Electric Football has many threads holding it together. The main threads are “sports” and “toys,” which tie directly into “play” and “competition.” But as we’ve started to put together our new book, Full Color Electric Football™, the most obvious thread is realism.
We’ve certainly reached a state of advanced realism in Electric Football in 2014. From size of the games, to the scale and painted details of the figures, to exact speed and strength of particular bases, the hobby has a simple credo — the more real, the better.
So it’s quite easy to dismiss the early days of Electric Football as a prehistoric age when things were crude and little thought went into the details of a game. Yet as we’ve pulled out some older games to reshoot them for our new book, we’ve begun to reevaluate some of our less than flattering feeling toward early Electric Football pieces. It’s really unfair to judge these games by what we now see as their shortcomings. Each one needs to be appreciated for the details they DO include, the key being to appreciate the time period in which the game was created.
In the early 1950’s, most football players didn’t wear face masks and most NFL teams didn’t even have a white away uniform. So that Tudor Tru-Action No. 500 under your Christmas tree…pretty doggone awesome. In 1961 most televisions were black and white and the only league with a national television contract was the AFL….so that NFL Gotham G-1500 left by Santa in 1961? It was the biggest Electric Football ever made with a mind-blowing giant Yankee Stadium grandstand! Even with paper-covered spacemen on the field it was a sports toy like no other. (Gotham players of this period are known as the “Martian” players.)
And when Tudor to created the Sports Classic No. 600 in 1962 to compete the G-1500, unveiling the first-ever 3-D players, its “speckle” field, and litho crowd photo grandstand? Totally, totally amazing, Gorilla players and all.
These games all broke barriers of realism and set the standard for the innovations to come. Without them, as well as the energy and creativity that went into making them, there is no Tudor NFL in 1967. But luckily for us there was a Tudor NFL 620, there was a Sears Super Bowl, and there was the glorious Tudor Rule Book that created mail-order dreams that still haunt us in 2014.
Those of us who love Electric Football never had “randomly vibrating figures.” We always had a “greatest game” waiting to happen. It was, and still is, all in the details.
Earl & Roddy