The History of the Game "Simon Says"

After doing a new theatrical production, "Saturday Night at Grossinger's", I learned something rather interesting.

The story is about the history of the Grossinger family, and how they built the famous Grossinger Hotel in the Catskill Mountains between the 30's-60's. The hotel was run by the family, with Jenny Grossinger (the mother) in charge. Harry, her husband, had an old friend named Sheldon Seltzer, that they invited to work for them as a tummler. His job was to mingle with the guests, and keep them entertained. The problem was that they were all old altercockers, and didn't want to travel or talk too much. To get them up and moving, Sheldon invented the game of "Sheldon Says", which followed roughly the same rules as mentioned in the above writeup. It was an instant hit, and over time it spread across the United States as visitors brought it back to their families and they passed it on.

Somewhere in that travel the name changed from Sheldon to Simon, and it stuck that way. No one knows who Simon is. What started as a game to get old ladies up and exercising ended up being a hit childrens' game that is still popular today. Sheldon Seltzer died in 1984 of old age.

Seeing as there is no tummler node yet, a tummler is a person who goes onstage as a comedian to introduce acts in a talent show. They also mingle with the crowd between shows, and provide comedic entertainment. I will node that someday.