It’s been about 50 (or NEAR 50) years since Parker Brothers decided to add something new the game. Recently, they held a contest to see which one should go…and what to replace it with…I’m sure you’re very familiar with the original cast of characters…but these were the ones to be voted on….
Nowwwwwwww click on the audio to see who won!
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Parker Brother’s game of Monopoly has been around for decades teaching us about…greed…intregue…underhanded dealings….
………………………..Oh…and the game itself teaches us stuff too!
The legend tells us of Charles Darrow (Kinda rhymes with “wheel-barrow”) an unemployed salesman back in the 1930’s depression. presents his new invention..a game called Monopoly…an idea he had been kicking around for a while while daydreaming of his childhood in Atlantic City..and I can *certainly* see why:
Nah…he was probably talking about this sort of image I’m sure:
I hope you’re *quite* finished…as I was saying Charles Darrow was saying he had come up with the game while daydreaming of his time in Atlantic City:
There was only one problem…none of that was true…
…oh maybe the bit about his time in Atlantic City…but…
Now…meet Elizabeth “Lizzy” J Magie:
Back in 1904, Lizzy here created (and PATENTED) a game called: “The Landlord’s Game”. You see…she was a member of a tax movement and wanted to help teach the theories therein. Now this movement believed that:
…..the renting of land and real estate produced an unearned increase in land values that profited a few individuals (landlords) rather than the majority of the people (tenants). Henry George proposed a single federal tax based on land ownership believing a single tax would discourage speculation and encourage equal opportunity.
(Oh stop yawning…this is history here!)
ANyway…her game and Monopoly were an AWFUL lot alike…except in her game, the properties are all to be rented and not bought. The names were different too:”Poverty Place”, “Easy Street” and “Lord Blueblood’s Estate. (And here with Monopoly, we’ve just been doing color-coding all this time…no labels here!) The purpose of monopoly is to become the richest person…while in Liz’s game the purpose was to demonstrate how being a landlord was actualy more lucrative than engaging in speculation… (See? Entertaining AND educational…just like “Schoolhouse Rock!”)
The game became popular with the Quakers and supporters of this movement. And Liz wasn’t in it for the money…she just let people make a COPY of their own to play and they’d add their own touches and favorite street names…and each person would add their own touches to the rules. After a while the title went from The Landlord’s Game to “Auction Monopoly” to “Monopoly”.
Naturally there’s been attempts at trying to market and sell the game (or a variation) Some succeeded…some didn’t… One who didn’t succeed in selling the game DID do well with something else….they copywrote (copywrited?) actual written-down RULES to the game!
Darrow meanwhile must have been thinking of making some money with this game himself..in 1931, he asked a friend of his, Charles Todd about getting the rules to the game…Todd went back to the people HE learned it from it and got the rules from them. Darrow didn’t want A copy..he wanted THREE…
Let’s jump forward a bit…PArker Brothers bought Darrow’s patent to the game in 1935…using that story I mentioned earlier…theorists believe that Parker Brothers didn’t discover the other (read: “original”) patents til after they bought Darrow’s…and by that time the game was WILDLY popular (By “wildly”, I mean over 20,000 copies were sold a week)
Now..if you were in business with the gold mine…what would you do? Right – buy out everyone else who might have created a game like it…yes, that includes the original creator…
(I’m going to assume that later they took Charles Darrow out back and beat the $#@& out of him…)
Parker Brothers bought Lizzie Magie’s game for $500 (with no royalties) and a promise to manufacture The Landlord’s Game under its original title and without changing any of the rules. Parker Brothers marketed a few hundred sets of The Landlord’s Game and then stopped.
Lizzie was not interested in profiting from the game but was happy that a major company distributed it.
You know, I like her…I really like her…
Alas poor Iron…We’ll miss you…