Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Scaring up something for Halloween

I've been trying to come up with something fun to do on here for Halloween this year, but me and fun don't seem to be on the same wavelength as of late.

I hate to be yet another blogger using 'I've been busy' as an excuse, but I'm gonna have to in this instance. Things have been go, go, go since summer started, and have somehow managed to move into an even higher gear over the last few weeks. I don't expect this pace to continue much longer; which will be nice, because I. Am. Tired. Mentally and physically. In the meantime though, all of my blogs have suffered. Creativity and desire have been on back order for many months now, and I don't know when the supply chain will get caught up.

Between a couple of COMC orders (that now go back at least three years), some select items from the Sportlots box I got earlier this year, and about half a dozen eBay wins from last year, I'm sitting on quite the stockpile of scans. Not being able to think of anything else, I decided to look through all of my scan folders and see if there was anything that would be appropriate for a Halloween post. To my surprise, there was; quite a bit in fact. So, as it turns out, I guess I'm doing an old-fashioned scan dump for Halloween. And while isn't creative in the least, I think I can honestly say that there's a few things in here that you don't see on the blogs very often, if ever, so that's something, I guess.

Starting with the COMC folders...

Ray Milland garnered a bit of a reputation later in life for accepting pretty much any role he was offered, and as such ended up appearing in a number of low budget horror films; often times being the best part of said low-budget horror films. He did make a few earlier in his career as well, including one of my all-time favorites, The Uninvited

This "card" is from my oldest COMC scan folder of unshown items. I think it was purchased during the height of Corona-mania, back when we had to wait years to get our items shipped. Ah, good times! I really like the old Dixie ice cream lids, but rarely think to search for them. This one is from '42, and I wanna say that I paid around two bucks for it, which I thought was pretty good considering it's immaculate condition.

Elsa Lanchester appeared in a number of horror films as well, none more famous than The Bride of Frankenstein, which incidentally was the first Frankenstein picture that I ever saw. Conversely, she also appeared in my second favorite Christmas film, The Bishop's Wife. This card was actually gotten for a themed Bishop's page that's still in progress.
I like the '75 and '76 Marvel sticker sets quite a bit, and if I didn't have a so many other things to collect already, I'd probably try to complete the sets. As it stands as of now though, I'm only really trying to get a few choice ones, this Dracula being one of them. If I recall correctly, Dracula has three total stickers from those two sets. This one is my favorite of those three.

Alien was one of the first modern scary horror/sci-fi pictures that I saw. As such, I don't think I'll ever forget a couple of those jump scares. There pretty ingrained in my head. This card is part of my Kolchak
collection. I don't expect anyone reading this to care, but he starred in the episode "The Devil's Platform"

There was nothing scary about Irwin Allen's Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, but without any context, this card could appear to be of a scary nature. Horrors of the deep? Most of the cards in this set are surprisingly boring, mostly because they're all just from the first season. Had they made any follow-up sets, cards based on future seasons would've been a lot more interesting, as the fun stuff really picked up after that first year. This is by far the best card in the set, and had been a want of mine for many years. And at around $4, it's also the third most expensive card in this post.

Seems like another time when pictures like Alien and Jaws 2 got card sets that were marketed towards children, though Jaws 2 was a PG film. I don't think it would get a PG rating in 2023. It would've been a lot neater if the first film hadn't gotten a card set, but the set for Jaws 2 did provide a couple of cool cards, like this sticker. I'd like to fill a whole page with this one, but I'm a ways away, as I think that this was only my second or third copy.

Like a lot of folks my age, I grew up with GPK; for better or worse. I think I might have lost interest in them a lot sooner than most kids though. One can see a Cabbage Patch kid vomiting or being maimed in some terrible way only so many times before it becomes repetitive and/or repulsive. That being said, I bought these two strictly because of their theme (and because they weren't gross). Had the sets been more like this, I might've stuck around a little longer. 

[Note: I can never remember which way to scan things side by side so that they appear in order, hence these being backwards]

Despite my having seen all of the original Nightmare on Elm Street films, mostly at parties or sleepovers, I am not a fan. I couldn't tell you why, they just never did anything for me. That being said, I am a fan of Robert Englund's other work, and of him as a person. I have a page in a binder just for him. I've never watched any iteration of Babylon 5, so this card of his flew under my radar for a long time.

Bo Diddley's "Bo Meets the Monster" has been appeared on a few Halloween compilations over the years, and is probably on a million internet playlists these days, so I think that's enough to warrant his inclusion into this post.

Another 70's set from Topps to target a slightly older audience was 1976's Shock Theatre. It was marketed as set celebrating all things Hammer (Films), but instead focused very heavily on their Dracula pictures. It's still an awesome set , albeit a little expensive, if you're into their Dracula series, but could've been a lot more interesting had they featured scenes from the studios entire horror catalogue. And I think I've mentioned it before, but I'm not big on assigning "rookie card" status to non-sport subjects. That being said, for those that are into that sort of thing, despite not being mentioned anywhere, the card on the right could be considered Caroline Munro's "rookie card". Oh, and Caroline Munro 😍. She was one of my early crushes.

It's not very impressive, but I do have a bit of a Jack O' Lantern collection going. I probably could've save myself a bunch of time and just showed for today.

If it were even remotely possible to collect all of the dozens (hundreds?) of Dutch Gum sets that came out from the 50's through the 70's, I would probably try to do so. That'd be a lifetime endeavor, and I'm much too old to start such a pursuit at this point, but that's okay, I'm more than content to just pick up a few choice cards here and there. I have a bit of a Yvonne De Carlo collection going, which, like a lot of my collections, probably wouldn't impress many, but I thought that this was a nice add. The Munsters were a staple of my childhood, and I'm a big fan of her earlier, non-horror, pictures. Like Ray Milland, she didn't seem to turn down anything later in life, and as such appeared in a ton of bad horror films; much more than Ray.

Bonanza was on, and extremely popular, during most of the time that Dutch Gum were producing sets. Knowing that, it should come as no surprise that it's stars appeared on dozens of cards over the years. And given that sets were marketed to young people at the time, it's even less of surprise that of the show's stars, Michael Landon seems to have appeared the most. To me, he'll always be Tony Rivers in I Was a Teenage Werewolf, and to a slightly lesser extent, Jonathan Smith in Highway to Heaven.

There's nothing that I can say about Boris Karloff that hasn't been said by many people before. He and Bela Lugosi were a major part of my childhood, as 30's and 40's horror was a mainstay on our television. Boris had a much more successful career, thus he appeared on considerably more trading cards than Bela. It's not very often that I can add a "playing days" card of Boris to my collection, so it's always kind of a big deal when I do.

That's the end of the COMC portion of the post. I guess if I'm trying to go chronologically, scan-wise, a pair of eBay gets from late last year should go next.

I've tried on two separate occasions over the years to get into Twin Peaks, but I just can't seem to do so. As the kids might say, it's apparently not my jam. Never getting past the first two episodes, I have no idea how large of a role Everett McGill played in the series, but I do know that he had a major role in Silver Bullet, as Reverend Lowe; which is why this had been yet another card that I had wanted for a few years before finally winning this semi-cheap copy (I think it was around $15 at the time). Silver Bullet had a big impact on me as a child, and not in a good way. I love the film as an adult, but that wasn't always the case. This post is already getting longer than most of you would want, so I'll save my Silver Bullet story for another time. That'll probably be one for my Nonsense blog, as there'll be no cards involved.

Forever Knight was one of my favorite shows as a kid/teen. The first run of episodes were part of CBS' Crimetime after Primetime. They were on pretty late, so we used to record them to watch the next day (I wish I still had some of those original recordings, but tapes were usually reused until they started showing signs of wear). Things were made easier a few years later when the show went into syndication on the Sci-Fi channel. The marathons were especially appreciated, what with the show still being some years away from being released on DVD and all. Only three people from the show have official autographed cards out there, John Kapelos being the biggest name of the bunch. He played Nick Knight's (the main character) partner, Det. Schanke, for the first two seasons. None of the vampires from the show have autographs, or even any commercially produced cards; which is terribly annoying. I've thought about trying to get one of the blogosphere's custom makers to make me cards of them, to either try to get signed through the mail, or to just have for a binder page -- but haven't gone any further with the idea yet.

Earlier this year I got my first box shipment from Sportlots, which was mildly exciting at the time. I thought that its contents were gonna provide at least a few posts worth of, well, content -- but after getting it, and seeing that there was around 200 cards to potentially scan, my plan to post about them kind of fell by the wayside. That's just too many cards for me to scan anymore. I think I ended up doing about a quarter of them, and so far, maybe 3-4 of those have appeared on the blog. The good news is though, of those 50 or so scanned cards, I actually found 8 that were appropriate for this post, so...

Another Robert Englund card for his page, this time from one of the Charmed sets, which is another show that I never watched. The cards in this sets done on some kind of greenish/aqua colored foil, and look really good in person, not so much in this scan though.

This one is a bit of a stretch for this post, but the 1985 Garfield Halloween special has been amongst my favorite Halloween things for basically as far back as I can remember. I can't remember every specific year, but I do know for a fact that I've seen it every year since it's original airing (the same goes for the Thanksgiving and Christmas specials as well). I got a few cards from this set to make up a page for my childhood binder, this one being my favorite. And with Jim in a costume, it seemed like the appropriate card to use in this post.

The two Cornerstone Hammer Films sets that came out in '95 and '96, are in many ways what Topps' Shock Theatre should've been. They could've been a tad more expansive, but they did cover more than just the Dracula pictures. Here we get a second sighting of both Christopher Lee and Caroline Munro.

I got like 20 cards from the first series, but only scanned three, as I didn't think there'd be much interest in them. I really like the movie poster cards in the set, which if I recall correctly, I got all of them. The Gorgon is my favorite Hammer film, although depending on what day you asked me, I might also say that it's tied with Captain Kronos for my favorite (rounding out the top 3 would be The Mummy). The other card here features a wonderful shot of Peter Cushing and Susan Denberg from Frankenstein Created Woman, in what I believe is the best looking card in the first series.

Here's another one for the Jack O' Lantern collection. I don't know if anyone remembers this set, but if you don't, each card is basically a small Where's Waldo. There's a few more cards in the set that might work in a Halloween post, but this is the only one that I have so far.

Even though they weren't what he was best known for, Glenn Strange did make a few horror pictures, most notably as Frankenstein's Monster in House of Frankenstein, House of Dracula, and Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein.

I bet you weren't expecting to see Two ALF cards in a Halloween post. To be honest, I wasn't expecting to find two Halloweeny (Halloweenie?) ALF cards amongst my scans for this post. This one makes the post for Lon Chaney Jr. era Mummy Punch Me, or Bop Bag (those blow-up punching bags were sold under many different names over the decades). I liked ALF a lot back when it was new, and I still like ALF a lot now that it's old. Even after all of these years, it's still just as funny to me, possibly even more so.

That's it, you've reached the end of my Halloween scan dump. If you made it this far, congratulations! If you didn't, I understand; it was a bit long and wordy. Though, if you didn't, I guess you wouldn't be reading this part, would you?

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

One for the list

I've mentioned on more than one occasion in the past that I'm not one for making lists, at least not as an adult. I used to make lists all the time as a kid, and would try to get my friends to make lists for various things as well; which didn't usually go over very well by the way. At some point, I'm assuming during my teenage years, things changed, and I went from making lists all the time, to never making them at all. About the only time I make lists these days is for the grocery store or the occasional book/card want list. 

If I were a better blogger, more organized, and got any enjoyment from making lists, I'd probably be doing a bunch of them at the end of each year; if only for the filler that they'd provide for this ever decreasing little space of mine. One such list would have to be for best cards received throughout the year. The biggest hurdle keeping me from ever doing one of those lists though is simply that I just can't remember the bulk of what I've gotten by the time the end of the year rolls around. Even in a year like this one, where I've purchased less than any year since returning to card collecting (13 or 14 years ago), I could probably only recall 5-6 cards off the top of my head, and those wouldn't even make that list. All that being said, and despite it not quite being the end of the year, one card has stood out this year and would easily make it onto a list of my top 10 favorite purchases from this year...

I like this card for many reasons, but the main one is that it feels like a perfect blend of the 80's and 90's, or at least the early 90's. Were you to remove the title of the card, Dan Marino, and all of the other football references, this image would be right at home as a poster up on some kid's wall circa 1987 (It's very Miami Vice-ish). Add Dan, and all of his accoutrements, back to the image, and you've got yourself a folder for your Trapper Keeper anywhere from 1990-94 (or in my case, your knock-off Trapper Keeper -- not complaining though). Some might say that the presence of Dan's Zubaz make this more of an 80's image, and while I do believe that they came out in '88 or '89, I think of them more as product of the 90's.

Despite this card being from 1992, I didn't see it for the first time until late last year when I came across it while just randomly looking at things on COMC. I think I stopped collecting football cards in 1992, but I don't recall ever opening any packs of Skybox Prime Time; nor do I recall ever hearing of the set since. This must be a popular card because even though it's just a base card (from a subset to boot) from the early 90's, the online prices are mostly a dollar and up. I got mine (and a bunch of other things) from a seller on Sportlots earlier this year for fifty cents -- which did seem like a lot, but it was better than all of the alternatives at the time. In a perfect world, I could see myself getting at least 8 more copies of this card to fill a page, but I suspect that I'm just gonna have to be content with owning this one. There's also a metal (?) version of this card that I'm assuming was either an insert or some sort of promo. Either way, it's kind of expensive and I don't see myself getting one of those.

By the by, Warren Moon has a really nifty card in this subset as well. I don't own one yet, but I could see myself getting a whole page of those too; and that one might actually be doable!