Thursday, June 3, 2010

Inventor of "Trivial Pursuit" Has Died

Charis Haney, a Canadian who co-invented the board game Trivial Pursuit, has died at the age of 59. He came up with the game one night in 1979 over beers in his living room with fellow journalist Scott Abbott. He was 29 years old. The game, introduced to the public in 1981, became a full fledged national phenomenon in America by 1984. Twenty million units were sold in that year alone.  It was even out-selling Monopoly, apparently. 

On hindsight, the game's popularity peaked that year. Though a TV game show based on the game, hosted by Chuck Woolery, was aired in the mid-1990s. (You can watch a clip HERE, but it's pretty bland.) The game has gone on to sell a total of 100 million units worldwide since it's introduction. The rights were sold outright to Hasbro in 2008 for $80 million. Not bad for a couple of guys who were dismissed initially at the Montreal Toy Fair as a couple of "con artists" according to Chris Haney's New York Times obit HERE. "But they needed more investors and turned to friends in their newsrooms. One problem, according to The Globe and Mail of Canada, was that people had heard they were 'con artists.' As an example, the newspaper pointed to a chain letter the men had started that proved profitable for the originators but not to those down the line. They nonetheless succeeded in raising $40,000 from 32 investors. Mr. Haney’s mother was not among them, however: he had talked her out of investing for fear she would lose her money."

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