Saturday, December 6, 2008

14 Year Old Submits New Game To Milton Bradley

When I was fourteen I created a game and submitted it to Milton Bradley. They received it on Oct 27, 1966 at 11:41 AM. In addition to the three page letter I'd written about the game (unedited below), I included several pages of score sheets and a copy of the game board I had used.

To The Game Dept.
Milton Bradley
Dear Sirs,

This may sound silly, or this may sound originally brilliant. I invented a "new" game that I have been playing since last September. My friend liked it, too. One night my mother heard me playing and said I should write to the Milton Bradley Company.

I call it PFL football. Or the Professional Football League. I make a 15 game schedule, and score sheets for each game. To me it is very realistic with fumbles, interceptions, TDs, 8 yard losses, 20 yard passes and incompletes. I do all this with a home made football field 2' x 1 1/2', a deck of cards (with some removed) and a penny (as the football.)

I have roster sheets, League Standings sheets and score sheets. To make this a game it would be good to make your own pack of cards. 2 piles etc. (See samples)

Here I spent a page and a half detailing the rules of the game. In closing I wrote...

Since I'm a teen at 14, I know what kids over 12 like to do. Most of them love football. If you have nothing to do you watch T.V. or play a game. Many times, there is nobody to play the game with and T.V. may stink. That's why I made up this game, and since I liked it, I've been playing it. I never even expected to write to MB.

If you would like further information on how to play or anything else, please contact me at
1316 Roger Avenue
Somerville, NJ 08876

Truly Yours,
Ed Newman

On December 2, 1966, Milton Bradley Vice President Millens W. Taft, Jr. responded.

Mr. Leon Edward Newman
1316 Roger Avenue
Somerville, New Jersey 08876

re: Proffessional (sic) Football League

Dear Mr. Newman:

Thank you for submitting your idea to us.

Your idea has been presented to our Research Committee which has carefully studied it, having in mind the requirements necessary to make it adaptable to our line and also its originality.

The Committee's report has been completed, and we regret to advise that, although your item has merit, the sales potential is too limited in our estimation. We are therefore returning your material herewith by registered mail.

Your submitting this idea to us for consideration is nevertheless greatly appreciated, and we trust that, although it did not meet with our requirements, you will contact us again as you create and develop additional items.

Thank you again for submitting this idea to us, and we regret our inability to cooperate with you further in this particular instance.

Very truly yours,
Millens W. Taft, Jr.
Vice President

It just doesn't seem like I can close without trying to draw a lesson from all this.

In 1961, I won the Grotto Circus Contest in Cleveland. (see Dec 3, 2007 blog entry) I'm not sure if it was this that contributed to my perpetual optimism, but it must have helped. My mother's cheerful encouragement always helped, too, as you see in this story above, which resulted in... a rejection letter. But that was O.K. It was cool to get that rejection letter. I did not expect a response from the Vice President of Milton Bradley. It made an impression.

A few years later, I brought some day-glo posters to The Third Eye in New York City. They liked the posters, but didn't purchase them. The parking ticket was memorable.

The following year the president of Doubleday passed some of my sketchbooks around to five publishers for feedback as to whether I had talent. One evaluation letter said I could possibly become the next Peter Max. All five rejected my art, though.

Years later when I was trying to become a writer I followed all the rules and sent queries and articles to many magazines before I got a letter back with a hand written note saying I was getting better. He said my submission was in the correct format, which was good. At least someone was reading those submissions. It was a very nice rejection letter. I collected quite a few after that.

In the 1990's my Hollywood screenplays were read, also. And though I was paid for a winning story in 1991, it was never published, the only year they failed to publish the winners of that particular contest.

They say you have to fail before you can succeed. If you're reading this, then I have done both. I failed but kept going. Finally, after all these decades, someone has looked at something I created, and maybe even smiled. Hope it was you. If at first you don't succeed, try a bar-b-cue. If that don't work... try something else. Or just try again. Or... whatever. Just make sure you're having fun along the way.

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