Back in the day, Leonard Maltin was shorthand for giant paperback books filled with thousand of mini-reviews of movies. Which is interesting in part because his first book came out in 1969, by which time a man named Steven Scheuer had been putting out similar tomes for 11 years. I mention this mostly because I was reminiscing about those review books, and the name Maltin was obviously part of my memories, but the specific memory I'm thinking of came before 1969. So I might have duplicated this little game in the post-Maltin years, but for now, a tip of the cap to Steven Scheuer.
Not sure it was even a game, more just something to do when I was bored. I'd pick up the book (which one doesn't really matter ... they were updated once a year) and flip through it. As I did, I'd fantasize ... I want to say I thought about running a rep cinema, but I don't think I knew what those were (talking about the mid-60s), so I was probably just pretending I had a late-night show showing movies on a UHF channel (no time for a history lesson ... for you youngsters out there, UHF channels were numbered 14-83 in the pre-cable days, and were inevitably independent channels showing old movies and wrestling). There were many such shows in those days ... there was The Old Sourdough and Wachikanoka, which was actually in the 70s so it doesn't quite fit my memory, and J Brown's Spartan Theater, which was also early-70s, so OK, I have no idea what I was doing playing this "game" in my bored youth (maybe it was Creature Features). But the "idea" was the same: flip through the movie guide, find a film at random, and imagine I was trying to convince the audience out there in TV Land to watch the movie.
I can't imagine anyone doing this today. Not just because it's lame, but also because we don't need those books anymore to imagine watching one of thousands of movies. We don't even have to imagine. We just go to On Demand, or Netflix, or Amazon Prime, or Hulu, or wherever, and start watching. Have an idea of what you want to watch, but don't know where to find it? Check out JustWatch, a website and app that tells you where each movie can be found ... even if it's only in a theater.
Here is a copy of an article from the Stanford newspaper in 1972. It's about the immortal J Brown, and was written by then-Stanford student Todd McCarthy, who went on to a long career as a film critic. Here's the link to the article: