Sunday, January 20, 2013

Vintage "Auto Bingo" card, just in time for your Sunday afternoon drive


Everyone has played Car Bingo, right? It's an American tradition in the land of automobiles, road trips, Texaco, roadside diners, interstate highways, billboards, motels, and Route 66. Many of us grew up playing Car Bingo and its partner-in-passing-time, the Licence Plate Game, from the back seat.1

This card, which measures about 6¾ inches wide and was produced by Regal Mfg. Co. of Chicago, includes such items as wheel barrow, haystack, wood pile, barber shop and pig. Overall, it has an interesting mix of items that would require driving through both rural areas and towns in order to achieve a winning board.

While all of these items would still be relevant for Car Bingo today, perhaps, for relevancy, some of them would be replaced with items that are more in tune with our reality today:
  • cell tower
  • collapsing barn
  • Dunkin Donuts
  • abandoned motel
  • McDonald's
  • closed gas station
  • for-sale sign
  • dog-grooming shop

Of course, there are hundreds of variations of Car Bingo today, including Dora's Colorful Car Bingo, Bad Car Bingo, and, yes, Roadkill Bingo.2

On the creative end of the spectrum, the National Wildlife Federation shows how you can make your own Car Bingo boards. Or, on the lazy end of the spectrum, you could just download an app to your kid's iPhone.

Share your memories of Car Bingo and passing the time on long road trips in the comments section!

Footnotes
1. My sister Adriane and I also played a back-seat game called Lava. The space between us was "lava," and we would hold our hands over it and try to slap each other's hand down into it.
2. The Wikipedia page for Roadkill Bingo is very straight-faced and serious about the game, and includes the following passage: "Controversy may arise when a dead animal is spotted which may not technically be classified as roadkill, and when two players simultaneously spot the roadkill. Players in the front seat have a clear advantage, however, the driver must have someone else mark his or her card. To promote brevity of games, regional variations include animals more likely to be found dead in the particular locale."

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