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A daily look back at the toys, games, and objects that captured our attention as children and continue to fascinate us today.

Humor Rumor from Whitman Publishing (1969)

Company: Whitman Publishing
Release date: 1969
Ages: 8+
# of players: 2+

Released in 1969 by Whitman Publishing, Humor Rumor is an over-the-top take on “The Telephone Game”. Both classic ice-breaking party activities, these games focus on how information is inevitably changed as it is passed from person to person.

Humor Rumor includes two 45-card decks, a pair of large ruby-red plastic lips, a giant plastic ear and a long cardboard tube (dubbed the “mixing chamber”) that is used to connect the two quirky anatomical parts together. Like most party games, Humor Rumor works best with a large number of players.

To begin the game, the two card decks are shuffled, and a single card is dealt to every player but one. Each card contains a series of common words, like “red”, “ship”, “triangle”, and “white”. The first player fabricates a simple rumor that incorporates one of the words on the card. The rumor is then whispered into the lip end of the mixing chamber to player No. 2 listening at the ear end. Player No. 2 adds a phrase or sentence to the rumor that incorporates a word on the second card and whispers the embellished rumor to player No. 3. The process repeats until the rumor reaches the last player (the one without a Humor Rumor card). The final player attempts to recite the entire rumor to the other participants, with typically hilarious results.

Players whose words were omitted from the final rumor keep their word card as a victory token. The game continues until every player has taken a turn in all positions. The player retaining the most Humor Rumor word cards is declared the winner.

Humor Rumor was on the market for three years before it disappeared from store shelves. Rumor has it that it was due to lack of sales, but that’s just what I’ve heard…

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