Tuesday, October 6, 2009

X-Ray Spex and the Aryan Nation

I heard a stint on the radio yesterday, that really made me smile, and freightened me too. It was about X ray glasses, sea monkeys, and their inventor. My generation was on the tail end of novelty toys, sadly, but I did dabble in the fine art of using trick ink and cultivating a farm of Amazing Hair Raising Monsters.

Back in the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s, kids clamored for comic books. The advertisements in in the comic books were targeted directly at the heart of every kid’s fantasy world of alternate universes, crime solving and prank pulling. One of the inventors of such novelty toys, had 195 patents, was a marketing genius, and a bigot. (yuk!)

Harold von Braunhut was Jewish, and evidently supported the Aryan Nation by purchasing fire arms for the Ku Klux Klan, and speaking at Aryan Conferences. He was quoted as saying, "Hitler wasn't a bad guy. He just received bad press." He died on November 28, 2003 at the age of 77, after an accidental fall. By the way, November 28th, is the day that I am to be wed this year!

von Braunhut invented Sea Monkeys, Amazing Hair raising Monsters, Invisible Goldfish and X-Ray Spex. Let’s break this down.

Everyone knows what Sea Monkeys are. The ad pitch looked like this:

image from www.wishlistnuwp/content.com

And you got this…. in a plastic tank

image from: www.regals.net

They were simply Brine Shrimp. Imagine if this guy had to pitch a High School Biology class to children?! They are supposedly “Sea Monkeys” because they are
1. in water
2. Have Tails
3. Are playful like a primate.....?

The secret formula for the revival of the “Sea Monkeys” was kept secret by the inventor and his wife.

Another product “invented” by von Braunhut was the Invisible Goldfish:
Come on! Only a child with a piggy bank burning a hole would actually go for this. The funny part about this one is that it was guaranteed!!!!

X Ray Spex:
The Ad should have said, “For the Pervert in all of us”, but instead was “see the bones in your hand and see through clothes.”

These were nothing more than a cheap pair of plastic glasses with cardboard lenses with a hole. In each hole, there was a feather, and it refracted images and gave the illusion of an X- ray. If a kid would have broken this down for a moment, they could have saved their money for the Johnny Bench rookie card. We are all required to put on ironclad suits to get an X-ray at the hospital because the rays are so dangerous. Adults didn’t have any type of X-ray glasses, and in hind sight, $1.25 wouldn’t have covered the cost per pair.

Now, a kid doesn’t think about this, especially one with raging hormones. This product was going to change his/her (most likely his) life. Now, he can see what are behind closed doors, and learn of the inner workings of a woman and her bra. He’d be a man. He’d know only what adults did, and at such a young age! Well, I guess some of that statement is true. He’d learn the very adult disappointments of life, and that not everything is what it seems at all.

Image from: www.3dstereo.com

So, what have we learned today? As children, our parents mowed grass, had a paper route and took out the trash in order to secretly buy gimmicks that would transform their lives. Instead, a piece of junk arrived and their money went straight to the munitions of white supremacists, or so it is alleged.

For more information about von Braunhut’s life, go to:http://www.splcenter.org/intel/intelreport/article.jsp?aid=390


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  2. my mother's washing machine's information packet says it has "an invisible agitator." she's mystified at how this left the print office as invisibility is not real. we agree it should say something like, "machine's washing method reproduces agitation without physical agitator."

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