It’s Your Turn, Fat Boy

“Don’t sell the steak, sell the sizzle.”

Know who came up with that? Elmer Wheeler. That’s him at right. Elmer’s company, Tested Selling Institute, headquartered for years at 321 Fifth Avenue in NYC, sold sentences. Not just any sentences, mind you. Tested Selling Sentences. Elmer was the Founder, President, and sole employee of TSI.

Elmer analyzed the waitress’s classic response to a soda order – ‘large or small?’ – and suggested waitresses say ‘large one?’ instead. 7 out of 10 people, apparently, will say ‘yes’ in this scenario, which has since evolved throughout our culture, as epitomized by the phrase ‘Fries with that?’

Elmer’s biggest score was “The Fat Boy’s Book,” published in 1950, which went viral via newspaper syndication. Wheeler had written the book, the story goes, when he was shocked by a salesperson frantically trying to wave him into the ‘oversized’ section of a local department store. So Elmer lost 40 pounds in 80 days, and the rest is forgotten history.

Our buddies at Parker Brothers, at the time, were the greatest game company on the face of the earth. That would end in 1966, when they were taken over by General Mills, and subsequently spun off as Kenner Parker Toys in ‘85, which fought off a hostile takeover by Hollywood’s New World Productions in ‘87 and were saved by Tonka’s bid, thus briefly becoming Tonka Kenner Parker before ultimately being bought by Hasbro, which had previously scooped up Parker’s old rival Milton Bradley. Some history! But in 1951, Parker was in high gear, publishing an astonishing number of new board games every year. They jumped on the Wheeler bandwagon in 1951 with “The Fat Boy’s Game,” a lovely little board game, especially if you enjoy 50’s-style advertising clip art and 3-color printing. A really pretty gameboard in an unusual size: 9″ tall by 2′ wide. Here ’tis in all its 50’s glory (click to enlarge and savor):

The Object of the Game: Everybody is trying to attain a perfect figure. As the various contestants become familiar with the unusual and interesting play of the Fat Boy’s Game, the chances of outwitting each other are much greater and each move adds to the excitement and suspense.

But here’s the best part, under the heading ‘hilarious attention to detail.’ Guess which set of ‘tokens’ below came with “The Fat Boy’s Game.”

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