Despite being exposed to radiation, weightlessness, and re-entry, they hatched eight weeks later.
The creatures inspired a (bizarre) short-lived live-action series for kids on CBS in the early ’90s.
In a 2007 episode of “Desperate Housewives”, Kyle McLoughlin’s character plans to take over the world with an army of sea monkeys.
Hey, it could happen.
Siobhan is a freelance writer, research addict and lover of twisted history. If you like horrible but amazing history, check out her website www.interesly.com or Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/interesly. Or you can reach her through www.siobhanoshea.com.