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When Comic Books Wanted to Teach You to Play the Gahoon

by  in CBR Exclusives, Comics, Comic News Comment
When Comic Books Wanted to Teach You to Play the Gahoon

This is “I Saw It Advertised One Day,” a feature where I take a look at old comic book advertisements that interested me for whatever reason.

Today, we take a musical journey through comic book ads for some strange musical instruments!

In general, comic books would typically advertise just for music LESSONS. However, occasionally they would also advertise for specific musical instruments. The main one that got advertised a LOT over the years was harmonicas…

Lots of cheap, cheap harmonicas out there. Oddly enough, though, after harmonicas, probably the number one instrument that got advertised in comics was the accordion!!

At least those two instruments are, you know, ACTUAL musical instruments! In the early days of comic books, a popular ad that you would see was for a messed up harmonica that had bells on so that you ring the bells while blowing on the harmonica. Called the harmobell, it was made in Italy and it really fell off, production-wise, after that whole “World War II” thing did not end well for Italy.

Here’s a photo of an actual Harmobell from a vintage musical instrument sales place…

A Harmobell, though, while weird, is still sort of explainable – it’s a harmonica with bells attached to it. But what in the world is a GAHOON?!?!

Advertised in comics in the 1940s (Boy Commandoes #16 includes a copy of this ad), the Gahoon was basically sort of like a kazoo.

Here is a video of a dude actually PLAYING a Gahoon!!

That’s just amazing.

Okay, help us out and write in the comments section if you recall a musical instrument as weird as a Gahoon being advertised in a comic book!

And be sure to drop me a line at brianc@cbr.com if you have ideas for future installments of “I Saw It Advertised One Day”!!

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