The shmoo character was a social satire for which Capp was labeled a radical, because some people thought that shmoos were socialists or were anti-capitalist. Shmoos were happy, whimsical creatures that "willingly, gleefully sacrificed themselves for the good of humanity," as Rodger Brown wrote in Southern Changes. They were delicious to eat, and every part of their blobby bodies could be used to make useful items such as leather, buttons, and toothpicks.
The shmoo craze had mostly run its course by 1950. In 1949, the U.S. Treasury Department officially designated the shmoo as its mascot for a security bond drive. Ads for shmoo novelties continued to appear in trade publications in 1950 but tapered off soon thereafter. In 1950, Atlantic Records acquired the rights to Capp's L'il Abner characters, including the shmoo, for a series of children's records that were to be composed by Leo Israel. Two years later, Atlantic was still saying that the records were forthcoming. As far as I can tell, the songs were never released.
Songs of the Shmoo – no artist (Music You Enjoy, 1948)
A shmoo can do most anything because he is a shmoo
A shmoo can be most anything that you want him to
If he's in trouble he won't cry
He knows just how to multiplyFour of these songs appeared again the following year on a 10-inch LP that was released by Allegro Records.
The Shmoo Sings – Earl Rogers (Allegro, 1949)
- The Broken Down Town of Dogpatch/A Shmoo Can Do Most Anything/The Snuggable, Huggable Shmoo//The Shmoo Doesn't Cost a Cent/The Shmoo Is Clean, The Shmoo Is Neat/Shmoo Music
|Billboard, March 12, 1949|
Rogers' versions featured backing by the anonymous "Shmoo Band," directed by Daniel Mendelsohn, who also led the Daniel Mendelsohn Orchestra. The two new cuts, "The Broken Down Town of Dogpatch" and "Shmoo Music," were instrumentals.
The record received a lukewarm review in Billboard, in which it was given a rating of 82 out of 100:
An especially attractive cover by cartoonist Al Capp, and the popularity of the L'il Abner strip, in which the Shmoo appears, should sell a lot of these sets. Most of the tunes are undistinctive, and the rendition is mediocre, altho the toy-size rural orking is very cute. One tune, 'The Shmoo Is Clean' is catchier than the rest, and drives home a good point.
"The Shmoo Song" – John Jacob Loeb and Jule Styne (1948)
A song called "The Shmoo Song" was published as sheet music in 1948, but it doesn't appear to have been recorded. It was cowritten by Jule Styne, who wrote the winter classic "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!" "The Shmoo Song" includes the following lyrics:
The shmoo is the power of jet propulsion
The laugh convulsion of Bob Hope or Shmilton Berle
The rich, foamy lather in your shampoo
Was caused by Mr. Shmoo
"The Kigmy Song" – Joe Rosenfeld and Fay Tishman (1949)
In 1979-80, the shmoo was revived in the animated children's series The New Shmoo. Hanna-Barbera packaged together The New Shmoo and The Flinstones as Fred and Barney Meet the Shmoo. Here's the theme: