Since 1947 electric football has been a regular subject of young boy’s letters to Santa. As the years have progressed, its main adversary, the electric
train has dwindled and the buzzing, freewheeling gridirons have been placed on kitchen tables while the “grown ups” lapped up turkey dinners or similar holiday fare, and the “kids” happily played out a football game using a vibrating board and little plastic men. Electric football captured the young person’s imagination like never before. NFL teams, colorful fields, kids could imagine themselves as coaches of one of their favorite teams. You set them up and when you hit the switch, the teams all moved. Sure, in the old days things were pretty primitive, but more recently advances in equipment and hobbyists (grown ups) tweaking the bases made it so they can make up plays and know pretty much where the players will be going.
Every year about this time I get the hankering to take down the old boards I’ve collected and dust off the players and set up a few plays. The one thing that’s survived the test of time is the name Tudor games. They made the first game I received in 1971, which my friends and I played so much that by 1972 I was asking my folks for the Cowboy/Dolphins Super Bowl since we burned out the motor of my old game. Tudor held the license for the NFL teams, and you could order teams from them which I did many times over the years. I never really thought of the story of how Tudor got to be one of the greatest toy manufacturers of one of the nation’s most beloved toys, ever. Until now.
The Unforgettable Buzz
One Way Road Press
Earl Shores and Roddy Garcia have written one of the most in depth histories of toy manufacturing and the only resource I’ve seen on electric football. The level of detail they bring is astounding, intermixed with development of the original game, licensing, player design, the NFL and historic games that fed into the popularity of professional football, the skirmishes with other companies that also started selling their own versions of vibrating football, marketing and a good bit of American history thrown in as well. The book is over 600 pages long and there is a notes section that runs about another 25. This thing is the be all and end all of documenting how Tudor started, prospered, competed and finally fell at the hands of handheld video football.
The book is softcover and is packed with wonderful pictures from press releases, marketing and advertisements from back in the day and lots of behind the scenes photos of products that may never have seen the light of day but are cool nevertheless. Pretty much each chapter moves year to year discussing moves made at Toy Fair, the college and pro football games on television and their scores, the economic conditions, moves by competitors, and finally descriptions of games and how advertising and sales fared during the Christmas gift giving season. It’s a wonderful book full of the inner workings of the toy manufacturing world, a place that I know a lot of collectors and hobbyists would find fascinating. The Unforgettable Buzz needs to be on your bookshelf.
Available from Amazon.Com