Saturday, December 28, 2019

The Great White Ape

A pretty great uncut sheet of Planet of the Apes popped up recently on the Topps Vault and is a real eye-opener; it certainly made me go ape! (sorry).

Friend o'the Archive Lonnie Cummins pointed it out to me as I have to admit I am not always on top of the Vault's offerings (thank you, real life....) and it answers a couple of questions about POTA.

This is the set issued in wake of the original movie by the way and there is quite a bit to look at here. Let's zoom in on all the handwritten instructions:

Woody Gelman's distinctive handwriting and red crayon are evident. Paul need to be paying attention I'd say!  Especially since the borders are about to flip from black to white, thereby leaving behind one of the rarest of all Topps proofs, black-bordered POTA cards:

There's some additional notations about making the borders 3/32" and some other production notes as well.  But that upper left corner is very interesting indeed compared to sizing requirements:

How does a card not yet made get affixed as a visual aid on a Topps proof sheet?  Why via an Art Department paste-up!  You can just see the hint of a line running from the bottom left corner to the right under the image and there is the smallest hint of shadow at the upper right corner.  Topps did mockups all the time (click on the "Mockup"label at right to see many such examples) but this is the first one I've seen that was used to direct production of a full, issued set.

Now, it is hard to see but the commodity code for the set appears on the left side of the sheet.  It's partially obscured by pen marks but you can blow it up and clearly see this was a 1968 issue, not a 1967 as commonly assumed:

The dating discrepancy comes from the card backs.  Note the 1967 copyright date:

The wrappers clearly have a 1968 commodity code, so it's definitely a '68 issue once you see the US national release date of April 3, 1968. None of this though, explains why PSA calls this a 1969 set:

Well, now you know what it's all about on the Planet of the Apes!

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