Back in the 70’s and 80’s, there seemed to be a set of trading cards for every mildly successful TV show and movie. Even the cringeworthy Mork & Mindy had trading cards. Each pack usually included ten cards and a cracked piece of petrified chewing gum, which mostly served to make the cards smell good. No kid is his right mind dared to chew it.
Looking at these things for the first time in years is hilarious, the registration was guaranteed to be way off on every card, you could play connect the dots with the halftone patterns, and the cards weren’t trimmed straight. But that’s what makes them so awesome. All these imperfections added up to whole pile of personality in every card. You can’t find that today, everything is printed so perfectly that there isn’t any discernible difference from card to card. I can remember getting doubles or triples of the same cards back then, but each one was printed differently. Each one had it’s own unique quirks…loved that stuff.
Primarily for me, the E.T. and The Empire Strikes Back cards were what I was most into back then. I posted a collection of ‘Empire’ cards over on Swivelarms, give them a look if you’re interested in some Hoth-sized adventure.
Looking back now, I realize there were so many good sets of cards ( the Superman the Movie and Star Trek the Motion Picture cards were truly wicked ) that I wish I had collected more of them. At the same time, however, I’m glad that I can discover them now as if they were new thanks to Flickr users who upload gobs of this stuff.
Nothing can quite compare to the rush of excitement I got as a kid seeing this stuff for the first time, but it’s important to me as a creative person to remember how that feels, and to try to find ways to experience it still.