Just received my copy of the new Mars Attacks book in the surface mail, space cadets!
I am a definite aficionado of 50's and 60's sci-fi stuff but only recently picked up a Mars Attacks set-the kicker is that it's the current Heritage reprint version (which is quite well done). The book recounts the set, shows all the cards and has some pre and post production goodies plus a few words from Len Brown. There are also a few little anecdotes, one of which caught my eye.
In discussing the test version of the set, which was advertised on the packs as Attack From Space, there is a short note indicating that for test issues of the day, Topps shipped "four or five cases and get it into a dozen or so local stores and monitor the sales." If you work out the math, that means each store would receive approximately half a case to test. That would be from 6-10 boxes in most circumstances or about 150 to 200 nickel packs in each location. Factor in what got tossed, returned and just plain destroyed somehow, you can see why many Topps test issues of the era are so scarce.