Thursday, October 04, 2007

YOU'LL DIE LAUGHING! When I was a kid, I'd head on down to Thor's Drugstore on Westfield Avenue (or any other store for that matter) to buy some goodies while I was staying at my grandparents' huge old house. There I'd pick up the new issue of Justice League of America (Oh look, the JLA are visiting Adam Strange on the planet Rann) and a pack or two of Blackjack gum. But what's this??? I'm not generally a collector of bubblegum cards but. . .
In the early to mid-70's, the second series of You'll Die Laughing/Creature Feature bubblegum cards was issued. Now, these are cards featuring a B&W still from a monster movie on the front and a REALLY LAME joke on the back. The border is purple with a lotta grey where the joke is printed. And when you're about 8 years old, there are the neatest thing!
Also, for those of you who worked with me at the Hellmouth, you may recall that from the very first day I worked there I had one of these You'll Die Laughing cards taped up on the outside of my locker. OK, it wasn't the actual card -- what're you KIDDIN'?!?!? But I photocopied the front and back. It was this one -- the one with the Phantom of the Opera. You will also notice that, other than the monsters themselves, the "bystanders" in the photos have been altered; the heads of nonentities have been plastered over the noggins of Rex Reason, Faith Domergue (in the THIS ISLAND EARTH still shown here) or Mary Philbin (who originally accompanied Lon Chaney in that Phantom of the Opera still) and any other lesser-known character actors who share the photo with their particular fiend. I don't know the reasoning behind this; other than the maybe make the pictures look more modern (some cards feature a guy with AMAZING 70's sideburns)! Either way, I'll bet these anonymous people were family members of the card makers.
So, naturally one can pick up these cards nowadays on ebay for sometimes reasonable prices. There was a series before this one which looked totally different (they were all Jack Davis illustrations of monsters instead of the still photographs) and a series after this which looked almost the same as the second series. But the 70's one is still the only one for me. There's something about that purple and grey piece of cardboard which rockets me right back to Westfield Avenue and those weekends spent with my grandparents.

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