Happy Birthday Electric Football!
Electric Football turns 65 in 2014. It’s quite the landmark, and it’s been quite a ride for a game that was first marketed with modest ambitions in the fall of 1949. Electric Football inventor and Tudor Metal Products President Norman Sas had little idea what was in store for his new game, or that the toy industry was on the cusp of a true “golden age.”
1949 was a time when college football was more popular than pro football and baseball was the unquestioned king of the sports world. Television was just starting to make inroads on daily life, while America itself was entering an unequaled period of prosperity…for the complete story please check out our book The Unforgettable Buzz: The History of Electric Football and Tudor Games.
Tudor was selling just a single Electric Football game in 1949 — the Tru-Action No. 500 model. It may look crude to the modern eye, but it was the EA Sports Madden of its time. The No. 500 sold for anywhere between $5.95 – $6.95, or the equivalent of $70 in 2014! So it was a luxury item, and a very special toy to receive that fall or on Christmas day.
Despite the cost, Tudor completely sold out of the No. 500 for Christmas and had retailers eagerly awaiting the delivery of Electric Football games in January and February of 1950. It was a flying start for Electric Football, which foreshadowed the ever-ascending popularity of the game for the next three decades. This ascendancy, of course, included an NFL license, which turned Electric Football into perhaps the most dependable “fan creator” in the entire history of the NFL.
With NFL once again part of the Tudor Games’ lineup, Electric Football seems poised to make a sports comeback that even George Foreman would envy. And it all started 65 years ago in the fall of 1949.
Earl & Roddy