December 23, 2003 by

Harold von Braunhut


Categories: Business

Harold Nathan Braunhut, the creator of Amazing Sea Monkeys, died on Nov. 28. Cause of death was not released. He was 77.
Von Braunhut, who lived in New York City for most of his life, specialized in creating quirky inventions and marketing them to children. He built a mail order empire selling X-Ray Spex, Crazy Crabs and Amazing Hair-Raising Monsters by advertising in comic books.
Of the 195 patents he held, von Braunhut was best known for his Sea Monkeys — tiny, brine shrimp that would come to life when water was added. Over the past 43 years, he sold billions of the creatures. In the early ’90s, CBS aired a Sea Monkeys sitcom, and 400 million went into space with John Glenn in 1998.

3 Responses to Harold von Braunhut

  1. stan carlisle

    I was a young sailin’ lad when I first met Harold
    von Braunhut. It was in a tavern on the Gold Coast of California. He was tippin’ lime and tonic, and I had several double shots of Glenfiddich lined up on the bar, and he got to talking about these strange little critters he called “sea-monkies”. It seems he had heard some legends about them, such as they being the first sentient creatures on the planet, being immortal, able to hibernate in a dehydrated state for eons and eons, and that they were also the first actual civilized culture and all. I would’ve thought him drunk, but he wasn’t drinking liquor.
    Anyway, he was a very engaging, if eccentric fellow, and he talked me into embarking upon a quest for the amazing little creatures. It took us around the world, across the 7 & 7 seas, and we found many exciting and strange things, but no sea monkies, not a one! Well, we made it back to New York, and spent our last few dollars on an old jalopy, and were limping back to California, when we picked up a bedraggled old desert rat, and one thing leading to another, he swore up and down that the mighty sea monkey had an incredible empire in the Salton Sea! So we detoured to the Salton Sea, and soon found a little old lady who dried up the critters (much to Harold’s initial distress) and sold them cheaply to tourists who were instructed to add water to them at home and enjoy their frolicking about in the comfort of their own homes. She calmed Harold down, explaining that these creatures were simply brine shrimp, and had an IQ barely higher than a rock.
    Well, Harold was a businessman as well as an adventurer, and the rest is history, though I never made a penny from assisting him in his quest. I would like to lay claim to some compensation if any surviving party is out there listening. I don’t ask for much, in fact, I would just settle for some personal item of Harold’s, and a few thousand in cash. The truth is, I greatly admired and loved the man, and always believed that it was mere oversight and not niggardliness that caused him not to look me up and compensate me after his good fortune. If any reader out there has contact with his estate, please forward my request, and adress all replies to Thank You, and God Bless.

  2. SUzanne Nielsen

    Not certain this is a tribute, but don’t want to make a judgement either without further information. In the startribune today it was mentioned that Mr. von Braunhut was a white supremacist. This information camaflages how I wee the world of child fantasy and invention. If someone knows more about this, would you please email me and tell. sincerely,
    suzanne nielsen

  3. S. Clark

    If you click through some of the links in the above obit, you’ll find a few mentions of his alleged racism. Nothing conclusive, though. Unfortunately, he’s not here to debate such slander.

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