Tag Archives: 1970s

Classic Monster Trading Cards: Topps Creature Feature

You’ll Die Laughing With These Glorious Bubble Gum Cards

TOPPS Creature Feature Trading Card Deck

By now, most of you readers know I am a 1970s Monster Kid.  While Monster Mania was to end by the end of that decade, the early 70s was still a wonderland of phantasmagoric merchandise.  By 1973, I was 7 years old, well on my way to Monster Kid-dom,  and one of my favorite places in the world was the local Get-n-Go convenience store.  The comic book spinner rack was a treasure trove of excitement, the latest issue of Famous Monsters was usually on the magazine stand and then there were the bubble gum cards!   

From Wacky Stickers, to Planet of the Apes and eventually to Star Wars,  bubble gum cards held me in rapture for a decade, and in many ways they still do.   The height of that rapture was Topps Creature Feature cards.  It was like Famous Monsters with bubble gum! Each package a mystery with cards featuring pun-filled jokes and marvelous movie still from movies I had yet to see!

Topps Creature Feature Trading Cards

Released in 1973, Topps Creature Feature cards featured licensed black and white movie stills from the classic Universal Studios and American International Studios. 

Series 1 included cards 1-64:

                               Card #34:   Topps Creature Feature Card #34 1st Series   Topps Creature Feature Card Back #34 First Series   Series 2 includes cards #65-128

                                Card #66: Topps Creature Feature Card 2nd Series #66 Mole People                                 Back:Topps Creature Feature 2nd Series #66 Card Back                               Card #78:Topps Creature Feature Series 2 #78

Topps Creature Feature Card #78 2nd Series

The back of the cards used the same “You’ll Die Laughing” headline and purple illustrated border as the original 1959 Funny Monsters cards and included a marginally funny monster joke.

Because of this, all three Topps card sets, from 1959 to 1980, are often referred to as You’ll Die Laughing cards.  That title most appropriately refers to the 1959 Topps Funny Monsters cards which  featured illustrations of monsters rather than licensed movie stills.  Not only did Topps use the same headline and border in all three series, they used the same corny jokes in both 1973 and 1980 series as had originally run in 1959!

We’ll cover those wonderful Funny Monsters 1959 cards in a future article.

Topps Reissued Creature Feature in 1980

Largely a reissue of the 1973 Topps You’ll Die Laughing set with many of the same images and captions, about 33% of the 1980 cards were new images, but the primary difference is the wrapping:

1980 Topps Trading Cards Creature Features PackagingAs well as the addition of color borders to the 88-card set, which is helpful determine the set these cards belong to:

1980 Topps Creature Feature trading cards

1980 Topps Creature Feature sets included one of 22 stickers in each package  Labeled “The Monster Hall of Fame,” these  stickers are quite inexpensive and easy to track down.

Topps 1980 Creature Feature Sticker Mr Hyde

Topps Creature Features Monster Hall of Fame Stickers 1980

Base sets are affordable as well.  For collectors on a budget, the 1980 cards are a less expensive place to start collecting.

Collecting Monster Trading Cards

Creature Feature cards from 1973 and 1980 series are quite easy to find both as single cards and in lots.  It may take a bit if effort to piece together the entire series as lots often are incomplete.  But with time and diligence, assembling a full series is very doable.

Single cards usually range from $1 -$2 and sets are usually in the same per-card price range times the number of cards included in the lot.  It is common to find complete display boxes for the 1980 series, though much less common to find 1973 sealed display boxes.

Interestingly, many of the original 1973 proofs are currently listed on eBay for fixed price of $320 each.  It’s a really unique collectible, but it would obviously be quite an investment to piece together a large collection of these

Here’s an example:

Topps Creature Feature #4 Proof

Certificate of Authentic Topps Creature Feature Proof

Worth taking a look, and a really unique monster collectible for the right collector!  Click here to see all the Topps Creature Feature cards currently listed on eBay

Monster Card Collecting Resources

More more in-depth information about Topp’s Creature Feature Trading Cards and collecting trading cards in general, I highly recommend these resources:

Did you collect these cards in your Monster youth? Do you still? Share your memories – and your collections – with us!

Classic Movie Posters – The Land That Time Forgot

Classic Movie Poster Gallery

land-that-time-forgot-1974-001-posterThe Land That Time Forgot (Amicus, 1975)     U.K. Quad 30″ x 40″

I saw this movie at the theater when I was 9 years old.  Plain and simple – it had everything I could ask for.  I loved Tarzan, dinosaurs, cavemen, submarines….this movie had it all.  One of the last pulp fantasy-adventure films before Star Wars changed everything, The Land That Time Forgot remains indelibly printed in my memory as one of the great movies of my childhood.

This is the British quad poster for the film, and while it isn’t the same one my 9 year-old self fell in love with in the mid-70s, today it is my favorite  poster for the film.  The day-glow title letters really does it for me and ties the poster together visually by matching the vibrant orange of the exploding volcano.  The utter ridiculousness of the submerged T-Rex battling the German U-Boat (spoiler alert:  NOT in the film) adds to the overall camp and the utter joy I feel when looking at this poster.

The art, by the great Tom Chantrell, is simply magnificent — click on the images below to take a closer look:

TheLandThatTimeForgot_quad_UK-9-500x375

TheLandThatTimeForgot_quad_UK-13-500x330

TheLandThatTimeForgot_quad_UK-15-500x458

TheLandThatTimeForgot_quad_UK-17-500x385


Here’s a terrific overview of Chantrell’s career and impact from BFI.uk.org:

Celebrated poster designer Tom Chantrell, whose prolific career took in everything from Brighton Rock (1947) to Star Wars (1977), also worked for both production houses. For a while Chantrell was ‘house artist’ at Hammer, bringing a ghoulish relish to the campaigns for everything the studio put out between The Nanny (1965) and Taste the Blood of Dracula (1969).

This iconic image for the 1966 prehistoric adventure One Million Years B.C. is typical of Chantrell’s partiality for bold lettering and what film poster scholar Sim Branaghan calls “a riot of brilliantly deployed colour across epic, wonderfully composed canvases.”

Chantrell was the man that Amicus would call on when it embarked on its own series of ancient-world fantasies, derived from the novels of Edgar Rice Burroughs. Each starring Doug McClure and directed by Kevin Connor, this sequence began with 1975’s The Land That Time Forgot, the First World War story of survivors from a torpedoed ship coming across a lost continent where dinosaurs still roam. Chantrell’s action-packed poster enticingly contrasts a German U-boat with exciting primordial drama, while the brash red of the title font is matched to the florid lava of an erupting volcano.

With changing fashion and the rise of computer-aided graphic design in the early 80s, the illustrative craft of designers like Tom Chantrell would soon be a thing of the past. So these eye-catching Amicus posters represent some of the final glories of a lost art.

Courtesy of BFI.org

Synopsis:

The Land That Time Forgot starts with the torpedoing of a passenger ship by a German U-boat crew. The few remaining survivors, including Bowen Tyler (McClure) and Lisa Clayton (Penhaligon), manage to overcome the U-boat’s crew when it surfaces and they force the captain to pilot the craft back to allied waters. The crew decide to sabotage their plans and the craft ends up completely lost in unknown waters. They happen across a strange island and find an underwater cave through which they pilot the U-boat. When they surface in the islands interior they are immediately set upon by a dinosaur-like creature that eats one of the crew before Tyler manages to decapitate it. The crew then venture through the strange land and come across more giant beasts and a tribe of primitive cavemen before discovering oil, which they hope will allow them to escape back to civilisation.

Here’s the film trailer for your viewing pleasure:

Poster Value

High-grade copies of this poster are usually priced in the $500 range.  The combination of Tom Chantrell‘s gorgeous art for a Edgar Rice Burrough’s dinosaur vs submarine adventure movie make this a poster that will continue to be desirable for collectors and genre fans for a long, long time.

I found current listings on eBay UK ranging in price from with a Near Mint copy priced at $545.

Grade A copy of this quad poster is offered for 275GBP ($429 U.S.) at Frontrowposters

Tom Chantrell’s estate has partnered with BFI to offer original posters from his collection through their website ChantrellPosters.com – the quad isn’t available but high quality UK double-crown poster (20″x 30″) is listed for 145GBP ($226 U.S.)

Summary

What can I say; this film does it for me.  It was a perfect stew of everything I loved as a nine-year-old and the affection I have for it hasn’t lessened over the years. While it’s effects weren’t high quality even for the time period, with rubber dinosaurs and amateurish cave man makeup, the story was great fun and packed with thrills.  It’s pure, unadulterated camp and I love every second of it.