Remember the Shmoo? It started one of the biggest assortment of collectibles in the 20th century. The animal was first seen in a L'il Abner comic strip in August 1946, and it became a sensation. Al Capp, the artist, had invented an animal that laid eggs and glass bottles of milk, tasted like whatever you liked to eat and purposely died when someone seemed hungry. Its button eyes made terrific suspender buttons, and its skin could be used for leather or lumber. They gave rides, played with children and were so amusing people stopped watching television. They multiplied quickly so there was always a good supply, and they needed no food, just air. A Shmoo was shaped like a large upside-down comma with feet, but had no ears, arms or noses. The Shmoo became a collecting sensation in the 1940s and '50s. There were dolls, toys, planters, sheet music, wallpaper, clothing, books, jewelry, clocks, salt-and-pepper sets, banks and even air fresheners and earmuffs. All are collected today. But while they were lovable and wanted only to bring happiness, Shmoon (the plural of Shmoo) brought misery to the comic-strip people of Dogpatch. Because there was no need to work, society changed. Grocery and meat stores closed, and the owners organized squads to kill the Shmoon until they were thought to be extinct. But they managed to come back in later comic strips. And collectors search for them today.