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Retro Prank Products from The Comic Books

Do you remember those ads on the back page of comic books for pranks like fake vomit, dog poo and even a shocking hand buzzer?

Then you remember the Johnson Smith Company –  and  their ads from the comic books’

Do you remember those ads on the back page of comic books for pranks like fake vomit, dog poo and even a shocking hand buzzer?

If you’re in your 40’s or older, you’ll remember the ad of that creepy guy holding his hand out in front of him while wearing some bizarre glasses. Those were the x-ray specs. One day, I had my mom order a catalog for me. Then when it came in the mail, I would daydream all day long about the products in the catalog. Today, the catalog has 1000’s of products you will not believe exist.

Those ads were from the Johnson Smith Company. In 1905 Alfred Johnson Smith, started selling his novelties and practical jokes in Australia. The company was officially founded in the U.S.A. in 1914, when Mr. Smith shipped his first package from Chicago.

Australia to Chicago was to be the first of several moves…

The Johnson Smith Company relocated to Racine, Wisconsin in 1926. Nine years later the company made a mid-depression move to Detroit, Michigan with the intention of starting a Canadian subsidiary across the Detroit River. Those plans were abandoned with the outbreak of World War II. The company remained near the Detroit riverfront for nearly 35 years, until it moved to Mt. Clemens, Michigan (a Detroit suburb) in the early 1970s.

In 1986 the company made an exciting move to Bradenton, Florida, to a specially-designed building that enables us to serve our customers with state-of-the-art technology and service!


This story is not without sociological aspects and influences. During the 1920s and 1930s, practical jokes and home hobbies provided an escape for people wracked with economic struggle brought on by WWI and the Great Depression. Their 700-page catalog provided hours of “escape,” fun and fantasy for the depressed nation, even without having to place an order! Even today Johnson Smith hears from people who remember the catalog and the “relief” it provided! Today, the Johnson Smith catalog is known as Things You Never Knew Existed…And other items you can’t POSSIBLY live without! and still brings hours of enjoyment to people across the country.

I almost forgot, remember this guy? He was, and still is the Fake Vomit Comic Book guy. You have seen him many times in the back of the comic books. Well, here he is again making the same old choking gesture in order to get you to buy that classic fake vomit.


Below is an image gallery of Johnson Smith Comic Book Ads


Tom Guard - Internet marketer, blogger and meme maker. The Daily Bragger is my oldest blog. It's brags about nothing.
October 2021