Marcel The Shell With Shoes On Becomes a Brand

Nov 16, 2011 8:16am

Life can be hard for a shell: your car is a bug with a mind of its own, your only public transportation is an under the weather caterpillar, and small dogs are menacing giants.

Marcel the Shell with shoes on doesn’t let that get him down though. He has friends over for salad feasts, skis on toenails and enjoys reading receipts “to get a feel for daily life.”

The tiny shell with two feet and one eye is the creation of former SNL-actress and comedian Jenny Slate and her fiancé Dean Fleischer-Camp. Marcel made his Internet debut last year, and racked up more than 12 million views on YouTube.

Voiced adorably by Slate, Marcel discusses the reality of being a shell, including sleeping on a piece of bread, wearing hats made from lentils, and the dangers of holding balloons. Slate and Fleischer-Camp have turned Marcel into a miniature multi-media tycoon with two videos, an iTunes app, and now a children’s book.

The pair got a lot of offers after the first video, but it was a children’s book that caught their fancy, Slate told Time magazine. “When we realized kids liked Marcel too, the only thing keeping it fresh for us was to take on this challenge of making a good children’s book that wasn’t took saccharine,” Slate said. “Marcel has an unnamed nostalgia and a bit of meanness to him, and we realized quickly that he could be a classic character.”

The book, titled Marcel The Shell With Shoes On: Things About Me, is full of drawings of Marcel around his home, visiting the aquarium (a fishtank), playing with his dog (a piece of lint tied to a strand of hair), and climbing his own Mount Everest (a sandal).

There could be a television show in the busy little shell’s future, something Slate told Time she hoped would “be like ‘The Muppet Show,’ a place where our comedian friends can come and play around the world full of shells.”

Hopefully the famous talking shell has the energy for that — after all, he gets winded just walking across his desk.

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