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Today’s Pulp Purchase: The Life and Times of the Shmoo

ShmoobookShmooGuard

This book was pressed repeatedly into service (This edition is like the seventh printing within 2 years) when the Great Shmoo Craze of the late 1940’s was at its apex, and before my friend Laurel’s Grandfather was left with hundreds of unsaleable plaster Shmoos, which he abandoned in an attic in Royal Oak, MI. I like to think they’re still standing there…

Al Capp was the evil genius behind the Shmoo, who live to serve mankind, to serve mankind joyfully of their own delicious little bodies,  which when flambéed taste like fugu and when spatchcocked taste like heritage ptarmigan.

This specific book is a cynical,  horrible pastiche of excerpted drawings ripped from the strip, thinly linked with a halfassed written narrative. featuring distracting construction-paper colored margins and backgrounds. Frank Frazetta was Al Capp’s ghost artist, so there’s that, sometimes. And the cover itself is delightful.

A Digression on Postcards Wherein Women are Threatened by Alligators

Listed here are the psychologically engaging aspects of this perfect postcard, which I purchased off the rack in Florida my own self maybe fifteen years ago during one of the intense theme-park and biological engineering research trips for Piggleyland:

  1. The amped-up hand-painted colors. Please tell me what that bikini color is: I cannot find a word. I’m not sure it wholly refracts correctly on my corneas
  2. The alligator is cruelly reduced and crudely cut & pasted, with probably literal paste
  3. The now-opaque reference to an ancient cigarette campaign wherein people would be punched in the eye for supporting cigarettes of choice (*see below for examples stolen from interweb).
  4. This clever turn of phrase, “Us Florida Alligators would rather BITE than SWITCH,” was SO VERY compelling and hilarious that several variant versions featuring different models can  be found**
  5. In all variants, the alligator knows that he’s quoting a cigarette campaign, as evidenced by the otherwise redundant quotation marks in the word balloon. That’s a sophisticated, market-savvy reference for the average crocodilian from the Paleoscene
  6. I think this postcard probably post-dates the famous “WOW! We Alligators Do Have Fun in Florida/Louisiana/New Orleans” Betty Page postcard*** by some years, and I suspect the artist would admit it was derivative, unless an homage
  7. Nobody REALLY wants to see these poor women bitten by alligators: an American alligator bites at around 2,900 pounds per square inch (lions and tigers bite at about 1,000 psi. I myself bite at only around 175 psi when at the peak of righteous fury & bloodlust)-even small (or cruelly reduced) alligators have more than 80 razor-sharp teeth.  Let’s face it: it could be pretty depressing to see some lady get bitten on the rear end by an alligator.  But beyond the cheap frisson evoked by the common icon of Woman-in-Peril, these cards sell because the sight of sun-warmed flesh makes the reptilian brain hungry on some primeval level, don’t they? That tells us something about ourselves, doesn’t it? Or is it just plain slapstick, and I should shut up?

Here’s the postcard that haunts my nightmares:

us-florida-alligators

*Cigarette campaign:

the-fight-for-cigarettes-of-choice

People just don’t get punched in the eye for humor the way they used to, you know?

AAAAUUUUGGGHH.jpg

**Variants from interwebs:

Us Florida Alligators would rather Bite than Switch - Fun in Florida

Us Florida Alligators Would Rather Bite Than Switch

This woman’s presentation pose is weird but the Hat is Inexplicable

***Referent Betty Page postcards:

wow-we-alligators-do-have-fun-in-floridawow-we-alligators-do-have-fun-in-louisianawow-we-alligators-do-have-fun-in-new-orleans

****Bonus Saucy Wow! Variant:

Wow! Saucy Variant.jpg

*****Bonus Alligator-Biting-Butt Card that looks terrifyingly realistic

5505b636efbf4_84511b

******Lest you worry, here’s how it all turns out in the sequel:

beauty-and-the-beast

 

Autosarcophaghy Fig. 372: Formal Frog offers his Smoked Legs

Paraplegic Frog

Business Proposition #63,923 THE FAMILY TUB RESTAURANT

Family Tub

Where the whole family exults in all-you-can-eat Tub-Style corn, meats and fixins!

Families are seated at- or, possibly, in, “FAMILY TUBBLES”(registered trademark pending): essentially a washtub on a center post. 

Frenetic character-based staff dash around in internationally-themed outfits carrying buckets of processed foods designed for easy slopping from buckets into the FAMILY TUBBLE. Patrons will indicate desired buckets by waving corresponding flags, clearly labeled “Mexican, German, American, Chinese”

1. “Charmin’ Miranda” or “Muncho Villa” hurl mixed CobCorn, Burmeatos, Jalapeno Cornbreadlets, Fajeaters, etc. (registered trademarks pending)

2. “Kaiser Roll” or “Liederhosen Tartlet” toss CobCorn, Miniwursts, WeeSchnitzels, SpatzenCubes, etc. (registered trademarks pending)

3. “Uncle Samwich” or “Lady Lobster Biberty” pitch CobCorn, BBQ Scraps ‘n’ Tatters, ChickenToes, Burgerballs, etc. (registered trademarks pending)

4.  “Servin’ Samurai” or “Meow Se Tung ” throw Baby CobCorn, EggRollers, KungPowPoppers, WakkiTeriyaki, etc. (registered trademarks pending) 

Other notes:

IMPORTANT BRANDING ISSUE: CORN IS OF UTMOST IMPORTANCE. Corn offers Security, Wholesomeness and Thematic Unity. DO NOT ATTEMPT WITHOUT CORN!!!!!!!

Beverages most likely served Hose-Style.

Roll up your sleeves and trousers and tuck into to THE FAMILY TUB, for gut-buckets of face-stuffin’ fun! 

This franchise concept still available for $2,742,114.72, including tax, from von Borax Business Consulting

Autosarcophagy Fig. 8: Bon Appetit!

Autosarcophagy Fig. 7: Mr. Cheeze Biscuit in LOVE

Autosarcophagy Fig. 6: Mr. Peanut


…I took this picture of a life-size Mr. Peanut Costume in an antique shop window in Depot Town, Ypsilanti; the hollow eyes mutely attest to the moral vacuity of a nut that desires nothing so much as it’s own gormandization…

Autosarcophagy Fig. 5: Ham Heaven

Ham Heaven, in Ferndale. Out of business, now. But boy, did the pigs ever love being slaughtered and eaten at  Ham Heaven.

Autosarcophagy Fig 6: Ouroboros

Ourboros, the Snake that eats itself. 

Autosarcophagy Fig.5: the Shmoo

…I do realize that true autosarcophagy requires that you eat yourself, and I’ve wantonly expanded the category in these threads to include simple vorarephilia, but I’m really speaking to a theme, a theme of enthusiastic, fetishistic self-sacrifice.

When the Repiglicans look at you, they see a Shmoo in training.

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