Chu-Bops, I Bop and They Bop

Back between 1981 and 1983 there was a collectible called “Chu-Bops”, and what they were was little 3″ x 3″ album covers that came with a bubble gum “record” inside.  They were issued in series, and three of the series were devoted to Elvis Presley, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.

At the time I bought only a couple of Billy Joel albums and then a complete run of Beatles;  since they were sold individually in clear cellophane, there was no randomness about it, you just bought the “albums” you wanted. The only way you didn’t complete a set or get all of your wants is if the store was sold out of that Chu-Bop, or if you just missed that series entirely.

First up, I have a Chu-Bop for Billy Joel’s “Glass Houses” album, #4 in the set. The original album is from 1980. I’m originally from Long Island and there’s a state law on record that anyone from Long Island and of a certain age has to be a Billy Joel fan. The law is similar to the Bruce Springsteen statute in New Jersey.
Chu Bops Glass Houses
Yes, I know this looks like I took a photo of the album cover, but this is much smaller.

Here’s a side-by-side comparison of one of my Beatles Chu-Bops with a standard-sized Topps Beatles card from the 1960s
Beatles Miniature Album Collection Comparison

The back of the “Glass Houses” Chu-Bop has a little gatefold tab that was perforated so you could remove it. Here’s what you would see in an unopened package (I never removed the tab).
Chu Bops Glass Houses Back

Here’s what the gatefold looks like unfolded…  The part on the left is the back of what you see above.  The part on the right is the back of the “miniature album cover” and featured the lyrics to one of the hit songs off of the album in question – in this case “You May Be Right”.
Chu Bops Glass Houses Gatefold
The gum from my Chu-Bops was chewed and spat out 40 years ago, otherwise I’d show that to you as well.

I also have Billy Joel’s “Songs In The Attic”, #52.

This is clearly from a later series, as it a little “Super Star” logo in the top left and a different offer.

Rather than lyrics, this one has a mini-biography of Billy Joel on the right.  The coupon on the left is for an out-of-print album called “In Harmony 2” which had famous people performing songs aimed at kids.

The Billy Joel song on “In Harmony 2” was called “Nobody Knows But Me” and is about an invisible friend.  To my knowledge the only place this song is currently available is in the “My Lives” box set that came out in 2005.

I thought I had a “team set” of Billy Joel, but when I was researching this I found out I’m missing one for his “52nd Street” album.  Oh, well.  Don’t know how much I care at this point.

The rest of my Chu-Bop collection is all Beatles albums.  I borrowed this image of the sales displays from a Heritage Auctions listing:

Since they were sold in the U.S. before the international standardization of Beatles albums (which happened when the CD’s were first released), many of these Chu-Bops feature album covers that have been out of print for over 30 years.  Here are a couple…

Hey Jude (1970)
Beatles Miniature Album Collection Hey Jude
Once again, the lyrics from one of the songs was featured on the back.
Beatles Miniature Album Collection Hey Jude back

Something New (1964)
Beatles Miniature Album Collection Something New

Yesterday And Today (1966)
Beatles Miniature Album Collection Yesterday And Today

Beatles ’65 (issued late 1964)
Beatles Miniature Album Collection Beatles '65

Beatles VI (1965)
Beatles Miniature Album Collection Beatles VI

A Hard Day’s Night (1964)

Reel Music (1982)
This was a post-breakup compilation made up of songs from A Hard Day’s Night, Help, Magical Mystery Tour, Yellow Submarine and Let It Be.

TCDB has a checklist of the set, but they don’t have any details on the Beatles so I’ll share a checklist here:
B-1 “Reel Music”
B-2 “The Beatles” (aka The White Album)
B-3  “Abbey Road”
B-4  “Hey Jude”
B-5  “Meet The Beatles”
B-6 “Something New”
B-7 “Beatles ’65”
B-8 “Beatles VI”
B-9 “Rubber Soul”
B-10 “Yesterday and Today”
B-11 “Revolver”
B-12 “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”
B-13 “1962-1966” (aka The Red Album)
B-14 “1967-1970” (aka The Blue Album)
B-15 “Let It Be”
B-16 “A Hard Day’s Night”

The Beatles albums which were released on Capitol Records in the US but weren’t made into Chu-Bops were “The Beatles Second Album”, “The Early Beatles”, “Help!”, “Magical Mystery Tour” and “Yellow Submarine”, plus the live “Beatles At The Hollywood Bowl” and the post-breakup compiliations “Rock ‘N Roll Music”, “Love Songs” and “Rarities”.


In researching this I found that several years ago San Jose Fuji had written his own blog post about Chu-Bops. If anyone else has written about these, let me know and I’ll update this post with links.

Odds And Ends

As part of a quest to add to this blog more than once a week, I’m going to write off the cuff about a few oddball cards I’m very happy to add to my collection.

First up is a Laughlin card of the 1973 World Series; this is the back to a 1980 Fleer Team Logo sticker.  Even though the Mets lost this series in 7, I had to have it… and I love how the little Mets guy has a Charlie Brown look about him.

A new addition to my largly passive and somewhat modest Cal Ripken collection. I’ve lost track of how many Cals I have, but it’s easily 200… plus this pop up insert from the 1989 Donruss All Stars set. It’s interesting how big of a die-cut they made for the bill of Cal’s cap.

This is a Mazda RX-4 from the Topps “Autos of 1977” set which was issued in 1976, I presume it was issued at the beginning of the car model year. Every now and then I toy with the idea of chasing this set, but until I commit I’m happy to pick up cards here and there.

My current car is also my second consecutive Mazda, which is what kinda sorta inspired me to get this card when I ran across it. Here’s the back:

I’ve not seen this said anywhere in particular, but this set strikes me as being made from photos and text obtained from the various car companies of the day… Well, except for them misspelling Volkswagen as “Volkswagon”, I’m sure they didn’t get that from VW.

Here’s a fun one I got from Dime Box Nick a little while ago…  Justin Turner’s 2010 Upper Deck rookie card showing his brief stint with the Orioles (and showing him with glasses and no beard).  He was originally a 7th round pick of the Reds, was sent to the O’s as part of a 2008 trade for catcher Ramón Hernández, was claimed on waivers by the Mets in 2010, signed as a free agent with the Dodgers in 2014… and the rest is history.

For those who aren’t familiar with 2010 Upper Deck, they had lost their MLB license but still had the players union license, so they made a half-assed attempt at an unlicensed card, but it was done by selecting photos where you can’t completely see the logos rather than photoshopping logos and colors out as Panini does. The 1st series is all that was issued before lawyers told them to cease and desist, kind of like 1963 Fleer in that respect.

This next card has some special significance for me, even if it doesn’t seem terribly exciting to a neutral observer…

Believe it or not, this card – obtained in the summer of 2022 – is my very first Topps NOW card. I recognize that it’s not your typical Topps NOW card that commemorates something that happens in a game, but it’s still my first NOW of any kind. I decided a while ago that I didn’t want to go crazy chasing these cards, and I would only pay Topps prices for an event-based Topps NOW card if I was actually in attendance for that game… and as I’ve been to only 1 or 2 Major League games over the past 5 years, that hasn’t happened. Surprisingly enough, “Orioles get their butts kicked” did not result in a Topps now card in 2019.

Oh, Charlie Culberson is a player I semi-collect in case you were wondering. This card was mainly a case of “it was there and the price was right”.

I’ll wrap up with a Japanese card that’s from a concept that I love.  The set is 2019 BBM “Time Travel 1979” and it’s a 21st century set that’s made as if the set that was issued in 1979… retro design (sort of a mash-up of 1973, 1974 and 1975 Topps to my eyes) and players who were active in 1979.  I’d like to think the photos were from the neighborhood of 1979, but I can’t say.  This card of Toru Sugiura was on COMC and affordable so I went ahead and grabbed it just because.

Sugiura played 22 years for the Yakult Swallows and in 1979 he was an All-Star for the first time.

Here’s the back… The stats are through the 1979 season even though Sugiura played until 1993.  Nice touch.

If Topps or some other company that Fanatics absorbs were to do a Major League “Time Travel” set from any year from the 1970s or 1980s, I would completely lose it… Well, I should qualify that and say that it has to be reasonably well done for me to lose it.  Certain retro sets have made me realize that it’s not enough to have stars of the day in a set, it also has to have non-crappy images for me to throw my time and money at it.

And as I’m writing this and thinking of 1979, it suddenly occurred to me:  Is Toru Sugiura in the 1979 TCMA Japanese Baseball set that I own?

The answer is, yes…. yes, he is!  Bonus oddball!

And with that, I will bid you all a good night (which it is at the moment, even while I schedule this post to publish in the morning).

1959 “Disc Stars”, Monty Python, Eurovision And A Professional Logician

A recent shipment from COMC included a bunch of cards from the UK, including the 3 vintage non-sports cards featured in this post.

I’ll talk about the cards first, and then explain why I got them near the end of the post. The cards I got are from the 1959 Kane Products “Disc Stars” set.  The 50-card set has names that are still well known today:  Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Frank Sinatra, Harry Belafonte and others.  Don’t get your hopes up, I didn’t get any of those cards.

The first card I got was of Alma Cogan who was a very popular British singer of the 1950s and early 1960s. Sadly she died in 1966, succumbing to cancer at just 34 years old.


Interestingly enough, there was a Kane Products “Film Stars” set in 1958 which also included Alma Cogan, even though she didn’t really appear in motion pictures (although plenty of television).

These cards are pretty nice, and a bit oversized.  To give you an idea of the size of these cards, here’s a comparison to a 1953 Bowman card I got in the same COMC shipment. The Disc Stars card is the same height as the Bowman but a little bit wider.

According to the set overview on TCDB, the set was also issued in a smaller 2 3/8″ x 2 1/4″ size.

The other two cards I got are for Teddy Johnson and Pearl Carr, a married couple who were known as “Mr. and Mrs. Music”. Like Alma Cogan they were popular in the 1950s and early 1960s, but weren’t as popular after groups like The Beatles came along. Their big hit was a song called “Sing, Little Birdie” which came in 2nd place in the 1959 Eurovision Song Contest (more on that in a moment).



So that’s what I got.  If you’re a die-hard fan of Monty Python, you can probably figure out why I got these cards, but I’ll go ahead and explain.

I’ll start with Teddy & Pearl… There was a Monty Python sketch called either “World Forum” or “Communist Quiz” where communists Karl Marx, Mao Tse-tung, Che Guevara and Lenin are on a panel show, seemingly to discuss political matters, but it turns into a game show where they’re quizzed on British Football (Soccer) and pop culture.  One of the questions asked – at least in versions performed for the British public – was this:  “Teddy Johnson and Pearl Carr won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1959…  What was the name of their song?”  As I mentioned before, the song was “Sing, Little Birdie” and they didn’t actually win, they finished 2nd.

For what it’s worth, when this sketch was performed for American audiences, such as in the “Live at the Hollywood Bowl” movie and on the “Live At City Center” album, the question was changed to one about Jerry Lee Lewis.  In both cases, Chairman Mao got the question right.

Here’s the Communist Quiz sketch from the “Live At Drury Lane” album.  If you have a short attention span, the question about Teddy & Pearl comes at 1:25.

And here is the song… The song is representative of popular music at the time, and they do sing very well together, but 21st century audiences might think it pretty cheesy.

As for Alma Cogan, she was referenced on the album “The Album of the Soundtrack of the Trailer of the Film of Monty Python And The Holy Grail”.  In a non-movie track called “Logician”, John Cleese’s character says that Sir Bedevere’s conclusion that “All wood burns therefore all that burns is wood” is “pure bullshit”, and as an example of how universal affirmatives can only be partially converted, the logician states that “All of Alma Cogan is dead, but only some of the class of dead people are Alma Cogan”.

In the sketch, Alma Cogan is mentioned at 0:25 and again at the end (starting at 2:35)

And here’s a clip of Alma from what appears to be French TV in 1963.  She certainly knew how to look into the TV camera and reach her viewers.

THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO!

Somewhere along the line, I got the foolish idea that these blog posts have to be *about* something… that there has to be analysis or research or a theme or whatever going on. On the other hand, I can’t even remember the last time I just did a “Hey, look what I got!” post! Maybe if I just relax and write stuff, I can get back to writing more than once a week.

I’ll start off with a couple of Living Set cards I got from COMC… These cards are very old news for most of you, but I still haven’t bought a single card direct from Topps.  I wait for the aftermarket (COMC), and then I wait for the price to go down, and then I wait until my next shipment…. and that’s how it gets to be several years.

To tip you off on how old these cards are… here’s one of Manny Machado with the Orioles!  (Trust me, I wouldn’t give the time of day to a Machado card post-O’s)


…and you can tell it’s been a while because this is card #37 and they’re currently up to #510.

I got five Living Set cards, and my favorite of the batch is this former Met, Amed Rosario.  I know this is SOP for modern-day Topps, but it always bugs me a little when they put a round logo into a circle like this and still leave all that white space.  Fill the damn circle!

How about some actual vintage? I was extremely pleased to find this 1972 Topps Nolan Ryan card within my budget.  For quite a while, I was approaching 1972 Topps as “Let’s see how far I can get while staying within my budget”.  This card is further than I’d thought I would get.

Nolan’s got a big ol’ crease across his face, but I honestly don’t care. Much of my 1972 set build is well-loved.  Creases and dog-eared corners are acceptable.  I will also allow paper loss or pen marks, but only on the backs… but if push comes to shove, pen marks on the front would be OK as long as it’s not glasses and a mustache drawn on Steve Carlton.

I have to say, though… I’m growing to resent Nolan Ryan a bit. I got past this particular Nolan Ryan hurdle, but his first three cards are major obstacles in my quest to complete a run of Mets cards of the 1960s.

Like with 1972 Topps, I’ve been thinking I should get back to my 1970s Hostess sets.  I was recently reminded of how fast Enos Cabell and the 1978 Astros were…  I’ve been messing around with my Statis Pro board game, and Cabell, César Cedeño and José Cruz were all fast dudes.

Speaking of tabletop baseball games, I picked up this 2002 MLB Showdown card of Al Leiter. Even though I don’t play the game, there’s just something about these I find fun. I also like the fairly deep checklists (which obviously doesn’t apply to 2-time All-Stars like Leiter)


Advisory: The last five cards featured in this post might be wasted if you’re not of a certain age and possibly also a certain level of nerdiness.


FIVE

FOUR

THREE

TWO

ONE

THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO!

Back in the day, when I was a wee nerd, one of my favorite shows (along with Speed Racer and Gigantor) was Thunderbirds… Being a small child in the late 1960s and early 1970s, I think it was pretty typical to get excited about space ships and robots and gadgets.  I know others my age or a little older who were big into westerns, but I couldn’t care less about those.  I don’t care about the past, give me tomorrow!

As for the cards… These are all Mirror Foil inserts from the 2015 Unstoppable “Thunderbirds 50 Years” set. A couple of years ago I bought the card of Thunderbird 3 on a whim during a COMC Black Friday promotion, and it wasn’t until I got the card shipped to me that I realized how much it made me smile… So I went back out to COMC and bought the other four cards you see here.  There are also cards of the five characters associated with each Thunderbird, but I didn’t buy them. Even as a kid I would’ve told you that the stars of the show weren’t the Tracy brothers, it was the hardware.


1961 Topps Sports Cards: The 2021 Batch, Part 1

It’s been a couple of years since I featured any cards from the 1961 Topps Sports Cars set that I’m slowly – verrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry slowly – chasing.  I got my first one in 2014 and it wasn’t long before I decided to go for the 66-card set.  The thing is that I’m trying to complete it on a budget, and this is not the kind of set that everybody carries… In fact, a few years ago I managed to stump the owner of a LCS that specializes in non-sport, but wasn’t at all familiar with these.

Plus, pretty much every one of my card-collecting goals is on hold while I do some organizing, prioritizing and navel-gazing.

Anyway, I don’t have a lot to say about these new card that I just got shipped from COMC, so I’ll just feature them and include the text from the back of the cards, as I would imagine that the images would be hard to read on a phone or some such.

ALVIS

The Alvis is made by one of England’s smallest car companies. Its hand-made body was designed in Switzerland. There are a few Alvis cars in the United States because they are very expensive and most people do not appreciate their special quality and quiet, dignified performance. The dashboard is hardwood!

HP – 125
Top Speed – 100 MPH
Price $6800

BORGWARD RS

The German Borgward company has spent very little time on its racing sports cars, compared with its competitors, but it has succeeded in developing one of the fastest cars of its size in Europe. These cars have done particularly well in hill-climbing races. None have been sold to the public.

HP – 150
Top Speed – 155
Price – Not for sale

SKODA

The Skoda works makes steel, guns, tanks and a few cars in Czechoslovakia. The new 1100 roadster is very well-engineered and carefully made, but is not yet fully developed. It is possible that this car will be a successful racer in the future. The engine is very powerful for its small size.

HP – 92
Weight – 1215 LBS
Price – Not for sale

Good Things Come In Wacky Packages

The original run of Topps Wacky Packages was from 1973 to 1976, which is pretty much my sweet spot as far as being a kid goes. Like many of my friends and school mates, I spent a lot of my allowance on Wacky Packs. Unfortunately for “21st Century Me”, what “1970s Me” did was to do what all kids do with stickers: I stuck them, mostly to my loose leaf binder (and I still have the cover).

My baseball cards were well taken care of when I was a kid, so Wacky Packages are my “If I had only…” regret from childhood.

When I was at a show in January, there was a dealer who had Wacky Packs, but unfortunately I didn’t find them until late in the show when I was nearly out of time and money.  I picked up four Wackies, one of which turned out to be a double (and already featured on this blog a few years ago).

“Commie” was one I had stuck to my binder.

“Sootball”, which is based on the 1974 Topps Football wrapper, was a new one to me.

“Ajerx” is a long-time favorite… The jerk on the label reminds me of someone I know, which just adds to my amusement.

When I got these stickers home I decided that it was time to at least start a checklist, even if I wasn’t necessarily going to make a project out of these.  In the process of getting the information from TradingCardDB, I was surprised by how many Wackies there were.  In those four years there were 16 series, each roughly 30 stickers, for a total (by my count) of 494 stickers.  Damn, that’s a lot. If I decided that I was going to chase them all, I would be 1.5% of the way towards my goal.  At this point, I’m thinking that I might just try to find all of the ones I had back then, and leave it at that.

 

Progress On The Wrong Goals: 1966 Topps Batman “Black Bat”

Unlike most other years, I’ve actually established goals for 2020… although I didn’t get much into specifics in this blog.  Naturally, the one show I went to in January had very little related to my goals for the year, but I made some progress on the goals which had been back-burnered.  Among those back-burnered goals is the 1966 Topps Batman “Black Bat” series.

I finished the “Batman vs. The Joker” subset back at the end of 2015 and I’d meant to attack another subset someday, but never quite got around to it.  Maybe this will kick the search back into gear.  I might start with the “vs. The Riddler” subset since I’ve got 3 of the 11 cards, or maybe I’ll just let the cards fall where they may.

Since I don’t have a lot to say about the individual cards, I figured I’d take advantage of my prodigious typing skills (I took a full semester typing course in high school, dontcha know) and transcribe the text from the back of each card.

#16 – The Penguin’s Trap – # 3 of 11 Batman vs. The Penguin Cards

The Batman sets out for the address found upon the crook, and arrives at an abandoned house near the edge of town.
Robin stays in the Batmobile, as Batman carefully explores inside. Suddenly a trap door opens in the floor and Batman falls ten feet to the floor of a pit.  A voice is heard from a hidden speaker: “Welcome, Batman!” It is the voice of The Penguin. “At last you have stepped into my trap!”

#28 – “Let’s Go” – #4 of 11 Batman vs. The Catwoman Cards

Batman rereads a letter that had arrived for him at police headquarters: “….Only you and Robin can help me. Please come tonight!”
“It sounds important, Batman,” says Robin. “Let’s Go!
That night, the sleek Batmobile roars up to the designated spot. “Stay here while I check,” says Batman. But when he returns, Robin is gone.

#35 – Cat Woman Defeated – #11 of 11 Batman vs. The Catwoman Cards

“You’ll never escape with that formula, Cat Woman!” shouts Batman as he throws a gas pellet onto the floor, in front of the huge cat she had released.
As the furry beast sinks to the floor of the cavern, Batman leaps over it, in time to throw his Batline around the fleeing Cat Woman. “Looks like you’re right, Batman,” she says. “But don’t worry… There will always be others!”

#40 – Following The Clue – #5 of 11 Batman vs. The Riddler cards

“It’s come!” says Commisioner Gordon to Batman and Robin. “We’ve received the first of The Riddler’s new riddles. But it’s one even I knew as a child: ‘Why does a fireman wear red suspenders?’ The answer is ‘To hold up his pants’!”
“The Hispantsia penthouse!” exclaims Robin. “It’s almost too easy!”
Prepared for a trap, the two swing into the night, toward the Gotham Tower.

Eight #8’s For My 8th

Today is the 8th Anniversary of The Shlabotnik Report and I want to take this opportunity to thank ALL OF YOU for reading and commenting and making this blog fun to keep up on… Because if it weren’t fun, I wouldn’t have made it to the first anniversary.

I don’t generally do anniversary posts, partly because I almost never remember in time to write something, and also because I don’t want to do a post that amounts to nothing more than “Yay, me!”

So pretty early on (i.e. this past Tuesday) I hit on this idea, and interestingly enough when I was done picking out cards I realized I had a nice little cross-section of my collecting interests.

And so, we start with…

1968 Topps “Game” Insert #8 – Willie Mays
I completed the Game set a couple of years ago, and it was one of the most satisfying set builds I’ve done in recent years. Fun and affordable, I recommend it to anyone who likes these cards, or who just wants to chase a vintage set without fear of missing a car payment.

1964 Topps “Giants” #8 – Roy McMillan
This card single-handedly let me know I was on the right track with the idea for this post; one of my favorite oddball sets, and card #8 is from my Mets. It’s kismet, I tell ya!

Here’s the back, which apparently shows Nellie Fox rather than Roy McMillan.

1966 Topps Batman “Black Bat” #8 – Into The Batmobile
A couple of years ago I chased down the “Batman vs. The Joker” subset from the Black Bat set, and lately I’ve been feeling the urge to get back to it.  Hmmm, maybe I should check out the “Batman vs. The Penguin” cards…

1979 Kellogg’s #8 – Pat Zachry
It’s funny to look back at it now, but when I was a kid in the 1970’s, I dismissed Kellogg’s cards as mere tchotchkes and Hostess cards as Topps wannabes.  Now I am making up for those missed opportunities.

2015 Upper Deck Dinosaurs #8 – Allosaurus
This is such a great-looking card that I wanted to include it when I searched my database for cards numbered 8.

I only have a few cards from this set, but if it had come out when I was a kid, I probably would be writing a card-by-card blog about it today.

1979 TCMA Japanese Baseball #8 – Koji Yamamoto
This was my first set featuring Japanese baseball players. This set contributed to my lifelong interest in baseball across the Pacific, and these cards indirectly lead me to read books like “You Gotta Have Wa” by Robert Whiting.

Koji Yamamoto is a Japanese HOFer, helped the Hiroshima Carp win 3 championships, hit 40 homers in five straight seasons, is among the career HR leaders in NPB, and I came to find out that he wore #8 for the Carp.

1980 Topps “Super” (5×7) #8 – Lee Mazzilli
This set was my first exposure to oversized cards, my favorite type of oddball. This Lee Mazzilli card has been featured in this blog a number of times.

1999 Fleer Tradition #8 – Cal Ripken
It seems appropriate to wrap things up with card #8 for Number 8 himself, Cal Ripken, especially when it’s a nice card like this. I miss Fleer, and if this card and this design came out tomorrow as a sample from 2020 Stadium Club, don’t tell me you wouldn’t all be gushing over it.

ADDENDUM

These cards were “runners-up” in this post, but I wanted to feature them anyway.

I have a number of hobby regrets, but one purchase that always falls into my “Boy, am I glad I got that!” category is the 1974-75 O-Pee-Chee WHA set. This is one of my favorite hockey sets – I really need to write a post or three about it – but card #8 turned out to be one of the less-interesting cards. Oh, well.

1974 Topps #8 – George Theodore
This was the first set I collected, and George “The Stork” Theodore was one of those players that 9-year-old me latched on to… little did I know that his Major League career was nearly over.

FWIW, in taking this card out to scan I realized it badly needs upgrading.

1976 Topps #8 – Tito Fuentes
Tito always seemed to have appealing cards when I was a kid. The headband didn’t hurt. I’m thinking I might have to chase after the two Tito cards I don’t already have…

…And so, in a post which is supposed to be about the number eight, I overreached and ended up with eleven. That’s pretty much par for the course.


OH!  At the last minute I remembered that I wanted to include a Sesame Street “Eight” video. I was shooting for “Eight! Eight! Eight! Eight! Let’s sing a song of eight!”, but couldn’t find it.

However, Paul Benedict’s “Mad Painter” is not at all a bad substitute. FYI, these shorts were made before Benedict gained some fame as Mr. Bentley on “The Jeffersons”.

English Cards Acquired For Pop Culture Reasons

in my last “go ’round” on COMC I went a little crazy with looking for and buying various cards from England… Most of these cards were cards of Footballers (i.e. soccer players), but I also got three cards for reasons which are all tied to TV shows I’ve enjoyed at various times.

Back when I was a kid, I always loved watching The Huckleberry Hound Show… although I watched it a few years after the show’s heyday.  While a Huckleberry Hound short was the centerpiece of the show, there were also other characters in their own shorts, including Pixie and Dixie and Mr. Jinks.

I recently found out that there was a set put out in 1961 by Barratt & Co, and the set featured the various Huckleberry Hound Show characters in different situations, and I was drawn to this odd one featuring Mister Jinks on a soccer pitch talking to Pixie – At least I’m pretty sure it’s Pixie and not Dixie – while giving up an easy goal

The back says that the Huckleberry Hound Football Club is “having a very bad season” because Jinks spends too much time gossiping rather than keeping the ball out of the goal. Okey-dokey….

Next up is a 1934 Player’s Cigarettes card of cricketer Leslie Ames, who Wikipedia describes as “one of the greatest wicket-keeper-batsmen of all time”. But that’s not why I got this card.  No, not me. I’ve spent too much of my life watching British TV to get a card like this for an obvious reason.

While I *was* looking to get some Cricketer cards, I saw Leslie Ames and wondered where I knew the name from… and then I remembered that it was used as a reference in a sketch on Monty Python’s Flying Circus. In the “Killer Sheep” sketch, Graham Chapman is a rat catcher who initially introduces himself as “Leslie Ames, chairman of the Test Selection Committee” and informed the occupants that their flat had been selected as the venue for the Third Test against the West Indies. It wasn’t until I saw this card that I realized that Leslie Ames was a real person.

Here’s the back.  I’m not one to pick up cards just because they’re old, but it is pretty cool to own a card that’s 85 years old.

One last card, also a Monty Python reference. If you’re not a Monty Python fan, you may as well move along because you’re not going to understand the appeal of this next card…

…because it’s all about How To Recognize Different Types Of Trees From Quite A Long Way Away.

Number one… The Larch.

The Larch.

THE LARCH.

This card comes from the 1966 Brooke Bond Tea “Trees In Britain” set.  To most, the idea of a card set featuring 50 types of trees wouldn’t spark much interest, but I immediately had to look to see if they had the larch… because it amused me, and because I also have a similar card featuring Lupins (“What, d’ye mean the FLOWER ‘Lupin’?”)

If you don’t know what I’m on about, it really wouldn’t be worthwhile explaining it.  Trust me on this one.

Here’s the back of the card.

…And now…

Number One…

The Larch.

The Larch. THE LARCH.

Football And Fortnite: Retail Blood Pressure Therapy

So there was this political conversation going on at work that I couldn’t help but overhear. I generally don’t get into politics at work (or here, for that matter), but the conversation was along the lines of “WE are unfailingly right about everything and THEY are unquestionably wrong about everything”. I consider myself to be somewhere in between “us” and “them”, but I’ve known the main person in the conversation for years and he would probably categorize anybody who’s not fully “us” as being “them”.  I don’t like to be painted with that broad of a brush… I don’t like ANY groups of people to be painted with that broad of a brush.

Anyway, I could feel my blood pressure going up, but it was fortunately close enough to lunchtime that I was able to flee the discussion and my office.  I went to a big box retailer hoping to find some Heritage High Numbers, but I was out of luck. Since I was looking for a significant distraction, I decided to treat the card aisle as a buffet and sampled a pack each of several sets which were new to me.

First I grabbed a pack of 2019 Donruss Football.  i’d expected the design to be basically the same as 2019 Donruss Baseball, only Football is fully licensed and can go wild with things like team colors and logos.  Oooooooh.

2019 Donruss Football, as is often the case, does look better than 2019 Donruss Baseball. FWIW, the name and position are in silver foil.

I’ve noticed on football cards from the past few years that the players tend to get lost in the crowd background.  I wonder if there’s some differing techniques that the photographer and/or Panini are using (or are not using) that makes the difference, or if crowds just dress more colorfully than they used to.

I also pulled a card of Joe Willie Namath.  As they say in the land of my upbringing, that and $2.75 will getcha on the subway.

Nothing much else to say about Donruss Football, so I’ll move on to the second pack, 2019 Score Football.  The Panini-era Score football cards that I’ve seen have been largely-forgettable 21st century designs, which is why I was surprised that these cards were a 30th anniversary homage to 1989 Score Football.

Like with Donruss “Retro”, these cards are more homage than an attempt to duplicate the originals.  For starters, the originals had a colored border which matched the box at the bottom of the card… Well, here, check out my 1989 Score Flutie:

1989 Score is not a great design to start with, so I’m not going to fault Panini for making changes.  It falls into the category of “It’s fine” and we all move on.

Because it’s slightly more interesting than your typical Panini card back, here’s the 2019 Score back:

These are closer to the originals than the front, with the main difference being that the originals featured a *different* photo on the back… but for $1.99 a pack I guess I won’t kick about that.

The rookies in Score are more along the lines of what I’d expect from 21st Century Score… and there’s no mention of which NFL team owns the rights to said rookies.

Trayveon Williams is with the Cincinnati Bengals, in case you were wondering. I understand that this is probably done so they can get the cards to market sooner, but it’s a pain for team collectors who can’t easily tell which rookie is *their* rookie.

Wrapping up the Score pack with the one keeper for this Steelers fan:

An “All-Hands Team” insert of Steelers offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva… The card is shiny and not bad looking, but to me “All-Hands” conjures up images of… um… something else.

I also dropped another $0.99 on a pack of Panini Football stickers.  Nothing much to say about the stickers, the stickers are stickers.

…But there was a surprise: along with all of the stickers, there was a card!

It’s on thin cardstock and just your run of the mill throwaway Panini design, but it just caught me off guard because I’d never seen anything other than stickers in a Panini sticker pack.

I should mention that the card is standard-sized, and the stickers are your typical sticker size.

One more impulse buy was involved, and despite it being something I would normally have zero interest in, it ended up being my favorite (relatively speaking) pack of the bunch.

I’m talking about a pack of Panini Fortnite Series 1 cards. Full disclosure: I’m not a gamer and have not so much as seen Fortnite being played.  Some of the preview images I’d seen spoke to me on some level, so I figured I’d spring for a pack. It’s not that different than my buying NBA Hoops cards at the dollar store; I have about as much interest in basketball as I do in video games (not much), I’m just curious about them as cards.

Even though the characters mean nothing to me, I have to say I kinda like these cards…  Well, some of the cards.  I can do without the cards that – I imagine – show gameplay “action”.

Here’s a more interesting card, front and back:

I dunno, there’s something appealing about these cards. Colorful, simple, appealing.. Although I’ll admit that I don’t know how much of the colorful, simple, appealing design is Panini and how much of that is Fortnite.

…and look at the size of that card number! No squinting at these babies!

Here’s another one I kinda liked.

The highlight – kind of – of the pack was this foil parallel of… a lamp.

The back of the card lists it under the category of “Harvesting Tool”, so it clearly has some significance within the game… but this card amuses the heck out of me because a shiny parallel of a floor lamp is something which just out-Ginters Ginter. Take that, Egg!

So, to wrap up all of this… I don’t see myself buying a second pack of any of these, but if I ran across a dime box which had Fortnite cards, I’d poke through them to see what they had.

Does anybody else have any experience with these cards?  I’m curious to hear your take!