2 min

Gay archives: Boy’s toys

Fun & games at Canada's lesbian and gay archives

Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives (CLGA) volunteer Harold Averill doubts that anyone ever completed a full game of Jack ‘n’ Andy. The rules of the 1991 game, a copy of which was donated to the archives, are extremely convoluted. There are just “too many temptations, too many digressions,” says Averill. But with highlights like the “bump ‘n’ grind square” (“Get up and dance and strip off two items of clothing for your wildly appreciative audience”) the goal of the game is clear.

Fun and games in CLGA’s collection also includes several decks of playing cards festooned with well-hung nude men. In addition to these beefcake examples there’s also the Ladies Home Companion set, a deck featuring sepia-toned male nudes in a plush velvet box, “so they can pass it off as art,” says Averill. From the hairstyles he concludes the cards were manufactured in the mid-’70s and notes that the inclusion of an Asian man among the models was rare for the period.

Also rare is CLGA’s copy of Gay Monopoly. The brightly coloured board is decorated with reproductions of two enduring icons of homo culture, Tom of Finland and Michelangelo’s David. The game was manufactured in 1983 by The Parker Sisters, a division of Fire Island Games but production was limited ? the sisters were sued into oblivion by board game conglomerate Parker Brothers who own the copyright on the name Monopoly.

The big difference between regular Monopoly and Gay Monopoly is the inclusion of “family pride cards” and “camp cards.” If you pick up a family pride card you can win a trip to the square of your choice by correctly identifying the gay icon from the clues provided. A camp card might, for example, require the player to “say: ‘faaabulous!’ six different ways and receive $3.”

The rest of the differences are cosmetic. One does not get out of jail free but risks exile to Straight City. The railroads and utilities are replaced with bars and bathhouses. Instead of Park Place and Boardwalk Gay Monopoly players buy property in Palm Springs and Provincetown or on renowned gay boulevards Christopher St or Folsom St. Sadly there is no Church St on the board.

For now CLGA’s cards and games sit on a shelf waiting to be enjoyed. Averill jokes that once the CLGA moves into its new home on Isabella St, which will allow for more public access to the collection, perhaps a community game of Jack ‘n’ Andy could be organized. If anyone can actually figure out all the rules.