Box Vox

packaging as content

October 1, 2009

More Shmoo Packaging

ShmooCandyBox

ShmooCards

A 1950s Shmoos fruit flavored hard candies box with 5 unseparated “fortune” cards from Hakes.com

As long as we’re talking about licensed Shmoo merchandise and its packaging, here’s more of it. The merchandising of Shmoo products in the late 1940s to early 1950s was a wildly successful example of character licensing. Presumably, the designers of these packs didn’t have the rigid style guides that we follow for licensed packaging today. The branding of Shmoo products was a lot more diverse and all over the map, as compared to, say, Sponge Bob products. To the extent that these products do match, stylistically, I reckon it is mainly due to Al Capp, himself, having final approval over the artwork.

PencilWhistle

1950 Pencil-shaped pencil-box/whistle with Shmoo branded pencils from from Hakes.com

(More Shmoo packaging, after the fold…)

ShmooSoap

1948 Shmoo Soap with box lid from from Hakes.com

Shmoo-Spenders

Diecut Shmoo suspenders cards from from Hakes.com

“Shmoo-spenders” was a badly coined word meant to refer, not to money-spending, but to suspenders. They also sold Shmoo belts. The sell sheet appears below.

Sell-Sheet

ShmooClock

1948 Shmoo Clock with box and diecut insert tray from Hakes.com

ShmooBank

1948 Shmoo bank with moneybag-shaped card

Shmoostuff

Photo of Shmoo merchandise collection from Denis Kitchen

Given that the Shmoos embody a consumer’s dream of endless largess—(they lay cartons of eggs and quart bottles of milk, after all)—it’s perhaps not surprising that they should have given rise to so much packaged merchandise. 

BigShmooNoseCone

Shmoo nose cone art on a B-29 bomber from B-29s in the Korean War Nose Art

Pappy & Sid with Schmoo

Shmoos also played a role in operation “Little Vittles” (See: Candy Bomber) In this case, inflatable shmoos, themselves, served as the packaging, in that they contained candy.

During the Soviet Union’s blockade of West Berlin, Germany in 1948, candy-filled shmoos were air-dropped to hungry West Berliners from transport planes by America’s 17th Military Airport Squadron. The commanders of the Berlin airlift had cabled Capp, requesting the inflatable shmoos as part of Operation: Little Vittles. “When the candy-chocked shmoos were dropped, a near-riot resulted….”

(Reported in Newsweek – October 11, 1948)

Randy Ludacer
Beach Packaging Design