October 28, 2011

Green Ghost: my favourite vintage board game ever!

Day 301 of Vintage 365 ✯


It's interesting, you know, as I sit here and reflect back on this topic as an adult, to think about the items that my parents kept from their own childhoods. Honestly, the number isn't that huge, but in all fairness, I don't exactly have a room full of things from youth either. There were a few toys, a large record collection, the odd photograph and a few knickknack, and one board game that enthralled me as a little girl like nothing else.

The name of that game was Green Ghost, and though it's been many, many years since I last played it (as far as I know, it didn't make the cut during one the moves my family made when I was growing up). I can still remember it with stark clarity, and it is impossible for Halloween season to arrive without memories of playing this awesome game - always sitting on the cold tiles of our basement floor, often with the lights dimmed low - as a youngster.

First created in 1965, Green Ghost was a relatively popular board game throughout the 60s and early 70s that tied into both the campy horror movie genre of 50s and 60s, as well the popularity of spooky sitcoms like The Munsters and The Addams Family. Though it wasn't based on a particular TV show, film, or classic scary story, its main character (a large green ghost) vaguely resembled The Blob.

Beyond its playfully spooky appeal, what makes Green Ghost standout is the fact that it was one of (if not, the) first game that featured glow-in-the-dark pieces and which was therefore intended to be played with the lights off.

Featuring a good sized playing board (made of luminous plastic) with a multitude of 3D game pieces, all of which come together to create an eerie ghost town, the premise of Green Ghost was for the large green specter figure to track down twelve little ghostie children, one of which was his own child, Kelly (whichever players finds Kelly after a series of spins on game spinner and other moves is the winner).

It was, by no means, a hard or complicated game, and it wasn't one that needed to be in any regard. Most of the thrill of Green Ghost game from the fact that you got to play a board game in the dark (or near dark) that glowed eerily and included a ton of fun little pieces (the player identification pieces included a vulture, cat, bat, and rat), a rather cute lime green spirit, and a haunted, completely Halloween worthy landscape.





{Green Ghost shown with all of its spooky, delightfully fun game pieces, remains my all-time favourite vintage board game, thanks to the childhood memories and Halloween ties it houses for me. Image via J.Y. Corporation.}


Though a 30th anniversary edition of Green Ghost (pictured above) was issued in the 1990s (it's nearly identical to the original), for all intents this classic 1960s game has been off the market for decades now. These days, those who are hoping to track down a copy are wise to check garage sales, thrift stores, and eBay.

While it certainly never rose to the same degree of popularity as board games like Clue, Life, or Monopoly, through the internet I've discovered that I'm certainly not the only Green Ghost fan still out there.

In fact a complete vintage Green Ghost game from the sixties with all of its little pieces can run you a hundred dollars or more on eBay (it's common to see people selling incomplete games, which can sometimes be had for lower prices, as it was quite tricky to not lose at least a few of the tiny plastic pieces over the years). Given its high price tag, it means that a copy of Green Ghost remains firmly planted on my vintage wish list.

It's been nearly two decades since I last flicked off the lights and sat down to a spirited round of Green Ghost. Yet it's impossible for Halloween season to arrive without me thinking about the good times I had as youngster, when I spent many an evening in the company of a glow-in-the-dark green ghost and his illuminated, haunted make-believe world. Fond, fun memories for sure!

17 comments:

  1. Thats so cool that your parents kept the game, and they were able to share it with you! I think the only thing my parents kept was my Dad kept this bronze horse statue, and well, its nice to look at but its no game. And then my mom kept this creepy doll that none of my sisters want....maybe I should take it?

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  2. I grew up in the 60's and 70's, and I absolutely never heard of that game. I can't imagine why either. It's not like I was in some little tiny town in the middle of nowhere. I grew up in a major metropolitan city.

    I loved alot of board games as a kid, but I think my absolute favorite was Mystery Date. Ever heard of that one?

    Have a lovely day...I'm off to lunch and shopping with my BFF (that would be my daughter!)

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  3. I do remember Mystery Date... but I don't remember Green Ghost... It looks like the perfect game to play on Halloween.... My favorite game "back then" was Mouse Trap! Oh how we laughed!!!

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  4. Ah geez, I haven't seen this in years. I never played it, but I remember the commercials for it.

    Thanks for the blast from the past.

    Hugs,
    Meri

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  5. Hi My favourite game from my childhood. When my parents devorced I took custody of this game. Does anyone have a copy of the original tv ad for the green ghost game? I have been looking for a couple of years and have not found a copy. Steve

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    1. Best game of my childhood. Remember playing it for hours on end with newbie hood friends.

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  6. I truly loved this game too. Thanks for blogging about it.

    Paula
    Poughkeepsie, NY

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    1. Hi Paula,

      My pleasure! Many thanks in turn for your lovely comment. Hard to believe a whole year has already whizzed past since I posted about this beloved classic board game. I didn't find a copy of Green Ghost while out yard saling this year, but the hunt will definitely continue with the season starts up again next spring (and every year after - I'm convinced I'll find one for a good price some day!).

      Thanks again & have a marvelous Halloween!
      ♥ Jessica

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  7. Wow. I was talking with my son about my favorite game as a child, and figured I'd see if I could conjure up an image on the internet. So glad I found this site. I hadn't really held out much hope, unlike other board games of that era, I hadn't heard of this one for decades (guess I missed the 90's re-issue, heh). Glow-in-the-dark pieces on a 3D board! Awesome for it's day.

    Thanks for letting me take my son on a walk down Memory Lane.

    Jeff

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    1. Hi Jeff, I'm really happy that this post helped you (and your son) and reconnect with a childhood favourite, too. I haven't unearthed a copy of Green Ghost yet myself, but it's one of those items that I'll never give up the hunt for, so I like to think it's just a matter of time. :)

      ♥ Jessica

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  8. I got that game for Christmas in the 60s. loved it..

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  9. Still looking for a copy myself. This game was my favorite as a child. Never forgot it. Got it for my 6th Birthday in 1968.

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    1. Best of luck with you hunt! I haven't been able to track down one in my price range yet, but hope we're both able to find a copy one of these days.

      ♥ Jessica

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  10. I had this game when I was a child. We used to play in the walk-in closet of my bedroom. It was my favorite. No one I talk to ever remembers this game so thanks for letting people know I'm not crazy.

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

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    1. You're very welcome - and definitely not "crazy" at all. This game was such a blast - I wish they'd reissue it (replicating the original exactly) for a new generation to enjoy (and those of us with fond memories of the original to have a blast recapturing a part of our youth with).

      ♥ Jessica

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  11. I too grew up in the 70s (in southern Calif.) and I had that game!!!! I wanted it SO BADLY and received it from my parents for Christmas one year. I loved it, but I do recall being somewhat disappointed to find that black feathers were the stand in for "bat wings", cut rubberbands were the stand in for "snakes" and little pieces of plastic were the "bones", however they looked nothing like bones. These were the items that went into the 3 pits that you unlocked with the keys.

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    1. How wonderful that this game was a firm favourite of yours as well. There was dose of false advertising at work there, for sure, but it did also encourage kids to use their imaginations, which many modern toys fail to do (at to the same degree) any more.

      Thank you very much for your comment - have a wonderful summer!
      ♥ Jessica

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Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts, questions, and opinions with me. I read and sincerely appreciate each comment I receive - they brighten my day like rays of sparkling sunshine.

♥ Jessica