Electric Football Game Top 20 Countdown – No. 16

1971 Coleco Command Control 5795 – notice this prototype has the player controls on the same side of the game.

Our Electric Football Game Top 20 Countdown continues with the 1971 Coleco Command Control Electric Action Football 5795 at No. 16.

Coleco had a strong Electric Football debut in 1970, despite having boxes with thinly disguised Tudor Electric Football players on the front. The major factor in Coleco’s success was being a large and powerful presence in the toy world. Because of this advantage the company had little problem convincing retailers to make shelf space for their new games.

In 1971 Coleco was determined to ramp up its battle with Tudor and Gotham. Brian Clarke, who was Coleco’s vice president of marketing in 1971, told us in an interview for The Unforgettable Buzz that Coleco’s designers were frustrated with the lack of player control in Electric Football. So these designers — who were headquartered in Montreal and had extensive experience designing rod hockey games — transferred the rod design to Electric Football. Thus Command Control was born. (For more details see Chapter 24 of The Unforgettable Buzz.)

Coleco Command Control debuted in the fall of 1971 complete with a television commercial and a serious media campaign that included ads in NFL , CFL, and NHL programs.

The concept was pretty basic: two rods went under the game, allowing opposing coaches to control a single offensive and defensive player. A magnet on the end of the rod attached to a magnet under the player to make the player move. (The magnetic “wand” technique had been used by Remco on their popular Thimble City playset.) 

A 1971 Coleco ad from an NFL “PRO!” stadium program

The promise of Command Control — Coleco claimed it would “make other Electric Football games obsolete” — never came to full fruition. It did work, you could move the designated players all over the game without much trouble. But…it played like a pro running back was lined up against high school kids.

For most of us who owned a Command Control game, something just didn’t feel “right” about the concept. And there were positions under the game where the rods could lock up without the players on the field touching or tackling each other. Nothing in the rule book helped you deal with this situation.    

But…Command Control was the first major player control innovation in Electric Football history. Coleco gets full credit for trying to add more realism to the game. And even though the concept didn’t revolutionize Electric Football it did make the other companies reevaluate their own player control methods. It was no coincidence that Tudor and Munro both unveiled the first generation of “control” player bases in 1972 (TTC for Tudor; IPP for Munro). 

It’s very easy today to view Command Control as simply a gimmick. But its lasting legacy is the dial base concept that, 43 years on, is a standard part of Electric Football. Ultimately, Command Control did move Electric Football forward —  just not quite in the way that Coleco had planned. A highly influential and worthy No. 16 on our Top 20 Countdown.

 

Earl, Roddy, and Michael

Football Realism In Early Tudor Electric Football Boxes

A 1948 college game between Columbia and Penn. Compare this photo with the early Tudor Tru-Action Electric Football games below. (From The Unforgettable Buzz ©Corbis)

Electric Football is 65 year old in 2014, a landmark we’ve been highlighting this fall. The game has come such a long way in that time, with so many changes along the way to make just “a toy” be as realistic as possible. The very first game that Tudor put out in 1949, the Tru-Action No. 500, looks pretty crude to the modern eye. But at the time it was a realistic marvel.

1949 Tudor box.

And even in those early day Tudor President Norman Sas knew that realism was the key to the game. All you had to do was look at the box. Let’s compare the Tudor’s early boxes with the photo above from a 1948 Columbia-Penn college football game (we do this in Chapter 4 of The Unforgettable Buzz).

An early 1950′s Tudor box.

All pretty similar scenes? This was no accident. From the very start, Tudor thought realism was very important in Electric Football. And they continued to think so throughout the early days of the Tudor No. 500.

Tudor No. 500 box from the early 1960's.

 Eventually technology made it affordable to put an actual photo on a box, which Tudor began doing in 1962 with the Sports Classic No. 600 model. This was the first Tudor box which actually showed an Electric Football game. And the Drummond brothers in the photo do a great job of looking excited about Electric Football. You knew there was hours of fun just waiting under the lid.

1962 Tudor Sports Classic No. 600 model.

A box art classic from Lee Payne. These great boxes, and the thought that went into them, illustrate why Tudor was the dominant company in Electric Football.

 

Earl & Roddy

Electric Football Game Top 20 Countdown – No. 17

No. 17 – The 1977 JC Penney Tudor No. 660 Super Bowl

At No. 17 in The Unforgettable Buzz Electric Football Game Top 20 Countdown is the 1977 J.C. Penney No. 660 Super Bowl game.

The 660 Super Bowl in the 1977 JC Penney’s Christmas Catalog

This game is significant because it’s the last Tudor Super Bowl game made in the traditional Tudor Super Bowl configuration – large No. 620-size 36” x 21” field AND a full-size Tudor grandstand.

The first four Sears Super Bowl games (1969 − 1973) were all No. 620 size games. Sears then requested a mid-sized 31” x 18” Super Bowl for 1974 (see the No. 20 game in our Top 20 Countdown). In 1977 Tudor Games narrowed it’s Electric Football line down to just three games, with its single “large” game being a No. 620-size NFL Tudor Super Bowl model. This new Super Bowl game did not include a grandstand. (Tudor still provided Sears with a mid-size Super Bowl model in 1977.)

But for 1977 J.C. Penney requested a Super Bowl model with a grandstand. It would be the first time Penney’s ever sold a Super Bowl game — and it would be the only Super Bowl they ever sold with a grandstand.

The 1977 No. 660 is a great looking game, with the Raiders and Vikings on the field for Super Bowl XI. In the real game, the Raiders thrashed the Vikings 32-14 to cap off a 16-1 season. It was the Raiders first-ever Super Bowl victory.

The J.C. Penney model came complete Haiti Tudor players, goal posts on the end line, and hash marks in-line with uprights. All wonderful bonuses to the last large Tudor Super Bowl game. Not an easy model to find – certainly worthy of a place in our Top 20.

 

Earl, Roddy, and Michael

60th Anniversary of Gotham’s Entry Into Electric Football

We’ve already talked about Tudor Electric Football turning 65 this year. But that’s not the only Electric Football anniversary that falls in 2014. This fall is also the 60th anniversary of Gotham Pressed Steel’s entry into Electric Football.

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

It was in 1954 that Gotham fired up its toy store aisle competition with Tudor by selling the Gotham All-Star Electric Football game. While Gotham didn’t make a giant dent in Tudor’s sales that year, Gotham’s ambitions led the company to create the Gotham G-940 Electro-Magnetic Football game in 1955. The G-940 was the first Electric Football game with grandstands (it came with two metal end zone grandstands), and the first Electric Football game to make it into the Sears Christmas catalog.

Gotham also was the first Electric Football maker with an NFL license, which it debuted on the first large Electric Football game ever sold in 1961. The NFL G-1500 is a landmark in Electric Football history, leading to an “arms race” in Electric Football features that would go on for the next 15 years.

It was this competition between Tudor and Gotham that produced the first 3-D players, the Big Bowl, a miniature NFL, the first Electric Football Super Bowl game, and a Joe Namath-endorsed game.

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

The success of Tudor and Gotham eventually enticed two other toy companies into Electric Football, giving the game a total of 4 different manufacturers in the early 1970’s. By the time Gotham was absorbed by Munro Games in 1973 it had left a significant legacy in Electric Football. That legacy started 60 years ago this fall.

The complete Gotham story and much more can be found in our book The Unforgettable Buzz: The History of Electric Football and Tudor Games.

 

Earl & Roddy

Electric Football Game Top 20 Countdown – No. 18

No. 18 – the 2014 Tudor Games Pro Bowl NFL model.

The Unforgettable Buzz Electric Football Game Top 20 Countdown welcomes a newcomer to the list at No 18 — the 2014 Tudor Games NFL Pro Bowl Game.

How does a brand new game make it into the Top 20? Easy – who thought we’d ever be talking about a “new” NFL No. 620 model in 2014?

Besides returning a No. 620-sized playing surface back to Electric Football, Tudor Games has been very forward thinking in its approach to redesigning Electric Football for the 21st century. In addition to an attractive streamlined appearance, the new SpeedTurf fields and the battery operated FieldDrive Motion Generator combine with the new Invisibases to create a totally modern Electric Football experience.

What Tudor Games has done for 2014 is to completely reimagine how Electric Football could be played. They also reimagined where Electric Football could be played, because with batteries as the power source the game can now be a fixture of anyone’s tailgate party.

It would have been easy for Tudor Games to continue with Electric Football locked in its traditional configuration. But they dared to see the game as a contemporary and modern item. They asked: “What should Electric Football look like in the 21st Century?” Their extraoridinary vision gives hope for the future of Electric Football.  And we expect the stature of the 2014 NFL Pro Bowl Football game to only rise over time.

 

Earl, Roddy & Michael

Electric Football Game To 20 Countdown – No. 19

No 19 – the 1966 Montgomery Ward “Accordion” Tudor No. 600

Coming in at No. 19 on The Unforgettable Buzz Electric Football Top 20 countdown is one of the rarest games of all — the 1966 Montgomery Ward “Accordion” No. 600.

In 1966 Tudor didn’t have the NFL, and were actually in the process of trying to convince NFL Properties that they were worthy of the NFL. It was a tall order. Current NFL licensee Gotham was heading into its 5th year of making official NFL Electric Football games, and was in the second year of selling the most elaborate game ever created – the NFL Big Bowl. The monster impact the Big Bowl had on Electric Football went beyond the size of its grandstand. It was the Big Bowl that convinced Tudor President Norman Sas to go after the NFL (download Chapter 1 of The Unforgettable Buzz for more of the story).

1966 Ward Christmas Catalog

When Norman Sas approached NFL Properties about getting the license, the NFL pointed to the Big Bowl and said “We have this — what do you have?” At the same time, Montgomery Ward was not wanting to fall behind in the Electric Football grandstand “arms race” in 1966. So they were looking for a game to compete with the Big Bowl, which made its first appearance in the 1965 Sears Christmas catalog.

Tudor’s answer for both Ward and the NFL was the Accordion No. 600. In many was it was just a basic Tudor No. 600 Sports Classic game…with one exception.  An enormous Lee Payne-designed grandstand that went almost 3/4 of the way around the playing field. And mounted on top of the grandstand was a scoreboard that included the interchangeable names of dozens of college teams, as well as the city names of all the teams in the NFL and AFL.

The grandstand got the “Accordion” nickname from its unique design. Three different pieces were fastened together to create the full wrap-around stadium. And each piece contained a large number of folds that allowed the grandstand to be expanded or shortened like an accordion. It was another amazing Lee Payne innovation.

Unfortunately this “fold” technology proved to be  fragile and challenging to set up. Tudor used it only one more time — on the 1967 Ward NFL 620 — then abandoned it for good. But the game is a testament to the realism that Lee Payne and Norman Sas wanted for Electric Football. It also highlights just how heated the competition was between Tudor and Gotham for Electric Football superiority in the 1960’s.

A truly worthy No. 19 on our countdown. See you next week for No. 18!

 

Earl, Roddy & Michael

Happy 65th Birthday Electric Football!

The 1949 Tudor Tru-Action No. 500.

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.

1949 Electric Football newspaper advertisement.

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

Electric Football Game Top 20 Countdown – No. 20

No. 20 in the Electric Football Top 20 Countdown – the 1976 Sears Tudor Super Bowl

Coming in at No. 20 on The Unforgettable Buzz Electric Football Game Top 20 Countdown is the 1976 Sears NFL Super Bowl featuring the Steelers and the Cowboys. While a “small” Sears Super Bowl may not seem like an ideal Top 20 candidate this game has some, shall we say, “extenuating” circumstances.

Super Bowl X was by far the most exciting Super Bowl game played up to that point in time. The Steelers’ 21-17 victory over the Cowboys had drama, scoring, hitting, as well as an epic individual performance by Steelers’ WR Lynn Swann. It was everything that football fans had hoped for since the Super Bowl was first played in 1967. And it still ranks as one of the best Super Bowls of all time.

By 1976 Sears had reduced its Super Bowl models down to Tudor’s mid-size game design (31” x 18”). Still the field had the colorful Tudor No. 635 template, with a giant NFL shield at midfield and a red-white-and-blue diamond pattern in each end zone. It also came with Tudor’s standard size single-posted goal posts.

But what really helped push this game into our Top 20 was the teams that came with the game — black shoe Haiti Steelers and Cowboys. The Haiti players are just so well painted (although they were molded in New Jersey). The metallic grey/blue of the Cowboys’ pants is one of our all-time favorite looks. We like this game so much we even used it on the back cover of The Unforgettable Buzz!

So there’s our No. 20 game – the 1976 Tudor Sears’ Super Bowl. See you next week for No. 19!

 

Earl, Roddy & Michael

 

2014 Season Kicks Off With Electric Football Back In The NFL!

The Packers and Seahawks open the 2014 NFL season tonight.

It’s hard to believe the NFL kicks off its season tonight, as it doesn’t seem like that long ago we were at TudorCON 14 in Philadelphia.

But what a momentous year 2014 has been for Electric Football!

Who ever imagined that an NFL season would once again kick off in a year when the NFL was part of Electric Football? It was starting to feel like one of those things that would never happen. But thanks to Doug Strohm and Tudor Games, when the Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers take the field tonight, the NFL license is back where it belongs — in Electric Football.

So here’s to an entertaining game, a great NFL season, and a successful fall and Christmas for Tudor Games and Electric Football. We definitely need to order some Seahawks in white…

 

Earl & Roddy

Preview – The Electric Football Game Top 20 Countdown

Our Top 20 Electric Football Countdown starts next week…who will make the cut?

A lot of great Electric Football games have been made through the years, and we’re going to honor them this fall with The Unforgettable Buzz “Top 20 Countdown.”

1996 Miggle Electric Football Convention

What games will make the cut in our Top 20 Countdown?

Beginning next Friday we’re going to feature one of Electric Football’s most amazing games, talking about where it fits into Electric Football history and why we think it’s worthy of a spot in our Top 20.

We’ll start with game No. 20 on Friday September 5th, and then countdown with a new game each week until we reach No. 1. It should be a lot of fun.

Who will be No. 1 when it’s all said and done? What games will make the cut?

Be sure to check in with The Unforgettable Buzz each and every Friday this fall!!

 

Earl, Roddy and Michael

Electric Football TudorCON 14 Flashback – Mike Landsman

This looks like an argument, but it was actually a very amiable conversation. It was just a bit animated at this moment. Earl Shores, Roddy Garcia, and Mike Landsman. Photo by Robin Shores.

One of the biggest Electric Football surprises at TudorCON 14 was the appearance of Mike Landsman. Mike was the owner Superior Toy, who purchased Tudor from Norman Sas in 1988, and also the owner of Miggle Toys, who resurrected Tudor Games and Electric Football in 1993. He plays a prominent part in our “Beyond Brooklyn” chapter in The Unforgettable Buzz (Chapter 37).

Delayne Landsman, Corey Johnson, and Mike Lansdman at TudorCON 14. Photo by Lynn Schmidt.

Mike Landsman’s Electric Football legacy is a significant one. He not only resurrected Electric Football, he held the first Tudor Electric Football Convention in 1996, and then held one each year until 2009. As “Commisioner” he oversaw the second and contemporary phase of Electric Football, starting the Miggle web site and Chat Board, which helped connect all the pieces of the Electric Football community. He then passed the Tudor ball to Doug Strohm in 2012.

Mike has had some serious health issues, but we’re pleased to report that he looked great at TudorCON 14, as did his wife Delayne. It was a pleasure to talk with both of them, about the old days and about the “now.” We were pleased to be able to give Mike and Delayne a signed copy of The Unforgettable Buzz, and Mike seemed grateful that we had taken the time to dig into all the not so pretty details surrounding Superior’s bankruptcy in the early 1990’s.

It was wonderful to talk with Mike and Delayne throughout the weekend. It provided a sense of “closure” to the entire Buzz project that we really didn’t see coming. A totally unexpected “buzz” of its own.

 

Earl & Roddy

Excerpt No. 3 of The Unforgettable Buzz on Sports Collectors Daily

 

Excerpt No. of The Unforgettable Buzz on Sports Collectors Daily covering 1969.

Electric Football had one of its most exciting years in 1969. After the Jets defeated the Colts in Super Bowl III in early January, Electric Football makers Tudor and Gotham both ended up creating, arguably, the most memorable games in the history of the hobby.

Chapter 21 of The Unforgettable Buzz

For Christmas of 1969 there was a true bounty of exciting Electric Football games to choose from. As a result, the chapter of The Unforgettable Buzz that covers 1969 – Chapter 21 – is one of our favorites. 

And we’re pleased that Sports Collectors Daily chose to run an excerpt of Chapter 21 on its web site. Again, SCD has done amazing job in making the Buzz look good, with some great Electric Football images from that memorable year. It really captures what The Unforgettable Buzz: The History of Electric Football and Tudor Games is all about.

Electric Football on the New York Jets Website!

With the NFL now officially back in Electric Football, it’s fitting that Electric Football recently earned its first official appearance on an NFL team web site. All credit goes to the New York Jets and Randy Lange, who ran “What’s The Buzz ? It’s Electric Football” in his Randy’s Radar column.

1961 Tudor ad with Titan QB Al Dorrow.

Randy interviewed The Unforgettable Buzz author Earl Shores about how important the New York Jets were to Electric Football history, going back to the early days of the AFL when the franchise was called the New York Titans. Tudor actually had an endorsement deal with Titans QB Al Dorrow, who appeared in several Tudor ads in 1961.

The story follows through to the Jets appearance on landmark Tudor games like 1968 Tudor AFL game, the first Sears Super Bowl in 1969, and the 1970 AFC No. 610 model which recreates the first-ever ABC Monday Night Football game with the Jets and Browns. The Joe Namath-endorsed Gotham and Munro Electric Football games are also part of the story.

We’re so proud, and grateful to the Jets for giving Electric Football the visibility the game truly deserves. And The Unforgettable Buzz gets a nice shout out too.

Check out the story here on the New York Jets website!

 

Earl, Roddy & Michael

Two Years And Counting At The Unforgettable Buzz Web Site

Here at TheUnforgettableBuzz.com it’s 2 years of Electric Football and counting!

It’s hard to believe that we’ve been writing about Electric Football for over two years now on The Unforgettable Buzz web page. When we started back in July 2012, if someone had told us that we’d still be at it two years later…we would have said that there’s just not that much stuff in Electric Football to keep someone busy for two full years!

The NFL is back at Tudor Games!

But things have grown and evolved in so many ways. We’ve met a whole lot of new people who’ve not only inspired us, they’ve become good friends (over 300 of you have “friended” us on Facebook!) It seems there’s always something going on in the world of Electric Football that’s worthy of writing about. Just look at this past week — Tudor Games got the NFL license back!!

And the things we’ve been lucky enough to be part of during the last 24 months — from the publication of The Unforgettable Buzz, to TudorCON 14, radio interviews, a television interview, the New York Jets website — we’re pretty awestruck.

From what we can see, the future of Electric Football looks very bright, especially with a brand new NFL license to raise the game’s profile. So we’re going to stick around for a while. There’s plenty to write and celebrate about in this endlessly amazing hobby. Not to mention a piece of significant unfinished business — our upcoming book Full Color Electric Football.

Thanks for all of your support over the last 2 years and stay tuned!!

 

 

Earl, Roddy, and Michael

THE NFL IS BACK!!

It’s official! Tudor Games has announced that it’s reclaimed the NFL license for Electric Football!

Tudor Games’ President Doug Strohm broke the news on Friday, August 1, at 12:00 am EST . For the fall of 2014 there will official NFL Electric Football games and NFL Electric Football teams. In fact they’re already up on the Tudor Games website!

Electric football 1967 Tudor NFL 613

Tudor Games continues the long NFL-Electric Football tradition in 2014! (1967 Tudor 613 game.)

This is one of the all-time milestones in the history of Electric Football. Doug Strohm has worked diligently over the last two years to bring the NFL license back to Electric Football.  It’s not easy to return to the fold of NFL Properties, especially after a 7-year absence. Once a licensee has missed the NFL’s “cut” — as happened to Miggle Toys with Electric Football in 2007 — it usually doesn’t get a second chance.

Undoubtedly the long and storied relationship between Tudor Games and the NFL — which we recount in The Unforgettable Buzz — helped the league reconsider the value of Electric Football to the NFL brand. In fact, we have it on good authority that NFL Properties had a copy of The Unforgettable Buzz in their possession during the licensing negotiations. That our work may have played any part in helping the NFL grasp how deep the roots of the NFL-Tudor relationship go…it’s very humbling. A scenario we never dreamed of during the writing of The Unforgettable Buzz.

For all of us in Electric Football, we need to take a deep breath and truly savor what Tudor Games and Doug Strohm have done in returning the NFL to our game. It really is against the odds that a 65-year-old toy would make a “comeback.” But that’s exactly what Electric Football is doing in 2014.

So here’s a giant “Thank You” to Doug and Tudor — it’s Christmas morning in August!

 

Earl, Roddy & Michael

MFCA CON.7 This Weekend In Cleveland!

One of the biggest Electric Football events of 2014 will take place this weekend (August 1-3) in Cleveland, Ohio. That’s where the Miniature Football Coaches of America are holding their 7th annual convention and Tournament of Champions.

2013 MFCA Champion Jim “The Hulk” Davis will be defending his title, while Adrian Baxter, Eric Robinson and Dave Campbell will be inducted into the MFCA Hall of Fame. 

MFCA CON.7 is an amazing chance to see Electric Football played at the highest level — and also meet some the nicest people you’ll ever meet. The event site is the Sheraton Cleveland Airport. The event schedule is here on the MFCA web site.

Good luck to all coaches! We know that it will be an Electric Football weekend to long remember.

 

Earl & Roddy

Nominate Electric Football For The Toy Hall of Fame!

Electric Football needs to be in the National Toy Hall of Fame. It’s a simple fact, and we at The Unforgettable Buzz are grateful to Tudor Games for getting out in front with this issue for the month of July.

Here’s a pretty cool list: Barbie, Etch-A-Sketch, Silly Putty, Hot Wheels, Big Wheel, GI Joe, Slinky Tonka Toys, LEGO, Lincoln Logs, Monopoly, Mr. Potato Head, Electric Football. All are classic and iconic childhood toys. It’s a point that no one would argue.

Another interesting point about the list is that all of those toy have been inducted into National Toy Hall of Fame…except one. Can you guess which one?

It’s our own Electric Football.

So maybe this year, Electric Football’s time has come. Our book The Unforgettable Buzz documents conclusively Electric Football’s position as one of the most beloved toys of all time. But we all have to do our part…and it’s really not all that hard. 

Just click on the link below and fill out the form to nominate Electric Football for the Toy Hall of Fame. And pass the nomination form on to everybody you know who loves Electric Football. The nomination period closes on July 31. Together we can make 2014 one of the most memorable years in Electric Football history. All those NFL players at the top of this post are counting on us!!

http://www.toyhalloffame.org/nominate

 

Earl, Roddy & Michael

Searching For Electric Football – The Old School Method

The only Electric Football find during an expedition to Reningers Collectibles Extravaganza in Kutztown, PA.

Over the weekend I went “old school” in search of vintage Electric Football items, visiting the Renningers Collectibles Extravaganza in Kutztown, PA. There was a time when actual legwork — that is, walking around a toy show, antique show or flea market — was a pretty fruitful way to pick up Electric Football stuff. And Renningers was one of the “can’t miss”
shows in the entire Northeast.

The Renningers Collectibles Extravaganza

Things could be crazy cheap, owing to vendors who were willing to unload games to anyone who showed interest. As we all know, Electric Football games are on the large side (if we’re lucky) and take up a lot of space on a display table. They also take up space in whatever vehicle they’re transported in. Dealers basically couldn’t wait to get rid of their Electric Football items.

Of course, then this thing called eBay came along, and well, you know the story. More EF stuff is available than ever – for a price. Thanks to eBay my outings to collectible shows dwindled through the years, and when those outings did happen, the challenge turned from finding great Electric Football pieces to finding anything Electric Football related. (Also dwindling during this time were the toy and collectible shows themselves.)

Drop-Kick arcade pinball game from 1934.

My recent Renningers experience reinforced what we’ve come to expect from legwork at this point in time. Even though the Extravaganza has been renown for decades as a “big” show, I came across just a single Electric Football game. It was a Tudor No. 500 from the early 1950’s in the worst box I’ve ever seen. Faded, stained, and mildewed, I don’t know how it was staying together. Inside the pieces were all there, as was the jewel/storage box that Tudor included in those early games. Also inside was a $45 price tag — and a giant crease in the frame and the game. Other than accessories, the game was trash. But, I did find a game. Reward enough in 2014.

By far the coolest football item I saw was a coin-op bagatelle-style pinball game called “Drop-Kick.” It was dated 1934 and arcade quality all the way, with a heavy wooden frame and glass top. At $400 it was a much better bargain than the trashed No. 500. Still, I’m convinced if I keep my walking shoes on some Electric Football bargains will come my way. I’ll keep you posted. And don’t hesitate to tell us about your own non-eBay finds.

 

Earl

One Year Anniversary for The Unforgettable Buzz

Buzz Designer Michael Kronenberg with Buzz authors Earl Shores and Roddy Garcia at the ADA Gallery in Richmond, VA, August 2013.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been a year since The Unforgettable Buzz was published. Our journey to complete the book became so long and protracted that we never really gave much thought to the “after” part. We were too busy worrying about “how” and “if” a book on Electric Football would ever get published.

Antiques Roadshow Appraiser Gary Sohmers

But it did, with the official date being recorded as June 26, 2013. Since then…well the last year has been nothing short of amazing. From those enthusiastic emails you sent us in the early weeks, to the glowing reviews left on Amazon, to our road trip to Richmond, VA, the radio interviews (including with Fox Sports and the Antique Road Show’s Gary Sohmers), the positive reviews that popped up on other websites, the positive reviews that came from other authors, our epic conversations with the Knee Jerks, the book signing at Chester County Books…and that’s just 2013.

Earl and Roddy at TudorCON 14

2014 started with an amazing review from Uni-Watch.com which morphed almost seamlessly into the most memorable event of the entire last year – TudorCON 14 in Philly. That some of you came and purchased a second (or third) copy of The Unforgettable Buzz — it’s something we will never forget. And we will never forget all the wonderful stories you told us about your own Electric Football history. TudorCON 14 was one of the highlights of our entire “modern” involvement in Electric Football.

Then, just a few weeks later, we got to witness the genuine enthusiasm of toy buyers as they checked out Tudor Games new line Electric Football games at Toy Fair. Sports Collectors Daily then ran a series of excerpts from The Unforgettable Buzz, we were asked to contribute to and fact check the Electric Football chapter of the Toys of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, and finally, The Unforgettable Buzz landed on television in White Plains, New York.

The Unforgettable Buzz on TV!

It’s been a breathtaking journey so far. And the most rewarding part has been the support that you’ve given the book. Whether by email, Facebook, on the phone, or face-to-face at whatever event we were at…we’ve treasured every single word of encouragement that’s been offered. Thank you so much. Your support alone has made this a journey worth taking.

 

Earl, Roddy & Michael

 

 

The Unforgettable Buzz on Television!!

Earl Shores of The Unforgettable Buzz appears on the television show “Beyond The Game.”

Electric Football got a great reception from John Voperian of “Beyond The Game” the other night at White Plains Community Media. I had a great time talking with John – he’s a gracious host who asked great questions. He made it a lot of fun to talk to about The Unforgettable Buzz for a half an hour.

Click on the photo or following link to see the interview: Earl Shores – Beyond The Game

So…the profile of Electric Football is still on the rise. Thanks John!!

 

Earl