When people ask about the rarest electric football game, I have no trouble answering. It was the first electric football I ever owned, the Pressman Vibro-Power Football game. The game was a Christmas present in 1963 when I was just three years old. I don’t remember receiving it, but I do remember the game residing in the attic until we moved in the early 1970’s. It was broken by then, and missing most of its players. But the thought of the game, even to this day, still inspires wonder.
Vibro-Power Football was made and sold by Pressman Toys in 1963, even garnering space on page 100 of the Sears 1963 Christmas Book. The game board itself was completely made of plastic, with a 20″ x 13 ” field that was vibrated by 2-D batteries (thus “safe” for a three-year-old…fortunately, I was never big about putting things in my mouth).
It came with 22 very Tudor looking players. In fact, the two-piece design of the Pressman players was exactly the same as the figures on Tudor’s Track and Field, Horse Race, and Sports Car Race games. (It’s possible they were Tudor produced– the companies were just miles away from each other.) Finishing off the game were wire goalposts, a first down marker, and a wedge-shaped kicker-passer device that was much like the early Gotham “quarterbacks.”
I don’t remember if the game played well or not. My memories are of pushing the players around the field — that already had a large crack in it. It wasn’t vibrating during those attic play days, although it is possible that the game was simply lacking batteries.
It gets the “Extremely Rare!” designation because after two decades of toy collecting, I’ve only come across one on eBay — priced at $400! Before that…never. Not in yard sales, local antiques shows, or serious regional toy shows. And it never surfaced during the many years I ran electric football “want ads” in Toy Shop and Toy Trader.
Part of this scarcity owes to the game being produced for only a single year…a year in which it probably wasn’t a big seller. Add the low numbers to the obviously fragile plastic design and you have the perfect storm for “rare.” It wasn’t like a big metal electric Tudor or Gotham model where parents could have doubts as to the actual condition of the game. The plastic field made it easy to see when the game was broken…it was easy to declare as “junk.” Few Vibro-Power Football games were sold, and most of them ended waiting on the curb for the trash truck.
Amazingly, the Pressman Toy Company is still in business. Maybe one day they’ll do a repo of the game. In the meantime, I’ll keep on searching.