Category Archives: Wax Packs

Wax Pack Adventures – Jaws 3-D

[I recently bought several packs of film- and tv-related trading cards: everything from Growing Pains to Maverick. I plan to open one pack a week and document every card, sticker, and stick of gum I find. If I'm lucky, maybe I'll discover a hologram or two.]

Title: Jaws 3-D
: Topps
Year: 1983
Details: 6 Cards || 1 Viewed || 1 Stick Bubble Gum

Full disclosure up front: I haven’t seen Jaws 3-D. For that matter, I haven’t seen Jaws 2, and thought Jaws 1 was just ok the one time I saw it. So, depending on your point of view, I’m either the worst or best person to review a pack of Jaws 3-D trading cards. Given that I have no idea what the plot of Jaws 3-D is, I figured I’d just post the cards in chronological order and tell you what I think the movie is about.

A Topps 44-Card Series - In 3D: The cast of "Jaws 3-D", a terrifying entry in the popular series that boasts dimensional photography and unique special effects.

Ok. A diverse group of water enthusiasts. Other than the dude with a beret, a pretty normal-looking sea-side-living bunch.

Bloody Remains! Kathryn Morgan offers a snack to her friend, the killer whale Shamu.

Hmm. Ok. Didn’t expect to see Shamu. Does part of this movie take place at Sea World?

The New Peril! Kathryn Morgan is shocked to learn that the shark has been transferred to a different tank and may not survive.

Well… there’s another shot that seems to be set in Sea World. That’s strange. Surely the entire movie isn’t water-theme-park based.

Also, I’m pretty sure I can see that dude in the blue gym short’s right ball.

Seeking Human Prey! The horribly mangled body of Shelby Overman is discovered and a startling discovery is made: there's another, even larger shark in the vicinity!

Poor Shelby Overman! Was his (her?) body discovered under that sheet? Pretty convenient for the survivors, though I don’t see how that could possibly be blamed on a shark. There are sharks in this movie, right?

Oh, wait… there’s a shark reference. Apparently there’s an “even larger shark in the vicinity.” Which I presume means the vicinity of  Sea World. Not sure how that’s even possible.

Madness and Mayhem! Innocent water skiers are oblivious to the presence of the monster shark..!

Really? REALLY? This movie has a Shark vs. Synchronized Lady Water Skiers scene? Was it a parody? What kind of person would let a shark into Sea World in the first place?

Diverting the Monster! Calvin Bouchard has accidentally allowed the killer shark to enter Sea World!

Oh. A Calvin Bouchard type of person. That jerk.

So after seeing six still images from Jaws 3-D I am thoroughly confused. Partially about the film’s plot, and mostly about how I could have made it 25+ years without knowing that Jaws 3-D was set IN A SEA WORLD! That’s a major cinematic knowledge gap. Thanks for filling it, Topps!

PS: The promised 3-D Viewer? Completely missing from my pack. Who do I call for a refund?

Wax Pack Adventures – Bill & Ted’s Most Atypical Movie Cards

[I recently bought several packs of film- and tv-related trading cards: everything from Growing Pains to Maverick.  I plan to open one pack a week and document every card, sticker, and stick of gum I find. If I'm lucky, maybe I'll discover a hologram or two.]

Title: Bill & Ted’s Most Atypical Move Cards
: Pro Set
Year: 1991
Details: 10 Triumphant Cards || 1 Contest Scratch-Off Card

Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure was one of my favorite movies as a kid. I credit the “69, dudes!” sequence (a joke I didn’t even realize was a joke for many years) for sparking my interest in time-travel fiction where the narrative folds over on itself. In fact, I could draw a straight line from my young love for Excellent Adventure and the Back To The Future trilogy to my adult love for movies like Primer and Timecrimes.

So when I had the chance to pick up an unopened pack of “Bill & Ted’s Most Atypical Move Cards,” I didn’t hesitate. Released in 1991, the set features key scenes from both Excellent Adventure and Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey (a film that ranks among my earliest remembered theatrical experiences). I got several excellent cards (including two featuring George Carlin), so let’s get to it:

All We Are Is Dust In The Wind, Dude

There’s really not a bad card in the batch (actually, the Lincoln card is a bit boring). And you can tell that whoever wrote the card-back text was a fan of the films (or at least knew how to talk the talk). Just look at Card #44: Rufus drops by to see his excellent friends and brings them a surprise – the babes in savory clothes! I love that someone got paid to sit around and write these things.

My favorite of the ten cards is #94, which includes a “Bill&TedSpeak to English” dictionary. Despite the fact that I haven’t seen these two movies in at least 15 years (I’m well past due to revisit them), reading the “Bill&TedSpeak” list brings back some vivid memories from my youth. If you can read this list without hearing Bill’s & Ted’s voices in your head, you’re a better man than I:

  • Loogied – Spit
  • Station – Greetings, salutations, yes, of course, where do I sign?, way to go, hallelujah, right on, and (of course) excellent!
  • Most Atypical – Incredible, amazing
  • Metal Heads – Rockin’ musicians
  • The Floppy-Eared, Egg-Dropping, Hippity-Hopping Behemoth – The Easter Bunny
  • Reaped – Killed
  • The Ugly Red Source of All Evil – The Devil
  • Your Royal Deathness – The Grim Reaper
  • The Fugue Dude – J.S. Bach
  • Beelzebub – The Dude Downstairs
  • Miscreant – Loser
  • God’s Finest Planet – Uranus
  • The Repository of All Earthly Building Materials – Builder’s Emporium
  • Phantasmagorical – Spooky

Your assignment, should you choose to accept it, is to work at least one of these phrases into a conversation over the next 24 hours. Report back in the comments on how it goes.

The pack also contained an Instant Win card. The grand prize – a bodacious trip to San Dimas, California – was featured on the front of the pack. Incredibly, the first prize was an entire GTE Telephone Booth. I’d love to find out the story of the kid who won that prize. I know that if I’d had an entire phone booth delivered to my parent’s house, I’d have had a lot of explaining to do.

There also was a sweepstakes you could enter to win props from the movie with “an approximate retail value of $25 (but unknown intrinsic value).” If anyone out there happened to be a sweepstakes winner, please let me know what you won!

Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately given that it’d be too late to collect), I didn’t end up with a winner:

Sorry, dude! Try again.

Oh well. It’s still a most atypical set of cards.

I suspect I’m not the only Bill & Ted fan on this blog, so be sure to comment with your favorite Bill & Ted memories. You’ve got a lot to choose from… the characters have been in two movies, and an animated series, a live-action series, a comic series, several video games (NES, Gameboy, Lynx , and a PC game), a cereal, action figures, Playdoh (!), a novelization, an annual Excellent Halloween Adventure live event at Universal Orlando… and that’s just scratching the surface. Check out Bill & Ted dot Org for even more media and non-media tie ins that featured the duo.

Finally, here’s my favorite Bill & Ted clip: Alex and Keanu trying (and mostly failing) to define “bodacious”:

Until next week’s Wax Pack Adventures, be excellent to each other!

Micah :: Reel Distraction

Wax Pack Adventures – Fright Flicks

[I recently bought several packs of film- and tv-related trading cards: everything from Growing Pains to Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure.  I plan to open one pack a week and document every card, sticker, and stick of gum I find. If I'm lucky, maybe I'll discover a hologram or two.]

Title: Fright Flicks
: Topps
Year: 1985
Details: 9 Cards || 1 Sticker || 1 Stick Bubble Gum

Many horror fans who were kids in the mid-80s fondly remember Fright Flicks, a short-lived trading card collection that combined stills from (mostly) beloved horror and sci-fi films, lame puns and silly quips, and Ripley’s-style can-you-believe-it? creepy factoids.

The pack I bought contained cards with images from Aliens, Day of the Dead, A Nightmare on Elm Street I, II, & III, Poltergeist, The Fly (1986), Ghostbusters, and Predator:

Of the nine images, my favorite – based on the badass-image/non-sequitur-tagline combo –  is the “Okay, Who Took A Bite Out Of My Bran Muffin?”/The Fly card (Card #9).  I’ve always been partial to the toungue-in-phone gag from A Nightmare on Elm Street, so Card #8 is a great find for me as well.

The pack also had a striking Fright Night sticker that I’m currently in the process of finding a home for. (One problem with my day job is that I have relatively few occasions to carry a sticker-covered Trapper Keeper):

That's Slimer's chin on the reverse-side puzzle piece

Finally, this pack contained a piece of the ubiquitous Topps chewing gum:

Card-collecting readers of a certain age should get an immediate and powerful sense memory from viewing this image

Although I haven’t had a piece of Topps gum for close to two decades, seeing the stick immediately made my mouth water. Even when fresh, Topps gum wasn’t objectively good. But I remember loving it as a kid because… hey… free gum! Also, it was such an integral part of the card-collecting process (open pack, chew gum, see if you got anything good) that I never even questioned whether it was a good as a stick of Big Red or a chunk of Bazooka Joe (note: it wasn’t).

In the interest of journalistic integrity, I decided to chew the 25-plus-year-old stick while writing this post, and include my thoughts on how it tasted. Like a connoisseur of fine beer, I sniffed the gum before chewing it. I was surprised to discover that it was completely devoid of any discernible odor. I suppose it was made of iocane powder.

Undeterred, I put the gum in my mouth. I expected it to be tough and difficult to chew, but the opposite was true. Within seconds, the gum had completely liquefied, leaving behind a glaze of slightly-thicker-and-sweeter-than-normal saliva in my mouth. I don’t know what the substance was that made Topps gum chewy, but it apparently self destructs in less than two-and-a-half decades.

If I die in my sleep, please bury me under this tombstone:

Best. Epitaph. Ever.

If you remember buying Fright Flicks, let me know your favorite cards or memories of collecting them in the comments.

Micah :: Reel Distraction

[I recently bought several packs of film- and tv-related trading cards: everything from Growing Pains to Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure. I plan to open one pack a week and document every card, sticker, and stick of gum I find.]