Tuesday, November 24, 2015

TSR Founders Day Memo 1980

Click on the image for a larger view

The above image is from a recent auction for a one-page TSR memo about a Founders Day celebration for employees in 1980 (the end price for the auction will blow your mind). The memo is on manila TSR stationary that includes the TSR Wizard logo in the letterhead. Per the Acaeum, this logo was in use at TSR from Dec 1978 to mid/late 1980. 

The memo is interesting in that includes a brief TSR history as well as a bit of contemporary company/sales info, including that the Basic Set has sold "close to one million copies" (make sure you say that in your best Dr. Evil voice). Here's the full paragraph, with bolding added for emphasis:

"Today TSR is a multi-million dollar publisher and Dungeons & Dragons is the leader in the field of "Adventure Gaming" (simulation games, wargames, science fiction games, role playing games, miniature games, etc ...). TSR now employs more than 95 people and there are close to one million copies of the Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set in circulation (picture the number of players that there must be). It takes no genius to see what a tremendous future TSR has and the unlimited potential that can be realized if we all continue to support and serve the company as well as we have in the past. It is up to us!"

The memo is not signed, so it's not clear to me who wrote it. It may have been Gygax or one of the Blumes, although it refers to Gary Gygax and Brian Blume in the third person.

The celebration itself was held at the "Red Eye Restaurant located south of Lake Geneva on Highway BB". The restaurant is no longer in business; this history article briefly mentions the Red Eye tavern on Highway BB, now named Linton Road.

Looking at other auctions from the same seller, I noticed a follow-up article about the Founders Day event in TSR's Random Events employee newsletter from October 1980:

Coincidentally, the Collector's Trove just auctioned a similar memo from 1981, from the collection of former employee Allen Hammack, author of C2 The Ghost Tower of Inverness. This memo uses the later TSR Face Logo. The text is partially obscured with an index card, but from what I can see, most is identical to that from the previous year, and the party was once again held at the Red Eye. I can see that the "close" (to one million) from the above memo has been changed to "over", though the rest of the sentence is obscured. Note that this would be after the Moldvay Basic Set was released in early 1981, so any sales data here would include sales of both sets.

Some bits of interesting emphemera from an exciting time at TSR, when sales and national attention were skyrocketing.

1 comment:

  1. Looks like TSR started getting stingy. Their employees didn't receive as many tickets the second year