The Unforgettable Buzz – More Than Just Electric Football

Pages 370-371 of The Unforgettable Buzz. A sideline photo of Super Bowl V taken by legendary Electric Football designer Lee Payne. (Page design by Michael Kronenberg.)

More Than Just Electric Football….

It was 43 years ago today the Colts and Cowboys played in Super Bowl  V, a game that is now enshrined in football lore as the “Blunder Bowl.” While it may have been “Blunder-ful,” it was the first Super Bowl that was actually exciting for the neutral viewer to watch. The game was back and forth with interceptions, fumbles, and penalties (or penalties not called, in the case of John Mackey’s 75-yard touchdown catch). And with the game heading into the final minutes, it had something that no other Super Bowl ever had that late in a game – a tie score. The Colts’ Jim O’Brien broke the 13-13 tie with a last second field goal, giving the Colts their first Super Bowl title.  

The Lee Payne-designed 1971 Sears Super Bowl game. How much of Lee’s live sideline view of Super Bowl V did he put into the game?

In honor of Super Bowl V, we’re showing off pages 370-371 of The Unforgettable Buzz, which features a sideline photo of the actual game that was taken by legendary Tudor designer Lee Payne. The reason Lee Payne was on the sideline to was continue his quest to find ways to put realism into Electric Football. He knew that there was more to Tudor’s miniature football concept than paint jobs and logos. 

It’s a lesson from Lee Payne that we like to think we took to heart in putting together The Unforgettable Buzz. Yes, our book is about Electric Football, but the game didn’t exist in a vacuum. It was continually influenced by the world of football, both college and pro. And of course when we sit down to play Electric Football, we always take the outside “real” world and see it on our game.

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

Our Special TudorCON 14 Edition of The Unforgettable Buzz.

So throughout the The Unforgettable Buzz you will find images of real football games, like the one above that Lee Payne took of Super Bowl V. You will also find information about the pro and college football seasons for each year that we cover. Those outside events played an integral role in the evolution of Electric Football, and also our love of the game.

Lee Payne knew that there was no way to get the details of Electric Football “right” without accounting for what was going on beyond the vibrating gridiron. We quickly learned that to get the story of Electric Football right, we had to follow the same exact formula. 

See you next week at the TudorCON 14 Electric Football Convention in Philly!

Earl & Roddy

 

 

Electric Football Convention Countdown – 2 Weeks Until TudorCON 14!

A young Electric Football fan at the Chicago Convention in 1996 (he’s probably in college now).

Electric Football’s countdown continues…only two weeks until TudorCON 14 in Philadelphia. Hope you’ve made your plans. If not, what are you waiting for?? Electric Football history is at hand. TudorCON 14 is not an event to be missed.

The Unforgettable Buzz History of Electric Football Special TudorCON 14 Special EditionRoddy and I are going through our inventory, making sure we have our best pieces to display in Philadelphia. Of course we’re bringing our TudorCON 14 Special Edition of The Unforgettable Buzz to the convention. It looks amazing and will be available in a limited number.

We are so looking forward to meeting all of our new friends, and renewing our friendships with many of you who we first met nearly 20 years ago. Doug Strohm and Tudor Games are going all out for TudorCON 14. It should be an event to remember, one that will propel Electric Football into the future on a growing wave of positive vibrations.

The photo we used for this blog post is our favorite from Chicago. It illustrates what Electric Football is about for most of us — the wonder and the innocence.

See you in Philly. We can’t wait!!!

 

Earl & Roddy 

The Special TudorCON 14 Edition of The Unforgettable Buzz

The Unforgettable Buzz History of Electric Football Special TudorCON 14 Special EditionWe are proud to unveil the TudorCON 14 Special Edition of The Unforgettable Buzz.

Putting a book into mass production means making compromises. Those compromises are made in order to make the book easier and more affordable to produce. And while we are TOTALLY proud of the current version of The Unforgettable Buzz, we did end up with a “wish list” for a book without the production constraints we had to follow.

Obviously the book has a new cover. With TudorCON 14 happening in Philadelphia we couldn’t resist the chance to “localize” the book. So we now have a cover featuring a 1967 Tudor version Hall of Famer and former Eagles’ running back Ollie Matson carrying the ball against the Cowboys. As you can see, our original Lee Payne cover image — which we absolutely treasure — served as the template for this new cover.  

The other change is at the bottom. There we have the TudorCON 14 logo as well as “Designer’s Cut | Special Convention Edition.” This means the interior of the book is restored to exactly how our designer Michael Kronenberg originally “saw” it. Most of the compromises we made involved altering text and images away from Michael’s original design. Our Designer’s Cut leaves Michael’s inspired artistic vision for The Unforgettable Buzz totally intact.

Enhancing Michael’s vision in the Special Edition is a higher grade of paper, which not only produces sharper text and photos, it feels better on the fingertips. The ink quality has been upgraded too, resulting in the best looking images we’ve seen.

The Designer’s Cut is a true Premium Edition, and will be available in a limited quantity only at TudorCON 14. Each book will be numbered, and Roddy and I will gladly put our signatures inside (Michael, unfortunately, will be on official duty at the Film Noir Foundation gathering in San Francisco).

See you very soon in Philly!!!

 

Earl & Roddy

Countdown to TudorCON 14 — Electric Football History Is Just 3 Weeks Away!

Electric Football history will add another chapter in just 3 short weeks when TudorCON 14 — that’s shorthand for the Tudor Games Electric Football Convention -- gets underway in Philadelphia on Friday, January 24.

Tudor Games and Doug Strohm will be unveiling their ambitious plans for the future of Electric Football, which included a new line of games for 2014. All 3 divisions of tournament play — including 2 junior divisions — will be played on Tudor’s new 9081 Speedturf Fields. The will also be a well-stocked Tudor Games Store run by Warehouse Operations legend Margie Windsor.

Roddy and I will be there with the first historical display of Electric Football games and teams that we’ve done in 15 years. We’ll also have some special items this year that come directly from the collections of Electric Football inventor Norman Sas and legendary Tudor designer Lee Payne. And last, but not least, we will be bringing along a TudorCON 14 “Special Convention Edition” of The Unforgettable Buzz to Philadelphia.

Today (Friday January 3) is the last day to secure the special TudorCON 14 room rate at the Embassy Suites where the convention is taking place. So it’s definitely time register and reserve!

See you in Philly!!

 

Earl & Roddy

1996 Miggle Electric Football Convention

The Buzz display at the 1996 Electric Football Convention in Chicago.

Happy New Year From The Unforgettable Buzz!

Part of the back cover of the Special TudorCON 14 “Designer’s Cut” Edition of The Unforgettable Buzz.

A very Happy New Year to all of our Electric Football friends. We hope you’ve had a great time over the holidays, and had a chance to get some buzzin’ in. If not, we hope you did have a chance to think back to those days when the Greatest Games were played on your living room floor.

2013 was an incredible year for us because The Unforgettable Buzz finally got published! It had been in the works for so long it seemed like it was never going to happen. But it did, and your support of the first book ever written about Electric Football has been amazing. The Buzz succeeded beyond our wildest dreams!

We humbly “Thank You” from the bottom of our unsent Tudor order forms!! 

But we’re not just looking backward as the New Year begins. We are totally looking ahead in 2014 with all systems set to “full buzz.” In just a few weeks we’ll be at TudorCON 14 in Philadelphia, renewing treasured old Electric Football friendships and personally meeting many of our new Electric Football friends for the very first time!

We can’t wait. It’s going to be an epic event. Not only will we have a display of rare games and teams, we’re bringing something else to Philadelphia that we’re really proud of – a special TudorCON 14 edition of The Unforgettable Buzz. (More to come real soon…this Edition will only be available at the Convention.) We hope you’ve made your plans for TudorCON 14!

And beyond the Tudor Convention…we will have a COLOR Electric Football photo book ready for the fall of 2014. So it’s already shaping up as another “unforgettable” year. We hope you all stay along for the ride.

 

Earl & Roddy

 

 

Happy Holidays From The Unforgettable Buzz

It is with tremendous thanks that we send out this Holiday greeting. We have been truly humbled by the response to The Unforgettable Buzz this past year. In almost every way our expectations have been surpassed – we’ve had many “Christmas mornings” since the book was released in June. We’re not even sure that “surprise” and “wonder” capture what we’ve experienced over the last six months.

Electric Football is one of the most unique toys ever made, and the memories it created are ones that we treasure. That The Unforgettable Buzz has played a small part in helping readers relive those moments…again we are humbled. 

The story really belongs to the “toy men” who believed that the average kid would notice all the details — corner flags, field markings, double-decker stadiums, hand NFL painted teams, etc. — that were included in each game. Norman Sas, Lee Payne, Eddie Gluck, Brian Clarke, and Don Munro Jr. all played a part in creating the great memories we cherish. We hope their stories will be told for many Christmases to come. And we also hope that Doug Strohm of Tudor Games adds a totally new chapter to the Electric Football story.

So from all of us at the Buzz team, we’d like to wish everybody a very happy Holiday and a very Merry Christmas. We hope it includes some “buzzzzzing” too.

Earl, Roddy, & Michael

1971 Cleveland Browns Quarterback Club Electric Football Commercial

Electric Football has another television commercial from the past to ad to its lineup. This was forwarded to us by sportswriter and fellow Electric Football aficionado Greg Eno. It’s from Gib Shanley’s Quarterback Club, which was a Cleveland Browns’ review show that aired weekly during the NFL season. This episode was from December 8, 1971, covering the recent inter-state rivalry game with the Cincinnati Bengals.  

Gib Shanley plugs A Tudor NFL Electric Football game on television during the Cleveland Browns’ Quarterback Club.

The ad comes on at about the 1:20 mark, although the entire clip is worth watching to get a real feel for the era. Featured is a regional version of the Tudor AFC 610 model with the Browns and the Bengals. The game is being sold at “Uncle Bill’s” — one of the show’s sponsors — for the truly bargain price of $10. What an amazing piece of Electric Football history!

 

Earl & Roddy

Terrific Review of The Unforgettable Buzz on the Boxer Journal

Tom Flynn’s novel Venable Park

Baltimore writer Tom Flynn gave The Unforgettable Buzz a terrific review on his blog the Boxer Journal last week. Here’s a sample:

“Authors Earl Shores and Roddy Garcia have done such a brilliant job of using the game as a lens for viewing so many aspects of American life – including the rise of merchandising, professional football, and television – that foremost it may be a history lesson cleverly disguised as a book about a toy.”

Besides being the author of two books — Venable Park and Baseball in Baltimore — Tom has also written for the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. His latest work can be read in The Tennessean.

We highly recommended Tom’s writing. He has a very thoughtful and nuanced “voice” that adds exceptional depth to both his sports and fiction work.

 

Earl & Roddy

 

 

Electric Football Christmas Catalog Countdown – J.C. Penney 1976

Tudor NFL Electric Football in the 1976 JC Penney Christmas Catalog

By 1976 the Sears’ Christmas Wish Book was down to two Electric Football games (the Sears NFL Super Bowl and the Tudor No. 500), while the Montgomery Ward Christmas Catalog was down to a single Coleco model. Only at J.C. Penney did is seem that Electric Football was not feeling the advancing pressure of Electronic Games.

There were three games in the J.C. Penney Christmas Book: the Tudor NFL No. 655, the NFL No. 635, and the NFL No. 515. It would be the last Christmas catalog to ever have three Electric Football games on display.

Earl & Roddy 

The Unforgettable Buzz Signing At The Chester County Book Company on 12/21

Electric Football will be visible in the Philadelphia area during the Christmas shopping season. On Saturday, December 21, Earl Shores will be signing The Unforgettable Buzz at the Chester County Book Company between 11 am – 3 pm.

It’s a perfect way to get a very special last-minute Christmas gift. Or just come out and say “hi” if you already have your copy of The Buzz.

We are grateful to the Chester County Book Company for asking us to be part of their busy last days of Christmas shopping.  They are a true local bookstore who have been around since 1982 — that’s quite a feat in today’s book publishing landscape. And they even invited us to bring along an Electric Football game for display! Still deciding which one to bring. Come on out and see which vintage game we picked.

 

 Directions to Chester County Book Company

The Chester County Book Company is located at the intersection of Route 202 and Paoli Pike in the West Goshen Center, West Chester, PA.

Exit at the Paoli Pike ramp from Route 202 and turn right onto Paoli Pike. The West Goshen Center will be directly on your right.

Epic Electric Football Interview With The Knee Jerks!

WOW…Do The Knee Jerks know and love Electric Football!! We had an Epic conversation with Greg Eno and Al Beaton that lasted almost 45 minutes – by far the most in depth Electric Football interview we’ve ever done.

The amount of ground we covered was amazing. From favorite games, to getting the magic team box from Brooklyn, to the hours spent studying the Sears Christmas Wish Books and the Tudor Rule Books…it’s all here.

This interview is worth a listen by anybody with even a passing interest in Electric Football. Greg and Al definitely got to the heart of what Electric Football means to so many of us!!

The first 45 minutes of the show are devoted to Electric Football and The Unforgettable Buzz. (If you don’t see the media player below, please reload the page.)

Online Sports Radio at Blog Talk Radio with The Sports Geeks on BlogTalkRadio

The Unforgettable Buzz Electric Football Christmas Video

Electric Football, for most people, evokes memories of Christmas. That what makes our reaction to the game so visceral. Because for so many of us Electric Football was the best Christmas present ever. And we’ll never forget that thrill…just like Raphie and his Red Ryder B.B. Gun.

We hope you enjoy The Unforgettable Buzz Christmas trailer.

 

Earl, Roddy, and Michael

The Unforgettable Buzz On “The Knee Jerks” Podcast Monday 12/9

The first NFL Electric Football game sports journalist Greg Eno received in 1971..the Tudor NFC 520.

Earl Shores of The Unforgettable Buzz will be talking about Electric Football with Greg Eno (Featured Columnist for The Bleacher Report) and Al Beaton (Bess You Boys) on Monday, December 9.

Greg and Al are both Detroit area sports journalist who have been hosting a Monday evening podcast called The Knee Jerks since 2009. They’ve been at this a long time, covering all Detroit sports-related topic. We’re honored that they’ve asked The Buzz to be part of the show.

Greg is a true Electric Football believer, having written one of the best tributes to Norman Sas in July of 2012. If you haven’t seen Greg’s piece before, it is definitely worth taking the time to read.

Electric Football hit Greg like it hit many of us, with Greg still remembering in detail his different games (see the main photo above), as well as the Tudor NFL teams he ordered from Brooklyn (sounds like he was one of those lucky guys with an entire NFL…) So we are very much looking forward to talking about Electric Football with Greg and Al, especially during the Holiday season.

There will also be a book giveaway during the show. Just go to The Knee Jerks web page and email a question you’d like to ask about The Unforgettable Buzz. If Greg and Al use your question then a signed copy of The Buzz is coming your way in time for Christmas.

So put on your thinking helmets and drop Greg and Al a line by Friday!

 

 

Electric Football Christmas Catalog Countdown – 1978 Sears Wish Book

The 1978 Sears Christmas Wish Book

Electric Football in the 1978 Sears Christmas Wish Book.

Electric Football in the 1978 Sears Christmas Wish Book. The Sears’ Tudor NFL Super Bowl model and the Tudor No. 500. Another installment in The Unforgettable Buzz Christmas Catalog Countdown!

The Unforgettable Buzz…the NFL’s “Toy Story”

The Unforgettable Buzz Electric Football Book Comic Ad

Artwork by Michael Kronenberg

Do you remember when the Greatest Games were played on your living room floor?

Then you’ll want a copy of The Unforgettable Buzz, the first and only book ever written on the subject of Electric Football. It’s available now for the Holiday season from the following retailers:

Amazon.com

Tudor Games.com

Barnes & Noble.com

Chester County Book Company

Bedrock City Comic Company

The Unforgettable Buzz is the NFL’s “toy story.” It chronicles how the growing popularity of a toy and a sport intertwined through the Baby Boomer years, culminating with Tudor Electric Football being the NFL’s top earning item for almost a decade.

Praise for The Unforgettable Buzz:

“The Unforgettable Buzz is a thoroughly researched and cleverly written study of electric football. Every Baby Boomer who played the game – and that’s all of us – will love this book.”
— Ray Didinger, Pro Football Hall of Fame Sportswriter and NFL Films Emmy® Award Winning Writer and Producer

“The Unforgettable Buzz is a gem of a book, full of riveting stories and interesting facts. Earl Shores and Roddy Garcia have done the fascinating history of electric football and Tudor Games a proud service. Even though it’s 650 pages long (because of its scholarship it needs that), it bears reading in one long go – or, my preference, lots of daily exciting dips to prolong the pleasure.” 
— Eric Clark, author of The Real Toy Story

“Authors Earl Shores and Roddy Garcia have done such a brilliant job of using the game [Electric Football] as a lens for viewing so many aspects of American life – including the rise of merchandising, professional football, and television – that foremost it may be a history lesson cleverly disguised as a book about a toy.”
— Tom Flynn, author of Venable Park and Baseball In Baltimore

A fascinating and absorbing look at the life and history of one of America’s (and my own) best-loved games, all played out against the backdrop of its times, the booming consumer culture and always-competitive toy industry.”
— Christopher Byrne aka The Toy Guy©, author of Toy Time

“This is such a great book. It immediately took me back to those special moments of my childhood. Shores and Garcia have done their homework in opening a sacred portal to the past.” 
— Rick Burton, David B. Falk Professor of Sport Management, Syracuse University

“The Unforgettable Buzz is a must read for anyone who loves football, follows the toy industry, or wants to connect with a classic game and hobby.”
— Doug Strohm, president, Tudor Games

“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.” 
— Glenn “Umpire” Harman, editor,
 Action Figure Times

Electric Football Christmas Catalog Countdown – Sears 1956

The 1956 Sears Christmas Catalog with the Gotham G-940 Electro-Magnetic Football Game.

Electric Football in the 1956 Sears Christmas Catalog. The game is at the top of the page. It’s the Sears exclusive Gotham G-940 Electro-Magnetic Football Game

The Unforgettable Buzz Electric Football Christmas Catalog Countdown

The 1955 Spiegel Christmas Catalog

Electric Football history was chronicled by the Christmas catalogs of Sears, Montgomery Ward, and others for over 30 years. These catalogs were a vital source of information to us as we wrote The Unforgettable Buzz. Not only did they give us a visual record of Electric Football evolution, they also helped put each year in context in terms of living trends and home technology.

So with the Holiday Season upon us, we’re going to turn to those wonderful catalogs for the next month with the first annual Unforgettable Buzz Christmas Catalog Countdown.

During the Christmas Catalog Countdown we will be posting at least one new Christmas catalog page every day — from now until December 25. Posts will be here on the website as well as on our Facebook page, so be sure to check to keep an eye on both sites.

To kick things off we featuring the colorful sports game page from the 1955 Spiegel Christmas Catalog.

On some days we will have multiple Catalog Countdown posts, so don’t touch that dial. It should get pretty exciting over the next month. Everyday will be Christmas morning!

 

Earl, Roddy & Michael

Electric Football History On Bookstore Shelves!

The Unforgettable Buzz hits the bookshelf! Author Roddy Garcia with Bedrock City Comic Company owner Richard Evans

Our publisher, One Way Road Press, is what is known in the publishing trade as a “small” publisher. So one of the things we had to come to terms in going the small publisher route was that the The Unforgettable Buzz would probably never sit on a bookstore shelf. 

That’s because competition for shelf space is fierce, especially now that Border’s and numerous independent bookstores have gone out of business. And one of the long running realities of the book business has been this: publishers pay lavish sums to make sure their newest books stay visible and promoted in the front of a bookstore.

But fortunately, there are book retailers who do give the little guy a break. So it is with great pride and not a little surprise that we can report that The Unforgettable Buzz is currently sitting on the shelves of the Bedrock City Comic Company in Houston, and the Chester County Book Company in West Chester, PA

It was quite a thrill to walk into a bookstore with The Unforgettable Buzz and know it was going to become part of the store’s inventory…it was a thrill we’d never thought we’d experience. So we are grateful to Richard Evans (Bedrock City) and Thea Kotroba (Chester County Books) for taking a chance on Electric Football.

We hope their faith in The Unforgettable Buzz is rewarded over the coming weeks. If you’re in the neighborhood, be sure to stop by and support your local bookstore. And both of these retailers will ship the book too!

 

Earl & Roddy

 

Praise For The Unforgettable Buzz from Author Eric Clark

Eric Clark is author of The Real Toy Story: Inside the Ruthless Battle for America’s Youngest Consumers. It is really a seminal work on the modern toy industry, and was published by Simon & Schuster.

He is a renowned investigative journalist, having written for the The Observer and The Guardian newspapers in the U.K. In short, he is a writer of some standing, and someone that we have great respect for. He knows the toy world inside and out.

That’s why were are so proud to receive this comment from Mr. Clark about The Unforgettable Buzz:

“The Unforgettable Buzz is a gem of a book, full of riveting stories and interesting facts. Earl Shores and Roddy Garcia have done the fascinating history of electric football and Tudor Games a proud service. Even though it’s 650 pages long (because of its scholarship it needs that), it bears reading in one long go – or, my preference, lots of daily exciting dips to prolong the pleasure.”

Anyone who is interested in learning more about the toy industry of today should pick up The Real Toy Story. It’s a great book and a great read.

 

Earl, Roddy & Michael

Remembering Our Veterans

(Note: The bulk of this text originally ran on Memorial Day.)

Electric football and Veterans Day wouldn’t seem to have much of a connection. But there is an electric football story that does connect electric football to this day of remembrance. It’s a story that was told to me in the mid-1990’s, and has stayed with me ever since.

Within our web page and our Facebook page we’ve recounted the joy of what it was like to grow up with electric football and the other amazing toys of the 60’s and 70’s. Without question, it was a great time to grow up. But other things were happening in the world. Major cultural changes were occurring, and also, there was a war going on.

Depending on your age, you knew someone who was drafted and went to Vietnam. A cousin, a neighbor, maybe even a brother. Invariably when they returned they were changed by the experience. Some of us are even old enough to have been following our own draft numbers. Not that we were old enough to go…but it was a rehearsal for an adult outcome we thought we might have to face. These conflicted feelings, like the war itself, were quickly swept aside when our soldiers finally came home from southeast Asia.

During the 1990’s I ran ads in just about every issue of Toy Shop and Toy Trader. From these ads I fielded a lot of phone calls. And there was one gentleman from the Midwest who called me and stopped me in my tracks.

His story was this – while in Vietnam, he and his platoon had an electric football league. The game stayed at a base, and they played it when they came back from their times out in the field. Electric football was their refuge from the unreality of their daily existence.

I had a number of conversations with this man, as he would call every so often just to talk electric football. I always thought his story would be perfect for our book. It exemplified just how powerful electric football could be – in the midst of war the game offered an escape.

Eventually I stopped hearing from him, and my electric football contact list became dated and obsolete during the extended period when it seemed there would never be an electric football book (at least not one written by us). But this is a story we will never forget, and one we want to highlight and honor on Veterans Day.

To all of those who serve and have served…our humble “thanks.”

 

Earl, Roddy & Michael