The hunt for Trivial Pursuit was intense in 1982

During the month of December, in 1982, merchants had difficulty keeping Trivial Pursuit in stock, as shoppers snapped up the board games as quickly as they arrived in stores.

The question was, how to get hold of it?

The game was a runaway hit for Christmas '82, with the square blue boxes leaving the stores as quickly as they arrived. 1:49

It was on Dec. 15, 1979, that journalists Scott Abbott and Chris Haney decided they should invent their own game and it would be about trivia. 

"Right, the 40th anniversary of the world premiere of Gone With the Wind, we've since found out," said Haney, when recalling the moment on CBC's The Journal.

The two teamed up with Haney's brother, John. The next two years were spent writing the questions, making samples and getting the financing together.

By the time The Journal was reporting on the game in December 1982, the game was a runaway hit, having sold over 100,000 copies.

Now there was only one question that mattered — how to get hold of a copy before the New Year?

The Trivial Pursuit game board, 1982 edition (CBC Archives/The Journal)

"They can't make the games fast enough," The Journal's Fred Langan reported.  

"With 1,000 multi-coloured cards per box, it's a complicated production run," he added. "All the parts except the dice are designed, manufactured and assembled in Canada."

The assembly line was turning out an average of 3,500 games a day, and as fast as they were reaching the stores, they were selling out, outselling even the all-time favourite — Monopoly.

Buyers crowded into a Toronto store to get copies of Trivial Pursuit signed by the three inventors. (CBC Archives/The Journal)

Stu Robertson, the distributor, credited the game for making "in this fiscal year about 20 per cent of our total sales" and suggested it was "terribly important for the retail industry in the toy and game business this year because it's one of the few things that is drawing people into their stores."

"According to the inventors, this is the beginning of a trivia empire," Langan said. 

Upcoming editions would be themed around the movies, sports, baby boomers and children, he reported. 

"They hope for a lucrative string of spin-offs," said Langan.

Chris Haney (left) and Scott Abbott play Trivial Pursuit, the successful board game they invented. (Canadian Press)