Macomb, Monopoly inventor Lizzie Magie to be featured Monday on PBS’ ‘American Experience’


"Ruthless: Monopoly’s Secret History" will premiere nationally on PBS’ award winning American Experience on Monday, Feb. 20, from 8-9 p.m. |

MACOMB — “Ruthless: Monopoly’s Secret History” will premiere nationally on PBS’ award winning “American Experience” on Monday, Feb. 20, from 8-9 p.m.

The word “Ruthless” in the title is in reference to the somewhat nefarious incidents involving the famous board game’s inventor Elizabeth “Lizzie” Magie, who was born in Macomb. The documentary follows the game’s journey from its inception to becoming the most popular board game the in world. Both Magie and Macomb will be prominently featured.

In early spring of 2022, Unforgettable Forgottonia’s director Jock Hedblade was contacted by the program’s producers through the MACVB offices, in search of information about Lizzie Magie. That phone call led to follow up calls and Zoom meetings resulting in the Macomb office’s sharing of materials and consulting on the project.

In a press release, Hedblade said, “It’s a program of which Jan Armstrong and I are very proud to be a part.”

A PBS press release contained the following information about the program: “For generations, Monopoly has been America’s favorite board game, a love letter to unbridled capitalism and — for better or worse — the impulses that make our free-market society tick. But behind the myth of the game’s creation is an untold tale of theft, obsession and corporate double-dealing. Part detective story, part sharp social commentary and part pop-culture celebration, ‘Ruthless: Monopoly’s Secret History’ presents the fascinating true story of the game and those who created it.”

Peoria’s PBS affiliate WTVP will air a story on Macomb’s connection to Lizzie Magie, along with featuring Macomb’s collection of Magie’s original game and artifacts, on the Tuesday, Feb. 14, 5:30 p.m. episode of “You Gotta See This!”

Unforgettable Forgottonia and Macomb’s all new Ice House nightclub (formerly known as Change of Pace) will host a live public viewing party of “Ruthless: Monopoly’s Secret History,” from 7-9 p.m. Monday, Feb. 20.

The program can be seen regionally on WSIU affiliate WMEC-TV – Macomb (virtual channel 22 / UHF digital channel 36). Consult your local listing for the PBS affiliate in your area or stream at

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