Saturday, May 8, 2021

Master Of Disaster

Friend o'the Archive Lonnie Cummins has been going to town on researching obscure Topps sets, packaging, printing anomalies and any number of things that I like to do as well but often don't have enough time to pull off.  He's recently undertaken the cataloging of a set that never was, which we are both now calling Dangerous Animals.  This name acually dervies from a recent auction description seemingly devoid of any factual evidence that this was the name of what would have been a killer 1950's Topps set but I think you'll agree it fits.

Lonnie has created a visual checklist of all 64 known images from what was almost certainly intended to be the second series of Bring 'Em Back Alive. Fate, however, intervened and an extremely benign set called Anmals Of The World served instead as the high series to what was one of the best sets Topps ever produced.

Dangerous Animals art first appeared in the 1989 Topps Auction catalog, mis-identified as Animals Of The World artwork.  That sloppy description slowly and steadily irked me and I've previously voiced my complaints in this regard. The set though, was seemingly close to completion as this original art piece shows.  Note Woody Gelman's red crayon 27 in the circle at lower left and a remnant of a penciled "28" above:


There were pencil notations on some other pieces as well indicating numbering.

That seems to be a Buck lookalike shooting this aggressive creature but who knows?  Topps may have waited too long and their license from Frank Buck's estate expired, or they just got cold feet and went with Animals of the World instead.

Lonnie thinks the Dangerous Animals set would have topped out at 100 subjects.  Here's the 64 he's found to date for your enjoyment, with sourcing:


I'm not sure Frank Buck would have found any living Glyptodons or Mosasaurs in the wild!




Dinosaurs and Mammoths, oh my!



Hopefully more of these turn up someday along with more of the story!

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Funny How That Works

We last covered the rather obscure proof/possible test issue called Funny Flash Cards in January 2018 and Friend o'the Archive Lonnie Cummins has shared some new tidbits.

Lonnie writes there is a "USPO listing, showing first use as April 10, 1968, even though Topps Vault says 1970. That first use date and the factory cut cards make me think this might have actually been tested, but probably a very, very small distribution."  The 1968 date previously attributed from an old auction listing is therefore confirmed. Lonnie continues "Also, I have images of some acetate overlay proofs from Topps Vault that definitely name the set 'Funny Flash Cards', as well as the box lid artwork."  

Here's the U.S. Patent Office Listing Lonnie tracked down; you can see how the Topps Vault may have mistaken the published date of the listing (1970) as the issue date and shows what I assume was a pack or display box  graphic.  It took a little while back in the pre-digital age to get stuff together! The USPO also handles trademarks in case you were wondering.


Here is the acetate, likely for some display box art:


Given the lack of a wrapper, sizer of the cards and the advanced state of preparation, if it was retail tested it could have been in clear cello packs like Twiggy was, although some tests by Topps have never given up their delivery systems to us latter day collectors and investigators.

This is Lonnie's slightly updated checklist of the 33 known cards, which also corrects a row placement I managed to screw up (reversal of rows H and J). Before we dig into his updated checklist, here's the proof sheet that Lonnie's placements detail with the questions first, then the much more colorful answers following:




No.
Category
Front (Question)
Reverse (Answer)
Position (Reverse)

Nature Studies
What Animal Is Hairy & Can't See?
A Baboon With His Eyes Closed!
A1 (33)
38
History
What Was Sewards' Folly?
Mrs. Seward!
A2 (33)
15
Mathematics
If John And Sam Share 6 Apples, And Sam Gets 2, What Does John Get?
A Punch In The Eye From Sam!
A3 (33)

Grammar
What's Wrong With This Sentence: "On My Vacation In Philadelphia I Had An Exciting Time."
Nobody In Philadelphia Has An Exciting Time!
B1 (33)
17
Science
If Your Friend Had 14 Marbles And You Took Half, What Would You Have?
A Black Eye!
B2 (33)
26
Mathematics
What Never Strikes Twice In The Same Place?
A Mets Baseball Pitcher!
B3 (33)
9
Mathematics
Can You Draw A Straight Line From New York To Chicago?
Yes, If You Have A Very Long Pencil!
C1 (33)
10
Science
What Is Whale Oil Used For?
For Oiling Whales!
C2 (33)
52
History
When Did The Civil War Come To An End?
When The Last Shot Was Fired!
C3 (33)
21
History
Why Did George Washington Cross The Delaware?
It Was Too Cold Standing In The Middle!
D1 (33)
44
History
Why Were They Called "Rough Riders?"
No Talcum Powder!
D2 (33)
54
History
Why Did People Before Columbus Think The World Was Flat?
In Those Days It Was Flat!
D3 (33)
29
History
Who Was The 10th President Of The United States?
Who Cares!
E1 (33)
30
Nature Studies
What Is A Hippo?
A Fat Hippie!
E2 (33)
16
Mathematics
How Much Dirt Is In A Hole  3 Ft. x 3 Ft. x 5 Ft. Deep!
None, You Idiot! It's a Hole!
E3 (33)
53
History
Between Whom Was The Battle Of Bunker Hill Fought?
Between A Fellow And A Girl In A Parked Car!
F1 (33)
3
Grammar
Form A Sentence With The Word Paradox.
On Our Farm We Have Four Chickens, Six Geese and a Paradox!
F2 (33)
8
Literature
Out Of The Mouths Of Babes, Oftimes Comes What?
Drool!
F3 (33)
5
Science
What Shouldn't People In Glass Houses Throw?
Wild Parties!
G1 (33)
40
History
During The Boston Tea Party, What Did The Colonists heave Overboard?
Their Dinners!
G2 (33)
12
Nature Studies
How Can A Charging Rhino Be Stopped?
Take Away His Credit Card!
G3 (33)
1
Mathematics
If Mrs. Smith Makes 10 Spinach Cookies, And Gives One To Each Of Her 6 Children, How Many Will Be Left?
Ten!  Who Would Eat A Spinach Cookie!
H1 (33)
50
History
Why Was General Lee Buried At Arlington National Cemetery?
Because He Was Dead!
H2 (33)
42
Social Studies
What Do You Call A Man Who Takes Apart Live Bombs For A Living?
An Idiot!
H3 (33)
28
History
In The War Of 1812, Who Said "Don't Give Up The Ship?"
Someone Who Wasn't On It!
I1 (33)
14
Science
Scientists Get Oil By Drilling Oil Wells, How Do They Get Gas?
By Drinking Beer!
I2 (33)
32
Mathematics
If Two's Company And Three's A Crowd, What Are Four And Five?
Nine!
I3 (33)
36
Mathematics
2 Pints Make A Quart; 4 Quarts Make A Gallon. What Does A Gallon Make?
A Drunken Brawl!
J1 (33)

Mathematics
If You Had 18 Apples And You Ate 12, What Would You Have?
One Heckuva Stomach Ache!
J2 (33)
25
History
When Did Nathan Hale Say "I Regret That I Have But One Life To Give For My Country?"
When It Was Too Late!
J3 (33)
55
Mathematics
If You Had 6 Packs Of Cigarettes With 20 Cigarettes In A Pack And You Smoked 2 1/2 Packs In One Day, What Would You Have The Next Day?
Such A Cough!
K1 (33)
24
Science
What Did Isaac Newton Learn When The Apple Fell on His Head?
He Should Change His Seat
K2 (33)
4
History
Why Did Our Forefathers Leave England?
To Get Away From Our Foremothers!
K3 (33)