53 Responses

  1. Laurie Boris
    Laurie Boris at |

    Sea monkeys were about the stupidest thing ever! (Says someone who spent her hard-earned allowance on them.) Great list!

  2. nana
    nana at |

    the sea monkeys are brine shrimp. About 40 years ago my uncle bought a squirrel monkey thru the mail for twenty bucks. It lived about ten years. More than once he pinched my balls. {the monkey}

    1. Toby Wilkerson
      Toby Wilkerson at |

      I was worried about your uncle’s habbits before you clarified.

  3. Joe
    Joe at |

    I clearly remember an ad for a flying disc that seemingly could transport you around the neighborhood with ease. I guess it cost too much, because I never bought it, but as a kid I saw no reason why it wouldn't actually work as advertised.

  4. duderino
    duderino at |

    The guy who invented Sea Monkeys and X-Ray Specs was a member of the KKK and Aryan Nations:

  5. Terry Pardy
    Terry Pardy at |

    Great posting, even from a UK point of view.

  6. Sirvon
    Sirvon at |

    Last year, my friend and I went to a 1st class toy shop and checked out a rack of seemingly-cool-but-actually-not sea-monkey stuffs, and the saleslady told us in a snobby manner, “It really does work, so quit observing and buy one.” Of course we didn’t believed the pug-face, but it sure is fun if we could show this article to her. LOL

  7. Barry Hetrick
    Barry Hetrick at |

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane. I actually order the Lunar Module Kit!

  8. wls
    wls at |

    ^ What did the Lunar Module Kit consist of?

  9. Riscario Insider
    Riscario Insider at |

    Wow! I'd forgotten these ads. I was trusting enough to believe them. I especially wanted the Sea-Monkeys and submarine. Luckily, my parents wouldn't let me.

    Why is it "buyer beware" rather "seller be truthful?"

  10. Old School
    Old School at |

    I used the glasses to see though girls clothes.. one girl knew what I was upto, so I hypontized her and we had sex on the beach, where I learned that I needed to be stronger to kick her boyfriends butt, and then I learned to use a machine gun to fend off all those aliens I would soon be seeing, while in space I needed to be taller so I could see out the window so I would know when my tiny dog showed up. He never did, so I went to war with my unbreakable soldiers who used cardboard subs and tanks to own the interwebs.

    I left out the sea monkeys cause even I had them as a kid. The other stuff never did.. even though I was always tempted to get the soldiers.

    1. Johnny
      Johnny at |

      I love crackpots like you!

    2. ParusMajor
      ParusMajor at |


  11. John
    John at |

    Now, you absolutely have to add to this list the best of all, the squirrel monkey you could have for only 20 bucks that came from Hialeah florida. It was listed in Marvel comics and some of the others.I so wanted one but was never allowed to place an order – my mom didn't want a monkey in the house 'cause she said she had one already and that was enough.

  12. apples
    apples at |

    great list! i remember one for a specific bicycle, the slogan was 'Looks like it's moving, even when it's standing still'. i was amazed and wanted to see such a feat so badly! the things that comics got away with 🙂 what about those betty crocker easy bake ovens? did those ever work?

    1. Douglas
      Douglas at |

      Yes, the Easy Bake ovens worked. The heat source was a light bulb and it would bake small treats. My sisters had them and my wife says she had one as a child. We call our convection oven “the Easy Bake” because it’s small and sits on the counter. I like it because it doesn’t heat up the kitchen like the big oven.

  13. Kennypo65
    Kennypo65 at |

    I have sea monkeys to this day. I hatch them and feed them to my aquarium fish, cheaper than commercial fish food.

    1. Ed Y
      Ed Y at |

      OMG, Sea-Monkey Armageddon!

      I can the scenario now:

      Susie Sea-Monkey: Mommy! They killed Bobby and Daddy! What do we do?

      Mommy Sea-Monkey: Pray Susie, pray…

  14. MatthewZD
    MatthewZD at |

    It was interesting seeing the old ads when I was sorting through some old comics a few months ago. One of the more interesting ones was for Daisy BB guns, featuring Johnny Unitas and how they helped teach his sons responsibility. Wow, a dad spending time with his kid teaching them responsibility with a weapon. What a concept.

    Another couple of ads are a little weird in light of more recent history. Ads for shoes featuring OJ Simpson. And no, they weren’t for Bruno Maglis — that would have been TOO weird.

  15. Kamandi
    Kamandi at |

    In the new Creepy and Eerie archive books, they’ve reprinted some of the original 1960’s ads, including an ad for a “live monkey” by mail. “You can be the happiest boy on your block with your own live baby squirrel monkey…Dress it in cute costumes and put on shows. You and your monkey can be real pals….Live delivery guaranteed!” It’s hard to believe that this kind of service was once legal…

  16. Ed Y
    Ed Y at |

    I either ordered each of these or really wanted to (I couldn’t afford the sub, but I REALLY wanted it – heck, who wouldn’t want a Polaris sub that fires rockets and torpedos in their bedroom?).

    The army men… I ordered the version that came “in a footlocker” (a cardboard mini-shoebox). there were a hundred or whatever they advertised, but they never told me that they were flat, 2 dimensional soldiers made from hard shiny plastic and had a base that barely held them up.

    Joy-buzzers, x-ray specs, life size movie monsters… all of these were part of the magic that made up the fabric of my imagination via comic books. God I wanted that hover-craft…

  17. Gorbachenko
    Gorbachenko at |

    I bought the sea monkeys AND the WWII soldiers as a kid. The sea monkeys were, in fact, microscopic; and the soldiers were not only very brittle plastic (like cocktail “swords”), but they were virtually one dimensional. They were about as wide as a McDonald’s french fry and as thick as a credit card. All 200 soldiers came in a box not too much bigger than an Irish Spring soap box. I also bought the Revolutionary War soldiers and actually played with them. They were made of real live army man plastic, but their “catch” was that they were tiny. They probably could have used a Monopoly hotel for a bivouac tent…

  18. Microdot
    Microdot at |

    I actually bought the knights and castle playset and the navy playset with the ocean and two hundred piece navy’s Think i still have the navy set. The knights castle was a sheet of plastic about a foot by a foot. It did have firing catapults and rolling battering rams and opening gates and drawbridges. Bought them in the early sixties. The knights were 3d and better made than some of the newer army men, Lots of fun to play with. I am 55 now brought back lots of memories. Always wanted a tank; even wrote them a letter asking for pictures. Was a cynic way back then.

  19. Moby Dick
    Moby Dick at |

    Charles Atlas’ “Dynamic Tension” worked then and every variation of the same idea continues to work to this day.

  20. Scott
    Scott at |

    Thanks for the memories. I came here looking for the sub ad so I could show my daughter something from my youth. When I was a kid I wanted it desperately and was convinced it was real and that I could even voyage in the local lake. Of course mom knew better and always stood frirm against my repeated pleadings.

    Well done

  21. Heather
    Heather at |

    Speaking of stuff like those plastic soldiers, there were also those “100 dolls for $1.00”. Thinking you would get a bunch of cool dolls, what you got were these two-inch tall pepto-colored abominations that were plastic like the soldiers. There were different kinds of characters, but the fun level was about -1. Did I mention to tell you that there were actually only 75 of them? Not that that mattered anyway, due to the overall cr*ppiness of these dolls.

  22. Stuart
    Stuart at |

    What a fantastic list. I used to pour through these when I was little. I was never allowed to get any though as I live in the UK. I think my Mum used that as a convenient excuse!

  23. Zane
    Zane at |

    I actually got the lunar module and joined the science club. They mailed small books every month covering some aspect of science AND included a small paper holder to put the books on the shelf. Found a set not long ago in a used book store. Actually not a bad thing (compared to the other scams identified here)

  24. Jonathan Reiter
    Jonathan Reiter at |

    I fell for exactly NONE of those scams… I wonder why they’re allowed in Comic Books, since the Comics Code Authority is supposed to keep that from being put there./

  25. ParusMajor
    ParusMajor at |

    Is this an old list? Some of the comments are from 2009? Funny, though.

  26. Johnny Canuck
    Johnny Canuck at |

    Yes some of these items were scams but many were simple things that children of that day and age had imagination and simplicity and could play with cardboard and simple plastic toys. Today kids need to have a 3d gameboy or PS3 or Xbox. I can remember playing with cardboard boxes as forts and wooden spoons and sticks for guns. Me and my friends played for hours. On another note, millions were made for the inventors of Pet Rocks and Chia Pets….

    1. Douglas
      Douglas at |

      Absolutely Johnny. Same here. We would get a wooden spoon or a bent stick and use it as a gun or rifle. We enjoyed ourselves outside and our muscles didn’t atrophy and eyesight didn’t go bad sitting at a computer screen filling our heads with evil because parents don’t care to screen or filter the internet in their houses.

      And about the Charles Atlas ad. Yes, they were selling a cheap rubber exercise thingy but it wasn’t a scam. Of course, to look like Charles, you would have to do many more exercises and lift weights but it wasn’t exactly a scam. It’s the fault of lazy people that wanted the non-existent shortcut way to he man status if they didn’t get beefed up like they wanted. And as for dealing with bullies, yes the way to take care of a bully is to sock him in the nose. One of two things would happen. They would leave you alone after that or you would become friends and he would learn not to be a bully. More often than not, it would be the former. This sissifying of American boys is a mistake. We don’t need cops to take care of most disputes. Just deal with them like a man and move on.

  27. Annie
    Annie at |

    Great list. I had fun reading it, though I never got nor read any of the ads. I live outside the U.S. so I couldn’t order any of products. When I was younger, i always thought that these crazy ads were some sort of joke. Anyway, i had fun reading them.

  28. Dennis
    Dennis at |

    Moby is correct. At some point in the 70’s the Air Force announced, with great fanfare, that they had developed a NEW way to exercise they called “isometrics”. Those of us raised in the 1950’s knew it was NOT new. It was the same thing Charles Atlas called “Dynamic Tension” which is muscle contraction or working one musle against another or a stationary object and it was very effective if the exercise directions were followed. What’s the old adage? “There’s really nothing new under the sun.”

  29. KKK
    KKK at |

    i found this list in a different site(or was it here). Lol..still makes me laugh.

  30. DougK
    DougK at |

    Wow, what a nostalgia trip! This really takes me back! I never did get those weird Sea Monkeys, but I always wondered about them. Gotta stick up for the lunar module–when we first walked on the moon, I had the greatest time putting that cardboard gem together and playing with it.

    And does anyone remember the Nixon “I’m not a crook” wristwatch? The face showed a cartoon-pic of old Dick scowling, and underneath it the caption “Nixon says ‘I’M NOT A CROOK.’ The cool part was that his eyes shifted back and forth as the watch ticked. Did anybody ever get one of those? Or was that a scam, too?

    Oh, the outrageous ads. I miss those days!!!

  31. Mike
    Mike at |

    Ha ha, I was a kid who bought lots of comics back in the ’60s and I remember most of these ads very well. My brother and I even bought a couple of things via mail order. He bought the sea-monkeys, which were actually little shrimp-like sea creatures that lived in brine. A neighbor kid bought the “unbreakable” toy soldiers, and they were thin, flat figures that were short compared to “real” plastic toy soldiers, and the mail-order soldiers broke so easily. I also remember asking my dad about the “real” tank until he assured me it was just made of cardboard. Oh, I also bought the Apollo lunar lander mini-diorama and, yes, I got it for just a dime. But I knew it was a plastic model that you assembled and painted. It was well-made and I actually still have it packed away in a box. That book company occasionally offered other space models too, i.e. Mercury and Gemini capsules, and I bought those also for only a dime each. What I would do is mail in my cancellation of the science books right after I got the model, and would then sign up again a year or so later when they had a new model. They never complained about my multiple subscriptions and cancellations, ha ha. The one thing our dad never let us order was the live monkey in a teacup for $19.95, the ad for which I don’t see here. They were little marmoset monkeys and, yes, they were real. My dad said, “that thing will poop all over the place and make a mess. I don’t want that thing in our house, inside or out!” He was right, because we ran into a family once that had one, and it was a lot of work taking care of that little creature.

  32. louisvuittonshoulderba
    louisvuittonshoulderba at |

    Wow! This is a great post and this is so true

  33. LoLo
    LoLo at |

    I would add the tapeworm pill for weight loss.

  34. Calvin
    Calvin at |

    Does anyone but me remember an ad in the comic books and adventure mags
    of the 50`s about an underground civilization in Anarctica? If so could you
    e-mail me info or a picture of the ad. It would be great if any one could.

  35. Calvin
    Calvin at |

    A post script to my previous comment,if you have any info
    or picture of the ad e-mail me at [email protected].

  36. Carole Saylor
    Carole Saylor at |

    This might be the place to ask this question. Does anyone remember seeing an ad in the back of a comic book, sorry I can’t remember which one as I read a lot, that had a picture of the Vitruvian Man, the man standing with multiple arms and legs, and it was an advertisement for the Illuminati. I wanted to answer the ad but there was something about it that felt somewhat weird. I remember that so distinctly but don’t know anyone else to ask as most of my friends didn’t read comics. Those poor unfortunate children. 🙂
    Thanks so much, Carole

  37. Michael
    Michael at |

    Oh, do I remember these! My friend and I were especially anxious to get our “fully functional” submarine… we could just imagine the fun of taking it out in the pool, then graduating to lakes, then launching it into the ocean right from the beach! We just KNEW we’d be the “envy of the neighborhood” cruising around in this beauty! And we sure couldn’t understand why our parents just laughed when we asked them for the $6.98 (plus a whopping 75 cents for shipping). Funny (considering all the comic books I read) I don’t ever recall seeing the “giant tank” ad — since as a kid I always loved tanks best, I would have been salivating for THAT one!

  38. DyNama, Ohio
    DyNama, Ohio at |

    I never fell for any of these, I bought the “throw your voice” gadget. if at summer camp, you ever put a leaf in your mouth and made squawking noises by blowing thru it, that’s what the “throw your voice” gadget was like. I probably never bothered to read the instructions, if any. Disappointment kept me from buying the x-ray specs.

  39. Nathan Forester
    Nathan Forester at |

    I recall that Jay Leno has a story about monkey in a teacup, I remember him saying that he owned one as a kid and it was this little naked hairless creature running around.


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