Another fishing lure. The Shmoo Plug-Bait. (All photos from Fishing for History)
We’ve alluded to shmoos here at least once before, and we will again. As a creature “who loved to be eaten by humans and tasted like any food desired” Al Capp’s shmoo would seem to be the model for guilt-free consumption. (The product wants to be consumed.) As for the Shmoo fishing lure:
In upstate New York, Richard Balch, director of one of the largest tackle manufacturers in the country, got caught up in Shmoomania like everyone else. Unlike most, however, Balch had an idea, and that idea would morph into one of the neatest fishing lures of the post-World War II era: The Shmoo…
The Shmoo bait was a neat idea. Clearly, like all Shmoo products, H-I paid a royalty for use of the L’il Abner figures directly to Al Capp. Capp himself was one of the pioneers of licensing and merchandising for cartoon figures. In a successful $14 million lawsuit against King Features Syndicate in 1947, he wrested control over his creations and thus benefited financially from its merchandising, unlike so many other less fortunate cartoonists.
Denis Kitchen © 2004
Shmoo (not Schmoo) Facts & Info
(Photo of Shmoo lures, after the fold…)