Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Dave Winfield

It works out well that I've had two college basketball cards made right around the time of the NCAA March Madness tournament. I didn't necessarily plan it that way, just good lucky timing.

Unlike Tony Gwynn, I have known a bit about Dave Winfield being a two-sport college athlete. I was in awe when I found out (probably read it on the back of a baseball card) that Dave Winfield was drafted by the MLB, NBA, and NFL! The San Diego Padres took Winfield with the 4th overall pick in the 1973 MLB Draft. That same year The Atlanta Hawks drafted the 6'6" forward 79th overall in addition to being drafted by the Utah Stars (58th) in the ABA's draft. Despite never playing a single down of college football, the Minnesota Vikings saw enough raw athletic talent to draft Winfield in the 17th round of the 1973 NFL draft. Dave preferred America's Pastime in a move that culminated in a 22-year Hall Of Fame baseball career.
1972-73 Topps

Dave played two season of college basketball, 1971-72 and 1972-73. For the card I chose the 1972-73 Topps basketball design I used once previously with my Prince basketball card. For the image I wanted something that was a posed picture seeing as Topps used that type a picture as opposed to an action shot that year. I love the image even if it took forever to crop out just right. It's black-and-white, but I think that adds for a more dynamic look when it contrasts the yellow background. The color scheme is that of the Atlanta Hawks from the '72-'73 set seeing as Winfield was drafted by the Hawks.

Get a copy of this card HERE.

Fun Facts:
Dave was part of of Minnesota's 1973 Big Ten Championship team ... Winfield was part of one of the ugliest brawls in collage basketball history in a game against Ohio State in January 1972 ... was named MVP of the 1973 College World Series -- as a pitcher!

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Sig. Showcase: Jason Alexnder

This is my 1988 Topps style George Costanza signed by Jason Alexander.

As we all know, George held the prestigious position of Assistant To The Traveling Secretary for the New York Yankees.

Monday, March 26, 2018

I Was A Teenage Zombie

Awhile back I picked up a VHS copy of I Was A Teenage Zombie.  It’s campy as hell and from the ‘80s, so needless to say I like it.

There’s a scene where the main character Dan Wake, who’s a star high school baseball player, has a daydream of sorts of his baseball glory all the while his buddies are getting pummeled by the local weed man Mussolini and they're begging “Dan” to help them out by taking batting practice on Mussolini. I thought that would make for a cool -if not super obscure- custom baseball card.

Since I Was A Teenage Zombie I was excited to use the woodgrain 1987 Topps baseball inspired template again. The biggest obstacle I was faced was getting a clean image. The movie itself can’t be found a very clear picture. It’s available on DVD, but I don’t think it’s ever been actually ‘digitally remastered’. The image you see is the best I could do out of dozens of attempts to capture a clear image. I don’t recall the high school in the movie ever being referenced let alone a mascot of logo. So, for the logo I just copied the simple “M” on Dan’s hat. It’s interesting because the Zombie on the VHS cover has a letterman jacket with an “N” on it. I don’t think they were concerned about the accuracy on the custom trading card I would be making 30 years later.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Funny Farm (Updated)

I went back and made this a Funny Farm mini-set. I actually had to correct my original Andy Farmer card because I messed up on the name of the town in the movie. The original said “Rosebud” when it should have been “Redbud”. Oops. I also changed the image because I wanted to use that image for the Record Breaker card. A card, by the way, that I love. An Andy Farmer lamb fry record breaker card is just hilarious to me. I only wish I could have gotten a decent image from that scene, but it’s still hilarious to me. The mini-set rounds out with Elizabeth Farmer. I knew this wouldn’t be one of my larger sets, but I would have maybe added a couple more characters had I been able to find some decent images.

I haven’t made it a goal to make cards of every Chevy Chase role ever, despite that sort of seemingly starting to happen organically. I mean, I definitely like Chevy and am a fan but apparently I need to consider him for my personal Mt. Rushmore of favorite actors.

Funny Farm holds a special place for me. It’s a movie both myself and my mom enjoyed. I got my love for a escaping into a good movie from her. She wasn’t a nerd about it like me, but she definitely hobby watched movies.

There’s a number of parts I remember her always laughing out loud to. Chevy pulling snake from the pond, the psycho mailman, the “lamb fries" record. I can picture quoting that scene “the trick is you’ve got to clip them off way up high” while making the finger scissor motion. I miss my mom … a lot.  Funny Farm is one of those movies that we could always agree on whenever there wasn’t an answer to “what do you feel like watching?” while thumbing through the tapes on the shelf. So this card literally brings a smile to my face to look at, and a lump in my throat if I’m being completely honest.

This is the second Andy Farmer card I’ve made.  The first one was among the first I made when I started tinkering with card making. It, like the rest, were in the style of the 1985 Topps baseball cards. I wanted to update it to a year accurate template with the movie being released in 1988. My original card was a Mets card with the Andy character wearing a Mets hat throughout the movie. The original picture was really poor quality looking back at it now, this one is much better. I changed it from a Mets card to a “Redbud” card after the name of the small Vermont town that Funny Farm is set in. The gag being that Andy desperately wanting to be a part of his new hometown but the community not receiving him so warmly in return. For the colors I used the St Louis Cardinals scheme from the 1988 Topps because, you know, Cardinals … “Rosebud” "Redbud"… the color red.

This card could turn into a mini-set I guess depending on the response I get from it. I’m not sure how many others out there geek out to it like me. It’s not Caddyshack or a Lampoon's classic, but to me it’s up there. If there’s enough others who love this movie as much as I do and would want the other memorable characters on cardboard then I’d be more than happy to expand. If not, I’m cool with this one card being a Funny Farm representation in the Phantom Cardboard raisonné.

Get a copy here.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Tony Gwynn

I had plenty of Tony Gwynn baseball cards growing up. As an eight time batting champ Tony was a superstar and there’s always more cards of star players with all-star subsets and such. But, there was never a chance to pick up a card of the 2007 Copperstown inductee in any “traded” update sets seeing as “Mr. Padre” spent his whole 20 season career in San Diego. That is certainly something of an anomaly in the age of free agency.

1978-79 Topps basketball
I knew that Tony Gwynn was one of baseball’s most prolific hitters -one of only 31 players ever to amass 3,000 hits- but, what I didn’t know as a kid is that he was also a problem on the basketball court. Gwynn, who played point guard for San Deigo State, was twice named to the All-WAC team and is still the schools all-time leader in assists. Tony’s main focus when starting his collegiate career was actually basketball. I really don’t ever remember anyone talking about how good of a basketball player he was while in college I guess because he was just that awesome at baseball. But, he was actually drafted by the then San Diego Clippers with the 210th pick of the 1981 NBA draft. On the very same day he was also chosen by the San Diego Padres with the 58th overall pick of the MLB draft and the rest, as they say, is history.

Unfortunately Gwynn only lived to be 54 succumbing to cancer in 2014. Along with being one of baseball’s best he was universally lauded as a good guy and true gentleman.

Tony played four year of college basketball from the 1977-78 season through the 1980-81 season. I chose to go with a 1978-79 Topps basketball inspired design for his card. I’m a sucker for the Topps action pic + small headshot designs. I was lucky enough to find a pretty similar font. Fonts for the older basketball sets are difficult to match. They’re usually what I would best describe as “groovy” type fonts that look hand drawn, so I was pretty happy to come close, then color matched “San Diego St Aztecs” to the reddish color in the school’s logo.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Sudden Death

The other night I was watching my VHS copy of Sudden Death (1995). This was my first time ever seeing it. The movie stars Phantom Cardboard favorite Jean-Claude Van Damme. If you’re like me and have not seen this then without spoiling it too much for you the movie is basically Die Hard set inside of a hockey stadium during Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals. It’s a pretty decent movie in my opinion.

1984 Topps hockey
I watched this movie just to watch a movie. Like most VHS junkies I’ve got more tapes then I’ll ever be able to watch by virtue of picking them up from thrift stores for pennies on the dollar. Never the less, I watch new tapes as often as I can so they’re not just looking all pretty on my bowing shelves while collecting dust. The point is I really had no intention of making a card from this movie, I was just getting the return on my $.10 (probably) investment. Then Jean-Claude had to go and disguise himself as Penguins goalie Brad Tolliver (played by former NHL’er Jay Caufield). Yep. That’s gotta be a card said me, to me.

For this one I used a favorite of mine, the 1984 Topps hockey inspired design. No designs from 1995 were going to work as well as this one did for my tastes. The main picture is great with JCVD karate kicking one of the baddies in full goalie pads. Only thing that could have topped that would be him doing his patented splits in the goalie get-up.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Coach Reeves

If you’ve read through this blog at all you’ve probably picked up my affinity for The White Shadow. It’s my favorite-favorite. I kicked off this blog with a post about some of my first Ken Howard cards. It was just instinctual that if I’m messing around with making my own trading cards I’m going to make some White Shadow cards.

When I first started making custom trading cards I made a template that was inspired by the 1985 Topps baseball cards. Then I would just plug in the right image and make the colors match the theme. That was fun for awhile but being as detail oriented as I fancy myself it wasn’t good enough. I wanted to coordinate the subject of the card I was making to a trading card design of the same vintage. So, a card of Ken Reeves, for example, doesn’t make much sense as a baseball card from 1985 when The White Shadow was a TV show centered around basketball that ran from late 1978 to 1981. I decided to revisit my Ken Reeves Bulls card in order to do it the justice it so rightly deserves.

1977-78 Topps basketball
I went with a design inspired by the 1977-78 Topps basketball card set. I figured this would make good sense. If Ken Reeves is accepting his old college teammate’s offer to take up the head coaching position at Los Angeles’ fictional Carver High School in the fall of 1978, then this card would serve as his last card as a pro ball player.

The image is a screen capture from the show’s Season One opening credits. Just seeing it I can hear that funky saxophone theme song.

I’m very happy with the end result, and it instantly became one of my favorites I’ve done. I wish Ken was still with us I would have loved to have sent him a copy because I think he’d get a kick out of it.

This is not the last time Kenny Reeves will be featured on one of my cards as I’m still working on adding on to The White Shadow set I’ve started.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018


Caddyshack would fall under the ‘it’s about time’ heading when it comes to new additions to PCb custom trading cards. Gotta have Caddyshack, right?

This mini-set was a lot of fun to make. I have to believe Caddyshack is on most comedy fans shortlist and the #1 best golf comedy -- that or Happy Gilmore, depending on the age of who you ask.

I finally got to again use the 1980 Topps baseball inspired design I created for my "Bubba Newman" card. The 1980 design is super nostalgic looking to me. I throw the word ‘nostalgic’ around a bunch. You can find ‘nostalgia’ defined as: a wistful or excessively sentimental yearning for return to or of some past period or irrecoverable condition. That’s what this design is to me. My cards in general are made to evoke nostalgia, mashing two things from my own past that I look back on fondly; ‘80s (mostly) pop culture and trading cards. You could give me any year in the ‘80s and I immediately identify it with what cards from Topps (and to a lesser extent the other brands) looked like that particular year. When I would part the two folds of a wax pack what was inside was very similar to the cards I make today. They didn’t have any gold foil stamping. There was no high gloss UV coating. There wasn’t 25 different releases to choose from at upwards of hundreds of dollars per pack that are secured in a metal briefcases. No cut up pieces of jerseys or manufacturer certified autographed cards. The cards were on a, for lack of more flattering descriptors, rough and almost cheap feeling cardboard stock. The graphics weren’t crisp with computer generated precision, but that was part of the charm. That’s not to say they weren’t cool looking. They were, and could keep the eye busy. This was before the picture quality dominated the card to the point where it looked like you were holding a photograph taken from courtside seats. That’s cool and all but give me the halftone dots any day of the week and I’ll be happy. In a nutshell Phantom Cardboard trading cards are a tangible yearning for a simpler time.

Stepping down from my soapbox now, I love how these came out. That’s probably another statement I overuse on this blog, but I would think if I didn’t like a card set I made I wouldn’t show it off. I swapped the player position text for the character’s role at the "Bushwood Country Club".

The card’s color scheme is from the 1980 Topps St. Louis Cardinals colors.  "Bushwood" is supposed to be located in Nebraska. Had it been set in a state that had a Major League team I would have chosen that team’s colors. I went with the Cardinals schemes because the Caddie’s shirts were somewhat of a red color.

Fun Fact:
I recently read that both Chevy Chase and Bill Murray (John Travolta as well) turned down the role of Forrest Gump.

Friday, March 9, 2018


Back to the Future is the set that has been most requested. I like Back to the Future, but I know there’s a bunch of folks out there in my age bracket that LOVE it.

BTTF is actually a mini-set that was already in the making even before I decided to focus on making mini-sets. The reason that is would be because I’ve gotten a number of really cool TTM successes from BTTF cast members. The first card was Huey Lewis.  He’s a great through-the-mail signer and I wanted to make something cool for him to sign. When you think of the songs “The Power of Love” or “Back in Time” you automatically think Back To The Future. I’ve personally always liked Huey Lewis and the News. “Doing It All For My baby” is one of the first music videos I remember ever seeing on MTV when we got cable back in 1987. Very fun video. My family was late to the party when it came to cable T.V. but we made up for it in the years to come.

From there I used the same template to get Back To The Futures cards signed from Harry Waters, Jr. (Marvin Barry), Bob Gale (BTTF co-creator), Drew Struzan (poster artist) and Dean Cundey (cinematographer). I also had Mr. Strickland and Robert Zemeckis made but have yet to receive an autograph back from Mr. James Tolkan or Mr. Zemeckis.

1985 Fleer baseball
When I set out to make this set I wanted to use a design inspired by a 1985 set but I’d already done a lot with the 1985 Topps baseball like design. I wanted to do something different. I considered but the 1985 Topps football, 1985 Topps hockey and 1985 Donruss baseball but none of those really did much for me. Then I took a look at the 1985 Fleer baseball and had a winner. I think it lends itself nicely to these cards. I love that the inner frame is rounded at the bottom. Rounded corners always feel very early-mid ‘80s to me. The design called for a logo so I added the BTTF logo and color coordinated the inner frame to it. So far this BTTF is the only thing I’ve used this template with but I’m itching to find an excuse to use it again.

Another really unique thing about this set is that it features some behind-the-scenes types from the movie. This of course came to be because of having a shot at autographs from those guys.

Okay time for a random factoid about Back to the Future … You may know Eric Stoltz was the original “Marty McFly” but was replaced after screen testing poorly.  But, did you know that before that Ralph Macchio turned down the role!? I guess he just didn’t get the role seeing it merely a story about a boy and his car. Can you imagine that? If he would have taken the role he’s right up there with Stallone and Schwarzenegger as an ‘80s mega star. I actually think he would have been a great “Marty” and I could imagine that I’d be a really REALLY big fan of the movie seeing as I’m a way bigger Macchio fan than I am a MJF fan. You think Ralph would like a Delorean to go back and have a mulligan on that decision?

Monday, March 5, 2018

Hey Bud, Let's Party!

Fast Times at Ridgemont High is among the dozen or so movies that are in my top 5 favorites. It doesn't get much more '80s than Fast Times and the cast is just loaded with Hollywood heavyweights when most were just relatively unknown up-and-comers.

These cards are inspired by the 1982 Topps baseball set customized to give it a look that I could actually imagine the Fast Times cards having had an actual set been made. I started off with a "Mike Damone" and "Charles Jefferson" cards hoping to get autographs from Robert Romanus and Forest Whitaker. I had success with Romanus, still have my fingers crossed for Mr. Whitaker. From there I would just add a cast member here and there and now it's a 20 card mini-set.

The actor's whose characters had names I put in black text. There are a number of iconic actors who played unnamed minor characters in the movie and instead of calling Eric Stoltz "Spicoli's buddy" I put his and other's actual names with the name being in red text to make the distinction. I thought that would be a particularly cool touch seeing as Nicolas Cage was billed by his real name, Nicolas Coppola, for Fast Times which was his big screen debut.

Get the set here.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Courting Disaster

Everyone enjoys the random episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air that can usually be found with a little channel surfing. A lot of us grew up with Will, Carlton, Uncle Phil, Aunt Viv 1 & 2, Hillary, Ash and Geoffrey. All likable characters and the show itself was funny and pretty wholesome.  It's easy to understand why the show had a solid six season run.

I don't know that I've ever seen an episode I didn't enjoy, but there is one episode that does stand out from the rest as my favorite. It was a Season One episode entitled "Courting Disaster" which aired in November of 1990. Why this particular episode?  That's easy, the Isiah Thomas cameo. Isiah Thomas was my hero growing up and I could make a case for me being his biggest fan ... my first born son's name Isiah. I'm serious.

If you look at when this episode came out, November of 1990, Isiah had just led the Pistons to back-to-back championships the previous June and was named NBA Finals MVP. Needless to say my fandom was on a definite high. I recorded the episode on VHS and would watch it like every day after school. Not always the entire episode, sometimes just up until Will day dreams that he's taking on Zeke in a commercial for his own signature "Air Fresh" sneakers. Whenever a friend would come over I'd pop the episode into the VCR like it was something that once viewed would change their lives. I mean the whole episode is great don't get me wrong, but the Isiah cameo should have won it an Emmy or something.

These cards are inspired by the 1990-91 NBA Hoops set.  I previously used this template for the "Zack Morris" card I did and the "HS Hoops" element I made for that card also fit this perfectly and the cards were finished off nicely with the Bel-Air academy logo.

I would have loved to have been able to add a "Coach Smiley" card but I just couldn't find a decent picture.

Buy this mini-set here.