This is an original 1950s Shmoo pin. It's a brass figural that measures 1 by 1 1/2 inches. The back has a secure rollover clasp. A bit of age-related tarnish on the back but from the front and overall, this little Shmoo is golden. And if you've never heard of a Shmoo, here's the story of this lovable little critter.
The Shmoo is a fictional cartoon creature created by Al Capp. The character first appeared in the Li'l Abner comic strip on August 31, 1948.
A Shmoo is shaped like a plump bowling pin with stubby legs. It has smooth skin, eyebrows and sparse whiskers—but no arms, nose or ears. Its feet are short and round but dextrous, as the Shmoo's comic book adventures make clear. The Shmoo has a rich gamut of facial expressions and often expresses love by exuding hearts over its head. Cartoonist Al Capp offered his version of the origin of the Shmoo in a wryly satirical article, "I Don't Like Shmoos", in Cosmopolitan (June 1949):
"I was driving from New York City to my farm in New Hampshire. The top of my car was down, and on either side of me I could see the lush and lovely New England countryside... It was the good earth at its generous summertime best, offering gifts to all. And the thought that came to me was this: Here we have this great and good and generous thing—the Earth. It's eager to give us everything we need. All we have to do is just let it alone, just be happy with it.
Cartoonists don't think like people. They think in pictures. Little pictures that will fit into a comic strip. And so, in my mind, I reduced the Earth... down to the size of a small critter that would fit into the Li'l Abner strip—and it came out a Shmoo... I didn't have any message—except that it's good to be alive. The Shmoo didn't have any social significance; it is simply a juicy li'l critter that gives milk and lays eggs... When you look at one as though you'd like to eat it, it dies of sheer ecstasy. And if one really loves you, it'll lay you a cheesecake—although this is quite a strain on its li'l innards..."
The story of the Shmoo's origin created quite a stir as the Shmoo was seen as a symbol of everything from free enterprise to enlightenment to a boon to mankind. The story has social, ethical and philosophical implications that continue to invite analysis to this day. During the remainder of his life, Capp was seldom interviewed without reference to the nature of the Shmoo story.
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