As is blatantly obvious, Star Wars hit me in exactly the right way. It was my first real fandom, and I couldn’t get enough of it. Before the advent of DVDs or even videotapes (though, more on that later) we could only relive the movie with ancillary items, though there were plenty of those.
The Star Wars trading cards from Topps were a genius move. Blind-packaged, so you had to buy a bunch and literally trade them to get a set. The photos, at least in the first series, weren’t anything great; most were stills and publicity photos that were already all over the place, but the physical cards were such a neat thing, buying them was still exciting. My friends and I would ride our bikes up to Time Saver and buy several packs at a time, hoping to get ones we didn’t have, duplicates of ones we really liked, or versions of ones we had that weren’t screwed up in the printing process with blue spots all over them (this was a common occurrence and Topps sold them anyway and we bought them anyway.)
I eventually got all of the first (blue) series, and possibly the second (red) ones. I had some from the third (yellow) series, but not much from the fourth (green) or fifth (orange) one. They weren’t too far apart in when they came out, so I don’t know if I ran out of money, ran out of interest, or if Time Saver didn’t get as many of the later series.
I cringe as I remember my Aunt Shirley visiting us and me cornering her at the table an laboriously going through the plot of Star Wars with her, using the cards to illustrate scenes. In my mind this lasted for hours with her desperately trying to shut this kid up and me going on and on and on.
The trading cards thing didn’t stop at Star Wars. I also bought cards for Alien, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and even Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Yes. There were cards for The Black Hole, ET, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Star Trek the Motion Picture, Battlestar Galactica, and Buck Rogers, but if I got any of these it wasn’t many. When The Empire Strikes Back came out I bought cards for it as well, but if they made ones for Return of the Jedi, I never saw them.
Much later, in college, I would end up buying the Marvel Comics trading cards, which was odd, because I didn’t read much of any Marvel Comics. Still, I liked looking at and reading about the characters, even if I wasn’t too interested in buying stories about them. This actually started with my roommate Kyle (who did read Marvel comics, and how) buying them and giving me his duplicates, which led to me buying them and giving Anna my duplicates, which led to her buying them. I also bought Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast cards for Becky when we were first dating.
I know trading cards are still a huge thing, though I admit I’m baffled as to how this could be.
When did I get it? Starting in 1977.
Do I still have it? I don’t know what happened to my Star Wars cards. I have some somewhere, but they weren’t mine; they may have been Becky’s when she was a kid or someone else’s gifted to me. All the other cards are gone, though I do have some Doctor Who trading cards that someone gave me at some point.