Redescovering the king of road trip games

Last week my friend Andy invited my family over for dinner in celebration of my birthday. Anytime I’m offered an opportunity not to cook for my family, I jump on it – even if it means microwave lasagna! (In Andy’s defense, he did get me an ice cream cake from Baskin and Robbins.)

Cleaning up after dinner, I noticed a Mad Libs book sitting on his kitchen counter. Those of the pre-DVD era who spent years in the back seat of the family truckster on road trips will most likely remember Mad Libs with particular fondness.

Mad Libs was invented in the 1950s. New editions are still published, although I must admit that I had not seen a Mad Libs book for decades. I suppose Playstation Portables, i-Pods and built-in DVD players made travel games obsolete years ago. My kids had never seen Mad Libs, and I’d guess the same would be true for most primary school students.

In my current Sound Classics column I profiled some famous road trip games, such as Slug Bug, License Plate and Car Bingo. In my mind, Mad Libs was the king.

I promised my Sound Classics readers that they could find a car-oriented Mad Libs-esque example here. (It’s not a Mad Libs, because the lawyers tell me this is a trademark, so we’ll call this “inspired” by the original, only to promote that readers go out and buy a copy of the real thing to give to their kids, grandkids or neighbors.)


It’s time for Sound Classics and Four Wheel Drift fans to redescover the fun of wasting time — car trip style.

First, you have to choose these words:
1. Number less than 100
2. Name of a store or restaurant

3. Color
4. Adjective
5. Make of Car
6. Model of Car
7. Number
8. Emotion
9. Unit of Measure
10. Animal
11. Make and Model of Car
12. Verb ending in “ing”
13. Type of tool
14. Verb
15. Part of a car
16. Noun
17. Noun
18. Event
19. Verb ending in “ing”
20. Name of Person

Okay, now that you have selected these words, stick them in the appropriate spaces below in the story:

When I was (1) I bought my first car. I found it advertised on the bulletin board at (2). I immediately contacted the owner and scheduled to see it.

The (3) paint was peeling, and the chrome was (4), but underneath the dirt it was an honest-to-goodness (5) (6). He was asking only $2,500, but I offered (7). He took it, which made me very (8).

It wasn’t much to look at, but the 327 (9) engine put out a whopping 275 (10) power. I never lost a single race, and even beat a guy in his dad’s (11) by four car lengths.

The car did have a habit of (12), though. I spent many hours (13) in hand, trying to (14) the (15). Even after all the work, it still burned plenty of (16) and blew (17) out the exhaust.

Most of my friends can’t understand why I’ve been looking to find one to restore and take to (18). If they knew about all the (19) I did in that car with (20), I think they’d understand.


One Response to Redescovering the king of road trip games

  1. jeff moss says:

    i cant afford a car that has the dvd players in i gave the kids some mad lib books,and they love them.

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