Friday, September 21, 2007
The Mysterious Pet Monkey Ads of the 1960s.
When I was kid growing up in the Bronx I used to get a magazine called "Boy's Life" the official publication of the Boy Scouts of America. Back in those days there used to be an advertisement in the back section that caught my attention: you used to be able to order live squirrel monkeys via the post. These little fellows would get tossed into a box with an apple and some monkey chow, sent through the mail system, and somehow arrive at your doorstep alive, and presumably, happy to see you. "Live Delivery Guaranteed!" Of course, every ten year old in the Bronx wanted one, myself included, but I have never met anybody who actually owned one of these pet monkeys. At that time, $18.95 was considered a lot of money. But still - I have never met anybody who actually ordered a monkey from the Boy Scout magazine. Now, Monkeys are about the worst pets one can own - apart from the cruelty of owning primates as pets, squirrel monkeys are social animals who need to live in groups, not to mention that they wash themselves in their own urine. But of course, when you are ten, you don't worry about these things. In those days, advertising aimed at ten year old boys was direct and effective...Yes! Yes! We all want pet baby raccoons! And by some mysterious power, no parent alive on the face of the earth ever allowed any of us to get one. Thus we were denied the valuable experince of watching our pet baby raccoons grow up to be vicious, wild, rabies carrying monsters with no experience of domestication at all. I was talking about these pet ads with some buddies of mine the other day... and nobody knew of anybody who ever actually got one. Now, there are a lot of strange folks in the world who like to own monkeys and raccoons and such as pets... but even in those unenlightened days it was considered a dark rarity. But it doesn't end there... did anybody actually ever order one of these:Damn. Your own Polaris Nuclear submarine. With a 10 day free trial! Who wouldn't want one of these. I could have sailed down the East River and wiped Brooklyn off the map with one of these. In any case... I'm doing a concert in Transylvania, be back next week.