As a kid I was obsessed by Richie Rich comics.
I wanted to be Richie Rich.
However, things didn’t quite work out. It turns out my parents were not ultra-rich Americans, but more of your working class British types. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
But whilst the tales of Richie Rich were amazing and interesting, what always fascinated me were the advertisements.
Let us start with Sea Monkeys.
Those wild naked royal creatures that swam in your fish tank leading a leisurely life performing tricks and generally having a great time.
Imagine my surprise when I actually bought some and found out that in real life they are near microscopic dots (brine shrimp I believe).
An early introduction to truth in advertising.
And don’t even get me started on Grit.
I actually thought this was some kind of food substance to sell to other kids.
Apparently it was something else entirely, like some kind of family newspaper (now that I read the fine print). I love the conclusions you can draw as a kid and lock in as facts. I see this with my boys today.
Maybe it was the slightly tubby looking kid that led me to the wrong conclusion.
Johnson Smith Co
But lastly, and certainly not leastly, was the many delights available from Johnson Smith Co.
I was obsessed with the idea of the Pocket Pen Radio, the Midget Spy Camera, the Hypnosis Record, and of course the X‑Ray specs.
My wife would refer to all of the items on this page as “junk”. And maybe she’s right.
But I still get the same butterflies when I look at the pictures and read the descriptions.
Or maybe I just accidentally sat on my electric shock pen.