Tuesday, December 27, 2011

THIS WAS THE FEAR THAT WAS . . . SPOOK STORIES TRADING CARDS

The year 2011 marked another five-decade milestone in monster history -- the Leaf Brand SPOOK STORIES monster trading cards! Although copyrighted in 1961, the first series was not officially released until 1962. That means here at MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD, I will be recognizing both the year the cards were designed and the next year, when they were distributed to a mass market. That means the SPOOK STORIES celebration will go on into 2012!

I do need to tell you, though, about one Monster Kid memory I have about these cards: I had the absolute pleasure of saving up enough to buy a whole box of 'em! Considering that single pack purchases yielded copious double, triples, and more with some ubiqitous card numbers, I was hoping to fill out a complete run by buying an entire 36-pack box. At the time, the highest number that my pals and I thought the series ran to was around Card 70 or so -- if memory serves me right, the highest number card we ever got out of a pack had the image of Lon Chaney, Jr. from FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE WOLFMAN.


Although it pains me to say that the lion's share of my duplicate cards and stickers ended up being used in my homemade monster magazine (see the MONSTERS MAGAZINE post from a few months ago), it sure didn't seem like a problem at the time. I was more than happy to cut off the white borders and the silly jokes and stick 'em in my own, very serious publication!

A page from my homemade monster 'zine
MONSTERS MAGAZINE vintage 1963,


Well, it turns out that there were not one, but two series of SPOOK THEATRE cards. The first, in an orange wax pack with gum and a sticker, ran from Card #1 to #72. The second series, SON OF SPOOK THEATRE, came in a purple wax pack with gum and a sticker, and ran from Card #73 to #144.

I don't recall ever seeing or having the opportunity to buy any of the second series cards, which would explain why we never saw cards with higher numbers than we did. Turns out today that these higher number cards are a little more scarce (some dealers label them as "rare", but, outside of maybe a few single cards, I don't see much truth in that) than numbers from the first series.


I had the recent fortune of picking up a few of these so-called "rare" cards numbered over 100. In celebration of their 50th (well, maybe 49th if you're being picky) anniversary, I thought I'd share a few of them with you throughout the rest of this week. The captions are pretty much the same as in the first series, so I'll give you fair warning on that.

Oh, and you may be wondering if I ever filled out my run of the first series of SPOOK STORIES. As Ripley would have it, believe it or not, after opening up every single pack, I still didn't have the entire set!


Leaf SPOOK STORIES Card #91


2 comments:

Doug said...

Spook Stories is my all-time favorite trading card set, so I am looking forward to seeing the rare, higher-number cards!

Brother Bill said...

I committed the same tragic crime with my original set of Star Wars cards... cutting off the borders and captions to illustrate my homemade Star Wars magazine. What was I thinking?

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