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Battleship makes a pop culture comeback

Battleship makes a pop culture comeback — Appearances in ”Batman Forever,” ”Toy Story,” and ”Newsradio” signify a new-found fame for the popular board game

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Talk about comebacks. In movies and on television these days, Milton Bradley’s Battleship is the John Travolta of board games. The ship buster of the ’60s and ’70s earned major screen time this summer in Batman Forever; an animated Battleship makes an appearance in the upcoming Disney feature Toy Story, and on TV the game has steamed into recent episodes of Lois & Clark, NewsRadio, and Cybill.

”It’s no surprise,” says Milton Bradley spokesman Mark Morris. ”Battleship has been around since 1967, and the generation that grew up playing [it] are now parents. So they see games like Battleship and say, ‘Hey, I remember that. I had fun with that.”’

Battleship’s newfound fame, however, hasn’t affected sales. The company won’t divulge exact figures, but Morris says Battleship sells ”at a steady level,” as do the company’s other classics — Twister, Scrabble, Candy Land, and The Game of Life. But if you’re a producer thinking about incorporating any of these games into a plot, plan ahead. According to Morris, production companies have to send scripts before the toy manufacturer will allow the game to be used. And even then, you still have to plan. NewsRadio executive producer Paul Simms says characters on his show were supposed to play Operation. ”But, as always,” says Simms, ”no one had batteries.”