Spin Again Sunday: Batman Game, 1966

batman box

 

 

Today’s Game: Batman Game.

Copyright Date: 1966.

Manufacturer: Milton Bradley.

Recommended Ages: 8 to 15.

Game Box: Bold primary colors predominate, with Batman front and center. He’s looking ripped and, based on his body posture, feeling a bit cocky. Below the big red title, we see Batman and Robin in action against a Gotham City skyline. (I like the Joker-faced jack-in-the-box jumping out at Robin.) Above the title, we see spaceships, Saturn, and other cosmic orbs. I’m sure space-age imagery appealed to boys, but is space really in Batman’s purview?

batman board

Game Board: The central portrait shows Batman and Robin, um…leaping off a building into the path of the Joker’s car? That seems risky, but I’m sure they have a reasonable plan. Except for the Batman lettering, the colors seem washed-out on the board compared to the box lid. In the four corners of the playing grid, we see some Gotham City locales.

bat control board 2

Game Pieces: Each player gets a Bat Control Board, which shows the six villains who need to be captured. My husband is something of a comic book expert (at least based on the square footage that his collection takes up in our house), so I ran these villains by him to double-check my sense that they seemed strange. Besides commenting that “they look like they were drawn by a fifth grader,” he said The Blockbuster and The Calendar Man never appeared on the 1966-68 TV series, and the Penguin and the Riddler look very different from their TV counterparts. That’s not surprising, I suppose, because this game was probably in the works before the show debuted. But he didn’t think any of the characters looked much like their 1960s comic-book counterparts, either.

batman game pieces

Game Play: Players move a plastic “pedestrian” around the board’s outside track. Their goal is to land on a corner space that contains a Batmobile piece. If they do so, they roll again and move into the board’s circular track. On their next turn, they can finally move into the 36-square grid, onto which villain tiles have been placed. (These match the pictures on the Bat Control Board.) Players capture the villain tiles they land on. There are also Super Crime Lab tiles that act as wild cards, substituting for any villain on a player’s Bat Control Board.

Winning the Game: The first player to capture all six different villain tiles wins.

My Thoughts: Game play is simple and some of the art work is questionable, but I think target-age superhero fans would have enjoyed this one.

Other Spin Again Sunday posts you might enjoy:

Gomer Pyle

Planet of the Apes Game

Dragnet

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Spin Again Sunday: Mork & Mindy Game, 1979

morkmindybox

The world lost one its most beloved entertainers in 2014. The role that first brought Robin Williams into the national spotlight also catapulted him onto toy-store shelves in 1979. Mork & Mindy spawned a card game, as well as a board game. I was in fourth grade when Mork & Mindy hit the airwaves, and it wasn’t long before my classmates were wearing rainbow suspenders and trying to speak Orkan. I’m sure many of us had this game; I remember playing it, but I’m not sure whether I owned it or a friend did.

This Week’s Game: Mork & Mindy Game.

Copyright Date: 1979.

Manufacturer: Parker Brothers.

Box: A full-color photo of the title characters spreads across the whole lid. It’s strange, though, that Parker Brothers chose a shot that provides a better view of Mindy’s face than Mork’s. He was unquestionably the show’s main draw, especially for young viewers.

The back of the box provides and black-and-white photo of the game board and an explanation of the game. And this game does require quite a bit of explaining.

The back of the box features a black-and-white photo of the game board and an explanation of the game. And this game does require quite a bit of explaining.

Recommended Ages: 7 to 14.

Object: Collecting more “grebbles” than other players. These, apparently, are Orkan coins.

morkmindyboard

Board: Against a green background, we have an oval game track in vivid shades of pink, purple, red, and orange. These spaces prominently feature Orkan words like “wump,” “splink,” and “nimnul.”

morkmindyboardcloseup2

Illustrations of Mork and Mindy surround the track, and Mork does dominate here–he shows up twice as often as Mindy. (These illustrations are pretty good as game-board art goes and much better than those on the card game I linked above.)

morkmindyboardcloseup

A large egg labeled “Orson’s Nest Egg” fills up one corner, while the opposite corner shows six small egg-shaped spaces and a “Gleek Space.”

morkmindypieces

Game Pieces: The game includes 50 Grebble coins, which players try to collect. As pawns, they use colored cardboard markers that slide into a plastic base. One cardboard marker has the word Gleek on it; a player who rolls a six slides it into his or her plastic base along with the regular marker.

The game also includes Mork's splinkblinker, which I'll try to explain below.

The game also includes Mork’s splinkblinker, which I’ll try to explain below.

Game Play: The grebbles start the game in Orson’s Nest Egg. Players move around the track and do a lot of splinking, which is apparently Orkan for bluffing. The player who lands on an “Everybody Splink” space drops both dice into the splinkblinker. He or she looks at the numbers showing, turns to the player on the left and announces any two numbers. The player on the left says “Kayo” if he or she believes the original player and “Shazbot” if he or she thinks the original player is lying. If the second player has guessed correctly, he or she wins two grebbles. Otherwise, the original player wins the grebbles. The splinking process repeats around the table until everyone has had a chance to guess.

Other spaces give players a chance to take grebbles from other players, to win grebbles by “making contact” with Orson, and to place a grebble in the “Grebble Up” row of eggs. A player who completes a row of at least three grebbles in the “Grebble Up” row wins them all.

morkmindyboardcloseup3

The player who roles a six and possesses the “gleek” (until another player roles a six) has his or her grebble-earning power doubled and can’t lose grebbles to other players.

When Orson’s Nest Egg is empty, the player with the most grebbles wins.

“Sound confusing? Sound exciting? Sound like daffy fun?” the box asks. Well…confusing, certainly.

My Thoughts: It seems a bit over-complicated. I’m not sure my friends and I would have made it through a whole game, but we would have had fun spouting Orkan words at each other.

Bonus Feature: If reading about the game has made you want to revisit Mork & Mindy, this Season 1 gag reel is lots of fun. Be forewarned however: There’s strong language here, and it’s not Orkan.

Other Spin Again Sunday posts you might enjoy:

Happy Days

Laverne & Shirley

Charlie’s Angels

 

 

 

 

 

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: 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

 

Assorted Ephemera: My Three Sons Coloring Book (1971)

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

My Three Sons premiered on September 29, 1960, and ran for 12 years. The latter half of the show saw many changes for widower Steve Douglas and his family–the show changed networks, switched from black and white to color, and re-located its setting from the Midwest to Southern California (a change prompted by a real-life change in production facilities).

One son married and departed, a new son joined the family through adoption, grandfather Bub left, and salty Uncle Charley took over as caretaker. In its last few years, the all-male cast got an estrogen infusion: Second son Rob married Katie and moved her into the family home; third son Chip eloped with Polly; and Steve married widow Barbara, who had a young daughter.

my three sons coloring book cover

The coloring book barely mentions Polly, though she was part of the show by 1971. I can’t blame Saalfield. The Chip-Polly marriage was an unfortunate development, mainly because the actors playing the newlyweds looked like 12-year-olds.

It’s not hard to imagine what Executive Producer Don Fedderson was thinking when he introduced Barbara’s daughter, Dodie. Family Affair‘s Buffy and her doll Mrs. Beasley were a merchandising gold mine. Collectibles like this coloring book and Dodie paper dolls–both printed by Saalfield–represented attempts to recapture the Buffy magic. Producers even gave Dodie a companion doll, Myrtle.

Abnormally short girl with unlikely name + strange-looking doll = cha-ching!

Unusually short girl with unlikely name + strange-looking doll = cha-ching!

Dodie merchandising didn’t come close to matching the success of Buffy and Mrs. Beasley, though.

This coloring book features “Dodie’s Favorite Things to Do,” a theme that enabled Saalfield to use random toy and teddy bear pictures for about half the content.

The other pages feature the Douglas family. The illustrator does a pretty good job making Steve look recognizable.

The other pages feature the Douglas family. The illustrator does a decent job with the likenesses, especially Fred MacMurray’s.

Rob and Katie’s triplets are in almost as many pictures as Dodie.

Fun fact: The episode featuring the triplets' birth aired on the day I was born.

Fun fact: The episode featuring the triplets’ birth aired on the day I was born.

The coloring book includes paper dolls of the triplets and Dodie.

It also includes this creepiness--kids are supposed to transform it into a picture of what they want to be when they grow up.

It also includes this creepiness. Kids are supposed to transform it into a picture of what they want to be when they grow up.

One of Dodie's own career aspirations is stewardess.

One of Dodie’s own career aspirations is stewardess.

Uncle Charley gets some ink in the coloring book (although it spells his name wrong).

my three sons coloring book uncle charlie

What a fascinating revelation.

The image below is the only one that comes directly from the show.

I take back what I said about the decent likenesses. I think they borrowed this face from a Planet of the Apes coloring book.

I take back what I said about the decent likenesses. I think they borrowed this face from a Planet of the Apes coloring book.

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

Spin Again Sunday Extra: The Family Affair Game (1971)

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.

Several classic TV shows celebrate broadcast anniversaries today–Bonanza, The Bugaloos, The Monkees, Lassie, Family Affair. Choosing which one to focus on was a no-brainer.

Today’s Game: The Family Affair Game.

Copyright Date: 1971.

Manufactured By: Whitman. (Remco made another, much more rare, Family Affair game. After years of trying to acquire it for a reasonable price, I finally purchased it last week. It will get the spotlight in a future installment of this series.)

Recommended Ages: 6 to 10.

Object: Be the first player to find Mrs. Beasley.

family affair box

Box: A lovely pastel-colored portrait of Buffy and Jody playing in the park. Jody’s head looks weird and misshapen, yet it’s still one of the best Johnnie Whitaker likenesses I’ve seen on Family Affair collectibles. In the background, French looks younger, thinner, and somehow more sinister than his TV self. Speaking of sinister…

Bwa-ha-ha! They'll never find me!

Bwa-ha-ha! They’ll never find me!

Game Board: Buffy and Jody’s favorite place, Central Park, comes to life in appealing illustrations. The zoo, a lake, a garden, and a playground dominate the scene.

family affair game board

The board, with closeups of its four park settings.

Disembodied Cissy, French, Buffy, and Jody heads float in the middle of the board.

At least, I think this is supposed to be Cissy.

At least, I think this is supposed to be Cissy.

Game Pieces: These are also Cissy, French, Buffy, and Jody.

family affair pieces

family affair pieces back

We even get to see their backsides, so to speak.

The game also includes a spinner and, as we will see, eight cards.

The spinner.

The spinner.

Game Play: To set up the game, players place the cards face-down in designated spaces. On his turn, each player spins and moves his pawn toward a card space. If he lands on one by exact count, he turns the card over.

Most card images are pretty random. They look like they'd fit in with the artwork at Chez Davis, though.

The card images are pretty random. They look like they’d fit in with the artwork at Chez Davis, though.

The winner is the person who turns over one particular card.

Yikes! If I'd seen this as a kid, I'd still be having nightmares.

If I’d seen this as a kid, I’d still be having nightmares.

Other posts you might enjoy:

Gomer Pyle Game

Laverne & Shirley Game

Emily Post Popularity Game