Nothing says “nostalgia” like remembering when you were a kid in 1975, being 7-years-old and going to the local Ben Franklin store with your mother — and knowing that they had a box of Planet of the Apes TV series trading cards full of wax packs waiting on you. Not to mention, collecting glass soda pop bottles for a 10-cent return on each prior to going … the exact price of one of those wax packs. And there was also that paper grocery sack that I kept my precious Apes cards in, which I loved to look through regularly.
It was a time I used to be glued to the TV set when the Planet of the Apes series came on, which would explain my dismay at it suddenly not airing anymore. But I had gotten all the Mego figures and the Fortress for Christmas 1974, so my Planet of the Apes fandom was secured for life.
Funny story: As a kid, I never did quite complete that 66-card collection, but around 1996 I received a catalog from a Canadian trading card company who offered complete sets for around $66 (or a buck per card). My nostalgia kicked in and I had to, finally, have a complete set of those beloved Apes cards. I filled out the form, gladly sent them the check and waited with eagerness for the mailman to bring them to me. I forget exactly how long it took, but they finally arrived in the mail. I had my Ultra Pro sheets laid out, ready to accept the set for placement into a binder.
I began reminiscing with the first card, “Renegade Chimp Galen,” and the memories just flooded my brain, a nostalgic anomaly taking place. After all, it had been 20 years and my happiness continued as I made my way through the series, getting up to card number 60, 61, 62 — I was in heaven for real — 63, 64, 66 … What? Wait just a minute! Where was card number 65? All cards had gone into the pages just fine, so I checked the box and … nothing! No #65! The sadness ensued. After all these years, the thing that had eluded me as a kid was haunting me. I couldn’t even get a complete set as an adult. My eyes welled up thinking about it, because when I was a kid — all of 7 — I had spent the night over at a fellow Apes buddy’s house and at some time during my visit, he had stolen many of my Apes cards, which was one of the reasons I could never get a complete set. And they were impossible to replace due to the fact that Topps had stopped production of them by 1975.
Needless to say, I picked up the phone and called the Canadian company, explaining to them my chagrin and the flood of bad memories that occurred as a result of them forgetting card #65 in my set. “Oh, Mr. Champy, we are sooooo, soooo sorry! We apologize for any inconvenience we have caused you, sir. We will overnight you the card that you are missing at no charge and we, sincerely, regret the oversight.” I, simply, said “Thank you, ma’am.”
In the next day or so, my card #65 was in my mailbox, and I’m happy to say that I still have that complete set to this day. I look at card #65 often to make sure it’s still there.
Childhood dream fulfilled!