Creature Feature

1980’s Topps Creature Feature Cards

#GhoulMourningManiacs!

Let’s look at some trading cards. 1980 brought us the wonderful trading card series known as Creature Feature or You’ll Die Laughing and there’s one card in particular that holds a special meaning and moment for me. This series was first produced in the early seventies and Topps decided to resurrect the series with some packaging, design and content changes.
Creature Feature

What was better than riding a bike to the corner store to get milk and cigarettes for your stepmother and maybe using some of the change on candy or comics? (Yes it’s true, she wrote me a note in case of any trouble. I’m certain I wasn’t the only kid to have that as a chore?) Anyway, while at the store, getting a pack of Creature Feature cards was worth the effort!

The cards had great still photography of movie monsters in black and white, from the thirties on up to the modern era. Giant radioactive creatures, human monsters, aliens, oh my! The photos (let’s pick the Mummy carrying a damsel) had goofy captions, like “Gee kid, you weigh a ton!” Each pack of cards came with a sticker. The backs of those stickers each had a section of a larger photo. Once you assembled them, they made a photo of a movie monster. On the back of the cards, were jokes and rhymes.
Creature Feature - The Mummy

Which card , even now, has a hold on me and is one of many influences on my writing as the Man of a Thousand Bad Monster Jokes? Any guesses? How about you, the freaky thing lurking in the corner? Ok, I’ll let the black cat out of the bag. It’s number 79. It Came From Outer Space.
Creature Feature - It Came From Outer Space

I’m not a huge fan of the alien on the front, but the rhyme on the back still has me! I can recite it without looking , even now.

“A thought inside my cranium.
This prophecy that I make-
If a monster eats uranium.
He’ll get atomic ache.”

It’s weirdly wonderful and I thought, if I were ever to write a poem, I’d try to write something like that. I understood the mix of monsters and humor from Mad Magazine and Famous Monsters and these cards, but I didn’t have the writing bug or the mechanics of it. Not a lot of eleven year old boys did. Little did I know that I’d have a writing assignment for school that year, that required poetry.
Creature Feature

I chose a limerick for my style and I had card number 79 as my guide or template. I tried to fuse the words with the imagery and I didn’t have it. I wrote the card’s rhyme on a sheet of paper and left it in my desk. I was out sick for a few days and when I got back, the paper was gone. I thought I had to makeup the work, as my limerick was nowhere near complete. But, nothing was said until a month or two later. I was told that my poem was selected for a school anthology of poetry. I was a little confused because I couldn’t recall what I submitted. When I saw what was in my copy of the anthology, I wanted to barf! It was the contents of my sheet of paper- the copied limerick from the card!

When I got home, I tried to explain what happened to my parents and maybe I was so intimidated by them that it didn’t come out right, maybe it would, but it didn’t. They thought I willfully turned in that paper. I got so verbally chastised that I felt like a monster, myself! Oh, I was told that as a plagiarizer,(yeah they jumped that far) I could go to juvenile hall or get fined by the government. Add to that, they let it be known that I couldn’t have possibly come up something so well done as that! My eleven year old brain, writing and vocabulary were simply that of a filthy chimpanzee. Well, that was a fun month. I knew that one day, I would write something of equal value. Ok, it took awhile, but I think I have. In fact, one of my books, “Ha-Ha! Horror,” won an award for humor. A gold medal.

My next book, “Bride of Ha-Ha! Horror,” was nominated for a Rondo Classic Horror award. I’m working on the upcoming book, “Son of Ha-Ha! Horror.” Each book has over 500 Bad Monster Jokes, rhymes, cartoons, song parody lyrics, etc.

Rhymes and jokes like…

Why was Wolfman mad at his health care provider?

They won’t pay for his FLEA DIPS!

What’s the Phantom of the Opera’s favorite coffee drink?

“La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-LATTE!”

It’s raining, it’s pouring.

The old Vampire Bat is soaring,

Across the lake to flee the stakes,

That Van Helsing is carving and scoring.

After all of that, do I love or loathe the Creature Feature cards? LOVE! It’s the only answer. The cards are a form of monster fun and entertainment as well as a reminder of what it’s like to see a path and follow it, no matter how long it takes . To get there and take those steps. Knowing in your heart, that you have what it takes to do it.

If you’re interested in hunting down these cards, they are relatively easy to find, not too expensive. They are a blast! If you need a note from your stepmother for cigarettes, you’re on your own.

Re-Animator

Fright-Rags Gives Life To Re-Animator Trading Cards

When it comes to 1985’s Re-Animator I can say humbly that I am a fanatic. Not only did it plant the seed that would make me a lifelong fan of H.P. Lovecraft. But it also happened to be one of my first two video rentals back in the day. Furthermore Re-Animator is easily one of my favorite horror films of all time.

Read: One of My Very First Posts Was a Review of Re-Animator

There is a lot to love about Re-Animator. From Stuart Gordon’s excellent directing to the gruesome practical gore effects that abound. I would have to say though in addition to all of that what truly elevates this film to classic status is the cast. From the likes of Barbara Crampton, Bruce Abbott, David Gale, and Robert Sampson. Each and every one shine brightly in their role but it is however Jeffrey Combs as the disturbed Herbert West that steals the show.

Re-Animator certainly earned it’s cult movie status and has through the years managed to grow beyond that. So much so that Stuart Gordon in 2011 was able to stage the very well received Re-Animator: The Musical.

Read: My Interview With Stuart Gordon And Members of the Cast of Re-Animator: The Musical

One thing that was lacking for us fans of Re-Animator back in 1985 was merchandise. While there was of course many magazines like Fangoria placing the movie on their covers – the offerings were slim. Thankfully there are more than a few companies over the past years that have decided to fix that mistake.

Read: Your Broken Toys Should Beware Monstarz’s “Re-Animator” Retro Action Figure!

Fright-Rags is another prime example. Having already offered fans of Re-Animator clothing items like socks and T-Shirts – they are now releasing trading cards and stickers!
Re-Animator

Not only that, friends. But beyond the the 60 base card, there will be an additional 23 chase cards. As well as an autographed card by none other than Barbara Crampton plus sketch cards by:

  • Brent Engstrom
  • Casey Booth
  • Christopher Franchi
  • Dan Curto
  • Jeff Zornow
  • Matt Tobin
  • Matthew Skiff
  • Nathan Milliner
  • Scarecrowoven

So hop on over to Fright-Rags and pre-order yourself these amazing cards. Heck, if you are feeling generous you might even remember your friends in the Retroist Vault when ordering.

1988’s Baseball’s Greatest Gross Outs Trading Cards

Just last week while dropping in at the arcade to hang out with good friend to the Retroist, Phillip Cary, he surprised me with an awesome gift. An unopened pack of 1988 Baseball’s Greatest Gross Outs by Leaf that he had won at a recent auction for retro memorabilia.
Baseball's Greatest Gross Outs 2
So of course I had to open them. Thanks to Shawn Robare’s Branded in the 80s site I was able to learn that Inkpot Award winner B.K. Taylor was the illustrator for these groovy and gross pack of baseball stickers.

Now once I broke the seal on the pack the first thing that popped into my head was that by all means I wasn’t going to be enjoying this stick of 28 year old gum. Nope. Straight in the trash it went!
Baseball's Greatest Gross Outs - Stick of Gum
Right away I realized that on the back of some of the stickers – the card stock presented part of a poster image and thanks to Shawn I was shocked to learn that I would need 36 of the 88 sticker set to complete that poster.
Baseball's Greatest Gross Outs - Gary Back
While the backing of some of the other cards presented frightful facts about the players themselves like these two for Laidback Larry and Skinny Vinny!
Baseball's Greatest Gross Outs - Laidback Larry
Baseball's Greatest Gross Outs - Laidback Larry Back
Baseball's Greatest Gross Outs - Skinny Vinny
Baseball's Greatest Gross Outs - Skinny Vinny Back
Now most of these cards present a humorous look at the monsters…but there was one…and I can’t explain why but it really creeped me out. I present to you Cardinal Carl. Who might be waiting in the dark of your closet when you turn your back!
Baseball's Greatest Gross Outs - Cardinal Carl
Here are the rest of the cards in the pack for your enjoyment:


So now I am going to have to head to eBay and try to find a complete collection of Baseball’s Greatest Gross Outs!

Branded in the 80’s Jem Trading Cards Are Truly Outrageous!

Shawn Robare of Branded in the 80s has once again taken a good hard look at the many cards that were made available to those of us that grew up in the 1980’s and come to the realization that Topps and others missed a toy and animated series ripe for trading cards that would have been truly outrageous!

All images courtesy of Branded in the 80s.

All images courtesy of Branded in the 80s.

Thankfully Shawn went about and fixed that mistake for himself, and even with the series that Shawn has already created and co-created like Adventures in Babysitting, Monster Squad, Rad, Young Guns and Young Guns II…I think these are his best yet, as usual it presents the cards in a style that look like he did in fact travel back in time to pick up a few packs. I have to add that it’s very shocking to me that with Jem’s popularity back in the day that Hasbro didn’t actually produce such a series.

All images courtesy of Branded in the 80s.

All images courtesy of Branded in the 80s.

Make sure to jump on over to Branded in the 80s to check out the entire series, tell them that Synergry sent you!

All images courtesy of Branded in the 80s.

All images courtesy of Branded in the 80s.

Cocoa Puffs Cereal with Battlestar Galactica Create a Scene Cards

To help promote the exciting sci-fi TV show Battlestar Galactica General Mills released a set of collectible cards that you got free in packages. The set was a whopping 16 pieces, which was pretty large for a cereal and they ranged in size and “use”. They had standard cards, stickers, cut-outs and very cool “create-a-scene” cards.

We had some of these cards, but our family habit was to use anything we got out of a cereal box and if it involved stickers we were allowed to stick it on the basement door. So the entire side of the door that faced the basement was plastered with stickers from the seventies and eighties and none of them made it into a box or album to be collected.

This commercial for Cocoa Puffs features the coolest of the cards, the create-a-scenes. I have attempted to put together a collection of these cards as an adult, but have failed to score any of them at reasonable prices.