I remember playing Mr. Mouth in my basement with my sister, who wasn’t known for her hand-eye coordination, so I was usually victorious. I used to shoot multiple pieces at once (some of which would actually go in the mouth) and make up my own rules to keep the game interesting. But, those who played by the “real” rules weren’t a big fan of my attempts (my sister)!
When you see Mr. Mouth today, you get to experience the cute little green frog that eats the “fly” pieces; however, I was fortunate enough to experience the original 70’s version of this classic game– the yellow ball with droopy eyes and no identifiable species. Then again, if Pac-Man had reproduced, I’m sure his child would resemble this fairly innocuous and half-sleepy “thing-a-ma-jig.”
Though the 70’s version of Mr. Mouth was a bit scary now that I look back, the object of the game was simple enough: take one of the four arms, aim your tokens at his mouth and time your “throw” perfectly to score. I mean, unless you were playing with your parents or a “we must follow the rules” kid companion, every kid made up their own ways to play. These little game variations ranged from trying to beat your last score of consecutive successful throws or detaching the arm/leg and trying to shoot from different distances. Then again, it wasn’t uncommon to find new and exciting objects to toss at your cue-ball friend or even at your opponent. Mr. Mouth definitely made the concept of food fights a whole lot more interesting!
But, like all good things, the reign of this unidentifiable Mr. Mouth came to an end when Milton Bradley bought Tomy Toys. Luckily for fans of this simple wonderful game, the infamous Mr. Mouth received a make-over and became the cute and fresh-faced frog that little ones have come to love today.
And since the concept of the new-and-improved Mr. Mouth hasn’t changed, luckily neither has the silly shenanigans that young ones are sure to create with this classic and kid-friendly game. And on an advertising note, I assume, it’s easier to promote a game where the character is at least identifiable to the general public. Here’s an 80’s commercial for Mr. Mouth (enjoy!):