Saturday, December 30, 2023

English Language Barrier

I used to frequently travel to London on business and would often marvel at the differences in phrases and words used to describe things when compared to comparable US jargon. In England, you don't have a backyard, you have a garden.  The Underground (aka the tube) is a subway in the U.S. and a subway there is a passage here. Crisps are chips and chips are fries, etc.  So it's no surprise that the English licensee and trade partner of Topps, A&BC Chewing Gum, sometimes used different nomenclature than their U.S. counterpart for similar products.

Take, for example, this 1965-ish A&BC Picture Card Album scanned by Friend o'the Archive Lonnie Cummins, which housed a youngster's Man from U.N.C.L.E.  card collection:

Props to the kid, as he properly put the periods after each letter!  A&BC (or, speaking of periods: A.& B.C.) was on board as well! Note how the album doesn't  have a glossy cover, just a cheap pulp one like the rest of the kit. That album-mounting lad is a somewhat, albeit not exactly, familiar image, seen here around 1956 in the U.S.:

And again a half-decade later, slightly livened up:

A&BC did issue an album that matches the US one above, slick cover and all (every A&BC album scan is from Lonnie going forward):

So what was a "Picture Card" album in the U.K. was a "Hobby Card" in the U.S. of A.  

The inside front cover was pretty informative.  Footballers and Cricketers would be pretty much foreign phrases to most American kids in 1965! Heck, even soccer was not all that well known at the time.

Here is a Cricketer example from 1959; A&BC issued another set in 1961 as well but for sheer poetry on a card, 1959 is the most Larkin-esque for sure:

The counterpart to cricketer in the US is "baseball player" which seems easy enough but take a look at the back of this card as it's illustrative of just how different things can be across the pond:

OK...England & Middlesex means he played for the National English team plus his "regular" club. And "over" is the delivery of six consecutive balls by the bowler.  "Bowler" is kind of like a Pitcher, except everything they deliver would be a balk on a baseball diamond, sort of . A "maiden" is a positive measurement but can mean a couple of different things and "Baseball Annie" is NOT equivalent! A "Wicket"...oh forget it, just take a look here, not that it will help much! 

Did I mention the 1961 issue was to commemorate a "test series" and that they can run up to five days? Well, it's nice enough anyway:

A&BC also offered "bespoke" albums for some sets, including one of their very earliest in 1954:

Flags Of The World also saw one, I believe from 1959, when the set debuted in the United Kingdom, although I note it was reissued, with smaller dimensions, in 1963 so either year is possible:

I suppose I shouldn't post this one but when you can get 7 cards for 6d (that's six pence, which we would call a penny in the states) it seems like a steal!

Plus there was a cool looking album!

Well all this typing has made me hungry.  I'm off to rustle up some biscuits, err.....cookies!

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