|Scant information can be found about America's #1 Game on the Internet. Here is what I was able to come up with.
After having an argument with his son about Crazy 8's, Merle Robbins, a barbershop owner and card lover, invented UNO in 1971 in Reading, Ohio. He introduced the game to his family, and after they started playing the game more and more he decided to have the game printed. His family pooled together $8,000 to have 5,000 games made. At first Merle sold UNO from his barbershop. A few friends and local businesses sold them too. Merle sold the rights to a funeral parlor owner in Joliet, Illinois. The cost? $50,000 plus royalties of 10cents per game. International Games Inc. was formed to market UNO, and sales skyrocketed. In 1992, International Games became part of the Mattel family, and UNO had a new home.
Some information comes from the instruction booklet included in the "Silver Anniversary" edition and 30 Year Anniversary edition of UNO.
Read The PlayMakers -- a book about American games -- UNO is in there, of course!
Merle Robbins on Wikipedia
more informaion about UNO
UNO on Wikipedia
Obituary for Merle Robbins
from The New York Times Online archives
Published: January 16, 1984
Merle Robbins, who invented the popular card game Uno with several family members, died at the Good Samaritan Hospital Saturday.
He was 72 years old.
Mr. Robbins, a former barber in Milford, invented the game 15 years ago with the help of his wife, Marie, and his son and daughter-in-law, Ray and Kathy Robbins. The two couples invested $8,000 to market the game in 1971.
Mr. Robbins sold the rights to the game in 1972 for a reported $50,000 and 10-cents-a-game royalties.
United States v. Robert Tezak, et al. (1990-1995)
The prosecution of Robert Tezak, a multi-millionaire, former coroner of Will County, and majority shareholder of International Games, Inc. (the maker of the family card game UNO, now owned by Mattel). Tezak and five co-defendants, including Kenneth Floyd, the former President of the Joliet, IL Teamsters Local, were charged with mail fraud, two arsons and obstruction of justice...
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