By Dorri Partain
The Old Maid rockets into space with this version of the popular card game aimed at the Baby Boomer generation.
Originally played with a regular 52-card deck, with one card removed to create an odd number, Old Maid was played in British pubs with the loser buying a round of drinks for the other players. By the 1890’s, card decks specifically designed to feature matching pairs and one card decorated with an image of an “old maid” began appearing, marketed as a family or children’s game. The designs have been updated nearly every decade to appeal to the next generation, such as this deck shown.
A detailed explanation on the back of the card package reads: “This is a very unusual Old Maid game. It is the Space Age edition. The cards picture some of the Rockets, Missiles and many other wonderful scientific achievements of the past decade. They are drawn in free-hand cartoon style, personalizing them with humorous faces, hands, etc. A list of references is given for any boy or girl that wishes to learn more about this new and fantastic Space Age and its ships.”
The reverse of the direction card lists Reader’s Digest, Popular Science, Scientific American, Science Digest, Aviation Week, and National Geographic magazines as “those that have run recent stories about our exploits in the air, in space and under the sea.”
Players of the game matched up images that included Albert Einstein, the U.N. Building, Atlas missiles, the Tiros I, Echo I, Pioneer VI satellites, the Valkyrie and Starfighter military jets, the Regulus I cruise missile and the Agina telescope, among others.
Manufactured by Russell Mfg. Co. of Lancaster, Mass., the package is copyrighted 1960 and was offered in a set of five card games that also included Hearts, Crazy Eights, Dr. Quack, and Tail The Donkey.