It’s time to celebrate 70 years of Clue, the invention of musician Anthony Pratt, who used to play piano for murder mystery nights at big mansions and thought, this would make a good board game! Plus: the movie “Clue” is well known for the on-camera antics of its amazing cast. But what did the actors do when the cameras weren’t rolling?
Would anyone care for fruit, or dessert?
It’s time to celebrate 70 years of the board game Clue, first released in 1949, though the concept goes back a few more years.
The inventor was a musician in England called Anthony Pratt.
He dreamed up the game during World War II, when he was working at a munitions plant.
But another one of his jobs was playing piano during murder mystery nights held at large mansions.
He decided to take that premise and put it into a whodunit board game, originally called Murder!
He renamed it Cluedo, taking the word “Clue” and adding it to the name “Ludo,” the name for a well-known board game of the 19th century.
The name was shortened to “Clue” in the US, where “Ludo” wasn’t well-known.
That wasn’t the only change along the way.
Originally Colonel Mustard was known as Colonel Yellow, and among the potential weapons: a hypodermic needle!
Clue has had a tremendous run since its release. There have been endless spinoff versions of the original, like “Star Wars” Clue and “Game of Thrones” Clue, not to mention the cult classic movie from the 1980s. But at first sales of the game weren’t that great, at least in this country.
Because of that, Pratt decided to take a flat fee of 5000 pounds for the overseas rights.
He didn’t get any royalties for those hundreds of millions of games sold here.
But late in life, he took a philosophical approach to the whole experience. “A great deal of fun went into it,” he said. “So why grumble?”
As for the movie “Clue”? That dates back to 1985.
It was also not a terrific success at first but has withstood the test of time, thanks in large part to its legendary cast.
Tim Curry, Madeline Kahn, Martin Mull, Eileen Brennan, Christopher Lloyd, Michael McKean, Lesley Ann Warren and more.
The film moves all over Boddy Mansion, but in between takes, much of the cast headed to the billiard room, a who’s who of comedy at the time all playing pool together as they made the movie together.
But they didn’t help themselves to the cognac. Just in case.