Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Monopoly and the Jersey Shore

Since I am raffling off a 1st Edition 1935 replica Monopoly set with wooden houses and original style pieces I thought I would re-post this story on Monopoly that I ran back in 2009.
Hope you enjoy it.

The inventor of Monopoly was Charles Darrow an unemployed salesman from Germantown section of Philadelphia.
Considering our current economic crisis I thought I would share the story of the game we all grew up with. I remember marathons that lasted days.

Darrow was struggling trying to support a wife and child. He visited Atlantic City as a child and later as an adult and knew the resort well. One day during the depths of the Great Depression Charles Darrow sat down at his kitchen table and decided to invent a game about buying and selling real estate. He made the decision to name his properties after the streets he knew from the time he enjoyed in America's Playground.  Darrow chose streets that met Boardwalk from Park Place to the inlet.
When he came up one street short he just borrowed the name of a small, Margate community; Marven Gardens, and changed the name to Marvin Gardens. He also needed another railroad as the area was serviced by only three. Darrow took a local bus line; the Short Line and converted it to a railroad and made it famous. Hey it was his game :)

According to legend his first game was painted on an old oil cloth and he shopped it to the large game manufacturers including Parker Brothers. They seemed to like Darrow's game but felt it violated the rules of family games in that it violated the 45 minutes or under rule ( who thought of that one.)  As we Jersey Shore types know a classic game of Monopoly can go on for days.
They also believed that his real estate transaction rules were too complicated for us amateurs. In 1934 they turned it down with no yes votes.

Darrow would not be deterred, borrowed money and manufactured several thousands sets and shopped them in the large departments stores of Philadelphia.  The stores could not keep them on the shelf as word spread of the new "Jersey Shore" game.

Parker Brothers realized the blunder they had made and approached Darrow with a deal as long as he agreed to a few minor rule changes. The out of work salesman agreed and retired to a life of wealth.
That's the story of Monopoly.  Break out the game and have some fun.

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