Saturday, August 6, 2022

No Box Left Behind

After last week's look at the obverse surprise photo some Bazooka boxes carried in the mid 60's (and 1971), I thought it best to close the circle and also show boxes from the years with package design cards of players from various sports but with no secondary photo on the box front (or end flap); I'll tackle non-sports boxes (and some with sports-related content) at some later date but they are really hard to pin down. This installment covers the years 1959 to 1971 not addressed last week in my post on the "extra" images used.  As a reminder, these bonus "front of the box" photos were as follows:

1963 - Babe Ruth

1964 - Sandy Koufax & Mickey Mantle (both on end flap)

1965 - Mickey Mantle

1966 - Sandy Koufax

1967 - Mickey Mantle

1969 - Babe Ruth

1970 - Babe Ruth (reissued box design)

1971 - Johnny Bench

The Koufax and Mantle photos never changed from year to year, while the Ruth did, aging in reverse!

I also included the 1968 box last time out despite no additional photo appearing thereon.  It had a "Special Feature" splash hawking "Tips From Baseball Stars on How to Play Better Baseball" instead. These tips are known as Tipps from the Topps and featured a small, inset photo on each "Tipp" which I have covered previously as well.

When we go back to the aboriginal Bazooka set, it was a one subject affair, with a gorgeous card taking up most of the box back.  These were issued for both baseball and football and might be the nicest things Topps ever produced.  This is the first run 1959 Baseball box, front and back. You can see how the original Bazooka Joe is shown blowing a bubble that turns into a window on the contents, which was protected by see-thru cello, both courtesy of Robert Edward Auctions:

So the splash for the set was actually located below the card! Note how it mentions "9 All-Star Player Cards" as the first release had, yup, 9 subjects. The little illustrations on the splash are generic.

A second wave of cards followed, with 14 players added.  It's possible Hank Aaron was printed with both runs as his name can be found in yellow or white but it's not clear if he was a reissue or if a correction was made to the first run of 9 cards (the name in yellow matches the rest of the set). It's worth noting too that Bazooka usually issued both 20 and 25 count boxes, as you can see above and below. This might explain the white/yellow Aaron variations, or it might not.

For the second batch of 14, Topps changed the box colors and the splash.  This example of Jensen shows the white to yellow switcheroo and a subtle change to the back splash, i.e. "nein on the 9":

Topps then went for a Football set in the fall, with equally stunning results.  The box front is the same as that used for Baseball while the reverse splash is changed to reflect the new sport:

18 subjects were included and Chuck Conerly is shown with either the Colts (an error, he never played for them) or the Giants, indicating at least two press runs, possibly split between the 20 and 25 counts but these are among the rarest boxes imaginable so it may never be determined. More on Conerly can be found over at Post War Cards, which is a really wonderful site, kinda like here but covering a wider range of producers.

Topps killed off the Bazooka Football cards after 1959 and they would not reappear until 1971. Baseball on the other glove, settled into a nice three-players-per-panel groove thereafter.  Here's the 1960 box front, with the cards finally getting some attention:

You will note the old bubble blowing Bazooka Joe is gone, as Topps went for the Moms with the Parents Magazine seal, which they used on and off over the years on many products, likely dependent upon their annual advertising budget.

1961 brought white back to the design, which was unchanged otherwise.  It was also used in 1962:

This now brings us to the 1971 Football set. Those all-American kids from the Baseball boxes have  been supplanted by a small but enthusiastic marching band, perhaps meant to conjure up an image of halftime (I'm old enough to remember halftime marching bands at NFL games) since no bonus player was shown on the splash:

There was a 1971 O-Pee-Chee Canadian Football release but's ultra-rare and may not have seen the retail light of day.  No box front has been seen but it probably doesn't resemble this only-somewhat-less-difficult OPC Hockey box from '71, courtesy of Bobby Burrell:

Have fun trying to find one of those!

You can still find boxes of Bazooka but it just isn't the same anymore.

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