Pssst, pass it on: Humor Rumor from Whitman Publishing

Released in 1969 by Whitman Publishing, Humor Rumor was an over-the-top take on “The Telephone Game.” Both classic ice-breaking party activities, these games focus on how information is inevitably changed as it is passed from person to person.

Humor Rumor included two 45-card decks, a pair of large ruby-red plastic lips, a giant plastic ear, and a long cardboard tube (dubbed the “mixing chamber”) that was used to connect the two quirky anatomical parts. Like most party games, Humor Rumor worked best with a large number of players.

“Humor Rumor: The game everybody’s whispering about!”

To begin the game, the two card decks were shuffled, and a single card was dealt to every player but one. Each card contained a series of common words, like “red”, “ship”, “triangle”, and “white”. The first player fabricated a simple rumor that incorporated one of the words on the card. The rumor was then whispered into the lip end of the mixing chamber to player No. 2 listening at the ear end. Player No. 2 added a phrase or sentence to the rumor that incorporated a word on the second card and whispered the embellished rumor to player No. 3. The process repeated until the rumor reached the last player (the one without a Humor Rumor card). The final player attempted to recite the entire rumor to the other participants, with typically hilarious results.

Players whose words were omitted from the final rumor kept their word card as a victory token. The game continued until every player had taken a turn in all positions. The player retaining the most Humor Rumor word cards was declared the winner.

Humor Rumor was on the market for three years before it disappeared from store shelves. Rumor has it that it was due to a lack of sales, but that’s just what I’ve heard…

Todd Coopee is Editor-in-Chief of Toy Tales, an online publication that covers toys and games past and present.

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