Our family time included innocuous brainwashing hidden in children’s games, and saber-toothed devil monkeys.
David and I absorbed many interesting facts while playing board games. One trivia game asked the question: What does LSMFT stand for? The answer: Lucky Strike Means Fine Tobacco. Over fifty years later I still remember that nugget of information.
Not only is valuable cigarette and liquor propaganda omitted now, but games come with warnings not to eat the dice and playing pieces or use the fake money at stores.
We were too smart to need such warnings.Monopoly lasted for days, because we made side-deals with each other, allowed bankrupt players to borrow money, and generally played by Mary’s Rules. My favorite piece was the hat. I stuck my fingertip in the opening and slid it upside-down around the board without picking the piece up.
Little Susan liked to play, too. We let her roll our dice and move our playing pieces to where we pointed. One day, we didn’t feel like playing with her. She took the news well, for a toddler. Without a word, she stood up and scuffed her little feet across our game, sending money and houses flying.
Mom and Dad often played Canasta, Pinochle, or Monopoly with the Newcombs or Shermans, and (like Susan) never let me join in. We kids ran around outside until it got dark, then put on our pajamas and, surrounded by pillows and blankets, plopped in front of the television in a heap.One night at the Newcombs, in 1959, The Wizard of Oz was televised for the second time ever. Mom and Doug were busy outbidding Dad and Janice, while Carol, Sandy, David, and I sat mesmerized in a semi-circle watching Dorothy get sucked up by a tornado.
“This is getting scary,” I said.
“When Dorothy gets to the land of Oz, the picture is supposed to be in color,” said Janice.We strained our eyes for the elusive stray color-pigments on the black and white screen. Dorothy’s nightmarish stroll along the yellow brick road made me cover up with a blanket and peek out through an opening. And then came an army of flying monkeys (not remotely like my tiny monkey in a teacup), filling the sky and blotting out the sun.
“Turn the channel,” I screamed.
“This is a kid’s show,” said Doug. “There’s nothing to be scared about.”
Nothing to be scared about? Doug’s back was toward the television; he had no idea what havoc the wicked witch and her sharp-toothed monkeys were unleashing on Dorothy and her inept companions. Carol put her arm around me. Much better. I continued peeking through my blanket-porthole until the palace guards began their creepy chant of Oh-Ee-Yoh! Eoh-Ah!
“Just tell me what happens,” I said, and pulled my blanket shut.
That stinking wizard made me so angry. I did not like him one tiny bit and couldn’t understand why he wasn’t strung from the nearest tree by his feet and whacked like a lying piñata. And Glenda? She should have her magic wand taken away for withholding crucial information.
Lesson Learned: Pick good traveling companions and never trust a talking head.
Related Posts: Pandemonium Trail/Squishy Foot and Monkeys
Now it’s your turn: What was your reaction to the Wizard of Oz?
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