Friday, June 2, 2017

Review: 'Planet of the Apes: The Original Topps Trading Card Series'


Although Topps had produced entertainment tie-in cards for such properties as The Beverly Hillbillies, Lost in Space, and Batman, the company’s decision to try a series based on Planet of the Apes in 1969 was a different kettle of monkeys. This was the first time Topps produced a series of cards based on a big hit movie starring a big movie star: namely Charlton Heston. This had certain legal ramifications since Heston was not thrilled with the idea of having his square-jawed visage packaged with stale bubblegum. In the end, he only gave the OK for Topps to include him on a mere nine cards, an offer Topps kind of wasted by using a few of these cards to only show the back of Heston’s head, his feet, or in one glorious instance, his butt. To give the impression that Heston was better represented than he actually was, Topps reduced its usual run of 66 cards to a mere 40. Although she was a complete unknown at the time, co-star Linda Harrison didn’t have any face time in the series at all. Fortunately, there were no such issues for the actors and actresses hidden in ape make up, and let’s face it, the kids who bought these cards were more interested in ogling awesome ape faces than Heston and Harrison’s pretty pusses.

Abrams’ new collection of Planet of the Apes cards would be a pamphlet if it only assembled that original 40-card run, so it widens its net to include the card series based on the short-lived 1974 Planet of the Apes TV show and Tim Burton’s bad 2001 remake. The upside to the relatively few cards collected in Planet of the Apes: The Original Topps Trading Card Series is that each card is allowed to occupy its own page at extra-large dimensions. Also, Gary Gerani, who provided captions for the Planet of the Apes TV series cards, and whose text in Abrams’ recent Topps Star Wars cards books was so entertaining, does the same for this new volume.
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