Friday, February 12, 2010

1981 Donruss TRON



Greetings, programs!

I remember being a twelve-year old kid wanting to see TRON when it first came out. I didn't get to see it until over a year later, when I tagged along with my Dad to the house of one of his work friends. He was practicing for a table tennis tournament in his buddy's garage, and I was in his family room finally watching this movie--on Laserdisc!

The movie also germinated an interest in me into computer-generated graphics that has come to dominate much of my adult working career. Yes, I am fan, but not as much of one as Mr. Moose Knuckle famously is.

It was in many ways spectacular and groundbreaking, and in many other ways (like the script) it was not, and certainly not in trading cards. I came by this pack (here's the back side) from eBay, when I bought some unopened non-sports packs on the cheap. Opening this pack is also timely, as a vastly more vivid and complex sequel to the film is due out towards the end of this year.

As the pack states, it comes with 8 (full color) cards, an "Authentic" Tron Sticker (whew! no fakes!), and "Tips for Winning Tron Video Game", in whatever way they're going to provide that to us.

It's interesting that the cards (66 card, 8 sticker set) are copyrighted for 1981, when the film came out a year later. As you'll see in the cards pulled, that it looks like that they got some early scenes from the movie to be able to make the card set in advance of the film.

Printed on almost copy-paper-thin card stock (like the 1981 Donruss MLB cards), these cards both smell and feel uniquely glossy. They are also missing the usual trappings of movie tie-in cards, with no film facts on the back, nor snappy little comments on the action on the front; you know, something like, "Hairy Danger!"

As for the scans, sorry that some of them seem very dusty or with defects in them. The cards are fine, but come out of the pack with all kinds of cardboard lint that sticks to the gloss.

Without further ado:

#8: Looks like Bruce Boxleitner doing his thing as TRON, trying to avoid death by glowing digital frisbee (uh, I mean, "Digital Identity Disc").

#34: Yow! Cindy Morgan as Yori! Happy I got this card out of the pack. She was pretty hot, even for the costumes in TRON. However, it was her role as Lacey in Caddyshack that helped usher in my manhood in the VHS era. She could bring me back alive any day.

#25: Ah. An example of the fact that typos are forever. Does the writer mean "seaman lacking a clothing storage device"? Or does he mean, "sailer out of hangar"?

Also interesting that this looks like a storyboard render taken from the Super Foonly F-1 supercomputer as a pre-production image. The card is even missing the TRON logo in the lower right corner. Good thing that there are other cards in this pack, or I might have had no idea what this was when I was twelve.

#44: Well, it looks like not every card is landscape / horizontal in orientation.

#49: I think this is the only Jeff Bridges card in the pack. Hard to tell. This is from the scene where he plays some kind of cyber-Jai alai against an insurance program.

#40: That's nice. A light cycle card. Even for those that aren't into the movie, if there's one thing they remember, it's the light cycles.

#43: I had trouble figuring out what this card was when I first opened it up. However, I quickly figured it out when I flipped it around:

It seems that even Donruss didn't know what they were looking at in 1981.

The little specs in the middle of the red dish part are part of the image (no, not card lint). They are the movie characters standing on the threshold of the Master Control Program (MCP). Presumably, he's demanding more macaroni pictures.

#58: Another light cycle card.

#58: Back of the same card, as an example. All of the cards have a puzzle piece, but no text. I'm guessing that this is part of Bruce Boxleitner's right arm as seen in card #44.

Here's our sticker. It's a screen shot of the light cycle screen of the first TRON video game. You know, the classic kind, where you might have played it in an "arcade", with odd metal discs called "tokens".

So where's our Pro Tip?

On the back of the sticker, is not much of a tip, really. It's more like "how to play" (as if you couldn't read that off the game cabinet) than techniques on how to win. A little disappointing. However, the blood donor-like high score register is a nice touch. Nothing would get you girls faster in the 80s like having a blank sticker back in your wallet to write down your TRON high scores.

5 comments:

Roy said...

hahaha what the hell

beardy said...

greatest. pack. ever.

dogfacedgremlin said...

I'm speechless. That was awesome.

kevincrumbs said...

This has got to be a first ballot Hall of Famer.

Todd Uncommon said...

New trailer for Tron Legacy:

http://www.program-glitch-esc.net/