Full Color Electric Football on The Knee Jerks Podcast

The full cover of the book Full Color Electric Football

Full Color Electric Football

It was our pleasure to appear on The Knee Jerks 6th Anniversary Podcast last night to talk about our upcoming Full Color Electric Football book. This was our 3rd time on the show. Hosts Greg Eno and Al Beaton are so much fun to talk to, and very much Electric Football guys. They definitely get what’s special about the game.

Our segment is right at the beginning of the show. Thanks so much Greg and Al!!!

1960’s Electric Football Competitor — Mag-Powr Football

1960 Mag-Powr Electric Football game

1960 Mag-Powr Electric Football game.

Electric Football got its first “big game” in 1961 when Gotham unveiled the officially NFL-endorsed G-1500. So when Sports Illustrated ran a column in December of 1961 recommending sports games for Christmas, it was a bit of a shock that the magazine’s top-rated action football game didn’t vibrate, and came from neither Tudor nor Gotham. SI’s action football winner was a game called Mag-Powr Football.

Like Electric Football, Mag-Powr Football offered two complete teams of 3-D players. And the players could move all over the field, just like Electric Football. The difference was, the players were controlled by a magnetic wand below the game. Sound familiar? Yes it does, and in fact Coleco’s Command Control patent cited the 1959 Mag-Powr patent.

Instructions for how Mag-Powr Football worksEach human player had two magnetic wands, and could move their miniature football players around the field however they wished, as long as it followed the rules of real football.

The teams, like Tudor, were red and yellow, and the players did come in different football poses. There was even a quarterback figure, although it’s unclear how he actually threw the ball. Each player was mounted on top of a hefty magnet, which acted as the players “legs.” While the molding of the players was a bit crude, the field was a green felt material, which added a “touch of grass” realism.

Two other Mag-Powr sports games -- Baseball and hockeyMag-Powr football and baseball were first available in 1959, with company expanding to hockey in 1960, and basketball in 1961. Although the line wasn’t carried by Sears and Montgomery Ward, Mag-Powr games can be found in other Christmas catalogs of the period. Unfortunately by 1965 the Mag-Powr line vanished from the toy world. But the magnetic wand concept lived on in the Remco Thimble City line.

As we’ve said here many times, Electric Football’s staying power in the toy world makes it one of the most amazing toys ever produced. It’s legacy as building block for NFL Properties will never be equaled.


Earl & Roddy

1979 Tudor Rule Book

Cover of the 1979 Tudor Rule Book

Cover of the 1979 Tudor Rule Book

Electric Football has a lot of great “pieces.” And we think some of the coolest pieces in all of Electric Football are the Tudor Rule Books. In fact, they were a large part of our inspiration for our upcoming  Full Color Electric Football book.

In this post we’re going to examine in detail a 1979 Tudor Rule Book. One of the most important things for any rule book is being able to figure out what year its from. Some of the early Rule Books make it obvious with a price list of “Fine Tudor Products” that has the year. Unfortunately, later versions aren’t so obvious. But there is one sure place where you can find the date of your Rule Book.

Look for the Copyright on the inside cover. This will accurately date your Rule Book. As you can see in the bottom left hand corner this page says “Copyright 1979.” Some Rule Books have multiple years listed. The most recent year will be the date of the Rule Book.

Inside cover of 1979 Tudor Rule Book

You can date a Tudor Rule Book by finding the Copyright on the inside cover.

Now for the good stuff, the color NFL pages. There are four pages in the 1979 Rule Book. This one unfortunately, has some water damage, but it still works!!

Tudor NFL Teams from the 1979 Rule Book

1979 Tudor nfl Rule Book

1979 Tudor NFL Rule Book

1979 Tudor NFL Rule Book

And last, but not least, the order form!!!

1979 Tudor NFL Electric Football Order Form

There you have it, the most vital parts of the 1979 Tudor Rule Book. This was actually pretty fun, maybe we’ll post some other years in the near future. Remember…look for that Copyright date!

Earl & Roddy.

1970 — Coleco Becomes Electric Football Maker No. 3

A 1970 Coleco Pro Stars 5765A model.

A 1970 Coleco Pro Stars 5765A model.

It was 45 years ago this spring that Electric Football’s third manufacturer stepped onto the vibrating gridiron. That company was Coleco Industries of Hartford, Connecticut.

Coleco’s path to Electric Football began in late 1968, when they purchased Canadian toy maker Eagle Toys. This acquisition gave Coleco a large share of the table hockey market, as well as the ability to create and mass-produce sports games. After a year of prototypes and planning, Coleco launched its all new “World of Sports” at the 1970 Toy Fair in New York City.

A 1970 toy trade ad for the Coleco World of Sports

A 1970 toy trade ad for the Coleco World of Sports

In addition to Electric Football games, this new Coleco “world” included hockey, baseball, and basketball games. Coleco was also promising a promotional push that featured television spots, as well as ads in stadium programs and Sports Illustrated.

Coleco's 1970 Pro Stars games

Coleco’s 1970 Pro Stars games

Coleco had six different Electric Football models at the 1970 Toy Fair. The Pro Stars line consisted of a large game and small game, both of which were available in American Conference or National Conference versions. Then there was Coleco’s innovative College line, consisting of the Collegiate game and the smaller College Bowl game (there are questions as to whether this line was ever actually produced).

Coleco's 1970 line of College games

Coleco’s 1970 line of College games

Toy trade ads promoting the World of Sports had appeared months before Toy Fair opened. Coleco was a major toy company — in fact, they were the world’s largest manufacturer of above ground swimming pools. So they weren’t fooling around with their entry into sports games. As a large company with a lot of “leverage” in the toy world — any retailer who carried Coleco’s very popular swimming pools would now be “asked” to also carry the World of Sports — Coleco felt it would just be a matter of time before they would be the top player in Electric Football.

Coleco Electric Football game 1970

Tudor players as pictured on a 1970 Coleco Electric Football game box lid.

The lack of regard Coleco had for Tudor could be seen in Coleco’s promotional material — posed on their Football games were thinly disguised Tudor players. Coleco also “borrowed” Tudor’s goal post and first down marker to fill out the details of their games. And finally, Coleco thought nothing of using Tudor’s players for their 1970 television commercial.

Even though Coleco’s vision of Electric Football conquest never came to fruition, the company’s debut into Electric Football in 1970 did alter the course of the game. It forced Tudor to be more competitive (see Command Control), and thanks to its heft in the toy world, Coleco ended up playing a large part in the demise of both Gotham and Munro Games.

Coleco’s own demise came in the late 1980’s, about a decade after it stepped away from Electric Football for the thrill of computer and hand-held electronic games. But ultimately, Coleco left us with some very nice games that have proven durable even 45 years out. Their fiberboard fields still vibrate and play well, not seeming to warp and bubble as readily as Gotham’s fields do. (The plastic grandstand supports, unfortunately, are another matter entirely.)

And based on our conversations at TudorCON 14, Coleco games are fondly remembered. They still have a significant amount of admirers despite never having any official NFL affiliation. Most us seemed to have quickly figured out that Tudor NFL teams looked good and performed well on Coleco games.

There are many more details about the Coleco in The Unforgettable Buzz. There’s no doubt that the company played a major role in the story of Electric Football.


Earl & Roddy

Toy Rarity — Gotham Shipping Box

A Gotham shipping box with 3-d hockey players

A Gotham shipping box from 1964 with 3-D hockey players.

Electric Football ephemera is something we have a special passion for. We love finding old shipping boxes, or dated invoice forms with Electric Football items checked and tallied. A special thrill came this year at Toy Fair when Tudor President Doug Strohm showed us a folder that contained 1967 Tudor price lists with Norman Sas’ handwriting on them. There’s just not much of that stuff left around anymore.

Which leads to the piece of ephemera we’re featuring on the blog today. It isn’t Electric Football related…but it’s close. It’s a Gotham Pressed Steel shipping box. If you ordered Electric Football spare parts from Gotham — their instructions and Rule Books always included a Price List — this is the type of box that you would have received.

Gotham's 3-D hockey players.

Gotham’s 3-D hockey players, molded in the same red and white plastic as Gotham’s Electric Football players.

The postmark is from the Bronx on January 30, 1964. Inside were Gotham 3-D hockey players — our best guess is that they were replacement players for a Gotham hockey game that was received on Christmas in 1963. Since Gotham 3-D hockey players were only sold in 1963 and 1964, they are pretty rare. And it seems that they are pretty fragile. Only one of seven players here is intact. This adds another layer of “rare” to the players.

1964 Gotham hockey game

1964 Gotham Super Deluxe hockey game with 3-D players

But we still think the box is the rarest part of this find. Gotham’s football players, at least the 3-D versions, were almost unbreakable. And Gotham’s standard hockey players were made of metal. So how many replacement orders did Gotham ever actually receive…at least compared to all the orders Tudor received through the years for NFL teams?

Postmark on the back of the box.

Postmark on the back of the box.

For us, this box is something we never thought we’d see. It’s another “lost” piece from the puzzle we’ve spent two decades putting together. But does it have much value beyond the couple of bucks we paid for it? Probably not. As we all know, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.


Earl & Roddy

Birthday of Electric Football Inventor Norman Sas

Electric Football Book The Unforgettable Buzz author

Electric Football inventor Norman Sas (far left) with NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle in 1971.

Electric Football inventor Norman Sas would have turned 90 this Sunday (March 29). When he took over the struggling Tudor Metal Products Corporation in mid-1948 he was only 23-years-old —  just “a kid” as he recalled to us in an interview. But he did already have degree in Engineering and also one in Business from M.I.T.

Tudor’s future rode on Electric Football. If the game Norman created wasn’t a success, the company was headed for bankruptcy. Even if it survived bankruptcy, it was likely to have new owners. And the company, no matter who owned it, would have discarded any toy that almost put it out of business. (Let’s all take a moment to contemplate a world without Electric Football).

1949 Electric Football newspaper advertisement.

Norman felt pretty good about Electric Football when he unveiled it in March of 1949 at the American International Toy Fair in New York City. The game was well received by toy buyers, and once it hit toy store shelves in the fall of 1949, it became a very popular item. Even with a $6.95 price tag ($68+ in today’s dollars). It was so popular that stores publicly announced the arrival of new Electric Football shipments after Christmas.

Tudor 1973 NFL Rule Book Electric Football

Tudor’s 1973 Electric Football NFL Rule Book

Over the next four decades Norman guided Tudor and Electric Football to some amazing heights. The NFL license, featured games in Sears, Ward, and JC Penney, and a decade as NFL Properties top money earner. An amazing track record for any toy.

And this success allowed Norman to have some pretty amazing experiences, that every so often, he would reveal. Attending over 20 Super Bowl games, getting invites to Pete Rozelle’s legendary Super Bowl parties, fishing outings with Dolphins’ owner Joe Robbie — it was stuff that made our jaws drop. But these were things that he only revealed after years of conversations. For the most part Norman was reluctant to talk about his accomplishments, even his very public ones with Tudor.

Earl Shores, Norman Sas, and Roddy Garcia, Florida 2010.

Norman sold Tudor in 1988 and retired from the toy business. He eventually moved to Florida where he passed away in June of 2012 at age 87. He truly led a life that touched millions. He was even featured in LiFE Farewell Remembering The Friends We Lost in 2012sharing a page with Pro Football Hall of Fame running back Steve Van Buren (see image below).


Earl & Roddy

Norman’s full page with Steve Van Buren. ©LIFE 2012


Images From The Unforgettable Buzz In ESPN’s Documentary

Our Joe Namath photo being animated in Errol Moriss' ESPN Electric Football documentary.

Our Joe Namath photo being animated in Errol Moriss’ ESPN Electric Football documentary.

Electric Football has never seen anything quite like Errol Morris’ recent ESPN documentary. We were proud to be an integral part of the project, providing 16 images that made it into the film’s final cut.

We make our entrance at the 0:42 mark, with a collage of turning pages from The Unforgettable Buzz. This graphic included, in order, pages 74, 15, 82, 138, 79, and 76 from our book.

page from The Unforgettable Buzz that appears in the ESPN Electric Football documentary

Page 79 from The Buzz in ESPN’s “The Subterranean Stadium.” Our caption is visible.

Next up were a series of Electric Football game boxes, which included eight images from The Unforgettable Buzz web page. The Munro Day/Nite box still has our watermark on it!

A Munro Day Nite Game from the ESPN Documentary with our watermark

Check out this image from the ESPN Electric Football documentary — our theunforgettablebuzz.com watermark is still on the box (bottom right corner).

Then at the 3:37 mark, page 15 of The Unforgettable Buzz appears. This page has the 1961 Gotham Rule Book on it, and the comic-like images of the Rule Book receive a nice bit of animation showing how the grandstand would be assembled.

Page 15 from our book The Unforgettable Buzz as seen in ESPN documentary

Page 15 from The Buzz, coming to life in the documentary.

Finally, just a few seconds later, our 1969 Gotham Joe Namath game shows up shows up with some very cool animation of the grandstand setting up…all by itself!

1969 Gotham Joe Namath Electric Football Game

Our Gotham Joe Namath photo that was brought to life in ESPN’s Electric Football documentary. (See top photo.)

It was thrilling to have an Academy Award-winning filmmaker consider our artwork to be good enough for his documentary. And it was totally stunning to watch all our images go by and see the wonderful end credit for The Unforgettable Buzz. As we’ve said all along, it was a complete honor to be part of The Subterranean Stadium.

Credit for The Unforgettable Buzz at the end of the ESPN documentary.

The great credit we received at the end of the film.

This gives us great confidence as we move forward with Full Color Electric Football. If our art is good enough for an Errol Morris documentary we must be doing something right!


Earl, Roddy, and MK

Full Color Electric Football Book – Cover Update

The full cover of the book Full Color Electric Football

We’re thrilled to unveil the entire cover of our upcoming book Full Color Electric Football.

This new book will tell the story of Electric Football in glorious color. That means every single page of the book will be in color…which is an Electric Football first. But what pushes the book into the realm of “stunning” is having every single page designed by Marvel Graphic Artist Michael Kronenberg. If you marveled at Michael’s work in The Unforgettable Buzz, just wait until you see what he’s done with our all-photo format in Full Color Electric Football.

Our inspiration for creating this book was simple. We all loved studying the colorful NFL inserts that came in our old Tudor Rule Books. So we’ve tried to create a Rule Book insert that’s 124-pages long, and covers not only Tudor, but also the Electric Football lines of Gotham, Coleco, and Munro.

With the design phase of Full Color Electric Football almost complete, all we can say is “WOW!” It has the best images from The Buzz, as well as hundreds of newly taken photos that truly bring Electric Football to life. In going through the pages…let’s just say we’re very, very excited.

We’ll be posting sample pages in the not too distant future. So stick around and get ready for Electric Football in Full Color!!


Earl, Roddy, & MK

Recap: Errol Morris and ESPN’s Subterranean Stadium

John DiCarlo and ESPN's Subterranean Stadium

It’s really been a busy couple of weeks, so we’ve just recently had the opportunity to fully soak in Errol Morris’ sublime Electric Football documentary “The Subterranean Stadium.” We’re not even sure where to start — it gets better with each viewing.

There are so many layers to the story, and Mr. Morris captures them all thoughtfully and with total respect. That’s probably what strikes us more than anything. The respect Mr. Morris had for every piece of the story. John DiCarlo, Cindy DiCarlo, the “eccentric” group that plays in the league…everyone has a story. From Wayne Palumbo’s time in Sing Sing and Attica, to the hippie past of the free spirited “Hotman,” to the poignant back story of John himself — these are all stories worth hearing.

And that’s pretty much how we all feel about Electric Football. The game has a fantastic story that is worth telling and cherishing (not to mention writing a book about). It seemed that Errol Morris felt the same way and respected our hobby in much the way that we do ourselves.

It’s just an amazing work. And it is a “work” — it was art, both in how the film looked and how the story was told. It was the work of a great filmmaker taking our hobby, with great care, to the mainstream.

Photo of John DiCarlo's Basment Subterranean Stadium

The Subterranean Stadium

We don’t think anyone could have done it better. As we said in our post previewing the documentary, we hoped it would be something that we’d talk about for a long time. It lived up to that and then some. The story of The Subterranean Stadium is now a living breathing part of Electric Football. It’s part of Electric Football history — part of our history.

So…many, many thanks to Errol Morris and his entire staff for creating this amazing work. Thank you John DiCarlo for your dedication to Electric Football, and your ability to share the game with equal parts passion and humility. And thank you to the entire Charlotte Crew for letting us into your Electric Football universe. You’re what Electric Football is all about!


Earl, Roddy, & MK

If you haven’t watched the documentary yet, here’s a link: The Subterranean Stadium

Toy Fair 2015: Tudor Games Electric Football Recap

The Tudor Games booth at the 2015 Toy Fair

Toy Fair is always a unique and overwhelming experience. The 2015 event was no different, and even carried the additional factor of near zero degree temperatures on the streets of New York City. But it was business as usual inside the massive Javitz Center. And somehow it was actually hot in lower level of aisles and displays.

It has been an eye-opening pleasure to watch Tudor Games expand and grow at Toy Fair over the last 3 years. From a small booth in the back that buyers seemed to quickly pass by, to a more prominent location where buyers eagerly stopped to talk about the NFL, to this year, where Tudor’s success was illustrated by a spacious 20’ x 10’ booth.

Tudor Games 2015 NFL blister pack

Super Bowl Champion Patriot in a new Tudor Games hang tag pack.

This was twice the size of the previous years, and allowed Doug Strohm and Team Tudor Games to spread out in a most professional way, even to having a dedicated center demonstration table that provided a focus for all toy buyers. The table looked fantastic, including a Deluxe Tudor NFL game and the new NFL clamshell team packaging.

This year the Tudor Team had a different challenge than in previous Toy Fairs. Thanks to Doug’s hard work during 2014 toy buyers were well aware of the reestablished NFL -Tudor Electric Football relationship. Last year’s Fair carried the buzz of the the NFL being “back.” That was old news in 2015 — buyers this year wanted to know “what’s new.” And it was obvious that the hang-tag clamshell NFL teams were a popular answer.

It looks like another winning year for Tudor Games. There’s no question it will be a busy one. Just as soon as the Toy Fair booth was broken down, Doug was readying for a trip to the NFL Licensee gathering in Houston. A very special reunion for the toy, that according to Norman Sas, “made NFL Properties.”



Electric Football In Errol Morris/ESPN Short Film!

Electric Football will be front and center this Sunday night on ESPN at 9 pm EST. That’s when the network will air a short film on our favorite hobby as part of a 2-hour special titled It’s Not Crazy, It’s Sports.

The entire program was directed by Errol Morris, whose film credits include The Thin Blue Line and the Academy Award wining The Fog Of War. To have a highly respected documentary film maker like Mr. Morris in Electric Football’s corner is really mind blowing.

The subject Mr. Morris chose to feature was John “Larue” DiCarlo and his Charlotte Electric Football League. John has organized and run this Rochester, NY-based league since 1981. The games are played in John’s elaborate basement “Subterranean Stadium,” which is also the title that ESPN chose for the Electric Football segment.  

John "LaRue" DiCarlo

The subject of Errol Morris’ ESPN Electric Football short film – John “LaRue” DiCarlo

It was by total coincidence that we ended up sitting next to John at the TudorCON dinner in January of 2014. Within 5 minutes of conversation he quickly became one of our favorite people in all of Electric Football. Knowledgeable, generous, unassuming, and hilarious — all at the same time.

Buzz authors Talking with John at TudorCON 14

Earl and Roddy enjoying a chat with John DiCarlo at TudorCON 14.

Mr. Morris’ office has been in contact with us since the filming started. Mr. Morris read our book The Unforgettable Buzz, and used it as a historical reference text for the film. There was even very serious discussion that The Unforgettable Buzz would be the title of the Electric Football segment.

We’re very pleased that The Unforgettable Buzz will be listed in the film credits. It’s truly an honor to have a great director like Errol Morris use our book for one of his projects.

We’ll be seeing the documentary for the first time on Sunday night just like everybody else. But we have a feeling that the pairing of Errol Morris and John DiCarlo is going to be a memorable one. Something that we’re going to talk about for a long time to come in Electric Football.


Earl, Roddy, & MK


Watch the trailer for the film:

Electric Football Top 20 Recap – Games No. 5 thru No. 1

Our Electric Football Top 20 Recap reaches the Final Five games. They are all wonderful examples of Electric Football at its very best. “Must haves” for any Electric Football aficionado!! Links to each Top 20 post are located below the photos.


5) 1961 Gotham Pressed Steel NFL G-1500


1972 Munro Day Nite Electric Football game

 4) 1972 Munro Day/Nite Electric Football


electric football super bowl IV Tudor NFL AFL Vikings Chiefs

3) 1970 Sears Vikings-Chiefs Super Bowl

 Electric Football 1969 Sears Tudor Super Bowl III NFL AFL Jets Colts Namath

2) 1969 Sears Jets-Colts Super Bowl


The 1967 NFL No. 620 in the Tudor Rule Book

1) 1967 Tudor NFL No. 620

That wraps up our Electric Football Top 20 Countdown. It’s been a lot fun. And there’s a lot more fun stuff in store for 2015. Especially when our new book Full Color Electric Football hits the bookstore shelves!!

Earl, Roddy, & MK

The cover of the book Full Color Electric Football

Electric Football Top 20 Recap – Games No. 10 thru No. 6

The 1962 Tudor Sports Classic 600 model

The Electric Football Top 20 recap moves on with games No. 10 thru No. 6. A little big of everything in this group, including the first ever Electric Football game (1949 Tudor No. 500), and the first player endorsed model (1969 Gotham Joe Namath G-812 model).

Links to the individual Top Countdown post are located below each photo.


10) 1949 Tudor Tru-Action No. 500


electric football Gotham 1971 NFL Brooklyn Joe Namath

9) 1969 Gotham Pressed Steel Joe Namath G-812


The box of a 1968 Tudor AFL No. 520 Electric Football Game

8) 1968 Tudor AFL No. 520


7) 1962 Tudor Sports Classic No. 600


Electric football 1967 Tudor NFL 613

6) 1967 Tudor Sears’ Exclusive NFL No. 613


Stay tuned…we’ll be posting from Toy Fair 2015 in NYC next week!!!


Earl, Roddy, & MK

The Unforgettable Buzz Goes To College!

The Unforgettable Buzz goes to college!!

Electric Football’s history is currently being told in a new and unexpected venue — the college classroom!

That’s right, The Unforgettable Buzz has gone academic. For the spring semester of 2015 The Unforgettable Buzz is being used as a textbook for course No. 3823/The Role of Business Entrepreneurship in Sport and Entertainment at the University of Central Florida. 

The course is part of UCF’s highly regarded DeVos Sport Business Management Program, which is endowed by Orlando Magic owners Rich and Helen DeVos. Associate Professor Dr. C. Keith Harrison is teaching the course. Dr. Harrison is partnering our book with other prestigious titles like Contagious, Blockbusters, and The Big Payback to bring the lessons of entrepreneurship to life.

The required reading list for class SPB 3823 at the University of Central Florida.

How did Dr. Harrison became aware of The Buzz? We’re not really sure, but we would presume that he is “one of us” — that is, someone who found happiness over an Electric Football game. What we do know for sure is that in taking The Unforgettable Buzz into a college classroom, Dr. Harrison has given the book a very special validation.

The Unforgettable Buzz — yes, the humble history of Electric Football — is “academic.”

In more definitive terms, a professor at a major Sports Business Program considers the quality of the research in our book to be scholarly.

We knew all along that Electric Football had a great story, and we wanted to tell it in the most accurate and complete way possible. So weeks were spent in the Science, Business, and Industry Library in Manhattan, months were spent splicing together our extended conversations with Norman Sas, Lee Payne, Albert Sung, Roger Atkin and Don Munro, and years were spent painstakingly rewriting paragraphs over and over and over. We did it because we believed in the story and we believed in our work. That our efforts are now being recognized as worthy of a college classroom…it’s incredibly gratifying.

Many, many thanks Dr. Harrison for adding another chapter to The Unforgettable Buzz story.


Earl, Roddy, & MK

Electric Football Top 20 Recap – Games No. 15 thru No. 11

Our Electric Football Top 20 Countdown recap continues with Games No. 11 thru No. 15. There are some REALLY nice games populating this part of the Countdown. Our previous post left off at Game No. 16 — 1971 Coleco Command Control. Links to each actual Countdown post are located below the photos.

15) 1970 Montgomery Ward Tudor NFL No. 627 model with 3 NFL teams.


14) 1967 Tudor NFL No. 510 with the Packers and Colts.


13) 1965 Gotham NFL Big Bowl. The game was a Sears’ exclusive.


Electric Football Game 1970 Tudor NFL AFC No. 610

12) 1970 Tudor AFC No. 610 with the Jets and Browns. The game recreates the first ABC Monday Night Football Game ever played.


1976 Tudor NFL Championship No. 655 Electric Football game

11) 1973 Tudor NFL No. 655 Championship game. It came with 4 NFL teams.

As we mentioned last time, it’s really pretty cool to see the games all together, or at least in blocks of five.


Earl, Roddy, & MK

Electric Football Top 20 Recap – Games No. 16 thru No. 20

A Toy trade ad for Coleco’s 1971 Command Control Football TV campaign.

Our Electric Football Game Top 20 Countdown concluded last week with the 1967 Tudor NFL “Grass Field” No. 620 taking the top spot.

Since it’s been 5 months since we started this thing, we’re going to recap all that has happened since September.

Here are the first five games of the Countdown. Links to the actual Countdown posts are below each photo.

16) 1971 Coleco Command Control Electric Action Football No. 5795.

17) 1977 J.C. Penney Super Bowl No. 660 with the Raiders and Vikings.

18) 2014  Tudor Games Pro Bowl NFL Electric Football. 

19) 1966 Montgomery Ward Tudor “Accordion” No. 600 model.

 20) 1976 Sears Super Bowl featuring the Steelers and the Cowboys.

More recaps to come. It’s kind of nice to see these games all together in one post.


Earl, Roddy, & MK

Electric Football Game Top 20 Countdown — No. 1

1967 Tudor NFL Grass Field No. 620 game

No 1 on our Top 20 Countdown – the 1967 Tudor NFL “Grass Field” No. 620.

Our Electric Football Top 20 Countdown concludes with Game No. 1 — the 1967 Tudor NFL No. 620 with the Browns and Giants.

There are more colorful Electric Football games, there are more elaborate Electric Football games, and as we’ve seen in our Top 20 Countdown there are even Electric Football games that recreate some of Pro Football’s greatest moments…but there is only one Tudor “Grass Field” NFL No. 620.

Tudor made the Giants-Browns No. 620 from 1967-69, and we think that any game from the that period IS very special. But for our countdown we’re picking the 1967 No. 620. This initial version came with some unique features that clearly distinguish it from later models.

The reason the No. 620 comes in at No. 1, ahead of Electric Football games that seemingly have much “more” to offer, is simple: Whenever we’ve displayed a No. 620 at an Electric Football event — and this covers a period stretching from the first Miggle Convention in 1996 to TudorCon in 2014 — it’s always the game we spend the most time standing over.

A Tudor NFL No. 620 on display at TudorCON 14

The game that always draws the most conversation at any EF Convention. TudorCON 14.

It generates the most conversations, the most recollections, as well as the most looks of wonder as middle-aged men instantaneously become boys, being magically transported back to the moment when they first saw a Browns-Giants No. 620. It might have been a neighbor’s game, a brother’s game, their own game, on a toy store shelf, or even just the photo in the Tudor Rule Book. No other Electric Football game generates the same reaction. It’s not even close.

The No. 620 is the benchmark of benchmarks in Electric Football. 1967 was Tudor’s first year with the NFL license, and they were determined to make a big impact with their brand new NFL line. Since Gotham had been making and selling NFL-licensed Electric Football games since 1961, an NFL model wasn’t necessarily a new thing. But Norman Sas and Lee Payne had the motivation, talent, and business acumen to design something that seemed totally new. (See Chapter 18 of The Unforgettable Buzz for the full story of how Tudor unseated Gotham as the NFL’s Electric Football licensee).

The No. 620 was really Tudor’s Apollo 11 moon landing. So many of the concepts they had been working on and refining since 1961 all came to full bloom on the No. 620. In continuing the NASA theme, Tudor had already “put a man in orbit” when they created the large Sports Classic model in 1962. They then “walked in space” through their commitment to player painting, and then “performed a docking maneuver” when Lee Payne converted a Gorilla base into a prototype with a clip that allowed a painted player to slide on and off.  Finally, Tudor “orbited the moon” by showing the NFL how innovative the company could be with the 1966 Ward “Accordion” game.

1967 Tudor NFL No. 620 with Browns and Giants

The 1967 No. 620 was Tudor’s “moon landing.”

So most of the pieces for the No. 620 where in already in place when Tudor received official word from the NFL that it had won the NFL license for 1967. But Tudor still had the herculean task of producing and painting mass quantities of miniature NFL and AFL teams, which fell to a creative and very capable business associate in Hong Kong named Albert Sung. Throughout late 1966 and into early 1967, Sung oversaw the entire task of painting 32 NFL teams (16 teams in both dark and light jersey) and 9 different AFL teams (dark jersey only). He also had to make sure there were enough Browns and Giants to go into the new No. 620 models.

Back in Brooklyn, Payne concluded that metal vibrated better than fiberboard, and he had begun working on a metal field that was strong enough for Tudor’s 36” x 21” frame. Payne also had some other tweaks and special innovations that would elevate the No. 620 to “masterpiece” status.

We’ve taken a lot of time to lay out the back story of the No. 620 because it is all part of the game’s “greatness.” So many brand new pieces — metal fields, new players, new Hong Kong production and painting operations, design approvals from the NFL — all had to come together seamlessly. If any one of these new features failed, or a production deadline was missed, it would have jeopardized Tudor’s NFL debut. But, as usual, Tudor pulled it off.

We’ve talked a lot about “firsts” during the Countdown, and the No. 620 has some of the most notable firsts of all time.

1) First painted NFL teams, the Browns and Giants.

2) First large Electric Football game with a metal field.

3) First NFL markings on an Electric Football field with the “NFL” in each end zone (some Gotham games did have an NFL shield on their sidelines, but it was not in the field of play).

4) First single-posted slingshot style goal post, colored in Official NFL gold no less.

5) First fabric goal post pads

6) First clip-on grandstand

7) First grandstand crowd photo of an actual NFL stadium (Atlanta).

Breaking down all these firsts almost diminishes the game because it was the combined impact of all of these features that blew us away. The white markings on the green field just draw you in — you can almost smell the grass. And then there’s the giant letters in the end zones “N-F-L.” Rising majestically from the “F’s” are two modern “NFL gold” slingshot-style goal post… arguably the most realistic Electric Football goal posts ever commercially produced.

The 1967 NFL No. 620 in the Tudor Rule Book

The No. 620 as pictured in the 1967 Tudor Rule Book.

The field is surrounded dramatically by a blue interior frame border, and this same blue fills the front and back of the outer frame, which both display NFL in bold white letters, as well as 15 NFL team names (missing are the expansion Saints). The outer frame ends are red and display 9 NFL team names (including the Saints). Add in the white frame corners and white frame “lip,” and it’s clear that Payne purposely duplicated the red-white-and blue color scheme of the NFL shield.

Tudor also included their largest ever grandstand, which happened to be their first clip-on model. The interchangeable nameplates weren’t new (Tudor had them on their Accordion No. 600), but it was the first time Tudor could use actual NFL team names. Peering out from under a facade of colorful NFL helmets was a highly detailed Atlanta Stadium photo taken by, who else, Lee Payne. There was no question that it was the most realistic “crowd” in Electric Football history.

Browns' players on a 1967 NFL 620

Triple-stripe Browns on the 1967 No. 620. The double-fold in the frame can be viewed in the background.

Finally, onto one of the special features of the 1967 No. 620 — the Browns and Giants were of the Big/Large variety. So not only were the players slightly larger and more physically detailed than the players that would appear on 1968 and 1969 No. 620’s, they had more details in their painting. For the Browns, both their socks and sleeves would have the distinctive and realistic triple-stripe pattern. And the Giants would have two white vertical dashes on their helmet to mimic their distinctive “NY” (later Giants would simply have a white dot).

Next, these players were sitting on Tudor’s aqua color bases, which at various times in Electric Football history have been viewed as “prized” finds, due to the speed and strength they show on the vibrating gridiron.

1967 New York Giants players on a No. 620.

The “double-dash” New York Giants from 1967.

And finally, the feature that truly separates the 1967 version from all others — the field. In this first year of production the metal of the frame and field is noticeably more substantial than No. 620’s from 1968-69. In fact, Tudor used a double-fold in the frame wall which gives both the frame and field added support and strength. (ALL subsequent Tudor 610 and 620 models only have a single frame fold). The field is “tight,” with very little “crown” or flex to it. The result is, a field that Electric Football aficionados consider to be the truest vibrating surface that Tudor ever created.

We think the “power” of the No. 620 is summed up by a story Sean Davis told to us last year at TudorCon 14… while we were all standing over a No. 620. At 3-years-old he desperately wanted to play with his older brother’s No. 620 game. But needless to say, the brother and his friends didn’t think Sean was ready for Electric Football. Eventually, they allowed Sean to be part of their games, letting him switch the game on and off for each play. There was just one catch. The switch had a short in it — Sean got shocked every time he flicked it! But did that stop him from with playing the No. 620? Of course not. “I thought it was part of the game,” Sean said with a laugh. And decades later he was in Philadelphia competing at TudorCON 14.

A story like Sean’s is why we love Electric Football, and why we love the No. 620. We can easily see ourselves continuing to put our miniature NFL’s into action even if we got shocked every time we turned the game on and off. That’s how strongly the No. 620 grabbed us. Like moths to a flame, it hit us on a primal level.

So in concluding our Top 20 Countdown…we hope that everyone has found their “own” No. 620. There are so many great games, over such a range of time, that we know the “No. 620 moment” is different for everybody. And that’s what makes Electric Football so much fun, and such a great hobby. There is truly something for everybody. We’ve had so much fun doing this Countdown, and we’re so grateful to everyone of you who have followed along all these weeks. We hope it’s been fun for you too.

Many, many thanks! We promise to keep you posted on Full Color Electric Football!!


Earl, Roddy, & MK


Electric Football Game Top 20 Countdown — No. 2

The 1969 Sears Tudor Super Bowl Game with Jets and Colts

At No. 2 on the Countdown – the 1969 Sears Tudor Super Bowl game.

Coming in at No. 2 on our Electric Football Top 20 Countdown, it’s the 1969 Tudor No. 633 Jets-Colts Super Bowl.

As the first Sears-exclusive Super Bowl model, this game was the unquestioned pinnacle of Electric Football in 1969. Nothing else like it had ever been produced before, and all subsequent Electric Football games would be measured against it. A landmark, a milestone, a benchmark…it was all those things. And 46 years later, it still is. That’s why the game was an easy choice for our cover photo when we started The Unforgettable Buzz web site back June 2012.  

Although the No 633 had a number of “firsts,” it surprisingly wasn’t Tudor’s first Super Bowl game (that distinction belongs to an obscure 1968 Otasco Tudor No. 500 model). But it was Tudor’s first large No. 620-sized Super Bowl. It was also the first Tudor game to earn the featured spot on the Sears’ Electric Football page, relegating Gotham’s brand new Super Dome to runner-up status in the 1969 Christmas catalog.

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

Page 472 of the 1969 Sears Christmas Book. This was the first large Tudor game to feature an AFL team.

What Sears did with the Tudor Super Bowl was magical. As soon as you turned the page your eyes went right to the game. First the glowing “Super Bowl” on the red-white-and-blue frame, then to the two painted Tudor players who faced out from the left edge of the page….Colts in home blue and Jets in away white! Next your eyes moved to the field, where the markings appeared to be identical to the actual Super Bowl field, and finally, your gaze shifted to the text in the upper right hand corner: “Super Bowl Electric Football: Colts and Jets clash head-on for the championship.”

You had to have the game…you just had to. For many of us, it was the most incredible toy we had EVER seen. Christmas morning was already pictured in our minds. Super Bowl III on your living room floor…life couldn’t get any get better than that!

Electric Football book The Unforgettable Buzz

The Unforgettable Buzz web page cover photo.

A couple of important things about the game that our “young eyes” didn’t see, but our parents surely noticed: the $14.99 price tag, and that the game was available only at Sears. Talk about pressure…

It’s not clear whether the Super Bowl model was a Sears idea or a Tudor idea, although our recent Ice Bowl Prototype blog post proves that Tudor had been working on an NFL Championship model by early 1968. And in fact, Lee Payne transferred his Ice Bowl frame design to the new Sears Super Bowl model.

Beyond the frame, the Super Bowl was a totally new Lee Payne design. There was a new and larger grandstand with a triple-decked crowd scene, including a middle level that appeared to have the the first luxury boxes in Electric Football history. And the six banks of faux floodlights on the rooftop facade were another Electric Football first.

But the No. 633 was and always will be about the stunning metal field, which appeared to have the same coloration and marking pattern as the actual Super Bowl field. It was Tudor’s first try at recreating a specific stadium field, and Payne had clearly done the company proud. Yet Payne made several subtle changes that diverged, almost imperceptibly, from the real Orange Bowl turf.

Yes, the Championship Trophy was at midfield, framed in light blue. (It not yet called the Lombardi Trophy.) And the end zones had the identical and familiar light blue coloration. But the end zone with the NFL shield didn’t say “COLTS” in large white block letters, it said “NFL.” And the end zone with the AFL shield — this would be the only Tudor game to ever an AFL shield on the field — didn’t say JETS, it said “AFL.”

The Lee Payne-designed box.

Since the font and the black outline of the letters were identical to the actual Super Bowl field, it really didn’t seem like anything was “missing.” Payne had used the NFL and AFL to cleverly mimmick the team names. So it wasn’t obvious that the end zones were missing the team logos, or that the actual Jets end zone had been a subtle shade of green.

When we saw the game in the catalog, or for those lucky enough to have the game on our floor on Christmas morning, Tudor had given us the Super Bowl in miniature!

And not just any “ordinary” Super Bowl. In another case of Tudor’s amazing timing, this first Sears Super Bowl just happened to recreate one of the most monumental pro football games ever played. The upstart Jets shocked the sporting world with their 16-7 victory over the highly favored Baltimore Colts. Game MVP and Jets QB Joe Namath backed up his famous pre-game “guarantee,” delivering a message to the NFL that the new league, after just a decade in existence, was as good as the old guard. Super Bowl III was a game that changed pro football.

So you had the most amazing Electric Football game ever made…recreating the one of the most amazing pro football games ever played. And the combination of the first AFL Super Bowl victory being matched up with the first-ever Sears Super Bowl Electric Football game — it’s something that could only happen once.

This convergence of real football and Electric Football has never been equaled. That’s why the 1969 Sears Super Bowl game sits proudly at No. 2 in our Top 20 Countdown.


Earl. Roddy, & MK

Electric Football Game Top 20 Countdown — No. 3

electric football super bowl IV Tudor NFL AFL Vikings Chiefs

Game No. 3 on the Countdown: the 1970 Sears No. 633 Super Bowl IV with the Chiefs and Vikings.

The Electric Football Game Countdown moves down to game No. 3 – the 1970 Tudor No. 633 Super Bowl.

This game is a landmark in both toy and Electric Football history. In terms of visibility and economics, it may have been the highest heights ever reached by Electric Football.

The No. 633 with the Vikings and Chiefs was sold only at Sears, who at the time, was the largest toy retailer in the world. Sears gave their exclusive Super Bowl an eye-catching full-color layout on page 488 of the Christmas Wish Book. They also gave the game a “Sears Best” designation, which served as an endorsement for hesitant parents. It was Sears saying that the game was worth its hefty $15.99 price tag. The Sears Best label also designated the Super Bowl as one of the “featured toys” in all of the 1970 Wish Book. Sears had clearly designed page 488 to make boys stop, gawk, and scribble down “Sears Super Bowl Electric Football game” on their list for Santa.

This was Tudor’s second Super Bowl, and Lee Payne went all out in designing the field, which is still one of the most colorful ever created. The Vikings’ end zone was purple with yellow lettering, and included a circular Vikings logo. The Chiefs end zone was bright yellow with red letters, and included a matching circular Chiefs logo. Framed in a light blue square at midfield was the Lombardi Trophy, with the square itself having a Vikings helmet and a Chiefs helmet serving as bookends.

electric football super bowl IV Tudor NFL AFL Vikings Chiefs

Page 488 of the 1970 Sears Christmas Wish Book.

All of these markings — including the odd yard lines being outlined in red, the even numbers outlined in blue, and the “50’” outlined in yellow — were like the real Super Bowl field in New Orleans. Only three things were different: the actual Vikings logo was shaped like a shield; there was no NFL logo in the Vikings end zone or, AFL logo in the Chiefs end zone.

But this took nothing away from overall “awe” the game inspired. Tudor’s field actually looked better than the real Super Bowl field, which the late NFL Films’ legend Steve Sabol described as “mud with green paint.”

Besides getting all the actual details right — the field, the teams, the goal posts, etc. — the frame design was perfect. Large white capital letters said it all: SUPER BOWL. That’s all that needed to be said.

Electric football Tudor Super Bowl Chiefs Vikings 1970

The Chiefs “huddle” up during Super Bowl IV.

Sears had no problem selling every single Super Bowl that came off the production line in Brooklyn. Only a Vikings’ fans could find anything negative about it…but even Vikings’ fans wanted to have the game. It was that beautiful — and it gave you a chance to replay the Super Bowl with a different outcome.

And then there’s the history that the game taps into. It recreated Super Bowl IV, a 23-7 Chiefs’ win that marked the last game ever played by an AFL team. This was the second straight victory for the AFL, giving “the other league” unquestioned parity with the NFL, as both leagues would take a 2-2 Super Bowl record into their long-planned 1970 merger.

Box for 1970 Sears Super Bowl

Box of the 1970 Tudor Super Bowl

Another piece of Super Bowl IV served to illustrate Electric Football’s status in American culture. Sitting in the stands watching the Vikings and the Chiefs that day was Tudor President Norman Sas. He was a guest of NFL Properties, his reward for having the top-earning item — Electric Football! — in the entire NFL Properties’ line. 

Tudor’s 1970 Super Bowl was, and still is, a stunning game. A true work of art. Even the box, with Lee Payne’s silhouette motif, is a work of art. So it’s deservedly one of priciest games in Electric Football collecting.

Yet we still view the game as a bargain. That’s because nobody will ever make anything like it again. It’s just too expensive. If a game were made to same the design specs in 2015, it would cost well over $200…and might even cost what the current eBay price is for a 1970 Tudor Super Bowl. And really, how many other toys are still playable 45 years later? We’re very, very lucky that Tudor made their games to last.

At No. 3, one of the greatest Electric Football games EVER made — the Sears-exclusive 1970 Tudor No. 633 Super Bowl!!


Earl, Roddy, & MK

P.S. Final fact…this is the only Tudor model with team names lithographed in the end zones.

Tudor’s “Lost” NFL Ice Bowl Electric Football Game

Tudor's 1968 Ice Bowl prototype Electric Football game

The ultimate “Lost” Electric Football game – Tudor’s 1968 NFL Ice Bowl prototype.

Electric Football’s greatness lies in its ability to create reality in miniature. Tudor was the unquestioned champion of this concept, as we have seen over and over in our Top 20 Countdown. And the best of Tudor’s work always links us to a specific event in NFL history.

So with the Cowboys set this weekend to make their first post-season visit to Lambeau Field since the 1967 Ice Bowl, it’s fitting that we talk about a game that didn’t make our Top 20, but if we had a list of “Lost” Electric Football games, it would be on top…by a mile.

That would be Tudor’s 1968 Ice Bowl prototype.

Tudor’s legendary designer Lee Payne created the game in early 1968, just weeks after the Ice Bowl was played in Green Bay. On the field are the Packers and Cowboys…a special No. 620-size field with “frozen” white end zones. Sitting at mid-field, just like on the actual Ice Bowl field, is an NFL shield. This is the first NFL shield ever to be seen on a Tudor field.

The frame of the game makes no mistake about what this model is — “NFL Championship” is lithographed in large white letters. There is also a special grandstand that wraps over the frame and down onto to field. And, of course, the players are of the 1967 Big variety. Each one carefully painted and numbered by Payne to match a Packer or Cowboy who was on Lambeau’s “Frozen Tundra” during the Ice Bowl.

Would this game have been a big seller if put it into production in 1968? Without a doubt. But ultimately Tudor decided that they didn’t need a fourth game in their NFL line — at least not yet. It’s clear to see that the Ice Bowl was used as the template for the 1969 Sears Super Bowl game.

Electric football NFL Packers Cowboys The Unforgettable Buzz Book Tudor

We used the Tudor Ice Bowl to open Chapter 20 of The Unforgettable Buzz.

The Tudor Ice Bowl opens Chapter 20 in The Unforgettable Buzz, and we talk about the game early on in that chapter. But all we can do is talk, because nobody knows what happened to the prototype. Lee Payne shared this photo with us, but he did not have the game. Neither did Norman Sas, who told us that Tudor Games was sold “lock, stock, and barrel” to Superior Toy in 1988.

So did some lucky Tudor employee take it home during the 1970’s, or maybe the final Brooklyn days in the 1980’s? Or did it end up in a dumpster when Superior Toy was liquidated in the early 1990’s? The fate of this game is probably the greatest mystery in all of Electric Football. But the splendor of the Tudor Ice Bowl will live on, and finally get the treatment it long deserves.

The Tudor Ice Bowl Prototype Electric Football game in color.

Sample of the Tudor Ice Bowl photo that will appear in Full Color Electric Football.

That would be full color treatment in our upcoming book Full Color Electric Football.


Earl, Roddy, & MK

P.S. Don’t forget that our Top 20 Countdown hits game No. 3 on Friday!!