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‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’ trading cards

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A childhood passion for horror movies and Frankenstein and all things strange brought me to The Rocky Horror Show.

It all started in junior school during a family holiday to London in 1974. The usual tourist sights were fine, but I’d seen most of them before on a trip with my grandparents when I was seven. Now I was more thrilled by the buzz and noise and giant hoardings for theatrical productions and movies like Chinatown with its serpentine coils of smoke. It was such glorious advertising that first alerted me to The Rocky Horror Show.

On the side of one of those big red Routemaster buses going to Peckham or Camden or wherever, I first saw the ad for The Rocky Horror Show, featuring an androgynous woman (or was it a man?) with short hair and big hooped earrings, looked slightly askance at something just out of vision. Returning home to Scotland, I studied the weekend reviews for any more information. I soon learned this show was an award-winning musical by Richard O’Brien. It told the story of a transvestite Dr. Frank N. Furter played by Tim Curry and his plans to make a man. There was also some plot line about aliens from the transsexual planet Transylvania. It certainly sounded my kinda thing. I clipped and kept any article I chanced upon relating to Mr. Curry, or Mr. O’Brien, or The Rocky Horror Show.

One Sunday in 1975, the Observer Magazine featured a four-page color spread on the forthcoming movie version The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Under the headline “Something to Offend Everyone,” I read about Tim Curry’s upbringing as the son of a naval chaplain, his time as an actor at the Citizen’s theater in Glasgow, performing in drag for Lindsay Kemp‘s production of Jean Genet’s The Maids. Of Richard O’Brien’s time as a stuntman on Carry on Cowboy, and how he had written the musical one cold winter in an attic between acting jobs. The production started out Upstairs at the Royal Court Theater—famed for John Osborne’s Look Back in Anger and kitchen sink drama—before moving to the King’s Road, where it remained until 1979. The article described the film as making comic reference to Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein, 1950s American sci-fi movies, even Esther Williams’ movies, and that it was bound to upset quite a lot of people.

When The Rocky Horror Picture Show was released, the critics hated it. The public hated it, too. My high school buddies didn’t even know that it existed. Men in drag was not really the kinda thing to interest most boys my age who were mainly into soccer, Slade, and Monty Python. Anyway, we were still all too young to gain admittance to see the film as it had been given an “AA” certificate—which meant it was for those lucky kids over fourteen.

I eventually saw the film a few years later and was not disappointed. By then, I’d bought the album and worn out its cherished grooves. Still, no one I knew was even the slightest bit interested in this quirky, strange movie. Punk had arrived and Star Wars was out, and that was all that mattered.

But good art will always win out—eventually. And so it was with The Rocky Horror Picture Show when the devotion of a small group of New Yorkers made it the biggest cult musical of all time.

Over the years, I’ve picked up the occasional Rocky merchandise. Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show Scrapbook, the original cast album, the original movie poster, et cetera, et cetera, and of lastly but not necessarily least, an infuriatingly incomplete set of trading cards which you can drool over below.
 
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#1. Tim Curry as Frank N. Furter.
 
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#2. Richard O’Brien as Riff Raff.
 
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#3. Susan Sarandon as Janet Weiss.
 
More ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’ trading cards after the jump….

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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05.17.2017
10:49 am
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‘Grindhouse Girls’ of the 50s and 60s: An eye-popping set of sexy black & white trading cards
03.30.2017
11:06 am
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A trading card from the ‘Grindhouse Girls’ set put out by Rigomor Press in 1992.
 
This set of sexed-up trading cards featuring strippers and exotic performers from the 50s and 60s was put out in 1992 by Rigomor Press who also put out a few other controversial trading card sets such as Incredible True Life Murderers in 1991 and The World’s Most Hated People in 1992.

The Grindhouse Girls set contains images of well-known adult performers such as Blaze Starr and Maria Villa who performed her exotic act with a snake. The black and white images are a fantastic throw-back to when adult performers used pasties, big hair, and kooky gimmicks to sell their sex appeal. Best of all, like many other vintage trading card sets, when you flipped the cards over you could assemble a giant puzzle—but instead of scene from Charlie’s Angels, you get to put together a picture of “Goddess of the Jungle” Naja Karamuru who was considered to be Brazil’s answer to Jayne Mansfield. Karamuru was a superstar of the burlesque scene back in the 50s and 60s and like Maria Villa, she shared her stage with a number of snakes including two pythons and a cobra. I’ve included images of all twenty cards from the set which occasionally come up for sale on auction sites like eBay if you’re interested in acquiring one for yourself. Though there isn’t any real nudity, strippers and pasties generally equal NSFW.
 

 

 
More ‘Grindhouse Girls’ after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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03.30.2017
11:06 am
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The psychedelic beauty of The Beatles’ ‘Yellow Submarine’ trading cards

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I had four #3s, two #64s and a shitload of odds and evens in between but not enough to have a full house or anywhere near a complete run of Beatles’ Yellow Submarine trading cards. My brother was the real collector. I was just accessorizing. He was dedicated. I was too young. He almost had a whole set but was missing a #8, a #14 and two others which I now forget. No one else seemed to have these either which made the fun of collecting such fabulous, brightly colored cards seem ultimately pointless, like reading a murder mystery with the final chapter missing. My brother didn’t care whodunnit?—he just wanted to have something our father thought was “bad.” According to him, the Beatles were drug-addled, long-haired beatnik communists—he’d even heard they sang about wanting to be back in the U.S.S.R.

The Fab Four were not the kind of “heroes” the old man wanted us to admire. That kind of respect was meant for the likes of Don Bosco or Jean-Baptiste Vianney. I couldn’t see why we couldn’t have both? My brother never did get the full set. A year or two later, the old man, in one of his rages, ripped every one of these cards into itsy-bitsy pieces—just to let us know exactly what he thought about our “rock ‘n’ roll.” By then, it was Glam Rock and Heavy Metal. The Beatles were oldhat.

In 1968, Anglo released 66 Yellow Submarine trading cards. They were sold in a variety of four different packs—one for each of The Beatles. Today one of these cards can fetch a minimum of five bucks right up to a max. of around $250. A whole set won’t give you much change from $2,500 (£1,800). So, our old man was really ripping up the family inheritance all those years ago. And though he feared the influence of the free-living Beatles he had no clue what threat lurked in our predilection for Black Sabbath and Dennis Wheatley novels.

I never saw the film until a decade later when it cropped up on TV one long summer evening. It seemed overly arch. A film to be appreciated by an older in-the-know audience rather than little kids looking for a psychedelic sugar rush. Though I’ve tried to gather the whole 66 cards together, there are a still few missing—mainly the early numbers like #6, #8, #10 and #12. Thereafter, they just run in order to the end.
 
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More ‘Yellow Submarine’ trading cards, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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03.14.2017
08:31 am
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Full deck of awesome Japanese monster playing cards
12.15.2016
09:50 am
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1. Vampire Kyuradorosu.  2. Pollution monster Kashuasu.
 
File under: “things I wish I’d have known in school.”

This pack of Japanese playing cards features a selection of pachimon kaiju or “imitation monsters” lifted from various hit TV shows and movies. These monsters range from fire-breathing gorillas to flying creatures from outer space and giant electrocuting humanoids. The set was apparently manufactured as a promotional pack for kids by a Japanese brand of mayonnaise called Kewpie.

I’d have surely eaten my egg-mayo sandwiches without complaint if I’d been dealt a hand of these fun little beauties.
 
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3. Ice monster Gohoho.  4. Creature form outer space Altamegaro.
 
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5. Pesticide monster Deredoron.  6. Ancient dinosaur Tapikurosaurus.
 
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7. Elekipurosu—a giant electrocuting humanoid.  8. Meji—an extraterrestrial wolf who can fly.
 
See the whole monstrous deck, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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12.15.2016
09:50 am
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Monster Magic Action trading cards from the 1960s are crude, colorful masterpieces
09.27.2016
02:47 pm
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“The Magic Lens is the secret of its action!” With this sentence the Abby Finishing Corp. lured kids to purchase its amazing set of 24 lenticular monster trading cards in around 1963. For the most part, we think of the pop culture artifacts from that time as being pretty cheesy, but these cards are anything but, incorporating a bold use of color and crude, arresting compositions. I’d love to see one of these take up a full wall in my house!

The lens seems really simple, just a plastic rectangle really. The instructions were simple: “Place the magic Lens ROUGH SIDE UP on picture, and wiggle both together; or place Magic Lens ROUGH SIDE UP on picture, and slide Lens only.”

As the 3D Review online magazine asserted about these cards, “When using the Magic Action viewer, the cards would come to life showing a flying monster’s wings flapping or the tail of a giant lizard whipping up and down or people fleeing.”

You can buy a complete set for $95 on Amazon.
 

 

 
Much more after the jump…...

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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09.27.2016
02:47 pm
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Comedy of Terrors: Hammer Horror Trading Cards from 1976

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In 1976 Topps released a set of Shock Theatre trading cards that featuring gory stills from classic Hammer horror films. Each pack sold contained three cards and one stick of chewing gum. On the front cover was a cartoon of Christopher Lee as Dracula. A speech bubble from his blood-splattered mouth said “It sure doesn’t taste like tomato juice!” It set the tone for the cards inside.

Each card had a still from one of Hammer’s famous movies. For some reason there were more vampires than man-made monsters. The films featured were Dracula Has Risen for the Grave, Taste the Blood of Dracula, Dracula AD 1972, The Satanic Rites of Dracula and Frankenstein Must be Destroyed. The images were framed in red with a truly godawful joke across the bottom. There were fifty cards in total to collect. Though apparently there was no #47 and two #17s.

I remember when these came out—but was too busy spending my hard-earned pocket money on books, records and single cigarettes. I loved horror movies. I was a cheerleader for Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee. But I didn’t take to this particular series because of the dumbass quips plastered across each card. With that earnestness only a child can muster I thought the “jokes” demeaned the artistry of Hammer movies. Yeah, I know…

But now: I’m older. And know a little better. Enough to admit I should have bought them just for the money these babies fetch on the collectors’ market.

View the full set of Hammer Horror trading cards over at The Reprobabte.
 
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More gory Hammer horror trading cards, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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08.04.2016
09:03 am
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‘Twin Peaks,’ ‘Better Call Saul,’ ‘Mad Max,’ & more as ‘70s-style Topps trading card wrappers
03.09.2016
08:54 am
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Last Autumn, Minneapolis-based illustrator Zack Wallenfang began a series of Topps trading card/gum wrapper homages built around cult TV, films, and even a few bands. There’s very little to say about them except to admire how dead spot-on they are! The artist is similarly taciturn about himself, offering only “I like making things I feel should exist, like these faux vintage wax pack wrappers.” His about page is as cheeky as his work, but no more informative:

Zack is a graduate from the Minneapolis of College Art & Design with a Bachelor in Fine Arts. He enjoys making things and getting paid for it. You probably need him.

Wallenfang has an Etsy shop, but alas, these gum wrapper parodies aren’t among its offerings, at least not yet. I’d encourage you to peruse it nonetheless; despite his evident penchant for self-deprecation, he’s a very gifted caricaturist.
 

Just F everyone’s I—there actually was a set of Twin Peaks cards, when the show was still airing—not by Topps, but by Star Pics.


 

 
More after the jump (some really good ones, too)

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Posted by Ron Kretsch
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03.09.2016
08:54 am
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Punk rock trading cards from 1977
02.26.2016
12:09 pm
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Jonathan Richman
 
In 1977 a Dutch company called Monty put out a set of trading cards under the name “Punk: The New Wave.” Included in the set were punk-era stalwarts like the Dictators, Blondie, Elvis Costello, the Jam, the Sex Pistols, the Clash, and the New York Dolls; Dutch acts like Gruppo Sportivo and Normaal; and a handful of acts who clearly didn’t belong in any set of punk rock cards, like Dwight Twilley and KISS.

In a package you’d get six cards and a bright pink strip of gum. The packaging looked like this:
 

 
Unfortunately, there’s no place on the Internet (until now!) where a large number of these cards can be seen, so it was necessary to grab (almost invariably rather small) images from a few dozen individual auction pages. The quality of the images leaves something to be desired, so someone out there who might own this set—upload some better scans, please!
 

Blondie
 

The Clash
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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02.26.2016
12:09 pm
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Vintage bubblegum trading cards from Sweden featuring your favorite punk, rock and glam stars!
11.06.2015
09:11 am
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Swedish gum trading card of Mick Jagger, 1967
Swedish bubblegum trading card of Mick Jagger, 1967
 
Somewhere in a box in my attic I still have a collection of Topps trading cards that I used to collect (the 80s reboot of Creature Feature and the Charlie’s Angels packs were always my favorites). You’d chuck the nasty gum and go straight away to see if you got anything new, and kept your duplicates in a pile to trade. Those were good times.
 
Tina Turner vintage Swedish gum trading card, 1970s
Tina Turner
 
Slade Swedish vintage gum trading card, 1970s
Slade
 
As I’m often nostalgic for said good times, I was pretty excited when I came across these vintage bubblegum trading cards from, of all places, Sweden. What’s really cool about these cards is that they feature a few sweet images of musical idols from Sweden like Dutch glam-rockers Tears and of course, ABBA. If you’re into collecting these kinds of vintage artifacts (and I know many of you are), they are easily had via eBay. Tons of images follow.
 
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ABBA
 
Vintage Swedish gum trading card of
Early 70s London glam rocker, Lady Teresa Anna Von Arletowicz (aka “Bobbie McGee” and “Gladys Glitter”)
 
Thin Lizzy vintage Swedish gum trading card, 1970s
Thin Lizzy
 
Many more after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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11.06.2015
09:11 am
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Trading cards: Professions for women of the future imagined in 1902
09.18.2015
12:03 pm
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Firefighter

French artist Albert Bergeret’s collection of trading cards from 1902 titled “Women of the Future” tries to imagines women’s jobs and professions of the modern era. I’d imagine back then these were quite inspirational to young girls and women. However, I do find some of the wardrobe choices quite suspect. Especially the scantily clad military-themed ones. They seem to be more for the boys.


A member of a light-infantry corps in the French army
 

Military-fencing Master
 

Student
 

A doctor
 

A member of the Assemblée
 
More after the jump…
 

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Posted by Tara McGinley
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09.18.2015
12:03 pm
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The ultraviolent 1962 ‘Mars Attacks’ trading cards that inspired the Tim Burton movie


 
In 1962, an insanely violent trading card series called “Mars Attacks” was painted by the noted pulp novel cover artist Norman Saunders. In sequence, the cards depicted the invasion of Earth (a pretty obvious Cold War allegory) by some just really atrociously violent Martians, who did a lot of shamelessly violent things to our fair planet’s inhabitants both human and animal, and the violent retribution visited upon Mars in violent retaliation.

They were pretty violent.

Even by today’s standards some of these are a little much, but in 1962 parents were freaking the hell out. And children were buying them in droves in response to the parental freakout because somehow parents never figure out how that works. From an informative article on the set’s history on pascard.com:

Cards depicting burning flesh, buxom women and dogs being zapped by aliens are bound to create an uproar, even today. The brainchild of Len Brown and Woody Gelman, this 55-card set conveyed the story of ruthless Martians attacking Earth.

At one point, Topps reportedly made efforts to tone down 13 of the most controversial cards, but after a complaint from a Connecticut district attorney, production was stopped completely. The commotion created by this set must have been somewhat surprising for Brown and Gelman, who previously collaborated on the equally gory 1962 Civil War News set.

Brown wrote the story on the backs of the Mars Attacks cards. Wally Wood and Bob Powell were enlisted to work on the sketches and renowned artist Norman Saunders painted the cards.

So you have some charred soldiers…
 

 

 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Ron Kretsch
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02.05.2015
10:00 am
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