Exhibit / March 30, 2017
Object Name: Uri Geller’s Strike!
Maker and Year: Matchbox Toys, 1986
Object Type: Board game
Description: (Richard McKenna)
The explosion of interest in the paranormal throughout the ’60s and ’70s created opportunities for media-savvy purveyors of “phenomena” to parlay their notoriety into lucrative merchandising deals. Israeli Uri Geller, a self-proclaimed psychic famed for his supposed psychokinetic bending of cutlery, was particularly adept at this, and quickly became ubiquitous, publishing books, appearing on popular TV shows, recording LPs, befriending singer Michael Jackson, and even appearing in the comic Daredevil. Such was his fame that in the late 1980s he was still considered a compelling enough celebrity that his name could be used to promote commodities, one of them produced by a company known almost exclusively for die-cast toy cars.
In Strike!, of which English, Spanish, German, and French language versions were released, players move their “Sensotrons” around the board, which features a map of Europe, in search of treasure, minerals, and shipwrecks. The board itself contains a number of magnets that shift position randomly when opened, ensuring that the treasure the Sensotrons locate is positioned differently each time the game is played. Having located treasure, players must answer a trivia question: correct answers are rewarded with a gold bar, and incorrect answers get a bent spoon.
A shrewd businessman and self-promoter, Geller was a ubiquitous figure for almost two decades, claiming several times that he had been engaged by the CIA to board Aeroflot planes bearing KGB operatives in order to wipe the floppy disks they were carrying—using only the power of his mind, naturally.