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March 23, 2015

When Charles Darrow first proposed the board game Monopoly to the Parker Brothers, they found 52 flaws that they asked him to change.


Monopoly, the game of family fights. (image via Wikipedia)

Of all the important milestones that will be passed in 2015 like the 50th anniversary of the classic Get Smart, the 30th anniversary of the Golden Girls, and the 10th anniversary of TMZ, nothing is more important than the fact that Monopoly turns 80 this year. One of the many rumors about the controversial game is that it was originally rejected because of 52 fundamental flaws. We have managed to obtain the original letter from Parker Brothers to game creator Charles Darrow about the things he’ll have to change in order for Monopoly to make it to market.

Dear Charles,

Thank you so much for submitting your idea to us. We here at Parker Brothers are tremendously excited because we can’t think of anything that gets our adrenaline going more than a game about buying and selling property.

There are, however, a few flaws with the game that we would like you to change before we can start to produce it. The changes are mostly minor and we have tried to retain the spirit of the game.

1. We’d like to rename, “Sluts Alley.” How do you feel about “Baltic Avenue”?

2. While we appreciate the novelty of, “The game is not over until someone dies,” we don’t relish the thought of a board game taking more than half an hour to play.

3. While we agree that in life, women should not be bankers, given that the game will be played in the home, the woman’s domain, it probably should not be an absolute rule. Hopefully people will just follow how things work in the real world. 1935 is a great time to be alive.

Changes 4–12: While we appreciate the accuracy of the anatomically correct genitals on the token pieces, we’re unclear why a car or a hat would require genitals. Please remove all the genitals. Even on the dog, though it is, technically, accurate.

13. We insist that one of the tokens be a thimble. We will not budge on this matter.

14. When people get sent to jail, we don’t think they should be flogged. We’ve talked to the factory and they’ve said they will struggle to fit a whip in the box, especially one as large as you are suggesting.

15. We feel like the “Community Chest” can be an actual chest rather than a woman’s bosom.

16. We’re unclear about how the “Death to poor people” chance card actually affects the outcome of the game.

17. We’d like to stick to houses and hotels, rather than houses, hotels, places of ill repute, and bordellos.

Changes 18–48: Please remove any references to the following: sadomasochism, masochism, tramps, hobos, squatters, vagrants, transients, derelicts, stabbing derelicts, stabbing foreigners, stabbing dandies, stabbing whores — basically remove all references to stabbing, maiming, or dismembering. In fairness, most of them seem rather out of context and rather randomly placed, so we feel removing them will improve the game play considerably. Open to debate on this one, however, if you feel they’re absolutely necessary.

49. The Parker Brothers dispute what the graphic in the center of the board is. Ernest is convinced it is some sort of demon while Clarence is convinced it’s a woman engaged in some sort of sexual act, though he refuses to say what. Though it’s unclear, given some of your other proclivities, we suspect it might be untoward.

50. We have a suggestion for a replacement graphic. The Parker Brothers would like to pay tribute to a vagrant who lived outside their luxury apartment on Fifth Avenue during the Depression. Homeless Joe used to beg for sandwiches and, while the Parker Brothers never gave him one, they appreciated the regularity with which he asked. Homeless Joe disappeared and they suspect he’s died of starvation. We thought we could pay tribute to him, perhaps by using his likeness in the center of the board. He can be the game’s mascot. We’d also like to call him by the nickname the Parker Brothers gave him: Rich Uncle Pennybags.

51. We love the concept of Monopoly money. We suggest the denominations be 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, and 500 rather than 50 cents (which makes no sense as a bill), 23, and 47-and-2/3.

52. We’d like the tagline to be, “The Fast-Dealing Property Trading Game” rather than “Get Rich, Bitches.”

We look forward to a long and lucrative business relationship. Luckily Prohibition is over and when this deal is done we can celebrate by drinking whiskey till we have to be carted away in wheelbarrows. There’s another thought for a token piece — a wheelbarrow. No genitals.


The Parker Brothers