Star Wars Cards, Skating Rinks, and Memories of 1977
I have a very powerful memory of 1977.
I may not know all the Presidents in order, I couldn’t tell you the proper maintenance schedule of a car, or even explain in great detail about the periodic table, but I can channel the summer of 1977 pretty well.
Two things will bring me to that end; Star Wars Cards and Skating Rinks. I remember taking weekly trips up to Eckerd Drugs to get another couple packs of Star Wars cards. Mom would routinely buy them for us as a treat. I was the one that took care of them, as my brother, also a fan, was more into baseball cards. Or, at least he allowed me to hang onto his cards. Over time the whole idea of ownership became a question mark. I handled this by giving all my Star Wars memorabilia away to family.
Skating Rinks One of the things we had back in the late seventies were Skating Parties. There was red shag carpet covering the walls and disco lights that blinked along with the music being played. Whether it was Kool & The Gang or Pop Muzik, these were the tunes we danced around the rink with. During Couple Skate, there was KC & The Sunshine Band singing "Please Don't Go" and REO Speedwagons "Keep On Loving You."
Since my future consisted of girls telling me they'd date me when hell froze over and fake Canadian girlfriends, I would sit on the sidelines and wait for the lights to come back up so I could resume my skate. And, of course, I brought my Star Wars cards. You think maybe there's a connection?
This was back before geek was cool, when "wings" were the growing hair style, and where I could cause a fire around the skating rink because I most likely was wearing corduroy pants properly adorned with knee patches.. I don’t remember where I put the cards while I went to the skating rink, but I remember bringing them. I thought, you know, someone might want to trade. I had a lot of the blue series.
I probably had them safely tucked away in one of my pockets. I never did the mint condition thing, I just wanted the whole collection. I'd bundle them with a rubber band and over time the cards would bend and at times get bunched on the sides. No one taught me the finer aspects of putting the cards in lucite and getting them rated and protected.
It wasn't so much about value as just collecting something Star Wars.
I had to have everything Star Wars back in 1977, I remember at Christmas of ’77 getting the Cantina figures. Walrus Man, Hammerhead, Greedo, and Snaggletooth. And I had the rare Snaggletooth that was as tall as the other figures and oddly dressed in a navy blue outfit that looked ridiculous and nothing like the character in the movie. Later on, it turned out to be a collector’s item. Also, later on, my nephew stepped on it, making it worthless.
It didn't matter though, as I’d already taken it out of its package. ...Ah, but the Star Wars cards.
I can remember the feel of the wrapper, the taste of the gum. The smell and texture of the powder they added to the gum so it wouldn't stick to the cards. The smell of the cards a blend of cardboard, ink, and aforementioned gum. I would sometimes take the cards up to my nose and take a whiff. And, of course, there was the fun of organizing them. I would eventually learn to sort out the doubles and keep my singular card set at home.
So what's with these Egg Men Trading cards? You know half of the story. I patterned the border of these cards after the blue series of Star Wars cards. I wanted the viewer to get a taste of what it was like. I also gave them a distressed or grunge look because well, some of my cards were that way as I grew older.
The Egg Men though, were some of my first cartoons.
A friend of mine, Rob and I used to draw comics in notebooks as kids. Not college ruled notebooks, but elementary ruled notebooks. We'd name the notebooks whatever we called our "magazines." Mine was called "Funny." I forget what Rob called his. Maybe "Hilarious?" I doubt it was something that would be awesome now like "Mildly Amusing." Most likely, he named his "Wacky" as we would also record our voices doing radio bits and our call sign was WAKO.
He actually came up with a lot of the ideas, or maybe we both did. He thought of the Egg Men. He also had the ideas for faces with hands. Maybe it was just easier for him to draw the faces. He came up with Sam Ramen. I came up with his brother Fred Ramen. Then there was Tex Ramen. If I add another his name will be Top Ramen.
I also came up with Al Davis and Bubba Junk.
But for the purpose of trading cards, it’s all about the Egg Men.
The cartoons were pretty much all about how to kill the egg men. Here were these alien creatures that came from another planet, and sadly, as aggressive and bent on world domination as they were, they were still fragile eggs. If you can think of the many ways to prepare an egg, that pretty much is how we decimated the egg men. (Does A Bubba Impression) They say that eggs are the fruit of the land...you can fry them, hardboil them, scramble them, bake them, you can have egg salad, egg sandwich..." You get the idea. So, these three different ideas remind me of 1977. A time before Coronavirus, Smart Phones, Sequel and Prequel Trilogies, when Star Wars was something special, and a good way to spend an afternoon was burning calories circling and listening to Disco music. Even though right now it's solo skate in Quarantineville, in my mind and memory the DJ is bringing up the lights and it's time for All-skate and some Marvin Gaye singing "Got To Give it Up!" What's your go-to sweet memory in tough times?