June 1, 2020

Monster Trading Cards: Special Accidental Monsters of the ‘50s Edition, Part Two

Topps' Monsters from Outer Limits trading cards
In my last post, I reminisced about all the cool monster trading cards that companies like Leaf and Topps circulated during the 1960s. I remember collecting Leaf’s Spook Theatre cards (featuring mostly the classic Universal monsters), and Topps’ Outer Limits series.

For kids that took the original The Outer Limits show very seriously (count me among them; more often than not it scared the hell out of me), the Topps cards may have seemed like a joke. For one thing, they colorized stills of the show's monsters and made them look like fugitives from a Superman comic book. Secondly, the brief stories on the flip side had nothing to do with the actual episode the monster appeared in.

In spite of my snooty fanboy reservations, I collected quite a few and enjoyed them in a guilty pleasure sort of way until, like so many collectibles, they vanished into the swirling eddies of space and time.

Without further ado, here is the second set of cards in the virtual Accidental Monsters of the ‘50s series, my tribute to the fun, cheesy trading cards of my youth.

Accidental Monsters of the '50s trading card #3: The Vampire (1957)
The Vampire (1957). A research colleague of small-town doctor Paul Beecher (John Beal) has been experimenting with pills synthesized from vampire bat blood in an attempt to isolate primitive, regressive instincts in the brain. After his colleague dies, Beecher finds a bottle of the pills among the scientist’s belongings and takes it home to analyze. When Beecher gets one of his migraines, his innocent young daughter mistakenly mixes up his regular medication with the experimental pills.

As Beecher starts having black-outs, people around him end up dead with vampire-like bite marks on their necks. To his horror, the good doctor realizes that the black-outs and the deaths are not coincidental.

Fun fact: Director Paul Landres used the name "Dr. Paul Beecher" again for a minor character in his film The Return of Dracula, released a year later.

Pathos rating: 2 out of 5 points
2 out of 5 Pathos Points for Beecher not getting FDA approval for his new migraine treatment.

Accidental Monsters of the '50s trading card #4: Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (1958)
Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (1958). Wealthy socialite Nancy Archer (Allison Hayes) has a drinking problem and a no-good, philandering, gold-digging husband problem. To add insult to injury, when she reports seeing a UFO and a giant alien out in the desert, she becomes the butt of the town’s jokes. Keenly embarrassed, Nancy coerces husband Harry (William Hudson) into driving her around the desert to find the UFO and prove she isn’t crazy.
When the UFO and the giant show up again, larger than life, Harry panics and peels out in the car, leaving Nancy to an uncertain fate. Nancy soon shows up again at her house, unconscious, but alive. The doctor and nurse attending Nancy are shocked to find that the comatose woman has started growing to gigantic proportions. Unaware of his wife’s condition and not wanting to be bothered, Harry takes up again with his girlfriend (Yvette Vickers) at the local tavern. When the 50 foot tall Nancy wakes up from her coma, there’s hell to pay.

Fun fact: Premiere magazine (now defunct) included the film’s iconic poster in its list of the “25 Best Movie Posters Ever.”

Pathos rating: 3 out 5 points
3 out of 5 Pathos Points for Nancy going after her no good cheating husband instead of running off with someone her own size -- the giant space alien.
 Coming Soon! Stay tuned to this site for the third and last installment of Accidental Monsters of the '50s.

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