Lucille Ball popped up on a bunch of Milton Bradley board games in the 1970s

Think you can beat Lucy at her favorite boardgame?

Images: Milton Bradley

Kids who grew up in the Eighties and Nineties wore out their thumbs playing video games. For every Super Mario and Mega Man cartridge, there were television adaptations for the Nintendo Entertainment System, less popular titles like Mission Impossible, The Adventures of Gilligan's Island and The Lone Ranger.

Games based on popular TV shows were hardly new. Before the dawn of video games, it seemed as if every TV series inspired a board game. The Transogram Toy Company in particular made a business of television adaptations. Perry Mason, Hogan's Heroes, Dragnet, The Monkees, My Favorite Martian and more became best-sellers for Transogram. In 1962, the company released a board game inspired by The Lucy Show, Lucille Ball's hot follow-up to I Love Lucy.

It must have clicked with both consumers and Ball herself. A decade later, as her third smash sitcom, Here's Lucy, was racking up the ratings, the redhead icon partnered with Milton Bradley for an entire line of board games. Lucy's familiar, smiling face turned up on boxes promoting tabletop pool, tabletop miniature golf, solitaire and more.

Let's dig through the toy chest and check out this overlooked area of Lucy's career.

1. The Lucy Show Game



On The Lucy Show, Lucy Carmichael worked at a bank. So it made sense, in some way, to have the board game center around money. Players could be either Lucy or Vivian as they competed to win one million dollars. You can see the game board up top. Oddly, there was not an I Love Lucy board game until 1990.

Image: Transogram / Board Game Geek

2. Pivot Pool



Pool tables are expensive. Thus, the first Milton Bradley game endorsed by Lucy, Pivot Pool offered a tiny, plastic version of billiards for families. "This is my favorite family game," Lucy proclaimed on the box, signed with her signature. It's success led to another miniaturized game the following year….

Image: Milton Bradley

3. Pivot Golf



"I broke par — can you?" Lucy challenged on the box of Pivot Golf, a spin on putt putt with nine holes. This time, Lucy was prominently shown playing the game on the box, sporting a yellow blazer. We assume that's akin to the green Masters jacket, only for Pivot Golf.

Image: Milton Bradley

4. Solotaire



"Plays like solitaire, scores like poker," this Milton Bradley card game declared. This time, Lucy smiled in the upper corner with a warning. "Caution: This game may be habit forming," she said. Today, this would be an app.

Image: Milton Bradley

5. Cross Up



Like Pivot Golf, this box featured a much more prominent Lucy. Players drew letters to fill a 5x5 grid, then attempted to spell words in a traditional horizontal-vertical-diagonal word search. Lucy looked happy on the cover, but didn't seem to be actually playing the game.

Image: Milton Bradley

6. Body Language



"The Party Pantomime Word Game" was a fancy way of saying "charades." In the mid-'70s, body language became a hip, hot topic in social psychology thanks to Dr. Cody Sweet. Her studies inspired this game, which in turn inspired a game show of the same name, hosted by Tom Kennedy on CBS in 1984.

Image: Milton Bradley

SEE MORE: 11 weird vintage video games that were based on classic TV shows


'M*A*S*H' and 'Gilligan's Island' are classic shows, not-so-hot game cartridges. READ MORE

Image: Bandai

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Kthompson 42 months ago
I was at an antique mall the other day and saw the solotaire game with a picture of lucy on it lol
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