Cover image for The short life & happy times of the shmoo
Title:
The short life & happy times of the shmoo
Author:
Capp, Al, 1909-1979.
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Life and times of the shmoo
Publication Information:
Woodstock, NY : Overlook Press, [2002]

©2002
Physical Description:
xvi, 143 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
General Note:
Previously published as two separate works: The life and times of the shmoo. 1948; and, The return of the shmoo. 1959.

Based on the author's comic strip: Li'l Abner.
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781585672165
Format :
Book

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PN6727.C373 C36 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
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Summary

Summary

More than fifty years ago, America was taken by storm when Al Capp introduced the Shmoo in his comic strip Li'l Abner . The adorable squash-shaped character was so popular it immediately spawned the largest merchandising craze in the nation's history. In the words of Life magazine, the nation was "Shmoo-struck." The Short Life and Happy Times of the Shmoo collects, for the first time in one volume, Capp's essential comic strips about the Shmoo. This is Al Capp and his incisive social criticism at its best.


Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Those who remember the Shmoo as the star of a short-lived 1970s animated TV series may not know its origin in two of the most acerbic and hilarious sequences ever to have appeared in an American comic strip, both of which are reprinted here in their slightly redundant entirety. As Capp presented Shmoos in a four-month run of Li'l Abner in 1948, they're the ultimate symbol of consumerism: blobby little creatures that provide entertainment and companionship, lay eggs (in cartons), give "milk, butter, an' all types o' cheese both domestic and imported," and die on the spot of sheer happiness if you look at them hungrily. Indeed, with Shmoos around and they reproduce rapidly there's scarcely a need for anyone to work or go shopping, ever again. Naturally, American business concerns aren't having it, and send out a "Shmooicide squad" to exterminate the adorable little economic threats. Capp returned to the Shmoos in 1959; by then, his jokes had become even broader, and his artwork was no longer the miracle of physical comedy it had once been, but his routine about the U.S. government presenting Shmoo-slaughter as necessary patriotism has, if anything, become more bitterly convincing with time. Li'l Abner is notoriously difficult to excerpt, and both sequences here end rather abruptly. Still, the central joke that created a Shmoo fervor the first time around that capitalism and utopianism aren't actually compatible comes across loud and clear. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

First released in 1948, this title contains all the strips from Capp's famous Li'l Abner comics dealing with the bulb-bodied character called the Shmoo. Seems silly now, but the public went bonkers for the Shmoo, and Shmoo-related paraphernalia generated a small fortune in sales. This nostalgic look back at the phenomenon includes a new introduction by Harlan Ellison. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

  One day, Li'l Abner is returning home after one of his many adventures, feeling quite happy, strangely happy ... STRANGELY -BECUZ AH HEARS MOOSIC- STRANGE MOOSIC!! HYAR COME LI'L ABNER, WIF A INT'RUSTIN' LOOK-LIKE HE MIGHT GRAB ME- AGIN MAH WILL -AN' KISS ME SAVAGELY, IN SPITE O'MAH SCREAMS O' PROTEST-AH HOPES- AH'M HELPLESS!! AH HEARS STRANGE MOOSIC- AH DON'T HEAR NOTHIN'-EXCEP' MAH HEART, BUSTIN' WIDE OPEN!! AH HEARS STRANGE MOOSIC- FUNNY THING IS, TH' NEARER AH GITS TO IT, TH' CLOSER IT SOUNDS!! A GAL? -BUT-??- SHE HAIN'T MAKIN'TH' MOOSIC. SHE'S A-STANDIN' BETWIXT ME AN' WHAREVAH TH' MOOSIC IS COMIN' FUM!! SHE'S A BIG ONE!!-FIRE IS A-FLASHIN' FUM HER EYES, AN' SHE'S A FLEXIN' HER (GULP!!) MUSCLES!! WHUT IS YO' DOIN' HYAR, LARGE GAL? AH SEES TO IT THAT TH' SHMOON DON'T COME OVER TH' MOUNT'IN!! IT'S POSITIVELY FORBIDDEN T'GO INTO "TH' VALLEY OF TH' SHMOON"!! AH POSITIVELY GOTTA GO IN THAR!! AH HEARS STRANGE MOOSIC!! AH SEEN YO' COMIN', BY TH' LIGHT O' TH' SILVERY SHMOON!! OH, THIS IS EMBARRASSIN'!! AH CAIN'T PUT UP NO FIGHT AGIN THIS SAVAGE, BLOOD-THIRSTY GAL-ON ACCOUNT AH IS A GENNULMAN, CUSS ME!! ONCE, EV'RY Y'ARS, A "OUTSIDER" STUMBLES INTO TH' VALLEY O' TH' SHMOON. NONE HAS EVAH GONE BACK-T' TELL WHUT HE SAW- TOO BAD THIS FINE, YOUNG SPECIMEN DONE HEARD TH' CALL O' TH' SHMOO-BUT-AH GOTTA GIT RID O' HIM!! EF YO' DON'T WANT HIM-TOSS HIM MAH WAY!! H-HE'S DISAPPEARED!! WHEN THEY GOES THAT WAY, LI'L GAL, THEY NEVAH COMES BACK!! FORTCHNUTLY, AH LANDED ON MAH HAID!! OH!-THET STRANGE MOOSIC!!-AH HEARS IT AGIN- LEAD ME TO IT. OLD MAN!!--OR, IS YO' A SHEEP DOG?- LE'S NOT GIT PERSONAL, SON!!-TAKE TH'ADVICE OF A OLD SHEEP DOG, AN'- DRAT YO: CHILE!! -AH MEANS, A OLD MAN -AN' TURN BACK!! AH WON'T TURN BACK!!-AH HEERD STRANGE MOOSIC, AN' AH AIMS T' SEE WHAR IT'S COMIN' FUM!!- IT'S A-COMIN' FUM TH' "SHMOOS" . O' COURSE. IN SUMMER, A YOUNG SHMOO'S FANCY LIGHTLY TURNS TO THOUGHT'S OF SHONG-I MEAN SONG , DRAT IT!! ?!!- ARE THERE SHMOOS AROUND?-MY!!-IT'S BIN ALONG TIME SINCE AH SEEN A SHMOO. IN FACT, AH NEVAH SEEN ONE!! WHUT IS A SHMOO? IT'S THE GREATEST MENACE TO MANKIND THAT'S EVER EXISTED!! HOW ABOUT WOOMIN -KIND? SHMOOS, MAH BOY-IS TH' GREATEST MANACE TO HOOMANITY TH' WORLD HAS EVER KNOWN!! THASS BECUZ THEY IS SO BAD , HUH? NO, STUPID-IT'S BECAUSE THEY'RE SO GOOD!! TAKE IT FUM ME-TH' BEST THING THAT COULD HAPPEN TO YOU -IS T' FO'GIT SHMOOS!! FO'GIT SHMOOS, YASSUH!! THE WORST THING THAT COULD HAPPEN TO YO' IS TO SEE A SHMOO!! EF THASS TH' WORST THING THET C'D HAPPEN TO ME, AH'M MIGHTY LUCKY AH NEVAH SEEN ONE!! HELLO, YO' PEE-KOOLYAR-LOOKIN' LI'L FELLA!! WHUT'S YORE NAME? YO' IS A CUTE WHAT- EVER -YO' IS!! WHAT'S YORE NAME? AH IS SO MAD , AH COULD TEAR MAH HAIR OUT-BUT AH DON'T DARE -BECAUSE THEN AH'D BE NAKED!! IS THAR ANY MORE AT HOME LIKE YO'? SHORE , STUPID- BILLIONS OF 'EM!!-WHY, THAR'S MORE SHMOOS IN TH' WORLD THAN ANYTHING!!-OH, YO' BLUNDERIN' IDIOT-YO'VE DONE IT, NOW!! ?!!-SO THAR'S BILLIONS OF SHMOOS?? O' COURSE, STUPID!! THEY'VE EXISTED HERE, IN "THE VALLEY OF THE SHMOON," SINCE TH' DAWN OF TIME!! MANKIND WAS SAFE FROM 'EM, UNTIL YO' STUCK YORE BIG NOSE INTO THIS PLACE!! AH DON'T UNNERSTAN'- THEY SEEMS SWEET ANIMULES KOOTCHY KOO!! LOOK!! IT LAID A AIG!! NATCHERLY!- THEY LAYS AIGS AT TH' SLIGHTEST EXCUSE!! THEY ALSO GIVES MILK!! -AND, AS FO' MEAT, BROILED THEY MAKES TH' FINEST STEAKS- FRIED -THEY COME OUT TH' YUMMIEST CHICKEN , AN' ALL WHITE MEAT , MIND YO'!!-AND, AS FO' UPKEEP, THERE IS NONE. THEY DON'T EAT ANYTHING!! THEN-WHY IS THEY SECH A MENACE? ?-?-SO SHMOOS NOT ONLY LAYS AIGS -BUT, THEY ALSO GIVES MILK? AN' YO' CLAIMS THEY MAKES WONDIFUL STEAKS? -YUMMMM!! OF COURSE! GO AHEAD AN' BROIL HIM!! WHEN YO' LOOKS AT A SHMOO AS THOUGH YO'D LIKE T' EAT HIM-HE DIES OF SHEER HAPPINESS!! THERE'S NO WASTE!! THE HIDE MAKES THE FINEST LEATHER-OR CLOTH, DEPENDING ON HOW THICK YOU SLICE IT! THE EYES MAKES WONDIFUL SUSPENDER BUTTONS-AND, THERE ARE ABSOLUTELY NO BONES!! GOLLY!! -WIF THESE AROUND, NOBODY WON'T NEVAH HAFTA WORK NO MORE!!-ALL HOOMANITY KIN NOW LIVE OFF TH'FAT O'TH' LAND-NAMELY SHMOOS!! OH-*SOB!*-IT'S TOO LATE!! -THE SHMOOS HAVE TAKEN A FANCY TO HIM-AS THEY WILL TO ANYONE WHO'S HALF-WAY DECENT TO `EM!! THEY'LL FOLLOW HIM, NOW-LAYING FRESH EGGS, GIVING THE FINEST CREAMERY BUTTER, AND GRADE "A" MILK-DROPPING DEAD, OUT OF SHEER JOY , WHEN ANYONE LOOKS AT `EM, HUNGRILY!! (Continues...) Excerpted from THE SHORT LIFE & HAPPY TIMES OF THE SHMOO by AL CAPP Copyright (c) 2002 by Capp Enterprises Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.