Foto-Electric Football

Foto-Electric Football

Synopsis of Toy

Pop Warner football has long given young quarterbacks, linebackers, and free safeties the chance to hone their gridiron skills on the field, but what of those budding head coaches and offensive/defensive coordinators? There’s no Little League for play callers, but Cadaco came up with a way to train the future men behind the clipboards and earpieces. The answer was Foto-Electric Football, the brainiac’s approach to American football.

As a clue to its focus on brains over brawn, the game’s predecessor was 1936’s Scientific Football. If you think that sounds like a bit of an oxymoron, you obviously weren’t cut out for the life of a Foto-Electric Footballer. Nevertheless, Cadaco decided to leave out the hoity-toity stuff and rename their product with titles like Touchdown, Varsity and All-American Football. The inheritor of Cadaco’s fascination with the gridiron was Foto-Electric Football, popularized in the 1940’s.

The aim of the game was good play calling and a bit of good old-fashioned luck (the recipe to any coach’s success). Opposing players called offensive and defensive plays from a set of see-through overlay cards (12 on offense, 6 on defense). When the plays were laid down on the box-like playing field, the “electric” part of the title kicked in. A small light bulb inside the playfield illuminated the results of the players’ hard work, supplemented with a set of three dice (or spinners in some later versions) and an easy-to-read “Foto-Electric Football Chart.”

Gameplay followed standard American football rules, and rather than working against a clock, the game allowed 30 plays per quarter. A set of dials in the scoreboard kept track of everything important (score, down, plays left this quarter, etc.), and a moveable mini-football tracked your progress up and down the mini-field.

Several updates of Foto-Electric Football arrived over the course of the next few decades, including several “Hall of Fame” versions. The long-running series eventually fell prey to the electronic football craze and the rise of video games in the late 1970’s, but not before one last hurrah. 1977’s Pro Foto-Football replaced the electric light with a cheaper, more compact “Play Revelator” (essentially a black sleeve for the play cards), but the rules remained the same. This fourth-quarter comeback was short-lived, however, and the future coaches of the world were left to test their play-calling skills on Mattel Electronics Football and later video pigskin classics on the Atari, Intellivision, Nintendo and so on.

Release History of Toy

1936 - Scientific Football
1940's - Foto-Electric Football
1964 - Pro Football Hall of Fame Game
1977 - Pro Foto-Football

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board games

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