Green Ghost is a board game for up to 4
players, first published in 1965 by Transogram. Green Ghost is the
first board game designed to be played in the dark.
Transogram mass-produced the game in 1965,
then sold its toy interests to Marx Toys in 1970. In Australia, the
game was distributed by the Ideal Toy Company.
In 1997 Marx Toys produced a 30th
Anniversary edition of the game. This box has "Find Kelly the
Ghost... if you DARE" printed on it. Green Ghost remains
collectible, but with so many different editions it is difficult for
collectors to know if they have a complete set. There were at least
three versions of the board. One was green with red spaces, another
white with red spaces and the third was white with brown spaces. The
glowing does not work as well as showed on the television
commercials, which, were filmed using a black light.
Original television commercials for the
game encouraged players to play it in the dark. The 1965 box has
printed on it "THE EXCITING GAME OF MYSTERY THAT GLOWS IN THE DARK."
The central character in the game was
modeled on The Blob and the design was aimed at the campy horror
genre of shows like The Addams Family.
The board is of the 3D type in that it
features three pieces of spooky scenery: a shipwreck, haunted house,
and gnarled tree. The luminous plastic board is elevated on six
stilts and underneath are three boxes, covered by locked trapdoors.
The pits contain either plastic bones, "bat" feathers or
rubber snakes, plus a number of hidden "ghost kids", one of
which is "Kelly", the Green Ghost's child. The other ghost
kids are named Olive, Emerald, Lime, Chartreuse, Jade, Bottle, Nile,
Mist, Ever, Forest, and Billious (Bill.)
Spinning the large Green Ghost gives you
the number of spaces you can move your pawn: vulture, rat, cat, or
bat. Players use trapdoor keys to collect ghost kids and increase
their chances of winning. When all twelve ghost kids have been
retrieved from the traps, they are placed in little holes on the
Green Ghost spinner (each player needs to remember which ghost kids
are the ones he or she found). Then the large Green Ghost is spun one
more time, pointing to the little ghost it identifies as Kelly.
Whoever found the one pointed to wins the game.
The twelve Ghost Kids names
were: Kelly, Olive, Emerald, Lime, Chartreuse, Jade, Bottle, Nile,
Mist, Ever, Forest, and Billious (Bill.)
Transogram was an American producer of
toys, games and other leisure products from the early 20th century to
1971. It is best known for such long-produced games as Tiddledy Winks
and Game of India, as well as such baby-boomer favorites as Green
Ghost and television tie-in board games.
Around the turn of the 20th century,
Charles Raizen took a summer job with a manufacturer of embroidery
patterns. Years later, he found a method of transferring images using
friction, and circa 1915, the company became the Friction Transfer
Pattern Company, first located on 2nd Street, between Avenues C and
D, in Manhattan, then at 113-115 University Place. It quickly found
that children enjoyed transferring the friction patterns, and the
company shifted toward children's products such as Art-Toy Transfer
Pictures. In 1917, Raizen bought the company and renamed it
Transogram, but using 1915 as the founding date in its company logo.
Moving to 200 Fifth Avenue, the company developed the Toy Research
Institute in order to test toys with input by a child psychologist,
leading to the 1920s tagline that its toys were "Kid
Tested". The company also began licensing media properties,
manufacturing the likes of a Little Orphan Annie set of clothes pins.
After producing toys, play sets and
activity items, the company in 1929 produced its first game-like
product, Orje, The Mystic Prophet, which one historian calls "a
solitaire fortunetelling pastime".
In early 1939, the company announced that
its new game Movie Millions would have a marketing push, headed by
advertising manager Lee Sheldon, in magazines, trade magazines,
newspapers and radio.
In 1955, Transogram introduced its first
TV-series licensed board game, Dragnet. The company would produce
many other games based on famous cartoon characters and TV series
such as: Atom Ant, The Flintstones, Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C., The Monkees,
Hogan's Heroes, The Monkees, The Wild Wild West, The Jetsons,
Superman, Tom and Jerry and Perry Mason. The Perry Mason game resused
teh same cove art used for the Dragnet game.
When the TV Batmania craze hit in
1966-1967, Transogram got a license for both Batman and Superman, but
only four Batman products were made by them. The carded set of Batman
coins, The Flying Batman (nice to look at it but was too heavy to
fly), The Batman figural bank and a 20" The Batmobile.
In 1960, Transogram was one of seven
toy-makers, including Ideal and Parker Brothers, that the Federal
Trade Commission accused of violating antitrust law by allegedly
soliciting discriminatory advertising allowances from suppliers.
Transogram advertised on television in
1968 for the first time in six years, with a million-dollar campaign
centered on Green Ghost and Hocus Pocus, its two glow-in-the-dark
games; Kabala, a future-telling game; and the printing kit Inkless
Printing. The TV commercials were produced by the advertising agency
Smith / Greenland.
Following a previous incorporation in New
York, the Transogram Company incorporated in Pennsylvania on
September 4th, 1959. In May 1962, Transogram made an initial public
offering of 196,000 shares of common stock from Charles Raizen's
private account. It sold for $10 (US) a share. Raizen retained
control with 61.4 percent of outstanding stock.
In 1966, Transogram's total sales were
$18,665,631 but, in the first six months of 1967, the company posted
a loss of $1,191,000. Transogram announced in August 1969 that it had
agreed to acquire 81 percent of the stock in Mountain Savings and
Loan of Boulder, Colorado, in exchange for an unspecified number of
shares of Transogram stock. Transogram continued to post losses into 1970.
The financial holding company Winthrop
Lawrence, controlled by du Pont heir Lammot du Pont Copeland Jr. and
Thomas A. Sheehan, bought controlling interest in Transogram in 1969
and installed Joseph Bruna as chief executive officer. On February
26th, 1971, Transogram declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy, listing
liabilities of $12,067,307 and assets of $3,009,072. Trading on the
American Stock Exchange had been suspended the week prior.
The Transogram trademark and assets were
liquidated in 1971, with the marks and toy molds purchased by Jay
Horowitz of American Plastic Equipment, who later transferred all
rights to American Plastic Equipment's subsidiary, American Classic
Toys. In 2019, American Classic Toys entered into an exclusive
license agreement with The Juna Group to represent the Transogram
brands in all categories, worldwide.