“He’s here! My Mystery Date!”
“Mystery Date, are you ready for your Mystery Date…?”
Oh, not a dud! Please don’t let it be a dud! When that little white door opened, you wanted to see the man of your dreams, a studly skier, a dashing dancer in a tux, a beachgoing babe – anything but the dreaded dud. And should Prince Charming be ready to greet you behind door number one, you best be prepared. And yet, with all of these stressful possibilities, there was nary a slumber party around in the 60s that didn’t include a rousing game of Mystery Date on the itinerary.
Introduced by Milton Bradley in 1965, Mystery Date consisted of a game board that had a door in the middle. Each of 2-4 players frantically traversed the board collecting the necessary apparel for their future date. The only problem was, you had no idea how your future Mr. Right would be dressed and you better be properly matched or face impending embarrassment of epic proportions. There was nothing worse then getting decked out in your finest formal gown, only to find that your dreamboat was wearing a Hawaiian shirt, ready for a little frolic in the sand.
With each roll of the die, your female cutout counterpart moved from space to space, some of which allowed you to draw a card or pick one from the discard pile of your opponent. The object, of course, was to collect the necessary attire for one of four potential outings. No mixing an matching was allowed; you had to stick with your original wardrobe decision and discard the non-conforming cards. Then, once you were dressed for action, you aimed for one of six “Open the Door” spaces. And since the man behind the door changed randomly each time it was opened, you had to not only hope that the right Mr. Right lurked behind, but also pray that you wouldn’t be presented with the dreaded dud, which would cost you a turn. How the poor players of Mystery date survived such insurmountable stress is anyone’s guess.
With the arrival of the 70s, the game’s popularity remained strong – with one notable exception. It was decided in future releases of the game that a bowling date just wouldn’t do anymore, replaced by a healthy bicycle excursion. It mattered little – find a collection of teen girls and there was likely a Mystery Date game lurking nearby. When the original game was eventually discontinued at the end of the decade, it instantly achieved a collectable status that remains strong to this day.
But don’t fret, you needn’t fork over the big bucks to let lady luck determine your fate of dreamy date of disappointing dud. Mattel has recently released a new version based on the characters of the popular Disney television-based film, High School Musical, complete with five new potential outings such as a karaoke date with Troy or some salsa dancing with Ryan. The door of destiny looms for little girls everywhere, just like it did for their mothers four decades earlier.
If you remember gathering your friends for a round of Mystery Date, we hope you’ll share those memories in our comments section, as we tip our hats to another memorable game from Milton Bradley.