Saturday, June 6, 2020

Here's An Idea

I'm in the midst of an extended series of posts that will probably begin to see the light of day in the next couple of weeks so today's effort is not going to involve a lot of heavy lifting.  I thought it would be fun to look at some of Woody Gelman's filing system today, namely the Idea Books he kept at Topps.

Woody had an extensive filing system and I'd imagine a pretty good amount of space at Brooklyn HQ by his notebooks, ephemera and whatnot.  He thought of this as part of his "idea retrieval" methods, which in a way are what the internet became well before anyone outside of ARPA or Bell Labs could grasp such a concept. Unfortunately, instead of being kept intact, these notebooks have been looted and pillaged over the years with all the pages and files being scattered across the hobby landscape with reckless abandon, stymying any hope of getting a complete picture painted. And so we have scraps...

Here's a neat one, possibly the earliest I've seen, 1955's Hocus Focus (large):

It's a little fuzzy and the infamous Woody all caps scrawl makes it even harder to read but above IDEA it says "Published" and the Item is "Photographic".  The Subclassification is "Hidden Pictures" and the See Under line has the set name.  This would not be consistent throughout Woody's long tenure at Topps, although he appears to have used mostly the same Idea page for his entire tenure with the company while inconsistently filling in the blanks. Having said that, the one I'll show next does not have any of the lined items off to the right, which looks like they tracked reaction from some group or groups of people (Topps execs, kids?) and some progress detail, which seems to be blank on most of the ones I've seen. I wonder if they kept a "clean version of some sets to show prospective licencees?

Here is "Copyright Merch." of a "test series", namely King Kong from 1965 (I have it as either '65 or 1966 but no matter this seems to cinch it at the earlier year), that got pulled when Donruss got the licensing deal.

Tattoos? Got ya covered (sorry) with 1967's Dr. Doolittle, unclear why it's not "licensed merchandise" though:

I'll close with perhaps the most interesting one of all:

"Inserts Types" is what this is, and yes that is a 1964 Topps Giant Size Sandy Koufax cropped excerpt shrunk down to the size of a 1969 Deckle. This makes me think the original idea was to do this almost-great insert in color, which would have been stupendous.  I suspect color would have been a bit more expensive though, in a year of chaos and cost (a lot of pictures had to be takes once the MLBPA agreed to an enhanced deal with Topps and due to the expansion that year). No clue what 27-B means though in the Progress Record.

Pretty neat, eh?

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