Looking Back At Electric Football Realism – The Long View

Electric Football realism in 1962 – Tudor “Gorilla” players on the Sports Classic No. 600 game.

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.

The early Tudor Tru-Action 500 game.

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.

The glorious Gotham NFL G-1500 game in 1961.

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.)

The 1962 Tudor No. 600 model.

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

Electric Football Collecting Overview — Part II

The 1967-69 Tudor NFL 620 model

We finished our last collecting post talking about the Tudor NFL 620 model

Tudor used the 36” x 21” 620 template from 1967-1977, including on many NFL models that were numbered something other than “620.” Not all of these large games command the same prices as an original 1967-1969 NFL 620, but there is a line that brings in even more money. That would be the No. 633 Super Bowl games sold exclusively by Sears from 1969-1973.

Electric football NFL AFL Super Bowl III 1969 Tudor Norman Sas Unforgettable Buzz

Tudor’s brand new Super Bowl III No. 633 model in the 1969 Sears Christmas Book.

The 1969 Sears Super Bowl features the Jets and the Colts on a field that looks almost exactly like the one in the Orange Bowl, including the Lombardi Trophy at mid-field. (It was not yet called the Lombardi Trophy in 1969.) As a point of reference, a broken non-buzzing Sears SB III recently sold on eBay for $280.

The 1970 Sears Super Bowl game has the Vikings and Chiefs on a field that looks like the Sugar Bowl, even down to having a team name in each end zone. (This was the only Tudor Electric Football game with NFL team names on the field.) The Lombardi Trophy is at mid-field, bordered by the team helmets of the Vikings and Chiefs. It’s a beautiful game that can hit the $300 mark, depending condition and completeness.

Electric football Tudor Super Bowl Chiefs Vikings 1970

The Chiefs “huddle” up during Super Bowl IV.

The last Tudor Super Bowl with a Lombardi Trophy at mid-field is the 1971 Colts-Cowboys game. Its end zones feature only an “NFC” and “AFC,” making it not quite as unique as the first two Sears games. The next two Super Bowl models – the 1972 Cowboys-Dolphins and the 1973 Redskins-Dolphins – are the “lesser” of all the Sears No. 633 games, with only an NFL shield at mid-field and generic “NFC” and “AFC” end zones. But all of these games are easy $200+ investments, with prices increasing depending on condition, completeness, and additional teams.

Electric football Munro Day Nite FooltballOne non-Tudor game that routinely fetches the prices of a Sears Super Bowl is the Munro Day/Nite Electric Football game. Made from 1972-1973, this game came with battery operated floodlights, a wind-sprint track, and a field-mounted wind up timer. There was even a Joe Namath model in 1973. At 40” x 25” it was the largest commercially made Electric Football game of the time, and is quite the impressive catch today. Besides being unique, they are pretty rare. You’ll need deep pockets to land one.

There are just the highest of the “highs” in Electric Football collecting. There are so many more very cool Electric Football games out there. Some are just a bit smaller with great features – they can provide a much more affordable entry into Electric Football. People usually go after the game they grew up with often going all out to land the cleanest most complete game possible.

Another collecting technique is to “part” games together with less expensive pieces that ultimately make a complete game. This can be fun, but lead to having a lot of extra games around the house (unfortunately, you can’t store Electric Football games on a bookshelf). eBay is the obvious place to find games, but they can still be found “locally” with some leg work. It does, however, take a LOT more legwork than it did 15 year ago.

There’s a lot more information and context in our book The Unforgettable Buzz. Go out and find yourself a memory!

 

Earl & Roddy

Electric Football Collecting Overview – Part I

Electric football 1967 Tudor NFL 613

Collector’s “Delight” – Sears’ 1967 NFL No. 613 model with large Cardinal vs. Bears

(This is part of post we wrote for the Sports Collector’s Daily web site.)

The 1949 Tudor Tru-Action No. 500.

Older is not automatically better in Electric Football collecting. The first Electric Football games were made by Tudor in 1949, and although yes, the early Tru-Action No. 500’s are very cool pieces, millions were made between 1949-61. They are not that hard to find and, owing to their very basic design, not overly prized. But…they usually do work, which is more than can be said about most 60-year-old toys.

The 1954 Gotham G-880 All-Star Electric Football Game.

Things got a little more interesting in 1954 when Gotham Pressed Steel began making Electric Football games to compete with Tudor. Gotham models are not as common, in part because fewer were sold, but also because they were not made as well as the Tudor games. The field/playing surface on Gotham models tend to bubble and warp over time (this tendency applies to every football game Gotham ever made.) Gotham games from the 1950’s also have a very rudimentary design, and as a result, not a lot of demand from collectors.

1961 Gotham NFL G-1500 model. It was the first NFL-licensed Electric Football game.

There are some special Gotham models. The Gotham NFL G-1500 and the NFL G-1503 Big Bowl hold a significant place in Electric Football history as the first “big” games with elaborate grandstands. But despite their scarcity – in addition to warped fields, large Gotham games have an issue with broken corners – the collecting interest in these models is surprising light. If there are any bargains left in Electric Football, it’s large Gotham games in playable condition. A nearly complete 1961 G-1500 recently sold on eBay for just $47!!

The heart of Electric Football collecting lies in the NFL line that Tudor began producing in 1967. That year saw the introduction of three Tudor NFL Electric Football games, as well as the introduction of Tudor’s miniature mail order NFL and AFL team figures. These games, which Tudor made from 1967-69, are Electric Football classics. They are the small 26” x 16” NFL No. 510 with the Packers-Colts; the mid-size 31” x 18” Sears exclusive NFL No. 613 with the Bears-Cardinals (this was also made as a Montgomery Ward-exclusive No. 619 with the 49ers-Rams); and the large 36” x 21” NFL No. 620 game with the Browns-Giants.

The Tudor NFL 620 – the gold-standard for Electric Football Collecting.

It’s the Tudor NFL No. 620 which seems to be the gold-standard for Electric Football collecting. There are other Tudor NFL games that are harder to find, but this is the game that made the biggest impact on boys of the time. Maybe it was the realistic NFL Gold single-posted goal posts, or how perfect the Giants and Browns looked on the giant “grass” field, but this is the game, more than any other, that men of a certain age want to reclaim. For so many people, their lifelong devotion to the NFL started on a living room floor with a Tudor No. 620.

620’s aren’t exactly scarce but the demand is high. And like most collectibles, condition is everything. A complete game in excellent condition – no frame or field dents, all 22 NFL players, no broken players, and all the little parts like corner flags, team scoreboard names, player bases etc. – can easily exceed the $200 mark on eBay. Throw in some extra NFL teams that a kid actually ordered from Tudor, and a No. 620 can cross the $300 mark.

We’re really just scratching the surface here. Of course, there’s much more about Electric Football history in our book The Unforgettable Buzz. And we’ll be talking more about Electric Football collecting over the coming weeks.

 

Earl & Roddy

 

Electric Football and the NFL Team Shop Concept

1970 NFL Properties Catalog extolling the Team Shop concept.

Electric Football got a lot of promotional help in the 60’s and 70’s from the NFL Team Shop concept. The Team Shop almost seems quaint now in the era where giant team mega-stores stick out of the side of each NFL stadium. But there was a time when stadium sales consisted of small portable stands that popped up in concourses and walkways on game day. They needed to be portable because the teams were usually sharing the stadium with a baseball team or college football team. And there were only 7 games a season. So there was no need for dedicated structures to sell a few pennants and bobble-heads.

But that began to change when the NFL started its first true merchandising program in 1960. The man heading the program had created the Roy Rogers Corral, which were dedicated areas in major department stores that sold only Roy Rogers merchandise. He thought the NFL would benefit from a similar strategy. The NFL Team Shop was born.

1970 PRO! for the NFL Team Shop. Can you find the Electric Football game in the image?

One of the earliest NFL Team Shops was for the Giants in Saks Fifth Avenue in NYC. This appeared in 1963, and by 1967 when Tudor took over the NFL Electric Football licensing, every NFL city had a Team Shop in at least one major local department store. And what was one of the top selling items in these Team Shops in 1967? Why, Tudor NFL Electric Football, of course.

Tudor NFL Electric Football quickly became NFL Properties top earning item, and it can be argued that the popularity of Electric Football helped further the cause of the Team Shop. When people were looking for an NFL Electric Football game, they knew exactly where to find one. And while they were in the Team Shop getting a game…oh yeah, we’ll take a team ski hat, maybe some coasters, and a t-shirt too. That’s the kind of tie-in sales the NFL was looking for.

So next time you walk into your team mega-store – or local Dick’s or Sports Authority – remember that the NFL merchandising program had very meager beginnings. And as you fight the urge to be overwhelmed by NFL team jerseys and jackets – not mention their prices – remember that Electric Football played a big role in the NFL bounty you see before you in 2014.

There’s much more about the selling of the NFL and Electric Football in The Unforgettable Buzz. It’s the NFL’s “toy story.”

 

Earl & Roddy

Tudor's NFL No. 510 Colts-Packers

An item that could be found in an NFL Team Shop – Tudor’s NFL No. 510 Colts-Packers

Excerpt No. 2 of The Unforgettable Buzz on Sports Collectors Daily

Electric Football Book Excerpt #2

Electric Football history has gotten a big push recently from Sports Collectors Daily, the premier destination for online sports collectors. They’ve run a series of fantastic looking excerpts from The Unforgettable Buzz on their web site, including the one pictured above. This is excerpt #2 – it’s the part of our book where Norman Sas explains how he invented Electric Football.

To read about how Electric Football got started, click here: Sports Collector’s Daily Buzz Excerpt #2.

SCD Editor Rich Mueller has done a masterful job setting up the excerpts, and we’re very grateful for his interest in The Unforgettable Buzz. Be sure to take a look at our earlier excerpt: Sports Collectors Daily Excerpt #1. And to see an entire Chapter of our book click on “Read Chapter 1″ in the header at the top of this web page.

Many thanks and happy reading!

 

Earl & Roddy

Electric Football Book Excerpt On Sports Collectors Daily

The Unforgettable Buzz on Sports Collectors Daily – an excerpt from Chapter 1.

Electric Football history gets a big push from Sports Collectors Daily, who recently ran a series of excerpts from our book The Unforgettable Buzz. The first excerpt is from the very beginning, starting at Chapter 1. Editor Rich Mueller has done a great job setting everything up, so it’s an easy “entry” into the story. We’re very grateful for his interest and efforts with The Unforgettable Buzz.

Click here to the read the Chapter 1 excerpt on Sports Collectors Daily.

Click here to read our PDF sample of Chapter 1 and see what The Unforgettable Buzz actually looks like!

Happy Reading!

 

Earl & Roddy

The TudorCON Buzz Electric Football Display Continued

1970 Coleco Grey Cup game. Photo by David Hawkins.

Electric Football TudorCON 14 Buzz display continued….Next up we chose to display a 1970 CFL Coleco Grey Cup game. We like this game because Coleco first entered Electric Football in 1970, and the extra twist of dual 50-yard lines, CFL logos, and 12-player teams help it be more eye-catching than the large Pro-Stars Coleco model made for the U.S. market. As for the provenance of this game, it was found on the back room shelves of a long-closed Canadian hardware store. We’ve speculated that it was a display game because the grandstand is folded and creased so exactly that it stays completely in place once the pieces are all mounted.

Electric Football 1970 Tudor Super Bowl V Colts Cowboys

Tudor’s 1971 Super Bowl V Electric Football game. It was a Sears’ exclusive. Photo by David Hawkins.

Just past the 1970 Coleco CFL model we had the 1971 Colts-Cowboys Tudor Super Bowl game. It was sold exclusively by Sears, and was the last Electric Football Super Bowl to have the Lombardi trophy at mid-field. Actually, it was one of only three Super Bowl models to ever display the trophy (the other being the Sears’ Super Bowl games from 1969 and 1970). There are also two NFL helmets on the field framing the trophy — two features which were not present on the actual Super Bowl field in the Orange Bowl. The end zones contain “AFC” and “NFC” instead of team names. This is how the end zones would look on all the rest of the Super Bowl models that Tudor ever made.

Tudor’s 1977 Super Bowl XI Electric Football game with the Raiders and Vikings.

Our next Super Bowl was the 1977 J.C. Penney model with the Vikings and the Raiders. This game is significant because it was a “first” and a “last.” It was the first Super Bowl to come with a totally modern field configuration – goal posts on the end line and hash pulled in to line up with the uprights. But…it was the last No. 620-sized Super Bowl made by Tudor. A great looking game with the oversized Tudor grandstand.

Still more to come….

 

Earl  & Roddy

More of The Unforgettable Buzz Electric Football display at TudorCON 14.

Electric Football TudorCON 14 – The Buzz Display

One of our “no-brainer” display games – the Tudor NFL No. 620. It is truly the game of a million dreams.

Electric Football has had so many cool and significant game through the years that it was hard to narrow down to which games we should put out for display at TudorCON 14. The 1949 Tru-Action No. 500 model was an easy choice – it’s the game where it all started. And despite the “plainness” of the game, and the fact that isn’t a very rare game, it still serves as measuring stick for how far Electric Football has come.

In the beginning – the 1949 Tudor Tru-Action No. 500.

Things got a little tougher as we tried to balance how many years to skip over, but the 1961 Gotham NFL G-1500 game came in as our next display game. Like the No. 500, it holds a number of Electric Football “firsts.” It was the first “large” Electric Football game, the first game with a sideline grandstand, the first game with teams, and…it was THE first NFL-licensed Electric Football game. Besides these firsts, it displays well, being a very impressive game with the metal Yankee Stadium grandstand and the NFL logos on the frame.

1961 Gotham NFL G-1500 model. It was the first NFL-licensed Electric Football game.

We really wanted to display a Tudor Sports Classic No. 600 model (we did bring one), but didn’t have the space. So the next game was another “no-brainer” – the Tudor NFL No. 620 (see top photo). The game we displayed was from 1969, with small Giants and Browns. We were able to date the game thanks to the 1969 Tudor Rule Book that came in the game.

Of course it was 1967 when the No. 620 made it’s biggest splash a part of Tudor’s brand new NFL line. Without fail, this is the game that generates the most conversation at all the conventions we’ve attended. The Tudor NFL No. 620 made a HUGE impact on boys in the late 1960’s.

And we’re not done yet…more to come in future post!!

 

Earl & Roddy

The TudorCON 14 Buzz display Table No. 1: a 1949 Tru-Action 500 and a 1961 Gotham NFL G-1500.

Electric Football Landmarks – The 1954 Toy Fair

The spread of Chapter 7 of The Unforgettable Buzz - A Competitor takes the field

Our opening spread of Chapter 7, which covers 1954 and Gotham Pressed Steel’s entry into Electric Football. Gotham was Tudor’s first Electric Football competitor.

With Toy Fair 2014 already in the rear view mirror, we found ourselves thumbing through The Unforgettable Buzz taking a look at Toy Fair’s past. One that happened 60 years ago caught our eye, because it featured the first Electric Football “surprise” and perhaps the most influential event in all of Electric Football history.

A photo of Eddie Gluck, who was Gotham's Vice President in 1954.

Former Tudor employee and Gotham Vice President in 1954.

It was at the 1954 Toy Fair that the Gotham Pressed Steel Corporation showed up with an Electric Football game to compete with the Tudor’s five-year-old Tru-Action No. 500 model. Former Tudor employee and now Gotham Vice President Eddie Gluck was the driving force behind Gotham’s entry into Electric Football. With his sporting background and extensive toy industry contacts, Gluck was sure he could sack Norman Sas and Tudor, and make Gotham the dominant player in Electric Football.

Gotham digging in at the scrimmage line signaled two very important things:

1) Electric Football was so popular that another company wanted a cut of Tudor’s profits.

2) The game and its features would begin to evolve and change as Tudor and Gotham competed for consumers.  

All that happened in Electric Football after Gotham began selling Electric Football in 1954 – grandstands, large games, NFL licensing, 3-D players, 3-D NFL players, battery-powered floodlights – is, as they say, history.

And it’s all in The Unforgettable Buzz.

 

Earl & Roddy

 

The 1954 Gotham G-880 All-Star Electric Football Game.

 

Tudor Games Electric Football and Toy Fair 2014

Earl Shores at Toy Fair 2014 with The Unforgettable Buzz TudorCON 14 display case. Photo by Denise Strohm Chrystowski.

Sometimes it’s being in the right place at the right time. I was lucky enough to spend a couple of days at Toy Fair 2014 last week, once again a guest of Tudor Games President Doug Strohm.

Toy Fair 2014 at the massive Javitz Center in New York City.

The Unforgettable Buzz had a bit more vested this year, as Doug had asked if he could take our TudorCON 14 display case to Toy Fair to show off Electric Football’s storied past. Obviously we were flattered, and eager to do whatever we could to contribute to Tudor’s Toy Fair efforts.

The display served as a “special teams” player in the Tudor Games booth, drawing the attention of buyers and reps who were old enough to have played Electric Football in the 60’s and 70’s. The unquestioned stars at the Toy Fair were Tudor’s new line of SpeedTurf games and the Invisibases. A constant stream of toy traffic found it’s way to the Tudor booth, with more than a few buyers exclaiming “hey, you’re back!” Doug would patiently explain that, actually, Tudor was here last year. Left unsaid was that last year’s games didn’t draw nearly the same kind of attention as this year’s new models.

Denise, Doug, and Jimmy hard at work with buyers at Toy Fair 2014.

The Tudor booth looked amazing, with Doug, Jimmy, and Denise all taking their turns dealing with buyers and their questions. Reps from just about all the major toy retailers stopped by — there’s no question that Electric Football will be available from more places than it has been in a long, long time.

The game’s profile is on the rise thanks to the all new features Tudor has introduced. Doug has worked long and hard on Electric Football’s redesign. He has also worked long and hard on positioning Electric Football in the toy world in such a way that retailers would actually want the game back on their shelves. It’s not been easy, with more than a few potholes along the way.

So it was gratifying to be a fly on the wall last week and watch people in the toy industry actually get excited while standing over an Electric Football game. It’s vital to remember that we’re talking about a game that’s been around for 65 years now. To have excited buyers in 2014 is proof of just how far Doug Strohm has brought Tudor Games Electric Football in a very short time. And it looks like 2014 is going to be a very good year for Electric Football.

 

Earl

 

The Tudor booth at the 2014 Toy Fair with The Unforgettable Buzz TudorCON 14 display case,

A Sellout at TudorCON 14 for The Unforgettable Buzz

It was an Electric Football sellout!

The Unforgettable Buzz History of Electric Football Special TudorCON 14 Special Edition

We sold the entire run of our TudorCON 14 Special Edition. Michael Kronenberg designed the cover and the interior of the book.

A sincere “thank you” to everyone who came to TudorCon 14 and purchased a copy of the Designer’s Cut Edition of The Unforgettable Buzz. We sold every copy that we brought to Philadelphia, running through the last few books during the final quarter of the championship game.

This version of The Unforgettable Buzz is now officially retired. We printed them in a limited amount, and no more will be produced. So if you have a copy, you definitely have a unique Electric Football item.

We are so grateful because we know that for many of you this was a second copy of the book (or even a third!). Your loyalty and encouragement left us in awe. It was such a pleasure to sign books and talk about Electric Football. 

Like all of you, we love Electric Football, and completing The Unforgettable Buzz was a true labor of love. We hoped that the book would be well received, but the reaction has been more positive than we ever imagined. To experience your support for The Buzz in person at TudorCON 14 was very humbling. It’s something we will never forget.

Again, many, many thanks to all of you!

 

Earl & Roddy 

Electric Football TudorCON 14 – René Smith’s 1968 Tudor Super Bowl No. 500

René Smith with his 1968 Otasco Tudor No. 500 Super Bowl – a game that we didn’t know existed!

It was in a conversation in the days leading up to TudorCON 14 that René Smith mentioned he had a 1968 Tudor Super Bowl game. This left us a bit puzzled, and even more so when René added that it was a No. 500 Super Bowl model. We said “hmmm….” and politely referred René to The Unforgettable Buzz. It says right in The Buzz that Tudor didn’t make a Super Bowl game until 1969.

The 1968 Otasco Tudor No. 500 Super Bowl game. It’s frame is gold and says “Super Bowl” on the top.

But we know enough from our time in Electric Football that the most dangerous words you can use are “always” and “never.” Speciality games were made, Frankenstein games were made (games with mismatched frames and/or fields), teams were mismatched, painted incorrectly – there is a whole universe of “exceptions” to the rules of Electric Football mass production. So we were pretty sure the first Tudor Super Bowl came out in 1969…but it would be foolish on our part to assume that Tudor never made one in 1968.

When we finally met René at TudorCON 14, he, as promised, blew our minds. He did in fact have a 1968 Tudor No. 500 Super Bowl. It was essentially a Tru-Action No. 500 with the frame painted gold and the words “Super Bowl” on one side of the frame. It didn’t have a grandstand, and only had Tudor’s single-piece polyethylene Standard players – although they were molded in red and yellow instead of the usual yellow and white color scheme.

Page 24 – The 1968 Otasco Tudor Super Bowl No. 500.

Our brains scrambled to come up with an explanation for the game’s existence, and the answer came from the box. There was a gold “seal” on the box that said “Otasco Golden Anniversary Super Value 1918 − 1968.” Otasco ran the Economy Auto Part Stores chain, which had over 400 stores in 12 southern states by the late 60′s. It seemed pretty likely that Tudor made this special Super Bowl model exclusively for Otacso.

The game was totally new to us, but there was something oddly familiar about it. So the day after the convention ended, we consulted our catalog collection. We did in fact have a 1968 Economy Auto Parts Store Christmas catalog. And there on page 24 was the Otasco Super Bowl game for $5.99. While doing our research for The Unforgettable Buzz we saw the “Super Bowl” description — but we dismissed it out of hand thinking the Economy Auto Parts chain was being “creative” in trying to make a No. 500 more appealing.

Because we knew that Tudor “never” made a Super Bowl before 1969.

 

Earl & Roddy

1968 Otasco Economy Auto Part Stores Christmas catalog.

Electric Football TudorCON 14 Recap – Part IV

René Smith’s TudorCON 14 display of Tudor toys and games. Photo by David Hawkins.

A Tudor Swing Pin game. We’ve never seen one before – not even in a catalog!

Electric Football was created by Tudor President Norman in 1948 and first sold by Tudor in 1949. Yet Tudor has a history that stretches back all the way to 1928, with the company making a number of toys and games long before Electric Football ever became the Tudor trademark. In a addition, Tudor made a lot of different games during the 40 years that Norman Sas was at the helm.

So it was our honor to be across the aisle from the man who is taking care and nurturing Tudor’s legacy beyond Electric Football – Mr René Smith. We couldn’t even begin to count how many Tudor games René brought to TudorCON 14. He had Tudor games that we didn’t even know existed, like this Tudor Swing Pin game. 

René had all the landmark and now very rare games that make up Tudor’s pre-Electric Football vibrating legacy. There was the 1937 Tudor Auto Race Game, which is the First Electric vibrating game ever made, and there was the 1939 Turtle Hunt game. And René had many more contemporary Tudor games, including Snap-Action Hockey and Golf, which were two of Earl’s favorite sick day games back in the mid-1960’s.

Tudor’s late 1930′s Auto Race Game.

René also taught us a thing or two about Electric Football – that’s coming up as a totally separate post.

We absolutely love René. He’s a truly nice guy whose passions for all things Tudor runs deep – maybe deeper than our own.  He had so many games that he rotated his display several times during the weekend!

It was an honor and a pleasure to get a chance to see René’s amazing collection. We’re so glad that he was part of TudorCON 14 – and we’re glad that we were right across the aisle!

 

Earl & Roddy

 

Electric Football TudorCON 14 Recap – Part III

Tudor Games President Doug Strohm opens TudorCON 14. Photo courtesy of Lynn Schmidt.

Electric Football got off to a “super nova” start in 2014 thanks to TudorCON 14. Tudor Games President Doug Strohm officially opened the event on Friday evening, January 24, debuting the newly designed Tudor Electric Football games that would host every tournament game played during the weekend.

The dinner gathering at TudorCON 14. Lynn Schmidt.

Doug’s upbeat and concise remarks set a positive vibe that was taken to heart by everyone at TudorCON 14. Throughout the event there was an overwhelming feeling of fellowship – it’s something we will never forget and always treasure about the weekend. (It had already started during Happy Hour, and continued through dinner when were seated with John DiCarlo and his grandson, David Hawkins, and Joe and Lynda Femiani.)

After Doug finished opening TudorCON 14, practice play began on Tudor’s new fields and the Tudor Store came to life, complete with a stock of Tudor’s new Invisibases as well as Pink Convention bases. Also beginning were the conversations and reminiscing around our Buzz Electric Football display, and the mind-blowing array of non-Electric Football Tudor items being displayed by Baltimore’s René Smith.

Let the post-opening discussions and reminiscing begin! Photo by David Hawkins.

There was a true buzz in the air, and it wasn’t just coming from Tudor’s new games…which are actually on the quiet side. It lasted well into the night, and beyond. Just as we were about the pack up the display for evening, Mark and Bill Klingbeil arrived from Ohio. It was great to catch up with the two MFCA Hall of Famer’s and original Electric Football Convention Super Bowl champions (1995 and 1996). Just a really nice moment for us to all marvel at how far Electric Football has come over the last 20 years.

 

Earl & Roddy

The Tudor Store is open! Photo by Lynn Schmidt.

 

YouTube Ad Blitz Promo “Borrows” From The Unforgettable Buzz

An screen shot from the YouTube Ad Blitz video promo. The image on the computer screen that serves as this player’s head was “borrowed” from The Unforgettable Buzz.

Electric Football 1967 Eagles and Giants

The image that YouTube “borrowed” from us. We posted it back on The Buzz web site in September of 2012.

Electric Football was seemingly rediscovered by numerous ad agencies in 2013. From RGIII and Subway, to McDonalds, to Chick-fil-A, to ESPN, and finally Google, with their YouTube Ad Blitz video promo.

Without a doubt the YouTube Ad is clever. The concept of having each Electric Football player be an actual advertiser showing off their product is creative and catches your attention. Even using the well-worn Electric Football cliche of spinning players, the ad works. Definitely worth a watch and a chuckle.

And our eagle-eyed designer Michael Kronenberg discovered something else that YouTube did. They “borrowed” one of our photos. Appearing at 1:23 is a player with a computer screen as his head. The image on the screen is a photo we posted on the Buzz site back in September of 2012. As you can see, we even posted it with a copyright symbol and a Buzz watermark.   

So….guess we should feel flattered that YouTube thought one of our photos was good enough to use in their Ad Blitz advertising.  But part of us can’t help but feel taken advantage of because it was done without our permission – and YouTube, as we all know, has a pretty thorough understanding of copyright law. It comes down to this…all they had to do was ask.

 

Earl & Roddy 

Side by side comparison

Electric Football 1967 Eagles and Giants

TudorCON 14 Part II – A Few Moments With Tudor’s Vice President James Baum

Throughout the weekend at TudorCON 14, Tudor Vice President James Baum (center) moved stealthily through the room taking in his first Electric Football Convention. His toy world experiences go back to having regular lunch outings with Electric Football inventor Norman Sas. Photo by David Hawkins

A red Honda pulls up in front of the Embassy Suites Philadelphia Airport hotel mid-afternoon on Friday, January 24…the whirlwind begins.

Okay, we need a cart to get our stuff in, oh hey, there’s Jim Davis, and that’s Adrian Baxter, and oh, we know that person…damn, what is his name? More faces we know, some with names, some without. Further in the hotel with the cart, there’s someone we know well but have never met – it’s Lynn Schmidt; and then there’s someone we know and have met, but outside of Electric Football – film maker Ray Spivey. Then a voice…”I’m taking cheesteak orders..” we turn and it’s “Mr National” Corey Johnson. Then “flash” – Lynn’s captures it all (thanks Lynn, it’s a great shot).

Roddy Garcia, Earl Shores, Corey Johnson and Ray Spivey. Photo by Lynn Schmidt.

Finally we rumble into the main room with the cart, and there’s Tudor President Doug Strohm. Earl to Doug: “Doug, we didn’t bring all the games right now, did you want them set up for tonight?” Doug pauses for a second and says diplomatically: “That might be nice.” Earl’s quickly heading back down  I-95 to his house to reload the car while Roddy sets up the initial delivery of stuff. It takes another hour, but finally the entire display is at the hotel.

(Deep breath…now exhale)

The ballroom is mostly quiet and empty as we start putting games out on the tables. Then through the door comes a very distinguished man who will play a vital yet mostly unseen role in the rollout of Tudor’s new line of games – it’s Tudor Vice President James “Jimmy” Baum. Mr. Baum has been in the toy business for more than five decades, and knew Electric Football inventor Norman Sas well enough to have regular lunch outings with him. He has seen it all and done it all in the toy world, from working for Mattel, to being President of Matchbox, to remembering a time when Toy “R” Us was just a spec in the world of toy selling.  

Jimmy Baum and Denise Strohm Chrystowski @Toy Fair 2013

As total toy geeks we’re entranced by Jimmy’s stories of the toy world past and present. He’s a walking toy encyclopedia, and we take this opportunity to ask him some of the questions we wish we could have asked the people in The Unforgettable Buzz who are no longer with us. And it seems fitting that we’re setting up Electric Football games from a time in the toy world that Jimmy witnessed up close and personal. 

We ask him if knew Gotham President Eddie Gluck, and show Jimmy a picture of Gluck that’s in The Buzz…and it’s a moment we will never forget. Here we are standing over a Gotham NFL G-1500 game with someone who was actually in the toy business when Gluck first unveiled the game in 1961.

What James Baum brings to Tudor – his experience, his connections, his knowledge of how the toy world works, and more importantly, how it doesn’t work – will be instrumental to Tudor’s success in 2014. And his “Super Bowl” will be taking in just a few weeks at Toy Fair in NYC. There he will work his magic for Tudor, pitching and selling Electric Football for all that it’s worth. 

So when you see this man at next year’s TudorCON (after what should the most amazing year Electric Football has seen in some time…) be sure to go up to him and and say “Thank You.” He’s a gem and a gentleman, and one of the last original “toy men.”

 

Earl & Roddy

Coming Fall 2014…it’s Full Color Electric Football!

The cover of the new book from The Unforgettable Buzz authors; full color electric football

We’re proud to officially unveil our newest project — Full Color Electric Football.

This new book will tell the story of Electric Football in glorious color, featuring the best images from The Unforgettable Buzz as well as dozens of newly taken photos.

Every single page of Full Color Electric Football will be in…yes, full color! And every single page will be designed by Marvel Graphic Artist Michael Kronenberg. If you marveled at Michael’s work in The Unforgettable Buzz, wait until you see what he does with our all-photo format in Full Color Electric Football.

We all loved studying the colorful NFL insert that came in our old Tudor Rule Books. Now, imagine if that insert was 100-pages long, and covered not only Tudor but also the Electric Football lines from Gotham, Coleco, and Munro games?

It would be Full Color Electric Football! Stay right here — we’ll keep you posted as we move forward. We’ve already talked to many of you about it at TudorCON 14 right now, and we’re just as excited as you are! 

 

Earl, Roddy & Michael

TudorCON 14 Electric Football Convention Recap – Part 1

Our 1967 Tudor NFL Big Men Electric Football Display at TudorCON 14. Photo by David Hawkins.

Electric Football has come a LONG way – that’s the overriding feeling as we try to gather our thoughts on the recently finished TudorCON 14 Electric Football Convention. From Chicago in 1996 to Philly in 2014 is a lot of years. Change over that length of time is inevitable. But there’s a cohesion and vibrancy within Electric Football that was fantastic to experience this past weekend. Granted, we were on “sabbatical” from Electric Football for a long time…

Field level view of The Buzz display – a 1970 Coleco CFL Grey Cup model. Photo by Lynn Schmidt.

To that end, we were totally humbled and touched by everyone who came over to our tables to talk about The Unforgettable Buzz. The “welcome back” the Electric Football community rolled out for us…it was incredible and totally humbling. It’s something we will never ever forget. You certainly made us feel like “family.”

The passion for the Electric Football – the past, the current, and future – was on full display throughout the weekend. It was so rewarding to see. And you shared so many wonderful and memorable stories with us. It’s so simple. We all love Electric Football.

It was a massive challenge for Doug Strohm to resurrect the Tudor Convention, and there’s really just not enough praise to cover his efforts and the efforts of David Heydel, Mike Guttman, Margie Windsor, Denise Chrystowski, and Nicole Gresh. A giant “Thank You” to the entire Tudor Games staff for making TudorCON 14 an event that we will all long remember.

We’ll have some some more specific TudorCON 14 posts over the coming days, but we were too busy to really “cover” the event. For that, at the moment, we highly recommend David Hawkins Convention Blog and Flickr Stream,  Lynn Schmidt’s TudorCON 14 album on Facebook, and the Philly NEFL TudorCON 14 Facebook album. There are some amazing photos in all of these places. In fact, we’ve even borrowed from them (thanks David and Lynn!). And congratulations to TudorCON 14 champion Norbert Revels, who we had a great conversation with on Saturday.

Thank you everybody for all the kindness you offered to us throughout weekend and for all of the support you’ve given us throughout the years. The Unforgettable Buzz would have never happened without it. We will never forget our TudorCON 14 experience!

 

Earl & Roddy

TudorCON 14 Is Here!!

It’s hard to believe that TudorCON 14 is finally here. That a convention like this would ever happen again…it didn’t seem likely a few years ago. But not only is it happening, Doug Strohm and Tudor Game are bringing new items and an new dynamic vision to Electric Football.

So besides the usual buzz of a convention, there is true excitement and optimism that Electric Football’s trajectory is headed upward. There might be a real future for the game we all know and love so well. And we have a chance to be there at the moment when Tudor “lights this candle” on the next chapter of Electric Football.  

DC in 2000

It’s all pretty heady stuff, and we’ve got our fingers crossed for the future of Electric Football. On a more personal level, TudorCON 14 is a chance to meet new friends, renew our old friendships, and offer up and share the part Electric Football that we know best — it’s history and heritage. Hopefully we can offer up a bit of that “Christmas morning” feeling. 

If you’re at the event, please stop by and say “hi.” It’s an exciting time for all of us in Electric Football!!

Earl & Roddy

Thank You Uni-Watch.com for “An Ode To Electric Football”

Electric Football in the news…we’d like to send a big “Thank You” to Paul Lukas and Dennis Check at Uni-Watch.com for “An Ode To Electric Football.” It was a really wonderful piece that ran yesterday on the Uni-Watch web site – which is a very cool site.

Dennis Check with some kind words about The Unforgettable Buzz.

In addition to being a great read, The Unforgettable Buzz received a nice endorsement from Mr. Check. What he said in his review…it’s what we hoped people would think about The Unforgettable Buzz. That it’s an entertaining book about Electric Football, but it’s also about more than just Electric Football. 

We’re so grateful Uni-Watch, and Mr. Check and Mr. Lukas. Be sure to click on over there and check out the story and the web site. We’ve had a nice spike in book sales since the story went up yesterday!!

 

Earl, Roddy & Michael