Memory Lane: Electric Baseball

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My brother and I got this toy for Christmas once, sometime in the Fabulous Fifties: Tudor Electric Baseball.

The ball was a tiny white magnet which you “pitched” with a kind of catapult, aiming for a tin sheet representing the batter. Behind the sheet sat your opponent, who, when he heard the ball stick to the other side of the screen, smacked his side with a spring-operated plastic bat. If the ball landed on a circle marked “hit,” he flicked a switch and these little plastic guys with strips of celluloid on their bases ran around the basepaths, accompanied by a loud buzzing sound as the whole gameboard vibrated energetically. The basepaths were thick cardboard guides. Without them, the runners would have dashed all over the place in a kind of brownian movement.

If this sounds complicated, that’s only because it really was complicated.

Our friend “thewhiterabbit” had an Electric Football game. He soon gave up trying to make any sense of it.

Colorforms Baseball, which we also tried, had no electricity–only a dial on a spinner which, when spun, would stop either on an out or some kind of hit.

I have a feeling this toy cost my parents a fair amount of money. We dutifully played it until the day we somehow lost the ball. It was a very noisy game, and lots of times you’d smack the tin sheet and the ball would just fall off and you’d have to have a do-over. Or sometimes you’d smack it and the ball would just stick there.

But it’s the thought that counts!

3 comments on “Memory Lane: Electric Baseball

  1. We had an electric football game of my dad’s from the forties. It was basically a box with a light bulb in it, covered with an opaque, sliding piece of cardboard. The offense would choose a play from a group of 8×11” cards and lay it on the box, and the defense would do the same. Then the cardboard would be slowly pulled back to see if the pass or rush chosen by the offense would get through the defense. I can still smell the hot light burning under all that paper!

    1. Oh, I’ve played that game! We had a good time with it until we discovered that the card for the “Look-in Pass” never failed to make a gain–and that sort of ruined the game for us.

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