Electric football has many great stories, and one of the stories we’re most proud of in The Unforgettable Buzz is that of Canadian toy maker Munro Games.
In a fortuitous turn we were able to make the acquaintance of Don Munro Jr. in the late 1990’s (a big “thank you” to table hockey historian Rob Raven). Mr. Munro’s father founded Munro Games in the 1930’s, with the company establishing itself as a serious toy maker through the high-quality table hockey games that it made during the 1940’s and 1950’s.
By the early 1960’s Don Jr. and his brother Bill were running Munro Games. By that time the company was the main table hockey game supplier for Sears, and was also making table hockey games for Tudor and Norman Sas.
Bill eventually grew tired of the toy business, so Don partnered with a Buffalo aerospace engineering firm called Servotronics, Inc. The owner of Servotronics was looking to diversify, and toys were a profitable endeavor as the 1960’s came to a close.
The Servotronics’ owner also liked making bold decisions, thus Munro Games blitzed into electric football in 1971 with only minimal preparation. But within a year they had created the legendary Day/Nite game, which was the first electric football game with floodlights. It was also the largest electric football of the time (40” long).
Munro’s grand entrance into electric football happened to coincide with one of the biggest economic crisis since the Great Depression – the OPEC oil embargo of 1973. Even the major toy companies suffered enormously during this time, and Munro Games was quickly adrift in a sea of red ink.
Munro Games would never recover, soon joining the long list of defunct toy makers. Don Munro had a front row seat to his company’s rise and fall, which he thoughtfully recounted for us in The Unforgettable Buzz.
Unfortunately, Mr. Munro passed away not long after speaking with us. So it’s been our hope for many years now that we would one day be able to tell his story. It’s had to believe that that day isn’t very far away anymore. And the Munro story is one that is not to be missed.
Earl & Roddy