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Anthony Pratt - Inventor of Cluedo

Anthony Pratt was living in King's Heath during the second world war when he devised Cluedo.

"I was leaning on the fence of our King's Heath home and it dawned on me that this wretched war was killing this country's social life" he told an interviewer in 1990. On the other side of the fence was his friend, Geoffrey Bull, who had invented the high seas adventure game, Buccaneer, and sold it to Waddingtons. So Anthony decided to invent his own board game.Image courtesy of Birmingham Mail

Cluedo was first manufactured in 1949. Sales were slow to begin with and this led to him making the biggest mistake of his life. In May 1953 he sold over to Waddingtons all royalties for overseas sales for just £5000.The game went on to be a global hit becoming the world's second most popular board game known simply as Clue in the U.S.A but he failed to gain financially from this international success.

Royalties for the British rights also eventually lapsed but he was not a bitter man. In the 1990 interview he is reported as saying, "A letter came with a cheque and the news that there would be no more because the patents had lapsed. That was that. We did not mind you know. It had been one of life's bonuses. A great deal of fun went into it. So why grumble?"

So instead of ending up rich and famous like the inventor of Monopoly, Anthony Pratt died ordinary and largely forgotten in 1994. Even Waddingtons did not stay in touch. They issued a press release to try and find him entitled "Wanted For Murder Most Enjoyable" after they had sold the 150 millionth game only to discover he had died on 9 April 1994.

He is now buried in Bromsgove cemetary but the game he invented in King's Heath contnues to bring enjoyment to millions throughout the world.

Photo courtesy of the Birmingham Mail (click here for link to article containing picture)

 
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