joke: Silver Shamrock loses big in class-action lawsuit
Santa Mira, Ca.
|Silver Shamrock CEO
Conal Cochran in more
It appears the joke is on Silver Shamrock
CEO Conal Cochran as millions of parents have the last laugh in
a multi-billion dollar class- action lawsuit. The lawsuit awarded
yesterday stems from an October 31, 1982 incident in which the heads
of millions of children across the nation wearing Silver Shamrock
masks simultaneously exploded into showers of insects and snakes
during a broadcast of Silver Shamrock’s annual television
At a press conference in Santa Mira yesterday, Silver Shamrock attorney
Gavan O’Malley released a statement condemning the decision
and vowing to appeal. “We at Silver Shamrock categorically
deny and rebuke these charges and are steadfast in our assertion
that there is nothing dangerous whatsoever in our product line.
Further, we wish to assure the public that Silver Shamrock remains
committed to providing the finest selection in the Gee-Gaw industry.
From the hilarious Dead Dwarf gag, to our classic Sticky toilet
paper, we at Silver Shamrock stand by our mirthful products.”
Cochran’s representative declined further comment on the matter,
citing proprietary information exclusive to Silver Shamrock Novelties,
as well as what he called “a few trade secrets,” adding
a mischievous wink.
Marv Tack, attorney for the parents in the tragic case, was no less
indignant in his rebuttal to Mr. O’Malley’s comments,
calling the incident, “A gross abomination… a travesty.
Here you have a company that has aggressively targeted minors with
characters specifically designed to appeal to (children) and then,
when Halloween night rolls around, suddenly the heads of millions
of kids disintegrate into a mass of writhing snakes and bugs. Not
only have (Silver Shamrock Novelties) failed in their duty to protect
our most valuable asset—our children—they’ve betrayed
our consumer trust.”
Indeed, the products in question were nothing if not ubiquitous
in the months leading up to Halloween 1982. As children across America
clamored for the prized masks, many stores struggled to keep them
in stock. An all out multi-level marketing campaign on the part
of Silver Shamrock only served to fuel the frenzy and to heighten
the “gotta have it” factor that is becoming so pervasive
in modern marketing. Market analysis of third quarter sales among
the nation’s pre-teens and adolescents suggest that nearly
9/10 of the nation’s 63.7 million youngsters purchased the
masks. If anything, perhaps the Silver Shamrock phenomenon of ’82
can be interpreted as a cautionary tale to the dangers of mass-conformity.
|While the mass-market
success achieved by Silver Shamrock’s “Big 3” may
be traced in no small part to Cochran’s intrepid marketing skills,
Tack and the millions of parents he represents see this as a clear
case of "overkill."
“Hey, I grew up with Silver Shamrock too,” says Jack Fry,
48, of Park Ridge, IL. a plaintiff in the suit. “I had the Soft
Chainsaw and all the other stuff just like any other kid at the time.
So when my youngest son Brian came home with a Silver Shamrock mask
last September I didn’t think much of it.” Teary eyed,
Fry adds, “But now Brian is dead, my house is infested with
crickets, and I suffer partial paralysis after I got bit by the rattle
snake that crawled out of my son’s eye sockets.”
Attempts to reach Conal Cochran have proven fruitless since the devastating
fire that destroyed Silver Shamrock’s headquarters on Halloween
night 1982. And while authorities strongly suspect arson as the cause,
no arrests have been made and Silver Shamrock representatives remain
mum on the subject. So just who is Cochran anyway?
Born in 1918,the eldest of 13 children and the son of Irish immigrant
parents, Cochran overcame a hardscrabble childhood in New York’s
storied Hell’s Kitchen where early on he displayed an innate
marketing savvy, a keen wit and the propensity for a good practical
joke. Later in life Cochran would often reflect bitterly upon these
years, more than once demonstrating an aversion to “Begging
In 1945 at the age of 27, he established Silver Shamrock Novelties
and with the advent of his trademark sticky toilet paper, quickly
rose to the ranks of the practical joking vanguard. At the end of
World War II and by now a self-made millionaire, the young Irishman
hailing from Hell’s kitchen relocated to Santa Mira, California,
a small farming community on California’s remote northern coast.
His business prospered and as Silver Shamrock flourished, Cochran
was seen by most as a pillar in the community. Still, some long time
residents of Santa Mira expressed dissatisfaction with his hiring
practices. Cochran it seems employed only hand picked men and women
from outside Santa Mira to attend to the operations at Silver Shamrock.
While the future of Silver Shamrock Novelties remains uncertain in
light of current litigation and the previously mentioned fire, Cochran
remains characteristically enigmatic. On top of all this, current
trends forecast a diminishing market share for Cochran and his once
powerful brand. Tried and true formulas that paved the way for Silver
Shamrock’s success in the more simple 60’s and 70’s,
may not prove as effective with today’s more savvy “Pac
Man” generation, if for no other reason than the fact that most
of this generation was wiped out in last Halloween’s hijinx.
Minnie Blankenship, a lifetime Humboldt County resident and former
Grandmother of nine has already seen a switch saying, “This
Christmas all my two remaining grandkids want are Cabbage dolls and
an Atari 5200.”
Welcome to Watch the Magic Pumpkin! We're happier than a werewolf in a girls dormitory here at WTMP, and we can't wait to finish what Teen People Magazine calls "The most exciting new Halloween III themed site on the whole Internet!"
Check out the periodicals section as all entries have been hyperlinked to the actual articles. Study hard while the rest of the site goes through Final Processing... there will be a test, nerd.
Also, check our links page, as we've added a couple more links. As always, if we've forgotten anyone, please email us.
Above you'll see a photo of Whiteout taken in Front of Silver Shamrock Novelties in Santa Mira, Ca. Look for the results of that drunken odyssey/ fact-finding mission to be posted soon.
And of course we keep promising to post our extensive collection of HIII ephemera. In time... In time.
In the words of Big-Bad Dr. Dan: "I gotta go."
Welcome to Watch The Magic Pumpkin. We're sorry if any of you who have written may have thought we simply "died on the vine." This is not the case. We were experiencing some "web design problems" and have since gotten to bottom of it and promise to provide you, the reader, with the most concise and up-to-the-minute Halloween III information available. Let's all thank Bryan Katzel for his masterful WTMP logo design. "Thanks Bryan." Take a look around the site as some of it has been corrected to better reflect our tireless attention to detail. Perfection may not be achieved in a day, but again, we promise this is a priority. Look for our collection to be posted soon, as will hyperlinks to every sited periodical in the archives. WTMP is the culmination of a life-long obsession and as such, at times it may be a little... "unsettling." We'd also like to thank all of you who have written in recent weeks with words of encouragement and just generally good-natured correspondence.
That said, while mumbling, drug-addled, ego-maniacal glory whores and Bobby Darin pincushions like Hunter Thompson and Sandra Dee have been endlessly lamented in recent weeks, few news outlets paused to eulogize Halloween III great Dan O'Herlihy, who passed away on February 20th. While O'Herlihy's publicist was reticent about reporting the facts surrounding his passing, eternally-in-the-know Halloween Maven Sean Clark effectively paid tribute to the man with this article. And today we hear that Debra Hill has passed on as well. Shoot, we lost another one. They join Ralph Strait in that big mask factory in the sky. God bless.
One time only non- Halloween III related news:
While reports of his demise are greatly exaggerated, a big WTMP "get well" is nonetheless in order for Christopher J. "Crash" Musatto. Chris was involved in a nasty head-on collision on his way to work the morning of Wednesday, March 2nd. Chris is resting comfortably and as of March 9th, is actually out of intensive care. And while we don't like to talk "Rock" here at WTMP, we all look forward to Chris' full recovery and eventual return to the stage as front man for the Rock/ Roll combo The Repulsators. Get well Chris, we love you very much. But no more back flips until you are fully mended.
Pictured: Whiteout and Musatto, Summer, 2001.
Soon - Welcome to Loleta