Friday, October 27, 2017

Bats In Your Belfry

If I were to have sat down in the last ten years or so, and made a physical list of my most wanted items (that there was an actual realistic chance of obtaining), the 1964 Mattel game, Bats in your Belfry, would have been near the top of that list.

Well, after many years of failed attempts at acquiring one, I am very happy to say that I can now cross at least one item off of that non-existent list:

This is a sight I will never grow tired of, it's just so amazing to finally own one!

There are many reasons why it's taken me so long to finally get this game, not surprisingly, the biggest problem has been the price issue, as these have been know to sell for upwards of $200 -- which is a little rich for my blood. Thankfully the seller of this one, which had been listed as a Buy it Now/Best Offer, accepted my offer. After the shipping price was added to the equation, I ended up paying $75, and $10 of that was in eBay bucks, so in all actuality it only set me back $65.

Another problem has been just trying to find one without any damage, namely cracks on the sides, which is something that seems to be somewhat common (and often not described in the listings). Mine is crack free (remember kids, only dope's do dope!).

While the game is supposed to be for up to four player's, it seems more like a two-player game to me. As both sides of the castle are different, it would seem like you would just have a player on each side.

In case you haven't figured out yet, I took a lot of pictures.

The marble (more on that in a moment) goes in the opening on the left.
You will often see listings for the game without the box, or if it does have the box, it's often somewhat battered. Which isn't all that surprising for a game of this size, that is now over 50 years old. For me, with such solid artwork, I almost wanted the box more than the actual game. The above picture has one of the top flaps open so that you can see the full image.

This is on two of the sides.

One of the concessions I had to make by buying this listing, was that it didn't include the original instructions, so I still don't know exactly how to play the game. The box shows you the basic premise, but it doesn't tell you everything.

View of the top.

My box even has the original price sticker still on it. How cool is that? I know nothing of Mattingly's, I think it might have been somewhere in the Midwest though. If anyone happens to know of the store, I would love to hear about it.

Along with missing instructions, I am also missing three tokens and one marble. It's kind of interesting too that the marble(s) is made out of some kind of heavy metal, since the weight of it was needed to trigger the inner mechanism that launches the bats.

A close-up of one of the bats.

Here's where the instructions would come in handy, as I have no clue as to why the bats have three different point(?) totals on their undersides.

Had I seen these bat catchers as a child, I would have lost my s***! My absolute favorite movie growing up was The Creature From The Black Lagoon, and for anyone that doesn't know, these are molded to look like the hands of Gill-Man (AKA the Creature). I can just imagine my young self carrying one of these around with me at all times. The colors are a lot brighter in person, I just dulled them a little so everyone could see the details. They are also bigger than I thought they would be, they're almost as big as my own hands.

I really wish I would have had this game as a kid, although I probably would have drove everyone nuts trying to get them play with me. And even though I don't have anyone to play with now, I don't mind saying that I have tried the game out more than a few times since getting it, and trying to catch flying hard plastic bats with hard plastic claws isn't as easy as you would think. Plus the inner workings of the castle are set-up in such a way, that the bats don't go flying every time you drop the marble in, so you really have to be ready when it does go off.

The tokens are pretty detailed as well, although again, without the instructions, I don't know how they are supposed to be used.

The backs of the tokens have to two different things written on them, I forgot to get a picture of the other phrase.

There are pegs all over both sides of the castle, that I think might be used to place a player's captured bats on, perhaps winning when all the pegs are full. I will probably have to wait until I get the instructions to find out what purpose the pegs truly serve, so until then...

Thanks for taking a moment to look at my page.


  1. Nice piece. Congrats on the find

  2. Never seen this game before, but it looks like it'd make an awesome display piece. Congratulations on adding this to your collection.

    1. Yeah, it will look pretty cool once it gets displayed.

  3. you pick up some of the coolest stuff! this is fangtastic!

    1. I'm always on the lookout for interesting things, although sometimes I bite off more than I can chew.