A Monopoly Fraud? Another Snow Fraud?


Monopoly "Inventer" Cashed In, But Was it Legit?

Monopoly "Inventer" Cashed In, But Was it Legit?

I Doubt That Darrow Could Beat Tom Cruce

I Doubt That Darrow Could Beat Tom Cruce

On This Date in History:

When I was a kid…I’m talking kidnergarten through second grade…we played Monopoly all the time.  We’d have games that lasted for days.  Tom Cruce was always hiding money under the board and so we never knew how much he had.  I think sometimes we made up our own rules.  The game would often be transferred from one house to another, depending on the mood of the mother of whatever house we began the game.  If the atmosphere became too tense, we simply moved to someone elses house.

1935 Version

1935 Version

That is my history of Monopoly and its probably a little more clear than the history of the game itself. Parker Brothers made a lot of money selling the game after it bought the rights in 1935.  It had always been believed that Charles B. Darrow sketched the original version on a piece of oil cloth.  Darrow, an out of work salesman, did not have the means to distribute the game so he offered it to Parker Brothers.  But the game company thought it was too complicated and took a pass.  So, Darrow joined forces with a friend and sold several sets in and around Philadelphia.  Parker Brothers took another look at it and bought the rights.  But, the story may be a bit more complicated than that.

In 1971(1973 or 1974 in some sources), someone came out with Anti-Monopoly.  Naturally, Parker Brothers

Magie's 1904 Patent

Magie's 1904 Patent

wasn’t too enthused and off to court they went.  In the testimony, witnesses claimed that the game had been patented on this date in 1904 by Elizabeth J. Magie.  Ms. Magie followed the theories of economist (now thought of as a socialist) Henry George and came up with the game to show the evils of real estate monopolies.  Her early version was known as the Landlord Game and spaces sported names like Lord Blueblood’s Estate where trespassers were sent to jail.   There was also Poverty Place.  By the 1920’s, the game was being played in eastern universities by students who held left-wing ideals.  At the Quaker Haverford College in Philadelphia, the student yearbook in 1924 made reference to the game and called in Monopoly. 

Five years later, the students at Atlantic City Friends School were introduced to the game by a Quaker teacher.  The spaces were given names found in Atlantic City with property values assigned and spaces painted in the colors that are familiar today.  The story goes that a visitor to the school

1935 Marvin Gardens Card Misspelled

1935 Marvin Gardens Card Misspelled

took the game back to Philadelphia and showed it to a Quaker hotel manager named Charles Todd.  Todd, in turn, showed it to Darrow.  Todd said that Darrow was slow to catch on to how the game was played.  Todd claimed that Darrow asked him to write up the rules and make a copy of the game board for him.  Todd then asserted that “he(Darrow) stole the game and took it from there.”   As proof, Todd said that when he made a copy for Darrow, he misspelled Marven Gardens.  Instead of an “e” he used an “i” and that is why Marvin Gardens is not spelled properly on the board game. 

So, Charles Darrow may indeed have been a fraud…but he did gain a monopoly…at least for awhile after he received U.S. Patent 2,026,082  for the game in 1935.  Darrow became the first millionaire game designer in history and three years after he died in 1967, Atlantic City put up a commemorative plaque on the boardwalk near Park Place to honor the man who may not have invented Monopoly, but certainly profited from it.  It looks like to me that the Quakers must have felt like that they got stuck with Baltic and Medeterranean while Darrow had Boardwalk and Park Place.

Weather Bottom Line: This week still looks iffy as the models seem to be sticking to their story. The NAM still keeps us too warm and has all rain.  The GFS still goes from rain to snow with pretty cold air for Thursday Morning before we warm up and then go through the same process on Saturday.  The European (ECMWF) is similar though with not as much snow, which is somewhat similar to the Canadian Model.  The UKMET is also similar but with just a little snow on Wednesday.  Bottom line is that the NAM seems to be the odd man out.  My guess still is somewhere in between with rain Tuesday into Wednesday followed by a little snow on Wednesday.  However, it is troubling that the NAM is not going along with the crowd and should not be ignored.   But, you know what? It’s gonna do whatever it is it’s going to do regardless of what  the computers think so just be prepared for a bit of a messy time of it Tuesday night through Wednesday…wouldn’t be surprised to see sleet or freezing rain for a time.

One Response

  1. How bullish are you on the cold wave next week? Any chance it might last long enough to get some SNOW in here??? This has been a real “weenie winter” so far, I must say. With the nice cold wave in December I thought this winter might have some punch but now it seems to be pretty wimpy. I know that you don’t control the weather, Mr. Symon, I’m just looking for a little hope for some snow around this berg!

    My sister is from Seattle and they’ve really been getting socked this winter. She lives in Black Diamond which is southeast of Seattle and somewhat higher in elevation. They had something like ten inches of snow on the ground at Christmas. It has warmed there a bit in the past few days though. I couldn’t help but be a little jealous of their White Christmas versus our “Wet-Willie” Christmas.

    I love Monopoly. I used to play with my best friend, Martin Johnson, when I was a wee lad. He used to beat me nearly every time. I can only remember one time that I beat him out of the hundreds of times (literally) that we played. I don’t think that he was cheating (maybe I’m naive). At least I normally won when we played chess though. I used to say he was better a games of chance and I was better at games of skill; he didn’t like that very much but it made me feel a little better about getting trounced by him all the time!

    We play the Star Wars version of Monopoly at our house nowadays. Boardwalk and Park Place are “The Imperial Palace” and ‘Monument Square” on Corrosant. I think it’s more fun than standard Monopoly, honestly. It gives us an opportunity to quote corny Star Wars lines as we play. We say things like, “The force is strong with this one” when someone won’t land on your properties or “Everything has proceeded as I have foreseen”, when you happen to be winning. It’s fun.

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