Friday, December 3, 2010

Test Pattern-The Mid 60's Black and White TV Cards From Topps (Part 4)

Rounding out the decade kids, with the rest (I think) of the B&W TV show cards produced by Topps in the 60's.

1967 brought a very strange show to TV: Captain Nice, starring William Daniels as a mild mannered superhero with a costume sewn by his mom. It looks to have been a mid season replacement and aired from January to May in '67, lasting 15 episodes. For some bizarre reason, Topps produced a 30 card set of this color show in glorious black and white!

I suspect the set, which was tested as a wrapper is known to exist, either sold next to nothing or was pulled from wider release due to the lackluster ratings of the show. The cards add a splash of color to the front:

That is just an ugly design! Nonetheless, these are very difficult cards, almost as hard to find as Flipper (and with the same card count of 30, no less). The back though, was quite colorful:

Very odd that a B&W card has a color back,no? It resembles the back on The Land Of The Giants cards issued a year later:

As a bonus, note the default Topps block print, back for a final visit! Here is a LOTG front, in color though:

LOTG is not as tough as Captain Nice but it's scarce. A&BC also did a Giants set in the UK a year later that is far easier to find. Many Topps test and limited release issues were repurposed for the UK and to a lesser extent Australia, Holland and Israel starting around 1967. That will be the subject of a lengthy series here someday.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch:

Yes, Bonanza-the set I consider the rarest ever produced by Topps, although I admit Flipper and a couple of others give it a run for the money. That one little splash of color indicates to me production around the time of Captain Nice, maybe 1967, or within a year either way. Allegedly produced as an almost in house gag by Topps, Bonanza cards never were sold at retail.

Here is a back:

Bonanza was shown in color from its first broadcast in 1959 through its last in 1973 (431 episodes buckaroos!), which was unheard of at the time, so of course we get more B&W, although I can't swear to the print on the back being B&W, I have heard it is brown.

There are rumors of other test or proof sets out there for F Troop, Green Acres and I Dream of Jeannie. All but Green Acres had at least one black and white season. Not that it would matter if they were all shown in color to fit in with our grouping but if a card surfaces from any of these three shows, I would not be surprised if it is in black and white.

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