Tuesday, 19 April 2016

the crustacean college of sea-monkey knowledge

Author and contributor to Public Radio’s This American Life Jack Hitt, writing for the New York Times, transports us to the magical undersea kingdom of novelty toy impresario and master-marketer Harold von Braunhut, inventor of the Amazing Live Sea-Monkeys and countless other mail-order items, by visiting his widowed-bride Yolanda, former campy pictures vixen, at the Maryland estate that was built by hawking and playful humbug. Yolanda is currently fighting a breach of contract by the toy distributor that assumed control of sales (Sea-Monkeys are still doing a brisk business) for using a Chinese supplier of brine-shrimp, instead of those packaged by von Braunhut herself with a secret process that guarantees reanimation, but the comprehensive article delves into the colourful (and sometimes dark) careers and backstory that brought the interview and the interviewee together for this fascinating remembrance.