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Posts Tagged ‘Parker Brothers


From Popular Mechanics, “11 Things You Didn’t Know About Pinball History,” e.g.:

7. Pinball Has a Surprise Best-Seller

The best-selling pinball machine of all time is still “The Addams Family,” which came out in 1991.


11. Just One Company Still Makes Pinball Machines

And it does it in the U.S. Every new pinball machine comes from a single Stern Pinball factory in the Chicago suburbs, where factory workers assemble several thousand parts, largely by hand.

Readers will find the other nine nuggets at “11 Things You Didn’t Know About Pinball History.”

As we limber up our flipper fingers, we might recall that it was on this date in 1935 that Parker Brothers purchased the patent for “The Landlord’s Game” from Elizabeth Magie, a Quaker political activist who had created the game to illustrate the way in which monopolies impoverish (“bankrupt”) the many while concentrating extraordinary wealth in one or few.  Charles Darrow’s “Monopoly” was (to put it politely) closely modeled on “The Landlord’s Game”; when it became a hit in 1933, Parker Brothers bought it– and subsequently paid Ms. Magie $500 for her predecessor patent to avoid a (completely justified) claim from her that “Monopoly” was, in effect, stolen.  It is estimated that over a billion people have played “Monopoly” over the years.

“The Landlord’s Game” board, from Magie’s original patent application (source)


Who – Where – How?…

In 1949, a solicitor’s clerk in Birmingham, Anthony Pratt, sold the rights to “Murder,” a board game he had invented, to English publisher Waddington’s, which in turn licensed North American rights to Parker Bros.  Later that year, the two companies introduced, respectively, Cluedo and Clue…. since when, tens of millions of people around the world have struggled to deduce who killed poor, perpetually-murdered Mr. Black (or “Mr. Boddy” in North American versions)– and have read the children’s books, played the video and iPod/iPhone games, put together the jig saw puzzles, and seen the television games shows, the Broadway musical, and the feature film all based on the game.

Readers can trace the evolution of the game here (from whence, the images above) or here, and can discover the (surprisingly complex) back-stories of the characters here.

As we adjust our deerstalkers, we might recall that it was on this date in 2007 that the continuity of America’s longest-running television game show, The Price Is Right, was maintained, as Bob Barker passed the microphone to Drew Carey.  Barker had taken over in 1972 from founding host Bill Cullen, who premiered the show in 1956.

Carey and Barker (source)


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