Sunday, September 27, 2020

More 1974 All-Star Custom Cards

As I finished putting together the Wolverine/Thor 1974 all-star custom card last year, I had a thought: That template could produce an almost endless amount of combinations. Right then and there I jotted down some potential ideas and set them aside for another time. It's been quite a while, but I've been on a creative streak lately, so I decided to sit down and get to it.

Since the original card was from the 1970s, I thought it would only be fitting if I kept the content in
that decade (or close to it). For this batch, I'm also staying with the entertainment theme.

First up, another two superheroes. This time they represent TV shows.

Wonder Woman aired from 1975 to 1979, while The Incredible Hulk ran from 1978 to 1982. That means for at least two years (not including reruns) you could have probably watched both shows each week in prime time. Talk about cloud nine if you were a superhero-loving kid!

Next, another fun show where good guys foiled bad guys.

CHiPs aired from 1977 through 1983. I must have caught the very tail end of their run, because in my early days (i.e., bicycle with training wheels) I remember having a plastic CHiPs helmet, complete with a tinted plastic visor that you could flip down.

This next show is one I remember my mom watching.

Laverne & Shirley ran from 1976 to 1983. I'm not sure I've ever watched a full episode, but the opening theme that shows both characters at the brewery is so iconic that I wanted to make a card.

Now here's a show where you might consider all of the characters to be all-stars. (Even though they're not human characters.)

The Muppet Show ran from 1976 through 1981, although reruns must have aired for years afterward because I definitely watched the show as a little tyke in the mid-1980s. I really could have chosen just about any character from the show—Kermit the Frog, Gonzo, Fozzie Bear, Animal, The Swedish Chef, the list goes on and on. But for this card I went with Beaker, skittish lab assistant to Bunsen Honeydew, and First Mate Piggy from the "Pigs in Space" series. (PIIIGS INNN SPAAAAACE!)

And talk about shows where all of the characters were all-stars...

Taxi ran from 1978 to 1983, and starred Judd Hirsch, Danny DeVito, Tony Danza, Andy Kaufman, Christopher Lloyd, Jeff Conaway, and Marilu Henner. Similar to the Muppets card, I could have made a great custom with any of these actors, but chose Marilu and Tony for this one. Great theme song, too.

Finally, on the subject of theme songs, here's a TV show that contains one of my favorite theme songs of all time.

The Odd Couple ran from 1970 to 1975. Have you ever thought about whether you were more of an "Oscar" or a "Felix"? They're both pretty far toward their respective ends of the spectrum, but if we're honest, we've all probably had some Oscar moments and some Felix moments in our lives.

One more note about theme songs: You'll see that I listed each show's title with a clickable link. Those links will take you to the respective theme songs/intros on YouTube. I encourage you to take a few minutes to watch them, because they're all such classics and they define the era so well. Here's one from The Odd Couple to whet your appetite:

I think I'll allow the backdrop of Manhattan skyscrapers and historic hi-rises in that closing scene to wrap up this post. Wow.

Thanks for reading, everyone.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

The 1982-83 O-Pee-Chee Dating Game (Episode 12)

Welcome back to The 1982-83 O-Pee-Chee Dating Game, where we'll randomly select three eligible bachelors from the set and you, the reader, will choose which one wins that date with a special lady. How do we know they're bachelors? Why, it says so right on the back of their hockey cards, that's how!

Previous episodes are available here.

The clear winner of episode 11 was Mark Pavelich.

Now let's start the 12th round and introduce the bachelors chosen by the randomizer! [APPLAUSE]

Bachelor number 1: Center from the Boston Bruins, Barry Pederson
Bachelor number 2: Left wing from the Detroit Red Wings, Paul Woods
Bachelor number 3: Goalie from the New York Rangers, Ed Mio

Folks, I'm looking back through our episode list to confirm. . . and yes, we've got our first goaltender on the show! Give Eddie Mio another nice round of applause, please. [APPLAUSE]

Now, let's learn more about all three of our bachelors from the back of their cards.

Who intrigues you the most, studio audience?

Bachelor number 1: Golfer and former Victoria Cougar, Barry Pederson.

Bachelor number 2: Landscaping business owner, Paul Woods.

Bachelor number 3: Four-year college man, newly arrived in New York City from Edmonton, Ed Mio.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Dude (Looks Like a Custom Card)

Today's entry has some Hall of Fame connections.

The man on the original card is the son of a baseball Hall-of-Famer.

The man on the custom card is a well-known rock & roll Hall-of-Famer.

Here's the original:

1959 Topps #384, Dave Sisler

Now add some long brown hair and distinct American rock vocals. Any idea who the look-alike is?

Here are some hints:

If he were an umpire, after calling ball four he might point to first base and tell the batter to Walk this Way.

If he were a pitcher who threw a no-hitter, he might say the victory filled him with Sweet Emotion.

Instead of baseball cards in the attic, he might say he's got Toys in the Attic.

Enough hints? Okay, here's the custom:

The eyeglasses are not Steven Tyler originals. I borrowed a pair from Dave Sisler to complete the look.

Details for the rest of the card: I listed Mr. Tyler's position as "vocals-harmonica" with a hyphen, which helps give a wink back to some of the original 1959 cards that listed multiple fielding positions. The team name switched from Red Sox to Aerosmith, of course, and I swapped out the Red Sox mascot for an Aerosmith logo, color and outline to match. I also found an example of Mr. Tyler's autograph online and added it in place of Mr. Sisler's.

Speaking of Mr. Sisler, he had a pretty good pitching career across seven years and four teams. (Pretty bright guy too, going to Princeton on an academic scholarship while playing on the baseball and basketball teams.)

Career numbers as a starter and reliever?

38-44, 4.33 ERA, 12 CG, 1 SHO, 28 SV, 355 SO

And his Hall-of-Fame father? None other than George Sisler.

As for Steven Tyler and Aerosmith, what can I say? I was a big fan back in my pre-teen and teenage days. In fact, Permanent Vacation was the first album audio cassette I ever owned.

Overall, I prefer the raw, hungry, 1970s version of Aerosmith above all other vintages. (Although the album Pump, released toward the tail end of 1989, was a really good one too.)

But even with all that said, I couldn't leave this custom card on its own.


Because you can't mention Steven Tyler without mentioning the other front man in the band, guitarist Joe Perry.

And because the multi-player cards in the 1959 set provide a perfect template, it was only natural to create this card:

When you consider the alliteration that's present in some of those 1959 multi-player cards, such as Cubs' Clubbers, Keystone Combo, and Batter Bafflers, you'll see that "Toxic Twins" works just perfectly.

And similar to the Kel Mitchell-Kenan Thompson combination card I did a few months ago, I think I like this Toxic Twins custom even a little better than the Steven Tyler custom up top.

So that's that. Another fun project completed. And now I'm going to wrap it up with one of my favorite Aerosmith tunes, fittingly titled Combination:

Any Aerosmith fans out there? Favorite song? Favorite album? Share in the comment section.

Thanks for reading, as always.

Sunday, September 6, 2020

From the Favorites Box: Colts Leaders, 1986 Topps #314

There's a lot going on here:

1986 Topps #314, Colts Leaders (Rohn Stark)

Consider the various examples of disorder and oddity.

(1) On the left, number 98 of the Patriots has been spun around in the wrong direction, we can assume during an attempt to reach up and deflect the punt. On the right, number 50 of the Colts is positioned a little bit better, heading downfield, but not exactly in the direction of the punt. The action resembles a scene from one of those vintage electronic football game tables where the figurines get vibrated all over the place.

(2) What's up with the dudes standing off the field in the background? One of them, toward the right of the frame, is shirtless. Another, just left of center, might be a security figure of some kind with blue shirt and hand on hip. In front of said security figure appears to be a folding lawn chair. And it seems like only the thinnest strand of rope is separating them all from the field.

(3) Look at the bleachers above the dudes. Aside from three fans hunched over on the left (and maybe a camera man?), the section is completely empty. And they're bleachers. Not individual seats. Seems odd for an NFL stadium.

But among all the discombobulation, there's punter Rohn Stark. Captured in the moment. Exhibiting perfect form.

Look at his eyes. They're focused on the flight of the football. He wants to make sure he's struck it well and aimed it true. And if that beautiful picture doesn't tell you enough, the caption on the bottom left—black text framed in a bright white box—tells you all you need to know:


You can almost hear the sound of his foot striking the ball, can't you?

Look at that security figure in the background of the original card again. I think maybe he heard the sound too, and it was so sweet and pure and solid that he had to turn around and look.

What a moment to capture on cardboard.

And consider that life as a punter can't be easy. You're only called into the game for a few seconds at a time. And in those few seconds you've got to somehow catch the long snap and have absolute focus while 275-pound monsters are pushing ever closer toward you with the sole intent of stretching their arms out and smothering the ball as it leaves your foot.

For this punt, it looks like Stark found those few seconds of clarity.

It also seems like he found that clarity throughout his career. The four-time Pro Bowl member led the league in total punting yards in 1983 (4,124), and more impressively led the league in yards per punt in 1983 (45.3), 1985 (45.9), and 1986 (45.2). He finished second in 1982 and 1984.

And for one of those momentspure clarity and concentration amidst such chaos—1986 Topps Football #314 has a place in my box of favorites.