Sunday, April 26, 2020

Neal and Nickelodeon

Today's custom card was inspired by a pro who played multiple positions for the same team, and features a young actor who played multiple characters on the same show.

First, here's the original card:



1959 Topps #427, Charlie Neal


And here are some hints for the look-alike:

He was a cast member of a well-loved sketch comedy series on Nickelodeon back in the 1990s.

The characters he portrayed were usually a little wacky in one way or another.

He and another character from that show would spin off a show of their own. Plus a movie.

And this next hint is going to give it away for some of you, but...

WELCOME TO GOOD BURGER, HOME OF THE GOOD BURGER, CAN I TAKE YOUR ORDER?

Okay, here's the custom:




I deliberated for a while on how to style the text on this custom. Should I go with the actor's full name on the top, Kel Mitchell, or his character's name from Good Burger, "Ed"? And if I went with Ed, would adding Mitchell's facsimile signature be inaccurate? Would it be better to leave it without a signature? (On that note, I wonder what Ed's signature would look like.)

Well, I tried placing the name "ed" at the top of the card, but it was just a little too odd-looking all by itself. And I figured adding the facsimile signature would be a respectful nod to the original card. So I went with Kel Mitchell as the player name and signature, with the team name as "Good Burger" and the position name to match the character he's portraying in the photo: "Ed the cashier".

Now let's talk about the ballplayer who inspired the custom card.

In eight total MLB seasons Charlie Neal collected 858 hits, including 113 doubles, 38 triples, and 87 home runs. He tallied 391 RBI and posted a .259 lifetime batting average. 

His best season came in 1959, when he put up a .287 batting average on 177 hits, including 11 triples, tying for most in the majors with Dodger teammate Wally Moon. He also led the majors in sacrifice bunts with a whopping 21. Best of all, though, he earned a World Series ring. And he really did earn it, going 10-for-27 (.370 avg) with 2 doubles, 2 home runs, and 6 RBI in 6 games played.

And what a season, as he'd also be named an All-Star and take home the Gold Glove Award for N.L. second basemen.

Interesting note from later in his career: After the 1961 season he was traded to the New York Mets, and he'd appear in the starting lineup for their first-ever game. He went 3-for-4, driving home the first run in team history.

And what about Kel Mitchell?

That sketch comedy show mentioned at the top was, of course, All That. It featured Kel Mitchell, Kenan Thompson, and a bunch of other wacky kids who'd go on to have successful acting careers. Then came Kenan & Kel and the Good Burger movie. On top of that, Kel's had a long, successful, and varied acting career, even playing the voice of a canine character named T-Bone on the animated show Clifford the Big Red Dog.

As for Kenan Thompson, you might know him best from Saturday Night Live, but he's had an equally varied and busy acting career. And to tie it back to sports, in the second and third Mighty Ducks films, a young Kenan played the character Russ Tyler (you'll know him best as the creator of the "knuckle puck").

Since Kenan also played a big role in Good Burger along with Kel, and because the two are still good friends to this day, I thought about doing a custom Good Burger card for Kenan as well. But I think I might wait to see if I can find a ballplayer look-alike for him. 

Besides, I thought of something even better. 

The 1959 Topps set contains some of the greatest multi-player cards ever made. "Hitting Kings" Ashburn and Mays, "Fence Busters" Aaron and Mathews, "Keystone Combo" Fox and Aparicio. And since Kel Mitchell's custom card is already based on the 1959 set, what better opportunity to get the two dudes on a card together?

Here's the second custom:




I used the Fox-Aparico "Keystone Combo" card as a base, and found a similar font for the text. I really like the way this one turned out—maybe even more than the Ed custom above.

Finally, here's a compilation of skits from All That. The "Okrah" bit that starts at the 1:38 mark shows Keenan and Kel at their goofy best.




Any fans of All That out there? Do you have a favorite character or skit? Share in the comment section. And thanks for reading, as always.

16 comments:

  1. These are awesome! If you printed these I would definitely be interested! Kel and Keenan made All That. the newer version is not great despite the Good Burger bit which I have always enjoyed. Just watched the movie again in the last couple of months.

    By the way, it's best to keep the card listed at Ed and not his real name :)

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    1. Thanks, SCC! Maybe I'll imitate the big guys and create an "Ed" variation/short print ;-)

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    2. Is the email address that's linked on your blogger profile still active?

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  2. They were great! I loved Good Burger. Have not seen it in a long time and I need to fix that!

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    1. Add it to your movie list! (Stay away from the Mondo burgers, though. Word is they might contain some weird chemicals.)

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  3. Very cool customs. I never watched the show, but I remember my students would always chant "welcome to good burger, home of the good burger, can I take your order? Pretty sure that was my first or second year of teaching.

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    1. Thanks Fuji! Seems like All That was quite the memorable show for its time. Your memories help confirm that.

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  4. Appreciate the Charlie Neal love! Never saw the show but Kenan Thompson is fantastic on SNL (I know that's not saying anything anybody doesn't know).

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    1. Thought you might, Night Owl! And you know, until I did the research for this post, I didn't realize that Kenan was in those Mighty Ducks films. Always something else to learn.

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  5. Once I read the post title and then saw the '59 Neal, I said to myself: "Man, he looks like Kel!" Would've never noticed that otherwise. "Good Burger" is one of the premier movies of my youth, and still one of my favorites -- I refer to big bad fast-food chains as "Mondo Burgers" to this day.

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    1. Nice work figuring out the look-alike, Nick! Based on your comments and some of the others, it sure seems like the Good Burger film has become a classic of its time.

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  6. I'm not at all familiar with Nickelodeon programming but how can I not like a card with the headline "best burger buds"? That's fabulous!

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    1. Thanks Julie! I think that headline makes a fun-looking card even more fun.

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    2. kinda made me want burgers too. i haven't had one yet this year. it may be time to cave...

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    3. Why not? Especially if it'll help out a local restaurant, right?

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