This is unfortunate, as looking back allows us to see how we got to where we are today, and helps inform our understanding of the development of the game.
As I look through old issues of The Dragon, I can't help but be reminded of the challenges that the designers faced, in trying to communicate their expectations of how Dungeons and Dragons was to be played.
Here's a fine example of that challenge, from the Sage Advice column, authored by Jean Wells. This is from The Dragon, Issue #37, May 1980.
The question is posed: "How does my 9th level Druid / 10th Level MU, with 18.83 Int, 18.90 Wis and 18.84 Cha, combine his two artifacts, the Apparatus of Kwalish and the Mighty Servant of Leuk-O, to create the ultimate weapon, and can I triple-class, adding Cleric levels to the mix?"
Jean Wells' response: "My first reaction [after reading this letter] was IIIIIEEEE!"You can read the entire question, and response, by clicking on the excerpt.
My point in posting this is that, in order to understand why the game evolved the way it did, you need to understand what feedback was being provided to the game designers. As you read through the editorials, letters to the editor, and articles in The Dragon, themes begin to emerge, revealing why the game developed (and continues to develop) the way it does.
Some final words from Jean Wells, in the same Sage Advice column: "Readers are once again reminded that Sage Advice is designed to settle specific questions concerning rule definitions or interpretations. General questions about procedure in an adventure or campaign should be handled by the DM of that campaign...."
I don't believe some of the more outrageous questions or situations were the norm. But those were the sorts of things that the game designers were reacting to. Any wonder that the rules became increasingly complicated and detailed, and the actions of the DMs and players increasingly proscribed.