Dodd Harris with "Jumbo Old Maid" at his Perisphere & Trylon Toy Fair booth
Retro toy supplier Perisphere & Trylon (P&T) showcased an old children’s card game chestnut this week at the annual Toy Fair trade show at New York’s Javits Center.
As the back of the box of its new Jumbo Old Maid declares, it’s “an irreverent, outdated--thankfully--and over-sized version of the beloved classic.”
Indeed, the box of 43 big “easy to handle” 8-in. x 5-in. color cards are as fun to look at as play, though there are a couple changes.
“It’s a 1940s iteration of the game, which had a couple illustrations that might be politically incorrect today,” noted P&T owner Dodd Harris, who “updated” the questionable artwork. An astute music fan, he also evoked a Bruce Springsteen lyric with his “She ain’t a beauty, but hey, she’s alright!” box-top characterization of the game’s titular spinster.
As for “the trauma of spinsterhood” that the game—again according to the box—seeks to avoid, Harris recognizes, too, that the term, like “old maid,” is anachronistic at best.
“I was watching It’s a Wonderful Life again a few months ago,” he recalled, “and came to the scene where James Stewart asks what happened to his wife and his guardian angel tries not to tell him--and finally gives in and says, ‘She’s an old maid!’ It’s like a fate worse than death!”
"She's an old maid!"
Then again, as P&T’s Jumbo Old Maid box also states, “She’s got a lot of personality and a heart of gold.”
And Perisphere & Trylon also has a new companion game in Jumbo Snap, which is the opposite of Old Maid, whose object is two discard pairs of colorful characters until the loser is left with the single Old Maid card. Instead, Snap’s objective is to collect the pairs rather than rid them.