Thursday, March 24, 2016
Cards and food are back
I have wanted a pizza-product baseball card ever since Shakey's Pizza produced a few different sets during the mid-1970s.
I had a mild obsession with Shakey's Pizza as a kid. One of the chain restaurants sat next to the Dairy Queen where we went as a family. We'd sit in the parking lot and eat our sundaes or Buster Bars and I'd turn to look out the back window at Shakey's Pizza. The two places shared the same parking lot! Couldn't we just go over there and look inside?
That Shakey's closed down eventually and just the Dairy Queen was left. But later I learned that Shakey's Pizza was producing baseball cards -- albeit far, far away -- and I thought they'd be a nice way to remember that restaurant I never entered.
I never did get any Shakey's cards (the above image was pilfered). And there are far fewer Shakey's Pizza restaurants now than there were when I was a kid. And food-issue cards? Well, with the unholy alliance between Topps and MLB baseball, food issues are almost a thing of the past.
Except that they aren't.
Today, I learned that Topps, in association with Walmart, is featuring food-issue cards as part of an original set found in the store chain's Marketside frozen pizzas.
I am not a fan of shopping in Walmart's grocery section. The aisles are cramped and mobbed and the produce section, which stinks half the time, makes me sad. But if I have to walk past a few overripe eggplants to pick up a frozen pizza, that's a small price to pay to recapture the days when I jammed my arm into a cereal box to get a card.
The frozen pizza news had Twitter people reminiscing about previous food issue cards. As usual, Twitter people don't go back far enough for me. Those Pepsi and Hamburger Helper and Chef Boyardee cards are nice and all, but I like me 1970s food issues, with cool '70s designs.
Angus from Dawg Day Cards knows this. Because he sent me one of the kings of all '70s Food Issue cards.
It's a Burger Chef Funmeal! With baseball-shaped punch-outs of all your favorite Dodgers!!!
I was practically vibrating when I pulled this out of the envelope.
Burger Chef was at its peak during the early 1970s. There weren't any around me when I was growing up so I completely missed out on Jeff and Burgerini and Count Fangburger. The Burger Chef franchise eventually disappeared in 1982.
The Funmeal actually came out before McDonald's Happy Meals and Burger Chef sued McDonald's over it but lost.
That is the reverse side with instructions to play the game, which I can't show because the whole thing is fastened together, and if I opened it, well all hell would break loose.
But I do have to make that decision.
There are nine potential new '70s Dodgers baseball cards in that Funmeal, and I can feel the pull of punching out those cards.
I can hold off for a bit, because that particular baseball design was used on a host of '70s oddball cards from Crane potato chips to Zip'z ice cream to Islay's family restaurants. I have that very same Ron Cey, in various sizes, as I do with a few of the others.
However, this particular Garvey disc has Where Wolf on the back. And this particular Steve Yeager has Mrs. Fangburger on the back. Decisions! Decisions!
Anyway, they're happy decisions, conducted while learning that food-issue cards have made a return!
Next up: finally landing a Shakey's card.