Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Get Out Of Jail Free

So I read on the entertainment wires that Sir Ridley Scott is preparing a feature-film version of Monopoly. Unverified casting reports include Ian Holm as Rich Uncle Pennybags: Scott is said to be courting Kirsten Dust for the role of The Shoe, but negotiations have been contentious, with Dunst insisting that she wants to be The Racecar. Sources close to Dunst report her saying, “I’m always The Racecar.”

Okay, I made most of that up; but not, crucially, the most unbelievable aspect of the entire story, i.e., that there is a story here at all. There is, doubtless, a great movie to be made centered around the Monopoly game; but it’s not the movie that Ridley Scott will be making.

No, it’s this story from mental_floss (PDF, via the Wall Street Journal):

In 1941, the British Secret Service asked [Monopoly]’s British licensee John Waddington Ltd. to add secret extras to some sets, which had become standard elements of the aid packages that the Red Cross delivered to allied prisoners of war. Along with the usual dog, top hat and and thimble, the sets had a metal file, compass, and silk maps of safe houses.... Even better, real French, German and Italian currency was hidden underneath the game’s fake money. Departing allied soldiers and pilots were told that if they were captured they should look out for the special editions, identified by a red dot in the Free Parking space.
There’s a reason they call ‘em the Greatest Generation, folks. They were out there saving the world from fascist tyranny, but they never forgot the values of the civilization they were fighting to save. Even when they had to fight dirty, man, they did it with style.

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