A few decades ago, before we wrote entire posts dedicated to Robert Griffin III's likeness in a video game, Electric Football ruled the world. The man who invented the sublimely popular game, Norman Sas, died last week at the age of 87.
Electric Football was simple. One metal playing field and 11 plastic figures on a rectangular stand on each side. The human players would carefully put their figures in position, flick a switch, and the metal would vibrate them into action. The "players" would rumble all over, caring not for field position or their coach's gameplan. Every so often, the figure holding the tiny football would find one of the end zones. This could be for a safety or a touchdown.
According to the Hackensack Record,Sas invented Electric Football in 1948 and introduced it a year later. But the game didn't take off for nearly two more decades, when Sas signed a deal with NFL Properties in 1967. It wasn't long after that Electric Football was under Christmas trees across the country.
The emergence of video games in the early '80s quickly turned Electric Football into a dinosaur staring down the fiery meteor. But by then, the game -- and the man who invented it -- had already left an indelible mark.
All I remember about this game is that whenever I needed a touchdown, the running back would only run in circles.
Stephen Levinson (Login orioleboy) UpInClass Member
Re: Thanks Mr. Sas
July 8 2012, 10:13 PM
I had one of those as a kid. All I remember is when you turned on the switch everything would buzz and all the players would fall down. Never did get the hang of it, but I guess it was a big deal to us in those pre video game days.
How about that baseball game where you put a round card on a spinner and spun it until it landed on either a hit or an out. Guys like Mantle and Mays had big home run spaces.
Those were the good old days. We didn't know any better.
I liked the QB. Taller than the other pieces, you stuck a tiny football shaped wad of cotton on his arm, pointed, pulled back his "arm" and let it fly at an "eligible receiver". You turned the game off and declared which player you were throwing at. Hit the receiver with the "ball", flip the switch back on and watch him run...QB was also your kicker...George Blanda!
I still have the Strat-O-Matic stuff, including many years of team/player cards including the oall-time great team editions.
Anyone here sick enough to want these to to use them, or is there any ebay value to them?
Obviously IO should check it out myself first.
1) Tudor electric football (that's the vibrating board.
You guys weren't patient enough. You could work with those bristles on the bottom of the player bases. I had one back who after much fine tuning, I could get to go around right end make a near 90 degree turn and then go in that direction for an easy 10 yd gain before he started turning again. Got tons of easy first downs before my neighbor learned to set his defense to stop it.
2) "All -Star baseball" That was the game with the spinners and the "1" at the top which was a home run. We also made our own circular cards to represent ourselves (we all had tremendous home run power).
Played this one for untold hours over the years. For those of us that played it it gave us an appreciation of the value of walks and on base percentage long before Money-Ball. I never read the book but did he admit he got the idea from Strato?
4) I also played another cool game called Photo-electric football. The offensense had 12 plays and the defense had 6 defenses. The offense would lay his play down (an 8 x 11 card) and the defense would lay his play over the top of it. Then you flicked a switch that turned on a bulb from under the play card which would become transparent. The offense palys would have a solid line for runs and dotted line for passes and you got whatever the yardage was until one of the 11 defensive squares touched the line- which is where you were down.
I have to admit I was deadly playing the hockey game with the rods you used to control the players. We used to cut players heads off their cards and tape them to the figures. Since they were two-dimensional you could tape a head on each side and my duo at center of Marcel Dionne and Gary Unger was money. I had this virtually unstoppable play with Cowboy Bill Flett cycling the puck in the corner and slipping it back to Barclay Plager at the right point for a one-timer with Dionne Unger screening in front. My brothers wouldn't play me after a while.
I've got a 1958 Gotham electric football game down in the basement. Same idea as the Tudor version but the players bases are much heavier. I've also got the Gotham Joe Namath electric football version from 1969.
If you miss playing these games or want to share them with your sons or as in my case my grandsons you can pick the Tudor versions up on Ebay for around $10 - $20 bucks
Baseball cards....if they aren't from the 60's and earlier they are pretty much useless. I bought a box of over 2000 cards from the 80's at the flea market for $5....still can't resist them. It must be the 12 year old still living inside me
I've got 2 photo-electric football games. Since there seems to be some interest maybe I'll put one of them up as a prize to the winner of our UIC fantasy football league.