If you were asked to name the first board game that comes to mind, would that game you name be Monopoly? Arguably, Monopoly is the most celebrated board game in the history of board games. It has recently had its 75th anniversary and there is no sign of it’s popularity slowing down. Monopoly is as much part of pop culture as it is a board game. And there are so many ways to play the game, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone these days that hasn’t heard of the game. With a game as popular as Monopoly, you almost have to wonder why it took so long for there to be a documentary about it.
What is it about Monopoly that has made the game such an enduring success for so many decades? San Diego based filmmaker, Kevin Tostado decided to find out. Not only did Tostodo explore the history of the game, he traced the enduring legacy of the game in popular culture, met with serious collectors that like to collect just about anything that the Monopoly brand has licensed, and even spoke to a winner of the million dollar grand prize in McDonald’s annual Monopoly game. Perhaps the highlight of Tostado’s exploration of Monopoly was following some of the game’s most competitive players through the 2009 international championships, where every four years the national champions from over forty countries compete in hopes of being crowned the newest World Monopoly Champion. Kevin Tostado compiled his findings and presents an extensive look at the world of Monopoly in his new movie entitled “Under The Boardwalk: The Monopoly Story.”
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Press Your Luck was one of my favorite game shows from the early 1980’s. As a child I loved all the game shows of the period but one of the ones that always stood out was the short lived Press Your Luck with it’s host Peter Tomarkin. My brother and I used to enjoy the show, probably more for the Whammies than the actual game, as we were kids at the time. We loved to see the contestants hit a Whammy and have their money taken away so we could see one of the animated Whammy graphics come on and make the money disappear. They had so many wonderfully creative ones from ones that blew up a little dynamite detonator, to Whammies dressed like Boy George and the Beatles coming in to sing a little line from a tune before taking the money away. I also loved the sound effect from when the Whammy was hit, it just sounded like a dramatic electronic “Uh-oh.”
The game consisted of a round of questions where three players compete for the right to spin on the big board and earn cash and prizes, then a round of playing the spins followed by one more round of questions and then a final round of spins on the big board. The winner at the end of the game was the player who collected the most money in cash and prizes. Part of the strategy for the big board was to spin a few times to collect enough cash and prizes then to pass on the remaining spins to another player who would have to play those spins in the hope that the passed spins would force that player to hit a Whammy to steal their cash and prizes. It was a fun and high energy show that got quite competitive and a player could hit three whammies and stay in the game. A fourth Whammy eliminated them from the game.
Continue reading Press Your Luck Comes To The iPhone and iPod Touch
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The most amazing book about ABBA’s music is the one called “ABBA: Let The Music Speak” by Christopher Patrick. This book which is subtitled, “An Armchair Guide To The Musical Soundscape Of The Swedish Supergroup” is exactly that in that Christopher Patrick is a musician and he is able to musically guide us through every song in the ABBA catalog from the perspective of a musician. Everything you could possibly want to know about the construction of an ABBA song musically is there.
For a while in the late 1970’s ABBA had shot ahead of the Beatles in terms of record sales, but John Lennon’s death quickly reversed that temporary unseating of the Beatles as best selling act of all time. Despite this achievement, ABBA’s purely Swedish Pop is often not given the same credibility as the Beatles achievement. Their music is often considered lightweight and bubblegum compared to the works of the Beatles. It hardly seems like a fair comparison. In fact at the time the Beatles overtook Elvis Presley as the largest selling act of all time, John Lennon was asked who he thought might overtake the Beatles and he stated, ABBA.
Mountains of books have been written about the musical genius of John Lennon and Paul McCartney all lavishing praise. And yet until now, few books have been written about the works of Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, who arguably have written comparable songs to those of Lennon and McCartney. Unfortunately praising ABBA had a heavy stigma for years in both the media and in the public at large that it really seemed that ABBA wasn’t going to get the respect it deserves.
Continue reading ABBA: Let The Music Speak Is An Amazing Book
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