An add-em-up dart board from Ray Oakes. Below it, Ray proudly stands before some of his other scams! Mr. Oakes and his sons (one who took over the business when the old man died) sold carnival and sideshow games designed to remove quarters from one person and put them into the heavy pockets of others.
The Add Em Up dart game is an example of a razzle-dazzle. The vocal delivery of the carny is as important as where the darts actually land. During the 1950s, any game involving math was a pretty safe bet in rural America. Often the boards had numbers printed so small, they could not be read from the dart throwing spot. "NO LEANING". Some had numbers which would be subtracted from the total, so a player really never knew where he stood. Along with some confusing patter designed to bring the "total points" to a meaningless (and prize-less) number, the frustrated mark would leave and try the next game. Move along, or look even more stupid when you try to logic it out.
Oakes worked from Tampa Florida and Illinois during the mid 20th century. They sold carnival punks (the rack of cats shown here) and other sketchy sideshow games to operators all over the country.
Add-em-Up game cardboard sign or dartboard circa 1950 Thanks to our friends at BOX LOTS on Facebook.