History Detectives - Netflix

Researchers identify how historical significance gathered them into wondering how past events occurred.

History Detectives - Netflix

Type: Documentary

Languages: English

Status: Ended

Runtime: 60 minutes

Premier: 2003-07-14

History Detectives - History of the board game Monopoly - Netflix

The board game Monopoly has its origins in the early 20th century. The earliest known version of Monopoly, known as The Landlord's Game, was designed by an American, Elizabeth Magie, and first patented in 1904 but existed as early as 1902. Magie, a follower of Henry George, originally intended The Landlord's Game to illustrate the economic consequences of Ricardo's Law of Economic rent and the Georgist concepts of economic privilege and land value taxation. A series of board games were developed from 1906 through the 1930s that involved the buying and selling of land and the development of that land. By 1933, a board game had been created much like the version of Monopoly sold by Parker Brothers and its related companies through the rest of the 20th century, and into the 21st. Several people, mostly in the Midwestern United States and near the East Coast, contributed to the game's design and evolution. By the 1970s, the idea that the game had been created solely by Charles Darrow had become popular folklore; it was printed in the game's instructions for many years, in a 1974 book devoted to Monopoly, and was cited in a general book about toys even as recently as 2007. Even a guide to family games published for Reader's Digest in 2003 only gave credit to Darrow and Elizabeth Magie, erroneously stating that Magie's original game was created in the 19th century, and not acknowledging any of the game's development between Magie's creation of the game, and the eventual publication by Parker Brothers. Also in the 1970s, Professor Ralph Anspach, who had himself published a board game intended to illustrate the principles of both monopolies and trust busting, fought Parker Brothers and its then parent company, General Mills, over the copyright and trademarks of the Monopoly board game. Through the research of Anspach and others, much of the early history of the game was “rediscovered” and entered into official United States court records. Because of the lengthy court process, including appeals, the legal status of Parker Brothers' copyright and trademarks on the game was not settled until 1985. The game's name remains a registered trademark of Parker Brothers, as do its specific design elements; other elements of the game are still protected under copyright law. At the conclusion of the court case, the game's logo and graphic design elements became part of a larger Monopoly brand, licensed by Parker Brothers' parent companies onto a variety of items through the present day. Despite the “rediscovery” of the board game's early history in the 1970s and 1980s, and several books and journal articles on the subject, Hasbro (Parker Brothers' current parent company) did not acknowledge any of the game's history before Charles Darrow on its official Monopoly website as recently as June 2012. Nor did Hasbro acknowledge anyone other than Darrow in materials published or sponsored by them, at least as recently as 2009. International tournaments, first held in the early 1970s, continue to the present, although the last national tournaments and world championship were held in 2009. Starting in 1985, a new generation of spin-off board games and card games appeared on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. In 1989, the first of many video game and computer game editions was published. Since 1994, many official variants of the game, based on locations other than Atlantic City, New Jersey (the official U.S. setting) or London (the official Commonwealth setting, excepting Canada), have been published by Hasbro or its licensees. In 2008, Hasbro permanently changed the color scheme and some of the gameplay of the standard U.S. Edition of the game to match the UK Edition, although the U.S. standard edition maintains the Atlantic City property names. Hasbro also modified the official logo to give the “Mr. Monopoly” character a 3-D computer-generated look, which has since been adopted by licensees USAopoly, Winning Moves and Winning Solutions. And Hasbro has also been including the Speed Die, introduced in 2006's Monopoly: The Mega Edition by Winning Moves Games, in versions produced directly by Hasbro (such as the 2009 Championship Edition).

History Detectives - Anti-Monopoly, Inc. vs. General Mills Fun Group, Inc. court case 1976–1985 - Netflix

Starting in 1974, Parker Brothers and its then corporate parent, General Mills, attempted to suppress publication of a game called Anti-Monopoly, designed by San Francisco State University economics professor Ralph Anspach and first published the previous year. Anspach began to research the game's history, and argued that the copyrights and trademarks held by Parker Brothers should be nullified, as the game came out of the public domain. Among other things, Anspach discovered the empty 1933 Charles B. Darrow file at the United States Copyright Office, testimony from the Inflation game case that was settled out of court, and letters from Knapp Electric challenging Parker Brothers over Monopoly. As the case went to trial in November 1976, Anspach produced testimony by many involved with the early development of the game, including Catherine and Willard Allphin, Dorothea Raiford and Charles Todd. Willard Allphin attempted to sell a version of the game to Milton Bradley in 1931, and published an article about the game's early history in the UK in 1975. Raiford had helped Ruth Hoskins produce the early Atlantic City games. Even Daniel Layman was interviewed, and Darrow's widow was deposed. The presiding judge, Spencer Williams, originally ruled for Parker Brothers/General Mills in 1977, allowing the Monopoly trademark to stand, and allowing the companies to destroy copies of Anspach's Anti-Monopoly. Anspach appealed. In December 1979, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Professor Anspach, with an opinion that agreed with the facts about the game's history and differed from Parker Brothers' “official” account. The court also upheld a “purchasing motivation” test (described in the decision as a “Genericness Doctrine”), a “test by which the trademark was valid only if consumers, when they asked for a Monopoly game, meant that they wanted Parker Brothers' version....” This had the effect of potentially nullifying the Monopoly trademark, and the court returned the case to Judge Williams. Williams heard the case again in 1980, and in 1981 he again held for Parker Brothers. Anspach appealed again, and in August 1982 the appeals court again reversed. The case was then appealed by General Mills/Parker Brothers to the United States Supreme Court, which decided not to hear the case in February 1983, and denied a petition for rehearing in April. This allowed the appeals court's decision to stand and further allowed Anspach to resume publication of his game. With the trademark nullified, the name “Monopoly” entered the public domain, where the naming of games was concerned, and a profusion of non-Parker-Brothers variants were published. Parker Brothers and other firms lobbied the United States Congress and obtained a revision of the trademark laws. The case was finally settled in 1985, with Monopoly remaining a valid trademark of Parker Brothers, and Anspach assigning the Anti-Monopoly trademark to the company but retaining the ability to use it under license. Anspach received compensation for court costs and the destroyed copies of his game, as well as unspecified damages. He was allowed to resume publication with a legal disclaimer. Anspach later self-published a book about his research and legal fights with General Mills, Kenner Parker Toys, and Hasbro.

History Detectives - References - Netflix