North American Tiddlywinks Association

NATwA founded • 27 February 1966

  • Author • Rick Tucker
  • Date updated • 13 August 2022
  • Date originally published • 13 July 2014
  • Publication format • online web page
Note: Rick Tucker corresponded with Philip Moore by email in February 2013 after seeing his blog post at the Severn Hospice. In March 2013, Leah Brookes of the Severn Hospice sent Rick Tucker a PDF with digitized scans from Philip Moore’s scrapbook of press cuttings and other materials from the Oxford team’s 1962 tour of the U.S.

© 2014–2022 Rick Tucker. All Rights Reserved. Does not apply to images or quotation text.

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by Rick Tucker

In August and September 1962, four winkers from Oxford University in England toured the United States, playing winks against college teams and other quickly-assembled teams on both the east and west coasts.  Oxford’s tour of the U.S. left a lasting impact… the jump-start of intercollegiate play in the U.S.

Challenging America

From 1960 to 1962, members of the Oxford University Tiddlywinks Society (OUTS) wrote letters to a variety of American colleges, challenging each to a tiddlywinks match. Here are two reports:

The Oxford University Tiddlywinks Society (O.U.T.S.) has challenged Princeton to a match, to be held sometime next September. In a letter addressed to "The Student Body President," Tom Nicholson, secretary of the society, said, "Aroused to the missionary zeal by the news that the game is almost unknown in the United States, except at Harvard, we hope to make as large a tour [as possible] in the short time that will be at our disposal." Nicholson continued, ... we could arrange for distribution of the accepted rules in all their sublety." ... ... Tiddlywinks enthusiasts should report to Varsity 'Winks Caption Phil Bruner for pre-season training." ...

Four or six members of the Oxford University Tiddlywinks Society (All-England champions and holders of the Prince Philip Inter-university Trophy) are planning a tour of the States from July to September 1962. We are keen to accept any challenge from your side of the Atlantic ... .

Note that Oxford’s rivals at Cambridge University had planned to play winks against competitors in the U.S. in 1959, but were foiled in their attempts to raise enough money for the visit.

The Chicago campus was united today in meeting Cambridge—in a tiddlywinks match. The challenge from the British champions came in a terse letter from Frank G. Kershaw, honorary secretary of the Cambridge University Tiddlywinks Club, to the student newspaper, the Chicago Maroon. Kershaw noted that Cambridge would tour the United States in September, and wrote, "We feel you will be keen to take part."

Less than a month before their arrival in the U.S., the Oxford team was still seeking competition for matches during their tour of the U.S.

TO THE SPORTS EDITOR: I am one of a party of four Oxford undergraduates who are making a tour of America this summer, playing tiddlywinks. We are sponsored by Guinness and are being filmed in London later this month by CBS. We hope to be appearing on television in New York. However, we are at the moment short of matches during our stay in New York – between Aug. 3-16 and Sept. 6-15, approximately. Do any of your readers know anyone who might like to play us? I can assure you that this is a serious venture; I would be grateful for an early reply. PHILIP MOORE. Keble College, Oxford, England.

The Oxford Winkers

Four Oxford winkers toured the U.S. during the Summer of 1962:

  • Philip Moore, 21 years old, from Wolverhampton, who was identified in a few, but not all articles as the captain of the OUTS team. He had just completed his first year at Oxford’s Keble College, where he studied mathematics. He was deemed the Master of the Winks at the college from 1962 to 1963. In the early 2010s, Oxford winker Philip Moore blogged about the 1962 tour in “50 Years Ago” and “Don’t Hold Your Breath” when he was living at the Severn Hospice with terminal cancer. He was born in 1941 and died on 1 November 2014. Obituary of Thomas Philip Moore.
  • Peter Freeman, 24 years old and left-handed, is from Malvern, and was the captain of the OUTS team. He attended Oxford’s University College, had a chemistry degree, and was performing graduate-level work in this history and philosophy of science. He had been a member of the OUTS team for 4 years, and had met fellow Oxford tour winker, Elizabeth King, 3 years before.
  • David Willis, 23 years old, from Doncast. He attended Oxford’s Worcester College and had just graduated in 1962, with studies in philosophy, politics, and economics.
  • Elizabeth King, 22 years old, from London. She attended St. Hugh’s College and studied experimental nuclear physics. She was secretary of OUTS in the previous year. She and fellow Oxford tour winker Peter Freeman were engaged.
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Philip Moore, David Willis, Elizabeth King, and Peter Freeman.
Source: San Francisco Chronicle, 21 August 1962, page 4 in Philip Moore's scrapbook.

Guinness Sponsors the Tour

Guinness, the well-known beer company, sponsored most of the 1962 Oxford tiddlywinks tour of the United States. Philip Moore states:

after some negotiation with Guinness, who had a growing interest particularly in the East Coast market of the USA, agreed to sponsor a team of four of us to go over to America.

Guinness reportedly provided $1500 to the team for their travel from England to the U.S. (Source: The Levittown Times (Levittown, Pennsylvania), 4 September 1962, page 3, column 1.)

Arrival in America

The OUTS team traveled to the United States by ship, arriving in New Jersey on 3 August 1962. (Source: Philip Moore newspaper clipping: U.S., Britain to ‘Squop Winks’.). They first stayed in the William Sloane YMCA on the west side of New York City at 356 West 34th Street. (Source:  Sports Illustrated, 30 July 1962, page 8.)
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3 August 1962, Hoboken, New Jersey.
The Oxford team pose for a photograph on the day of their arrival in America.
Peter Freeman appears at upper left, Dave Willis at upper right Elizabeth King at lower right, and Philip Moore left of center.
Associated Press Wirephoto.
Photographer: unknown.
Source: Tucker Tiddlywinks Archives
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Close-up showing Dave Willis wearing a tie with the OUTS logo.

East Coast Competitions, Part 1

The Cin Cin Irregulars—the First Match

Date: 4 August 1962
Venue: Maria’s Cin Cin restaurant, 224 East 53rd Street, New York, New York USA
Result: OUTS, 23 to 5 points

The OUTS’ first match was held in an Italian restaurant in midtown Manhattan. OUTS beat the Cin Cin Irregulars team with game scores of 6-1, 5-2, 6-1, and 6-1, for a final winning score of 23 to 5. (Note: in 1962, 6-1 was the best possible score in the game; it wasn’t until 1965 when the rules were changed to transfer a point to the winners of a pot-out from the losing side, which resulted in 7-0 being the best possible score thereafter.)

The Cin Cin Irregulars team consisted of Ken Baker (captain), Bill Fitzimmons, Bryan Clare, Fred Roloff, and George Winslow, including 4 Madison Avenue public relations executives, and was coached by Miss Mary Hoffman. During the match, the Oxford men wore tiddlywinks ties; Elizabeth King played in stocking feet. The Parker Golden Squidger prize was awarded to the winners by former world heavyweight champion boxer, Jack Dempsey.

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David Willis (left, in white shirt), competitor from the Cin Cin Irregulars team, Peter Freeman (center) squidging, Elizabeth King, another Cin Cin Irregular competitor.
Source: Philp Moore scrapbook.
Photographer: unknown.

Source: Philip Moore newspaper clippings
Source: Rochester Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester, New York), 5 August 1962, page 10A, column 1

On Television

On 7 August 1962, the Oxford team and some of the New York competitors appeared on NBC’s Today television show, hosted by Edwin Newman.

Source: Independent (Long Beach, California), 7 August 1962, page B-7, column 1.

New York Giants "Match"

Date: before 12 August 1962 and before the Tanglewood match
Venue: Mermaid Tavern of the Stratford Motor Inn, Stratford, Connecticut USA
Result: OUTS by forfeit of the New York Giants

OUTS arranged to play a match against football players from the New York Giants, including well-known offensive tackle Roosevelt Brown and halfback Bob Gaiters. However:

"the griders bowed out early in the game."

According to Philip Moore:

Whilst in New York we met up with the New York Giants American football team: these were really big fellows but chickened out of playing a match with us.


The match was defaulted by the Giants. "We apparently were too frightening in our warmup," said Freeman. "Brown would have been putty in my hands."

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OUTS celebrates by drinking a yard of ale after their match against the New York Giants.
From left to right: Elizabeth King, Peter Freeman, Philip Moore, David Willis, and Mermaid Tavern innkeeper Bob Miller.
Source: The Town Crier, Westport - Fairfield - Weston, Connecticut, 12 August 1962, page 12, column 1
Photographer: unknown.

Asbury Park Tiddlywinks Team - 4th Match

Date: 14 August 1962, at 8:30 pm
Venue: Convention Room of the Empress Motel on Ocean Avenue, Asbury Park NJ
Results: OUTs wins, 24-4. Each of the 4 games ended with 6-1 scores

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Oxford's Peter Freeman is shooting at left. John McGrath, the Asbury Park team captain, is at right.
At center is Ronnie Seitz, the American team's technical advisor.
Source: Newark Evening News, 15 August 1962, in Philip Moore scrapbook.
Photographer: unknown.

The opponent team members were all residents of Monmouth Beach:

  • John McGrath, captain, of Northwestern University
  • Joseph Heimbold of the University of Toronto
  • James Heimbold of Seton Hall University
  • Vincent LaHiff of Fairleigh Dickinson University

In addition, Polly Seitz of Long Branch, New Jersey was on the team but did not compete. (Source: Asbury Evening Press (Asbury Park, New Jersey), 21 August 1962, page 30, column 2)

City Publicity Director George Zuckerman challenged the British team to a match after it claimed the international title last week in New York City.

Despite careful scientific planning for the event—which included a close study of the respective specific gravities of British and American winks—the Yanks proved no match for the polished skill and complex strategic moves of the British.

Tanglewood Music Students

Date: before 16 August 1962
Venue: Lenox School dining hall, Tanglewood, Massachusetts USA
Result: OUTS, 24 to 4 points

OUTS won this match against three Tanglewood music students and “one deaf ringer”, who was a photographer-recorder assigned to photograph the match.

Source: The North Adams Massachusetts Transcript, 16 August 1962, page 4, column 3.

Josiah Carbury Tiddly Wink Society of Philadelphia

Date: ? 1962, 6 pm
Venue: 1918 Restaurant, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA
Result: OUTS, 24 to 4 points

Coming into this match, Oxford had won all three matches against American challengers. This opponent team, the Josiah Carbury Tiddly Wink Society of Philadelphia, was named after a “famed scholar-athlete long associated with the tradition of minor sports at Wesleyan”, comprised of mostly theological students from Princeton and/or 3 Wesleyan University (Connecticut) students, including:

  • Ed Fisk (captain, left wink)
  • Dave Fisk (flanker wink)
  • Ray Scott (center wink)
  • Tom Arndt (slot wink)

In addition, Franny Murray, a former Penn and Eagle back served as field judge, referee, and chief umpire.

Off to the West Coast

On 20 August 1962, the OUTS team flew from New York and arrived at the San Francisco International Airport; their flight was paid for by the Sicks’ Rainier Brewing Company. The Reverend Franklin Clark Fry, president of the Lutheran World Federation, was also on their flight. Upon arrival in San Francisco, they put out a mat in the airport’s Admiral’s Room, where Arthur Fiedler, famed conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra, potted a wink. The team stayed in the Press Club while in San Francisco.

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Peter Freeman winking in the aisle of the aircraft heading to San Francisco.
Source: San Francisco Examiner, 21 August 1962, page 27, column 1; also in Philip Moore's scrapbook.
Photographer: unknown; not identified

San Francisco Matches

San Francisco All-Stars

Date: 22 August 1962, starting at 10:10½ am
Venue: Garden Court, Sheraton Palace Hotel, San Francisco, California USA
Result: 1 to 1 tie in games won

Howard Gossage, president of Weiner & Gossage, Inc., of San Francisco, who recently made an important contribution to the music world (he developed the Bach and Bethoven [sic, should be Beethoven] sweat shirts), has now moved into the field of sports. Mr. Gossage has arranged for his client, Rainier Ale, to challenge the visiting tiddlywinks team for Oxford University to a tournament. The great event will be held in San Francisco between August 13 and 17. According to the official itinerary of the tiddlywinks team, the “International Tournament in San Francisco will be co-sponsored by Rainier Ale and Guinness Stout, two breweries locked in desperate struggle for undisputed position of last place in the malt beverage field.” Last week-end the British team beat an American team in a contest in a restaurant here.

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Invitation to the OUTS-San Francisco All-Stars match on 22 August 1962 in San Francisco.
Source: Philip Moore scrapbook.

The OUTS had “five straight triumphs over East Coast teams” prior to this match. The San Francisco All-Stars team included:

  • Billy Pearson, the captain: a jockey who became an authority on art.
  • Enrico Banducci, the owner of San Francisco’s famous hungry i night club
  • Howard Gossage, advertising executive in the Weiner & Gossage advertising agency (formed in 1957)
  • J. J. Weiner, advertising executive in the Weiner & Gossage ad agency
  • Suzy (or Susie) Lee, 10 years old
  • Janet Lee, Suzy’s cousin, 7 years old
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J. J. Weiner of the San Francisco All-Star team watches Oxford's Peter Freeman as he makes a play.
Source: San Francisco Examiner, 23 August 1962, page 33, column 1, in Philip Moore's scrapbook.
Photographer: Fred Pardini.

Sicks’ Rainier Brewing Company, represented by their advertising agency, Weiner & Gossage, sponsored the match. Rainier’s “liquids” were provided and consumed at the event, which attracted 200 spectators according to Advertising Age.

To spark interest in the match, at 9:45 am, relay runners carried a Flaming Squidger from the (fictitious) Pan Pacific Tiddlywinks Association headquarters at 451 Pacific Avenue (the headquarters of the Weiner & Gossage advertising agency), down Montgomery Street, and through the lobby of the Sheraton Palace Hotel, where John F. “Old Legs” Stall, 80 years old and sporting a long white beard, trotted in with the Flaming Squidger.

A 10:09 am, the respective team captains ceremoniously exchanged gold winks.

Originally, San Francisco’s mayor, George Christopher, was to squidge the first wink. Instead, British Consul-General Handle Reid-Adam squidged the first wink to open the festivities. Mr. H. Louie served as the chief referee, and John Klempner the official interpreter between the Brits and Americans. Reporters from newsreel and television press services covered the match.

Montgomery Street Brokers plus Pacific Heights

Date: 23 August 1962
Venue: Mike’s Pool Hall, San Francisco
Results: (not known, but OUTS would have won)

Two matches were scheduled to be held at Mike’s Pool Hall. The Montgomery Street Brokers team was captained by Mr. Leslie Dorking, who represented San Francisco’s financial district. Dr. Gerald Feigen served as captain of the Pacific Heights team.

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Source: Gary Stevens [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Off to Los Angeles

The OUTS team then flew from San Francisco to Los Angeles, California, where they appeared on the Who in the World? television show, a show hosted by Warren Hull that replaced the Jack Benny Show on CBS during the summer of 1962.

And Then to Seattle!

Seattle World's Fair Century 21 All-Stars

Date: 27 August 1962, at 3 pm
Venue: Plaza of the States on the Seattle World’s Fair fairgrounds
Results: Oxford, 6-1

A touring team from Oxford University, champions, will pit its skill against a World's Fair "All-Stars" team Saturday at the fairgrounds. The game: Tiddlywinks. ... The Oxford team will arrive early Saturday to unlimber its wrists and fingers.

The Seattle Times printed a photograph to promote the match, featuring the World’s Fair president, Joseph E. Gandy (photograph), playing tiddlywinks with Saeed Khan, one of the members of the Century 21 All-Stars team.

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Seattle Times, 24 August 1962, section C, page 18, column 1.
Photographer: unknown.

All-Stars winkers came from both Seattle and Vancouver, and included the following:

  • Jack Wasserman, captain, a columnist for the Vancouver Sun newspaper
  • Saeed Kahn, the World’s Fair protocol officer from the U.S. Department of State, a graduate of Cambridge University, and a former member of the Bengal Lancers, which was a regiment of the British Indian Army
  • Anthony Jackson of Seattle

plus “a couple of gorgeous girls from the fair’s staff to distract the champions”:

  • Evelyn von Munchhausen, special-events department secretary
  • Georgia McVey, publicity-department receptionist

The match mascot was a spaniel named Louie, owned by Bob Williams, a comedian appearing at Gracie Hansen‘s Paradise International; Williams served as the keeper of the mascot.

Both the British and American national anthems were played at the opening the match as the U.K. and U.S. flags were raised. The World’s Fair band also played a fanfare of Pomp and Circumstance.

Chief justice (the referee), Cy Noe, who worked in the World’s Fair special events department, started the match thus: “I call now for the squidging of the first wink”, upon which Mrs. Joseph E. Gandy squidged the first wink, which sailed over the pot.

Miss Evelyn von Munchhausen of the All Stars potted a wink neatly. Miss Elizabeth King of Oxford promptly potted one of her winks. Mr. David Willis of Oxford was the first to pot all four of his winks. Polite applause followed. The Oxonians were soon potting winks all over the place.

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From left to right: Saeed Khan, Elizabeth King, Anthony Jackson, Cy Noe (wearing a white wig),
Peter Freeman, Jack Wasserman, and Ken Prichard.
Source: Seattle Times, 26 August 1962, page B, column 1.
Photographer: Johnny Closs.

In the match, each winker was given 4 winks to pot. Jack Wasserman reports:

It was a rout from the moment they squidged their first winks. As we blithely tried to pot our winks the Oxfords, following a pre-arranged plan, proceeded nonchalantly to squop our winks. That is[,] they squidged their winks so that they came to rest on ours and took them out of play. Once we were immobilized they began potting winks at will. One of the Oxfords even potted backhand behind his back.

Two prizes were presented to OUTS for winning the match: a World’s Fair trophy and a wallaby trophy.

Back to the East Coast

The Oxford team flew from Seattle to New York and then to Boston for one of its most influential matches, the one against Harvard. After the completion of the Oxford 1962 tour, Harvard’s Gargoyle Undergraduate Tiddlywinks Society went on to beat every college it challenged to a tiddlywinks match in the next year.

The Harvard Match

Date: 31 August 1962
Venue: Allston Burr Lecture Hall, Harvard University, 40 Quincy Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts USA
Results: OUTs defeats Harvard, 21 points to 7

The following Harvard winker, most from the humor magazine The Gargoyle, played against OUTS in this match:

  • Jim Parry (link), captain, 18 years old, from Hamilton, New York
  • Fred Goldberg (link), master of winks, from Providence, Rhode Island
  • Dave Hirschfeld, from Woods Hole, Massachusetts
  • Leon Jackson (in another report: Jacobson), from Brookline, Massachusetts
  • Doug Brenner, of Washington
  • Bill Gould, a Yale student playing for Harvard

“We’ve defeated every U.S. team we’ve been up against so far,” Peter Freeman said at the outset of the match. The Harvard team wore Harvard sweatshirts  with an “H” during the match, which drew 50 spectators.

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Leon Jackson of Harvard shooting a yellow wink amidst onlookers.
Source: The Boston Globe, 1 September 1962, page 5, and in Philip Moore's scrapbook.
Photographer: unknown.

The Harvard team brought a trophy for the winner—a silver tiddledywink, which actually was a hubcap they found in the bushes.

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Harvard captain, James (Jim) Parry.
Source: The Red Book (yearbook), Harvard University, 1963, page 89.
Photographer: unknown.

Here are several reports on the match:

The national champion Harvard Gargoyle Tiddlywinks Team had its beginnings in a wild game in Burr B complete with Harvard sweatshirts, waterboys and a giant gargoyle for pre-game worship. The hastily-formed group captained by Jim Parry had challenged the touring Oxford Undergraduate Tiddlywinks Society and, after the British spent two days teaching the Americans how to squidge (shoot), history's first international intercollegiate tiddlywinks match was finally played. Harvard lost 7-21 but, scoring more points against Oxford than had any other American contingent, promptly claimed the Ivy League championship.

The most impressive victory of all was over Harvard which had been named as Presidential champions for the occasion. "The challenge is appreciated, but it would be most difficult to assemble here a pickup team that would offer any challenge at all to such a redoubtable group as yours," the White House replied to the Oxford challenge. Harvard were elected champions (as the President's alma mater), but went down 21-7, the best score achieved by any American team.

"After this, we're going to issue a challenge to all Ivy League colleges," said Parry, flushed with his moral victory.

Bucks County Playhouse Players

Date: 3 September 1962
Venue: Ballroom of Tom Reddy’s Playhouse Inn, next to the Bucks County Playhouse in Bucks County, New Hope, Pennsylvania
Results: OUTS wins, 23 to 5 points

The Bucks County team members included:

  • Mike Ellis, captain, the producer-director of the Bucks County Playhouse
  • Dennis King, actor
  • Patricia Scott, publicity director (though one report lists her as an actress)
  • S. J. Perelman, famous humorist and author
  • Tom Ewell, actor, who served as a back-up to the main four winkers 
The play, “Harvey”, starring Tom Ewell, opened at the Bucks County Playhouse on 3 September 1962 and closed on 15 September 1962.
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Harvey the Rabbit with Elwood P. Dowd, played by Tom Ellis.
Source: Bucks County Playhouse page on Facebook, posted 18 April 2019.
Source: Doylestown Intelligencer, 28 August 1962, page 1, column 2.
Source: Charlie Rice’s Punchbowl, a column appearing in the This Week magazine supplement that was included in a wide variety of U.S. Sunday newspapers, 4 November 1962.

Elizabeth and Peter played Perelman and Patricia. This game took about 30 minutes at the end of which Oxford had six points and the Playhouse one—the maximum possible victory. This was doubled when David and Philip won against Mike and Dennis by a similar score.

Last Match

Date: 5 September 1962—planned (source: Levittown Times (Pennsylvania), 4 September 1962, page 3, column 2)
Venue: a New York restaurant
Results: (unknown)

This was the last OUTS match in America.

Other Possible Matches

References were found to the following additional matches that may have been played, though no details are known, and should not be considered to be confirmed matches:

  • 1962 at Lake Tarleton Club in Pike, New Hampshire—planned in advance but probably did not take place (source: Sports Illustrated, 30 July 1962)
  • 1962 in Washington, D.C.
  • Date: (unknown) 1962
    Venue: (unknown)
    Results: OUTS win, 24 to 4 points

    The OUTS opponents were the Long Ranch (or Branch) Demons of New Jersey.

Back to England

The OUTS winkers departed the U.S. on 8 September 1962. One report states that they flew back, arriving at Gatwick Airport, and another states that they sailed back to England.

In Conclusion

Here’s how Time magazine reported on the 1962 Oxford tour after its conclusion:

The result after a dozen matches: a dozen triumphs for the Britons. "It appears," said Team Captain Peter Freeman with sovereign contempt, "that America's best players are only slightly superior to America's worst." ... "There is an enormous amount of physical strain on wrists and elbows and to the squidging fingers. There is terrific mental pressure and unbearable tension. The game provides excellent mental conditioning. Had the Empire been built on tiddlywinks, perhaps we would never have lost it."

Additional References

  • Tiddlywinks, Anyone?
    New York Times, 17 June 1962, page S3, column 8
  • Tiddledywinks!
    Christian Science Monitor, 3 August 1962, page 3 (Eastern edition)
  • Britain Tops U.S. in Tiddlywinks
    New York Times, 5 August 1962, page 23, column 1
  • Tiddlywink Drive
    New York Times, 8 August 1962, page 38, column 6
  • Rainier Beer’s Tiddlywinks Tourney Is Smashing Success
    Advertising Age, 10 September 1962, page 30
  • Winking In
    Time, 14 September 1962, page 56
  • Tiddlywinks Across the Sea! (in Charlie Rice’s Punchbowl column)
    This Week magazine (Sunday newspaper supplement), 4 November 1962, pages 20-21

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