snakes and peas

Wilson Gray hwgray at EARTHLINK.NET
Tue May 4 16:43:21 UTC 2004

        The game is actually published by Hasbro, Inc., which owns Milton
Bradley. Hasbro's copyright dates to 1966, but Lakeside Toys of
Minneapolis introduced Barrel of Monkeys in 1965. Presumably, Lakeside
then sold the rights to the game to Hasbro in 1966. However, I have the
feeling that I was aware of the saying even prior to that date. My
earlier point, obviously poorly expressed, was that the existence of
the game and its slogan, "What's more fun than a barrel of monkeys?",
possibly helps to keep an otherwise meaningless expression alive.
There's nothing inherently fun about real monkeys in a real barrel,
whereas it's immediately obvious that real snakes writhing in a real
barrel will be crooked.

-Wilson Gray

On May 4, 2004, at 10:50 AM, Mark A. Mandel wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Mark A. Mandel" <mamandel at LDC.UPENN.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: snakes and peas
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------
> --------
> Wilson Gray writes:
>    It may help to clarify the point of the saying to add that "Barrel
> of
> Monkeys" is also a commercially-produced children's game reputed to be
> a lot of fun to play.
>         <<<
> It's the other way around.  The expression "more fun than a barrel of
> monkeys" is a lot older than the game.  According to
>, the game is published by Milton
> Bradley and dated 1989, and I know the expression from decades before
> that.  Clearly the game was named for the expression.
> -- Mark A. Mandel
> [This text prepared with Dragon NaturallySpeaking.]

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