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.

Topps Candy Arcade Games

Topps Candy Arcade Games

I found myself browsing the Toy Archive website recently and I happened upon these wonderful Topps Candy Arcade Games, released in the mid 80’s.

Donkey Kong and Zaxxon are both great games and I would have loved these cardboard replicas as a child! Obviously I needed to know more, and the internet served me well, delivering me to the CollectingCandy.com website which updated the list of released games to six, adding Q*Bert, Frogger, Centipede and Donkey Kong Jr. to the mix.

Topps Candy Arcade Games

I’m sure the “multi-colored coated bubble gum” was a good reason to buy at the time but for me it would have been the “graphics on each box [with] characters right off the video screen”!

wacky packages

The Wacky Packages Web Page

For those who grew up in the last 30 years, you might have had your own collection or at least knew someone who was obsessed with collecting Wacky Packages. Wacky Packages were a set of sticker, with humorously named and illustrated spoofs of familiar products. For example the sticker would be of an obvious Pepsi Bottle, but instead of saying Pepsi on it, it would say Burpsi. To a kid, and me currently, this was brilliant, and the stickers sold well, especially in the 1970s.

My family loved them. My sisters, who are a couple of years older then me, bought the stickers and would actually stick them on the door leading to our basement. How they got permissions to deface the door with them still escapes me, but I am happy they did. Because I would crouch down in front of that door cracking up at the silliness of the stickers.

I bought a few sticker packs at the store a few weeks ago (yes you can still get them) and it got me interested in learning more about Wacky Packages. A quick search and I hit upon The Wacky Packages Web Page. Its an amazingly thorough archive of all things Wacky that, if you are interested in learning about or collecting Wacky Packages, will more then get you started. So get started on your Wacky Packages Education today at: The Wacky Packages Web Page.

wacky packages

Garbage Pail Kids Book

A fan of ANESthetized thinks I can do more with it, and as proof he sent me an article about the new Garbage Pail Kids book that was released April 1. I’m not sure about doing more with ANESthetized, but I was happy to learn about the book. All 206 of the Garbage Pail Kids in one place? And there’s even a Kindle version? I’ve got to have it.

You can pick up a copy at Amazon (though they were having issues at the time of this writing). And it looks like there are Wacky Packages< books, too!

Topps American Pie Cards

Most of us know Topps for their baseball and football cards. Okay, maybe most of us here at Retroist.com know them for Garbage Pail Kids and Wacky Packages, but we know them. Recently, I discovered some Topps cards that are right up our retro alley: Topps American Pie Cards.

The American Pie Cards cover the past couple decades of American life. There are 200 base cards showing the people and events of these decades. These base cards start with the end of WWII and end with Hurricane Irene. There are 50 Hollywood Walk of Fame cards with images of Fred Astair, Errol Flynn, and the like, and 38 autograph cards featuring the signatures of such luminaries as Don McClean, Tia Carrere and Tom Arnold. And most interestingly of all, there are 30 Fads and Fashions cards. This last category covers these crazes of the past several years:

POGS
Pet Rocks
Slap Bracelets
Trucker Hats
Hula Hoops
Coonskin Caps
Poodle Skirts
3D Movies
Rickie Tickie Stickers
Troll Dolls
Lava Lamps
Go-Go Boots
Mood Rings
Hypercolor T-Shirts
Big Hair
Baby On Board
Friendship Bracelets
The Macarena
Bleached Hair
Beanie Babies
Tickle Me Elmo
Texas Hold ’em
The Atkins Diet
Livestrong Wristbands
Flagpole Sitting
Goldfish Swallowing
Kilroy Was Here
Superballs
Telephone Booth Stuffing
Zoot Suits

Not only do these Fads and Fashions cards cover some great territory, but they have a great design as well:

To be honest, I haven’t collected cards since middle school, but if I did, I’d collect these. Okay, I’d collect Garbage Pail Kids, but these would be next!