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.


  1. I was actually so excited by this new pizza pairing that I ran out to check my local Walmart this afternoon (and was quickly reminded why I never go there). However, my enthusiasm was for naught; just regular ol' kinda unappealing pizzas stared back at me. Hopefully this promotion proves successful and we see the floodgates open up a little bit for food-issues.

  2. For what it's worth I've kept my Bosox fun meal box un punched.

  3. You have to leave as is. Finding them intact is much tougher than loose and chances are someone will send you them loose in the future. The Burger Chef set is from Michael Schecter Associates (MSA is listed on the card). This kind of product could still be made today because it doesn't require a MLB license (only a MLBPA license).

    I got a Shakey's down the street from me. I took a picture of my three year old daughter pretending to play the same player piano I tried to play as a kid,

  4. I actually got a set pre-punched off eBay for a reasonable price. Those seem to be much easier to find than this full tray version (of which I was lucky enough to get one as well!).

  5. Shakey's and Burger Chef. Any other food places you missed out on? How about Jack In The Box? Ground Round? Arthur Treachers? Show Biz Pizza? Wimpy's?

  6. Man, I'm gonna have to track down the complete set. Good thing I like pizza!

  7. Where have all the Shakey's gone? Dang it. Now I have Paula Cole's song stuck in my head. Love those Burger Chef cards!

  8. Angus sent me the Pirates version. I can't wait to show it off.

  9. I'd keep it intact, much tougher to find one that way. MSA produced so so many of those discs, you're bound to get them all eventually.

  10. OK, I'm sure I wrote a post on this yesterday, but it's not here, so I guess I never managed to publish it. Anyway, yeah, I've seen these, too, but I didn't buy one because, well, there was another Marketside pizza that didn't have the cards, but was marked down, and I didn't want to pay an extra 3 bucks for the cards. (Especially since the packaging didn't make it clear whether these were a special set or just regular base set cards, but I know now it's the former. But hopefully what goes around comes around--the Wal-Mart in my town often has marked down pizzas, so hopefully I'll manage to grab a marked down one with cards once or twice during the promotion. So far only the larger sizes have the cards, and not all of them. I actually got a pizza last year from them with a Jurassic World card--the Marketside set was the only set produced for that movie.

    BTW, they're not frozen pizzas, just refigerated, in case anyone has trouble finding them.

  11. Planning a trip to Wal-Mart in 3, 2, 1....

    Our town doesn't have a "real" Wal-Mart, just the smaller "WM Neighborhood Grocery" version. Hopefully the pizzas will still be there, though.

  12. I have fond memories of Shakey's Pizza. It was my first pizza experience. If they still existed in my area I would definately buy some for the cards.