Boomer Nostalgia Part Three: Science-Fiction TV Classics

As mentioned in the first two installments of this “Boomer Nostalgia” series, this past New Year’s Eve, the neighbors on the block where my partner Dan and I live gathered for our annual year-end celebration. Between appetizers, main courses, and beverages, several of us who are of the Baby Boomer generation got into a conversation about the impact of television on our lives as children and teenagers, and, as would result, many of us became nostalgic about the characters and stories that informed our youth. We discussed a variety of programs we had so dearly loved, and, among the diverse themes, we chatted about television cartoon shows (from Yogi Bear to The Flintstones, from Rocky and Bullwinkle to Underdog), classic westerns (from Rawhide to Wanted Dead or Alive, from Gunsmoke to Bonanza), and, interestingly enough, science-fiction programs (from The Twilight Zone to The Outer Limits, from Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and Star Trek). Needless to say, we covered a lot of televised territory.

Because there is such a diversity of vintage card and board games that Dan and I collect and sell, and not wanting to compose a blog that goes for 20-plus pages. I have decided to discuss each of the three categories previously mentioned: TV cartoons (see Part 1), classic TV western (see Part 2), and science fiction (the last blog of this series) as these are the most requested from my buyers.

So, on to science-fiction TV classic board and card games! Here are three of my all-time personal favorites.

The Outer Limits

Outer Limits 0463 A 0917

When I was about two years old, my maternal grandmother left her homeland in southern France to come and stay with us in the United States. My mom was her only child, and since her husband had died during World War II, Nana (as we lovingly called her) opted to come live with her daughter and American family. Nana’s father had been an oceanographer, having worked with renowned Jacques Cousteau’s father. Having been exposed to diverse sciences all her life, Nana valued what science could teach us about life here on Earth, and even beyond.

So, when my dad acquired our first black-and-white television and if our parents were at work during the evenings, Nana along with Edna (my tribal paternal grandmother) were the adults who selected what TV shows my brothers and I could watch. From Part 1, Edna had deemed that the Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon show acceptable, as it dealt with the sacred creatures of a moose and squirrel. Nana, on the other hand, selected The Outer Limits as an excellent program to watch not only because the show presented different concepts of science and the possibilities they brought to human awareness but also because each episode was in and of itself a small morality play. Looking back more than 50 years later, I realize how wise she was to allow us kids by her side to view The Outer Limits.

How the combination of watching Rocky and Bullwinkle and The Outer Limits on TV affected my childhood psyche as well as my adult personality is subject for another blog.

Based on the television series The Outer Limits, this very rare board game was produced and released in 1964 by the Milton Bradley Company of Springfield, Massachusetts. The Outer Limits was broadcast on ABC from 1963 to 1965. The series is often compared to The Twilight Zone, but with a greater emphasis on science-fiction stories (rather than tales just dealing with fantasy or supernatural matters). The Outer Limits was an anthology of self-contained episodes, often with a plot twist at the end that delivered a profound moral insight. The only recurring “character,” if you will, was the Control Voice whose narration mainly ran over images of an oscilloscope and announced the now-legendary message “There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture.”

Though canceled after three years of production, the series was revived in 1995, airing on Showtime from 1995 to 2000, then on the Sci-Fi Channel from 2001 until its cancellation in 2002. In 1997, the episode “The Zanti Misfits” was ranked #98 on TV Guide’s 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time.

And the picture on our television screen remains unadjusted.

The Time Tunnel

Time Tunnel Card Game 0460 A 0917

When our family moved from the pristine countryside of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to the Dantesque industrial city of Whiting, Indiana (a suburb of Chicago, where my dad found work), we rented a home on Davis Avenue. It was a quirky domicile that had a driveway and garage that led to the basement of the house, and a creaky, oddly lit stairwell from the main level of the house into a foreboding attic. The stairwell was covered with a two-door panel that would rattle constantly and banged loudly whenever it stormed. Michael (my brother closest to me in age) and I believed that this stairwell to the attic was an opening to another world. We became convinced in 1966 that this was the case when we watched the first episode of The Time Tunnel,and, to the annoyance of the adults in our household, we had many childhood adventures in that stairwell and attic to different times and places.

Based on the television series The Time Tunnel, this extremely rare game version — two board game products were manufactured as well as this card game — was developed and released in 1966 by Ideal Toy Corporation. The Time Tunnel was a mid-1960s science-fiction TV series, written around the theme of traveling through time, both past and future. The show starred James Darren, Robert Colbert and Lee Meriwether. The Time Tunnel was created and produced by Irwin Allen, and it was his third of four science-fiction television series — the others being Lost in Space, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, and Land of the Giants. The show was released by 20th Century Fox and was broadcast on ABC. It aired for only one season of 30 episodes, yet it remains one of the most popular science-fiction shows of its decade.

To this day, Mike and I often speak of our crazy attic adventures trying to find Doug, Tony and Ann, forever lost in time.

Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea

Voyage Bottom Sea 0183 A ETSY

With a great grandfather who had been a well-known oceanographer, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea was simply a natural TV attraction that my brothers and I relished.

Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea is a 1960s American science-fiction television series based on the 1961 film of the same name. Both were created by Irwin Allen, which enabled the movie’s sets, costumes, props, special-effects models, and sometimes footage, to be used in the production of the television series. Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea was the first of Irwin Allen’s four science-fiction television series, as well as the longest-running. The show’s main theme was underwater adventure.

The series was broadcast on ABC from September 14, 1964, to March 31, 1968, and was the decade’s longest-running American science-fiction television series with continuing characters. The 110 episodes produced included 32 shot in black and white (1964–1965), and 78 filmed in color (1965–1968). The first two seasons took place in the then-future of the 1970s. The final two seasons took place in the 1980s. The show starred Richard Basehart and David Hedison.

Produced and released by Milton Bradley in 1964, the vintage Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea board game aims to provide the adventurous thrills of the crew of the submarine “Seaview” as experienced in the 1961 film as well as the 1964-1968 TV show of the same name, which were both directed by Irwin Allen. The object of this two-player game is not to lose all of one’s submarines.

So, “Dive, dive, dive!” as the captain would say.

There are many more examples that could be provided of wonderful family entertainment games based on 1950s and 1960s televised western shows, these three are just some of them. But, if you’re interested in collecting vintage card and board games based on Boomer generation shows, come visit us at Dogbotz Boneyard.

All the best,

Patrick Price,
Proprietor,
Dogbotz Boneyard, LLC
www.dogbotz.com

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Boomer Nostalgia, Part Two: Classic TV Westerns

As I mentioned in Part 1 of this “Boomer Nostalgia” series, this past New Year’s Eve, the neighbors on the block where my partner Dan and I live gathered for our annual year-end celebration. Between appetizers, main courses, and beverages, several of us who are of the Baby Boomer generation got into a conversation about the impact of television on our lives as children and teenagers, and, as would result, many of us became nostalgic about the characters and stories that informed our youth. We discussed a variety of programs we had so dearly loved, and, among the diverse themes, we chatted about television cartoon shows (from Yogi Bear to The Flintstones, from Rocky and Bullwinkle to Underdog), classic westerns (from Rawhide to Wanted Dead or Alive, from Gunsmoke to Bonanza), and, interestingly enough, science-fiction programs (from The Twilight Zone to The Outer Limits, from Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and Star Trek). Needless to say, we covered a lot of televised territory.

Because there is such a diversity of vintage card and board games that Dan and I collect and sell, and not wanting to compose a blog that goes for 20-plus pages. I have decided to discuss each of the three categories previously mentioned: TV cartoons (see Part 1), classic TV western (this blog), and science fiction (Part 3 soon to come) as these are the most requested from my buyers.

So, on to classic TV western board games! Here are three of my personal favorites.

Gunsmoke

Gunsmoke Game 0448 A 1116For me, as well as for many of my siblings, Gunsmoke remains one of the most enduring and endearing TV western shows ever produced. In the corresponding board game, players share the exciting adventures of Marshall Matt Dillon of the Gunsmoke television show. This action-packed western game was manufactured by Lowell Toy Manufacturing Corporation in 1958, after the release of the TV show itself, which was the longest-running show in television history — 20 years.

Gunsmoke is an American radio and television Western drama series created by director Norman MacDonnell and writer John Meston. The stories take place in and around Dodge City, Kansas, during the settlement of the American West. The central character is lawman Marshal Matt Dillon, played by William Conrad on radio and James Arness on television.

The radio series ran from 1952 to 1961. John Dunning wrote that among radio drama enthusiasts, “Gunsmoke is routinely placed among the best shows of any kind and any time.” The television series ran from 1955 to 1975 and lasted for 635 episodes. At the end of its run in 1975, Los Angeles Times columnist Cecil Smith wrote: “Gunsmoke was the dramatization of the American epic legend of the west. Our own Iliad and Odyssey, created from standard elements of the dime novel and the pulp western as romanticized by [Ned] Buntline, [Bret] Harte, and [Mark] Twain. It was ever the stuff of legend.”

In the Gunsmoke board game, Fort Riley is about to be attacked. A small band of cowboys is trying to hold the Indians off until help arrives. Players take the part of the cowboys and Indians. To win, the cowboys must get one playing piece from the Fort, through Indian Territory, and into Dodge City (where they can get help from Marshall Dillon and his deputies); whereas, the Indians must take over the Fort with six of their men.

A very exciting family board game at that!

The Legend of Jesse James

The Legend of Jesse James 0457 A 0917Maybe it was the proverbial “bad boy” in me when I was a child, but I always found televised western shows that depicted the exploits of outlaws to be oddly alluring. Needless to say, my parents and grandparents always kept a watchful eye that things didn’t get to violent on these shows. Jesse James, his brother and fellow outlaws were some of my favorite TV western characters.

The Legend of Jesse James was a western television series starring Christopher Jones in the title role of the notorious outlaw Jesse James. The series aired on ABC from September 13, 1965, to May 9, 1966. Allen Case joined Jones as Jesse’s brother, Frank James.

In a surprising twist, Jesse and Frank James come across as “good guys” as they went about their outlaw ways. The series portrayed James as a 19th-century Robin Hood in Missouri, who robbed trains and banks to repay local residents whose property had been confiscated by railroad barons or greedy Northern bankers. Jesse was depicted as a devilish scoundrel with an eye for the ladies, while Frank concerned himself with more practical matters.

This very rare board game of the same name as the television series and portraying the James brothers was produced in 1966 by Milton Bradley. The board game is overall in great vintage condition for being over 50 years old. The box top has beautifully illustrated and vivid graphics, though the top does have one split corner. The box bottom is free of any split corners. The game board and interior liner are also in great condition with wonderful graphics. The game components are in mint condition, sealed in their box with the original plastic.

Scoundrels or saviors? You decide.

The Restless Gun

The Restless Gun 0456 A 0917If Jesse James and his gang of outlaws weren’t enough, there was always The Restless Gun, a favorite western show of one of my older brothers.

Based on the western television series The Restless Gun that appeared on NBC from 1957 to 1959, this board game of the same name was manufactured by the Milton Bradley Company of Springfield, Massachusetts in 1959. Like the television show, The Restless Gun Board Game depicts the adventures of Vint Bonner (played by John Payne on TV), a wandering cowboy in the era after the American Civil War. A skilled gunfighter, Bonner is an idealistic person who prefers peaceful resolutions to conflict wherever possible.

On The Restless Gun Board Game, a colorful illustration of Vint Bonner, taken from the television series, adorns the box top. The box, both its top and bottom, are free of split corners; however, one side panel, where a price tag may have once appeared, does have a slight removal of the original paper. The game board with spinner is beautifully illustrated as well, and both are in great vintage condition. The game components are in mint condition, sealed in their box with the original plastic. Instructions for the board game and a rare advertising flyer for other Milton Bradley games are also included.

There are many more examples that could be provided of wonderful family entertainment games based on 1950s and 1960s televised western shows, these three are just some of them. But, if you’re interested in collecting vintage card and board games based on Boomer generation shows, come visit us at Dogbotz Boneyard.

All the best,

Patrick Price,
Proprietor,
Dogbotz Boneyard, LLC
http://www.dogbotz.com