Spin Again Sunday: The Muppet Show Game (1977)

muppet show 1977 box

Almost two years ago,  I featured a 1979 Muppet Show game. Today’s version, from 1977, is special to me because I actually owned it as a child. (I probably received it as a gift for my ninth birthday.)

Today’s Game: The Muppet Show Game

Copyright Date: 1977.

Manufacturer: Parker Brothers.

Box: A colorful photographic array of Muppets and a large Muppet Show logo must have made this eye-catching in the toy aisle.

Recommended Ages: 7 to 14.

muppet show 1977 board

Board: It is meant to resemble a stage, with dressing rooms at the bottom and footlights at the top. Most squares are blank floor spaces, but others identify starting and stopping points for various “sets.”

This is a "set" for Veterinarian Hospital.

This is a “set” for Veterinarian Hospital.

Various Muppets (including my daughter’s favorite, Janice)  show up in illustrated form at the very top of the game board. This illustration is similar to the one on the 1979 game box.

muppet show 1977 pawns

Pawns: These feature double-sided photographs of eight characters. They make up color-coded teams, and each player manipulates both members of his or her team.

Object: Getting your two pawns, plus the color-coded set associated with them, from their starting spots on the board to their ending spots near the footlights.

muppet show 1977 board closeup

Here you can see dressing rooms, where characters start the game, as well as two starting points for sets.

This close-up shows ending spots for several characters and sets.

The photo above shows ending points for several characters and sets.

Game Play: A Muppet Show “script” guides players on their journey.

muppet show 1977 spinner

First, they use this double spinner to determine their act and scene numbers.

muppet show 1977 script

Then, they look that combination up in this script, which tells them how many spaces they can move either their set or one of their Muppets. They can move forward, backwards, sideways, and–if specifically told to do so–diagonally. Occasionally, they get a chance to move another player’s Muppet. They can also try to block other players with their own Muppets.

My Thoughts: This is a simple game, but the character pawns and unique way of moving them makes it fun to play.

Other Spin Again Sunday posts you might enjoy:

Bewitched

Family Affair

The Bride Game

Spin Again Sunday: Apple’s Way (1974)

apple box

Remember the TV show Apple’s Way? I do, just barely. Earl Hamner created it as a modern take on the family themes that The Waltons explored so successfully.Wikipedia tells me that the Apple family followed that 1970s dream of ditching the urban rat race and retreating to the country.

The set is the main thing that impressed me as a child: The Apples’ house had a cool interior and a working mill outside. Also, I remember one episode in which the little boy got hit by a car. At least, I think I remember that–my memory for TV details is notoriously unreliable.

The show lasted two short seasons, which was enough to launch a board game. The box seems to overstate things a bit, though, when it says, “From the popular TV show.”

Today’s Game: Apple’s Way.

Copyright Date: 1974.

Manufacturer: Milton Bradley.

Box: A photo of the cast–including Ronny Cox as the dad and Vince Van Patten as the older son–superimposed on an attention-getting hot-pink background. Kristy McNichol played the younger daughter in the second season, replacing actress Frannie Michel. A Van Patten and Kristy McNichol…yep, this is a 1970s family drama. (Thanks to commenter Matt for pointing out my mistake in the first version of this posting.)

Recommended Ages: 7 to 15.

Object: Be the first to match all your cards.

apple board

Game Board: Old-timey drawings of the mill alternate with color photos from the series.

This close-up from the board shows that the Apples had a lamb.

This close-up from the board shows that the Apples had a lamb.

They also had a dog, apparently.

They also had a dog, apparently.

And dinnerware that resembles Corelle.

And dinnerware that resembles Corelle.

Game Pieces: Players move standard plastic pawns. Green and yellow cards show the Apple family engaging in typical activities at home and in the community.

Life for the Apples was a never-ending whirlwind of excitement.

Life for the Apples was a never-ending whirlwind of excitement.

Game Play: Players get four yellow cards at the start. They move around the board and try to land on the picture spaces, where they can pick up green cards. The goal is to get green cards that match the numbers and activities on the yellow cards. Manufacturers add a few wrinkles to make things more interesting. For example, a player must announce whether he’s looking for a “Home” or “Away” card before he chooses a green card. If he gets the type of card wrong, he has to show the card to all the other players before putting it back in its pile.

My Thoughts: On the plus side, I always like a TV game that includes color photos from the show.

This isn’t the most exciting game in the world, but it does seem to match the excitement level on the show, judging from this–the most boring TV opening imaginable:

Other Spin Again Sunday posts you might enjoy:

The Waltons

The Patty Duke Game

Happy Days

 

Spin Again Sunday: The Bionic Woman (1976)

Last week, we explored the game inspired by that 1970s icon, the Six Million Dollar Man. This week, we turn to the fairer electromechanical sex.

bionic woman box

This Week’s Game: The Bionic Woman.

Manufactured by: Parker Brothers.

Copyright Date: 1976.

Recommended Ages: 7 to 12. (Curious that Parker Brothers recommended the Six Million Dollar Man game for ages 7 to 14. Perhaps they figured that girls mature earlier and set aside toys like this at a younger age.)

Box: My copy is a bit faded, but the color scheme is vivid greed and hot pink. We get a pretty close-up illustration of Jaime Sommers, along with her “autograph.” The action scene seems to show her trying to capture a mountain lion with a wispy net. I wonder what that mountain lion ever did to her.

bionic woman board

Game Board: It’s disappointingly generic–trails of white dots and pink lines across some forested terrain. Looking closer, you can see some situations crying out for bionic attention, including a power plant inferno.

There's also this train derailment.

There’s also this train derailment.

Object: “Jaime Sommers, the Bionic Woman, needs your help. She must travel by airplane, helicopter, and automobile to carry out many dangerous adventures. Your job is to help Jaime through these adventures and assist her whenever you can. If you cover a lot of territory and complete the Top Secret Assignment…you may win the game.”

Game Play: I’ll try to make this as simple as possible, which is more than I can say for Parker Brothers.

That's a lot of words.

That’s a lot of words.

All players start at “H.Q.,” and receive an Adventure Card telling them where to go and how many points they will earn.

These cards make you understand how tough Jaime's life must be. She not only does standard superhero stuff like stopping runaway school buses, but must also be on call to repair faulty hospital equipment.

These cards make you understand how tough Jaime’s life must be. She not only does standard superhero stuff like stopping runaway school buses, but must also be on call to repair faulty hospital equipment.

Players head to the space on the board that corresponds to their adventure number. They can either travel by “automobile”–following the white circles; by “helicopter”–sliding up or down the pink lines; or by “airplane,” which requires landing on an Airport space by exact count and then moving to any other Airport space.

When you complete your adventure, you can accept your points or take a double-or-nothing gamble that requires rolling 7 or higher. Then you start a new adventure. When a player rolls double ones or sixes, their mission becomes a Special Assignment, which earns 50 bonus points. After players have completed four Special Assignments, the next double ones or sixes trigger a Top Secret Assignment. That carries 100 bonus points, and its completion ends the game. Since the player with the most points wins, getting the Top Secret Assignment is usually the deciding factor.

Six Million Dollar Shout-Out: Sometimes, instead of an adventure card, players receive a “Steve Austin Assists” card. The idea that Jaime requires this assistance seems a little sexist. And since Steve only lets you double-roll one die, his help isn’t worth much.

Game Pieces: Regular plastic pawns. There are also white plastic clips players attach to their cards–one clip designates a Special Assignment; two clips indicate a Top Secret Assignment.

My Thoughts: I would have been thrilled to receive this game in 1976. I don’t think I would have played it much, though, after scanning those intimidating instructions. If anything, my friends and I might have come up with our own simplified scenario.

Bonus Feature: For a show that only lasted two years, The Bionic Woman inspired many toys. Kenner’s Jaime doll was surprisingly ugly, but it was fun to open her leg panels to see her bionic parts. And, as you can see here, her bionic side and her feminine side co-existed happily.

She had many cool accessories (the dome house!), documented on the fun site Retrojunk.

Other Spin Again Sunday posts you might enjoy:

S.W.A.T.

The Muppet Show

Patty Duke

 

Spin Again Sunday: The Six Million Dollar Man (1975)

6 million man box

Today’s Game: The Six Million Dollar Man.

Copyright Date: 1975.

Manufactured by: Parker Brothers.

Recommended Ages: 7 to 14.

6 million man box closeup

Game Box: In shades of blue, we see Steve Austin’s face, with circles radiating out from his zoom-lens left eye. The bold red game name makes a nice contrast with the background blue. Four inset drawings show Steve rescuing a stranded astronaut, preventing a nuclear background attempt, knocking out an international crime ring, and locating an underwater missile network. All in a day’s work when you’re part cyborg.

6 million man board

Game Board: The same four assignment drawings are featured here, along with some bright 1970s green and orange graphics. I like the “futuristic” font on the Power squares.

Computer spinner

Computer spinner

Game Pieces: I love the “computer spinner.” The pawns show Steve running (in slow motion, no doubt).

6 million man pawns

Nice track suit, Steve.

Object: “Each player controls a bionic man–but only one is the real Six Million Dollar Man. The first player to complete his 4 assignments wins the game, proving that he’s the Six Million Dollar Man.

Game Play: It’s basically a race through the four assignments on the board, with a few elements added to make it more interesting. Players get and lose Power cards throughout the game. Without at least one of these cards in their possession, players lose a turn. At the end of each assignment, you have to roll a certain number, or higher, to move forward. Each failure to move forward costs a player a Power card.

Random Oddity: At the bottom of the instructions are these words: “We will be glad to answer inquiries concerning these rules.” A mailing address in Salem, Massachusetts, is listed. In a game with a high-tech theme, it’s funny to see this reminder of how far we’ve come since the 1970s. Can you imagine using snail mail to ask a question about a game and having to wait days or weeks for a response?

My Thoughts: If you were going to a boy’s birthday party in the mid-1970s, this would have been an ideal gift. Personally, I was more of a Bionic Woman fan. I’ll review that show’s game next week.

Other Spin Again Sunday posts you might enjoy:

Charlie’s Angels

Dragnet

The Waltons

Spin Again Sunday: The Dating Game (1968)

dating game box

Valentine’s Day has come and gone, but this game is very much in the holiday spirit.

Today’s Game: The Dating Game, 2nd Edition.

Copyright Date: 1968.

Manufactured by: Hasbro. The box also describes the company by its original name, Hassenfeld Brothers.

Recommended Ages: The box doesn’t give any. Presumably, Hasbro intended it for teens and adults–it requires two male-female couples to play.

dating game board

Game Board: The TV show logo takes center stage on a board with a groovy lavender, orange, and mustard color scheme.

Game Play: Players roll the dice and move around the track, trying to prepare for a date along the way. “Guys” and “Gals” have separate appointment cards which list the date requirements they must fulfill.

The guys get off pretty easy compared to the gals, who have to buy fur coats!

The guys get off pretty easy compared to the gals, who have to buy fur coats!

When a player lands on a Question square, he or she takes a question card and reads it aloud. The two opposite-sex players then draw Answer cards and read them aloud. The questioning player decides which answer best matches the question.

The question and answer cards definitely offer the most potential for fun in this game.

The question and answer cards definitely offer the most potential for fun in this game.

A player must match five cards with an opposite-sex player and check off all the date requirements before heading to the Make a Date square. Then, he or she can wait for an opposite-sex player to arrive. The first couple to meet at the Make a Date square wins the game.

My Thoughts: This game seems like it could be fun under the right circumstances. I’m not sure how often those circumstances–two couples sitting around with nothing better to do–would arise, however. My game is almost pristine condition, which tells me its owner didn’t play it much.

My husband thinks the "gal" on the box looks frumpy. The "guy" doesn't look like any great prize either.

My husband thinks the “gal” on the box looks frumpy. Of course, the “guy” doesn’t look like any great prize either.

Bonus Materials: My game included this flyer for “12 Reading Treats in One Big Volume.”

The Lassie cover story might qualify, but I'm not sure about some of the other titles, like "Peanuts are Not Nuts" and "The Sounds We Hear."

The Lassie cover story might qualify, but I’m not sure about some of the other titles, like “Peanuts are Not Nuts” and “The Sounds We Hear.”

And, just for fun, here is a Dating Game segment from 1968 that includes both Richard Dawson and Bill Bixby among the bachelors. A bachelorette couldn’t go wrong here–even the unknown third guy is cute!

Other Spin Again Sunday Posts you might enjoy:

The Waltons

The Flying Nun

Laverne & Shirley

Spin Again Sunday: Wow Pillow Fight Game for Girls, 1964

After a brief hiatus, Spin Again Sunday is back with a game that’s absolutely adorable. It’s also simple and safe, according to the box. Since one sort of expects a board game to be safe, perhaps its manufacturers are comparing it to a real pillow fight–we all know what bloodbaths those are.

wow box

This Week’s Game: Wow Pillow Fight Game for Girls. (It wouldn’t be proper to expose a boy to this game–the game pieces are wearing their PJs.)

Manufacturer: Milton Bradley.

Copyright Date: 1964. With unusual specificity, Milton Bradley notes that it holds the copyright “under Berne and Universal Copyright Conventions.”

Recommended Ages: 5 to 12.

 wow board

Game Board: The board itself is simple, with pink stripes on one side and blue stripes on the other. Each side includes four rows of circles and a single circle near the center of the board.

Players erect a divider, styled like a bedroom wall, between the board’s two sides.

I love all the cute room decor details.

I love all the cute room decor details.

Game Pieces: Each player gets a set of six slumber party guests as pawns.

wow girls

Each player also gets one “house mother.”

House mother? So these girls are in boarding school or something? I guess it's better than calling her Grandma, since we'll be hurling pillows at her.

House mother? So these girls are in boarding school or something? I guess it’s better than calling her Grandma, since we’ll be hurling pillows at her.

Game pieces also include little pink and blue beds. Each player uses the bed that matches her side of the board.

wow bedsThe beds are actually little catapults for propelling pillows across the divider.

See how pushing down on the lever makes the mattress spring up? Unfortunately, my game came without a key game piece--the actual pillows. My daughter and I substituted cotton balls when we played the game.

See how pushing down on the lever makes the mattress spring up? Unfortunately, my game came without a key element–the actual pillows.

Game Play: Players assemble their girls in the row at the board’s edge. The house mothers stand on the central circles near the divider.

Each player gets a spinner. On her turn, it tells her how many pillows she can hurl across the wall. It also offers chances to move her girls forward or backward on the board, or to steal an opponent's girl.

Each player gets a spinner. On her turn, it tells her how many pillows she can hurl across the wall. It also offers chances to move her girls forward or backward on the board, or to steal an opponent’s girl.

The game object, of course, is to wipe out the other player’s entire team. The house mother has to be the last one standing–even if she is hit, she stays in the game until all the girls are gone. Then it’s open season on old ladies.

My Thoughts: This game is such a great mixture of cuteness and aggressiveness that it seems perfect for tween-age girls. I’m surprised that it didn’t become a girl-game classic. A better name might have helped.

Since my daughter is in the game’s target age range, I asked her to offer a review, too:

“Wow Pillow Fight is a very good and cute game. It is very detailed. Sometimes it can be kind of hard to hit the girls with the ‘pillows.’ The game company it is made by is Milton Bradley. We got ours off of Ebay. We used cotton balls as the pillows because ours did not come with pillows. I was the winner of the game–yay, me. I would give it 3 stars.”

Spin Again Sunday Extra: Bewitched (1965)

This month, I am honoring the premiere anniversaries of many classic TV shows. Check back frequently for episode recaps, fan magazine articles, special editions of Spin Again Sunday, and more. I will also be posting unique content on Facebook and Instagram.

This month, I am honoring the premiere anniversaries of many classic TV shows. Check back frequently for episode recaps, fan magazine articles, special editions of Spin Again Sunday, and more. I will also be posting unique content on Facebook and Instagram.

(Note: I meant to post this yesterday because Bewitched was celebrating an anniversary–it premiered September 17, 1964. Alas, I was too busy packing for the Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention. I’ll be tweeting from there over the next few days.)

Today’s Game: Bewitched

bewitched game boxCopyright Date: 1965.

Manufacturer: T. Cohn, Inc.

Recommended Ages: 6-12.

Subtitle: The Samantha and Endora Game. Don’t worry, though–the manufacturers certainly didn’t forget about Darrin.

As in the show, however, Darrin doesn't escape with much dignity intact.

As in the show, Darrin doesn’t escape with much dignity intact.

Oddities: Besides the obscure manufacturer and the unusual subtitle, the strangest thing about this game is a blurb on the inner box lid that describes the show’s premise. This description varies significantly from the premise of Bewitched as it appeared on screen:

Samantha and Darrin loved each other very much. So they married and thought they would live happily ever after. But one day Samantha disclosed that she was really a WITCH. Although that confession created some minor problems, they still were confident that everything would turn out just fine especially since Samantha would become a human after one year of marriage to a mortal. However, during that year Darrin Stevens finds himself somehow subjected to witchcraft.

If the show had used that premise, seasons 2 through 8 sure would have been boring!

Object: Be the first to enter Vacation Land.

bewitched game board

Game Board: Darrin is everywhere. Little Darrin heads line the path players navigate, and each Bewitched Space displays Darrin in an awkward Endora-spawned situation.

bewitched game spinner 1bewitched spinner 2

Game Pieces: The game has two spinners. The regular spinner features a cartoony Samantha figure in witch garb. The Witchcraft spinner intersperses Samantha and Endora heads with those Darrin pictures from the game board. The game also includes 4 witch cards–two of Endora and two of Samantha–and five Bewitched cards featuring those Darrin scenes again.

Game Pieces: You get to play as your favorite character, as long as your favorite character is Darrin.

The four Darrin game pawns, plus two witch cards.

The four Darrin game pawns, plus two witch cards.

Game Play: On his turn, a player can spin the numbered spinner and move as indicated. His other choice is to take a witch card. He then takes a Bewitched card and sends the opponent of his choice to the matching Bewitched space on the board. The opponent can accept this or draw her own witch card. The two players then reveal their witch cards. If one person has Endora and one has Samantha, the person with Samantha has to retreat to the next matching Bewitched space. If they have the same witch, the original player moves back six spaces. Once on a Bewitched space, a player cannot leave it until he spins either Endora, Samantha, or the picture matching the Bewitched space on the witchcraft spinner.

Strategy: The idea is to use witchcraft to slow opponents who are approaching Vacation Land.

My Thoughts: This has been one of my “holy grail” games for a while because Bewitched has always been one of my favorite classic TV shows. It’s not especially hard to find, but it’s hard to find at a reasonable price. Box wear made this one fairly affordable, and box condition is not my highest priority when buying vintage games. I look for completeness and a colorful, aesthetically pleasing board.

Other Spin Again Sunday posts you might enjoy:

The Bride Game

What Shall I Be?

Happy Days Game