Thursday, November 2, 2017

Donruss Dukes of Hazzard Bubble Gum Cards - The Complete Collection


Strap in, this should be another long one.  Trading cards are a staple of many of our childhoods.  It seems every major movie and television show had a associated set of cards for sale at the grocery store.  Sports cards are of course the biggest example with baseball cards dating back to the 1800s, but it seemed non-sports cards really took off in the '70s and '80s.  Everything from Star Trek to Jaws to Superman the Movie to Mork and Mindy to Alf to Batman the Movie all had accompanying card sets.  As with all things that took off in the '70s and '80s, the Dukes of Hazzard was right in the middle of it.  Donruss released several different Dukes of Hazzard Bubble Gum Cards sets.  Let's take a look at all of them.


Donruss started in the 1950s as a candy company.  They started producing collectible cards in the '60s.  Each pack of trading cards Donruss produced included a stick of bubble gun and are offically called Bubble Gum Cards.  The sealed packages I own still have the gum inside and they smell quite pleasant, though I wouldn't try any of the gum.  Donruss was around up until 2009 when it was acquired by the Panini Group, a card maker from Italy.


The different series of Dukes of Hazzard Bubble Gum Cards can be a bit confusing.  Officially, there are three series and a series of stickers.  Series 1 and 2, as well as the stickers, came in standard wax packs.  Series 3 came in a rack pack, a longer plastic package that hung on a rack.


The package for the the first series of cards features simplified artwork of our favorite Duke cousins and the General Lee.


The back of the wrapper advertises the gum inside.  Maybe the gum was just as important to the kids buying the cards in the store.  Super Bubble is a brand of bubble gum that is still the standard bearer today.  It was created by the Thomas Wiener Company.  Donruss was created by Donald and Russell Weiner, who owned the Thomas Weiner Company.  Even though Super Bubble and Donruss were owned by different companies throughout the decades, they will always be linked together in their origins.


Series 1 of the trading cards came in a very nice box that sat on the shelf in stores when it was released in 1980.  These boxes weren't meant to leave the stores and most got thrown away when all the packs were sold.  The boxes are the rarest aspect of the Donruss Dukes cards collection.  I am fortunate to have them all.  Unopened boxes are very pricey; all of mine are opened.  


The front of the box features a photo of Bo, Daisy, and Luke.  They are each in front of a yellow star.  The suggested price of each series 1 pack is twenty cents.  That's quite a bargain.  




Each side of the box features a different Duke.


The back of the box features the Donruss logo and company information.


Series one cards have a blue border.  They have a Dukes font Dukes of Hazzard logo in the corner and feature both landscape and portrait cards.


There are 66 cards in series 1.  This is all of them in order.  Click on the picture to enlarge it to see each individual card.  All of the images used in series 1 are still photographs that were used for other products and materials as well as the cards.  Many of the images are familiar to us fans as they were used on posters, 8x10s, folders, and even packages and printings of other toys.  You'll notice card 17 has the Oxford College jump from the end of the show opening that is probably the most used image from the show.  Card 20 is the image used on my favorite t-shirt as well as the package for the 1997 144 cars.   I could spend a lot of time pointing out where else these images were used, but I have a blog to finish.


The back of the cards contain different pieces to a larger image.  This is both fun and disappointing.  The reason I say it is disappointing is there could have been a lot of information on these cards.  I collected a lot of cards growing up.  My favorite sets were Marvel Universe cards from the early '90s.  These cards were filled with information about each of the characters and events in the comics.  Most of my knowledge came from these cards as opposed to actually reading the comics when I was young.  Though it was probably not something that was done in the early '80s, there still could have been a little info on the characters or scenes on the cards.  I'm sure adding information to 66 cards probably would have made a lot more work for Donruss. 


It was also fun because the cards were puzzle pieces that made larger poster sized images of our favorite cousins.  I've always wanted to put these posters together and wondered how it would work.  Building these puzzles was one of the reasons I wanted to write this blog.  I thought it would be as easy as flipping the cards over once they were in order, but Donruss made it a little more difficult.  Just like putting together a standard puzzle, the pieces needed to be rearranged and grouped to finish.  I didn't realize there were two different images on the backs of the cards so I got a little worried when I saw Luke's face on two different cards.  But it all worked out and above is the finished product of two larger images using each of the 66 cards in series 1.  The finished poster is 21 inches tall by 27 inches wide.



 The images used for the poster are the same as cards 20 and 59.  They were both shot on the same day before production started.  The boys never wore those hats on the show and you will notice the Gen'ral doesn't have the 01 on it yet.  Bo is also wearing a blue shirt, which we all know is wrong.


Some memorable cards in the series include this great shot of Boss and Rosco falling in wet cement outside the courthouse.


Cletus gets his own card.  This is nice because Neither Enos nor Cletus is heavily utilized on products.  At least not enough.


Card 24 features a shot of the General Lee after the Carnival of Thrills jump.  This image is also used on the package of some Gordy toys as well as other products.  I always thought it was weird that this shot was so heavily used as it features a wrecked Gen'ral that has a giant camera strapped to the passenger door.  The Dukes was never known for showing any post-jump damage having occurred to General Lee - that's the first issue with this picture, but then you see a camera!  That is flagrant fourth wall breaking!  It also appears that some sort of liquid is pouring out of the front of the car.  That doesn't look safe.  It's strange that this image was so widely used.


1981 was the biggest year for Dukes of Hazzard products.  Series 1 came out in 1980, but 1981 saw three more additions to the Donruss line.  Series 2 came in a similar wax pack.  Each pack included 5 cards, 1 sticker, and the inevitable stick of gum.  The package featured a drawing of the General Lee in mid-flight.


The back of the package was very similar to series 1 but featured a bar code.  Technology was rapidly changing in the early '80s.


Series 2 featued a box that was also very similar to series 1 but this time included Boss Hogg.  Instead of photos of the Dukes, series 2 featured artwork.  This artwork is very familiar to us as it is used on the Album cover, the Gone Racin' novel, and several other items.


Series 2 packs were priced at twenty five cents.  That's quite an increase in twelve months.  My series 2 box is in a little worse condition than series 1.



The sides of the box features more artwork that is shared with the album cover as well as the shoe box.


The back features the Donruss info as well.


The design of series 2 is similar to the previous series but this time the boarder is white and the logo is yellow on red.


There are 60 cards in series 2.  Somehow there was a mix up when these cards were printed and the last card has number 61 on it.  There is no card 60.  This error is known through out the card collecting community and there are no claims otherwise.  I wonder how Donruss made that mistake.  The majority of the images used in series 2 are screen captures of scenes of the show.  There are basically freeze frames of interesting scenes featuring all the characters.  Each one is in landscape perspective just like a television set.  A few of the images are used on other products, but only ones featuring the General Lee in midair.


The puzzle is back with series 2.  This time the cards come together to form one image and it happens to be my favorite Dukes of Hazzard picture, the tree group shot.  I've talked about how mouch I love this shot several times before and even recreated it using the Figures Toy Company action figures.  The poster is the same size as the series 1 poster.  It uses all 60 series 2 cards as well as the 6 stickers that are included in the sets.  More on the stickers soon.


Stand out cards in series 2 include the famed lobster claw jump.  I talked about this image of the flying orange clunker car in my blog about the Deka Dukes dinnerware.  The debris that is in front of the passenger side rear tire makes the back wheel look like a lobster claw, at least to me.  I love that image.


I guess I'm partial to Boss and Rosco's physical comedy.  Here is a great image of Rosco falling on Boss in a wheel chair.  I can just hear ol' J.D. yelling at the dipstick now!


Each series 2 pack included a sticker, but if you only wanted to get five stickers at the same time, you were in luck.  Concurrent with series 2, Donruss released stickers packs that featured the six trading card sized stickers and a stick of gum.  They came in a yellow wax pack that featured smaller artwork similar to the series 1 pack and the word stickers really big.  It also featured instructions of how to release the sticker.  


The back again showed that you were getting Super Bubble brand gum and another barcode.  


The stickers even came in their own box.  This is where it gets a little confusing because it is commonly known that there are three series of Dukes of Hazzard cards, but once you start searching, there are four boxes and packages.  The yellow box and packs contain only stickers.  They are the same stickers that are inserted in series 2, but you could get them separately in their own package.  No longer confused?  Good.


The box contains my favorite image; I just love it.  The packages cost twenty five cents, the same as series 2.




The sides of the box just feature the logo while the front has the same cast image on it.  A good bit of design went into these display boxes that weren't meant to go to the consumer.  I'm happy they found their way into my hands.


There are six stickers all together.  I would imagine buying two packs would guarantee you got all six.  There is a sticker of Bo, Luke, Daisy, two of the General Lee, and one that has a Hazzard County Sheriff logo.  I really like the design of all of them.  I can see the reasoning behind Donruss releasing separate sticker sets.  Kids of the early '80s could buy these sets and slap the stickers on everything from school folders to lunch boxes to bedroom mirrors.  (I couldn't have been the only one who had a mirror covered with stickers in their room.)  I'm sure these sets were just as popular as the card packs.


The final entry into the series can't really be categorized as Bubble Gum Cards.  They didn't come with any bubble gum.  Just don't tell the box that.  Series 3 came packaged differently than series 1 and 2.


Series 3, which also came out in 1981, was released in larger rack packs, or value paks.  Each pack came with a whopping 24 cards.  They were meant to hang from pegs in stores and come in three sets of eight cards packaged together.  You could see three of the twenty four cards you were getting.


The back of the package is also see through so you could see which puzzle pieces you were getting.  That may be more important than which actual cards your got.  More on that later.


Even though they were meant to hang from a peg, or rack, they still came in a a nice box that is bigger than the others to accommodate the larger size of the packages.


The box says Bubble Gum Cards, even know there is no gum to be found.  They are still officially bubble gum cards, I guess.  A box only includes 24 packs with series 3, as opposed to 36 with the other series.  The box uses the same artwork from series 2.  The only real difference is the box size and price.  You get 24 cards for sixty-nine cents.  That's quite a bargain.




The sides of the boxes don't feature any artwork, just logos. 


Series 3 features a border made up of cartoon sticks.  The Dukes logo has a reverse color scheme than series 2.  


Like series 1, and different than series 2, series 3 includes cards that are both landscape and portrait.  Some shots seem to be screenshots while others seem to be posed photos.  There are only 44 cards in this series.   


I was very dissapointed when I attempted to complete the series 3 puzzle.  It can't be done using the complete set.  I noticed an issue when I came across Bo's face twice.  Above is all 48 cards in the puzzle.  Notice there are doubles in the puzzle pieces at the top.  Those are different cards with the same backs.


The finished product should look like card 8.  A nice, rarely seen posed photograph of the Dukes and Cooter in front of the County Building.  



To further explain the issue, Here are two copies of card 3.  Below them are the backs of card 3. They have different puzzle pieces on them.  Series 1 and 2 only needed one complete set to make the puzzle, but with series 3 you would seemingly need at least two sets and maybe more because it seems the backs are random.  This isn't fun.  The package for series 3 is the only one of the three that mentions the puzzle.  "Card backs make giant 21x27 poster" is printed below "collect all 44 cards."  We know from the previous series that you need 66 cards to make a 21"x27" poster.  I wonder how Donruss let this happen.  So really there may be an endless possible number of front and back combinations for series 3.  That's no fun.  


Notable cards in series 3 include another shot of the lobster claw General.


This shot seems so dramatic.  Bo is so focused on where he is about to drive the Gen'ral and Daisy is adamantly supporting him.  It's a very cool shot, but doesn't really seem to fit the mood of the show.


I picked up a cool addition to the card collection last year.  At some point, Donruss must have been unloading the stock and released a giant value pack of various cards that happen to include a few Dukes packs.  This is the Donruss Super Value Pack.


It contains $7.50 worth of bubble gum cards for only $1.29.  That was a heck of a deal.  It contains four packages of series 2 Dukes cards.


You have to position the package correctly to see what's all inside.



The back of the bag shows that you get 13 baseball card packs and 12 assorted picture and sticker card packs that may contain gum.  Obviously the packs were randomly stuffed in the value pack.


Included, seemingly randomly, are 4 Dukes packs, 13 baseball packs, 4 Magnum PI sets, and 4 sets from a series called Zero Heroes.  Google tells me the Magnum PI cards had a poster on the backs of some cards but some also had information on them like the Marvel cards.  Darn, we missed out!  They were only released a year later, too.  Zero Heroes seem to be just what you'd expect.  Cards making fun of actual superheroes with characters such as Commander Cheese, Captain Ugly, and Steel Putty Man.  Not sure those cards really took off.  The value pack is a fun addition to my card collection.  I'm going to see if I can find any others.


Years ago I put together this binder of all three complete sets.   I have several different loose cards as well as a bunch of sealed wax packs.  They were all sort of spread out throughout the collection so I am glad that I have all my bubble gum cards in one place now.




The binder is fun to look through.  I have all three sets in order inside.  Those multiple Bo face card backs from series 3 will haunt me forever.  Why, Donruss?!?!!  Why is the third puzzle so hard to create?!!?


Somewhere along the way I picked up a graded series 3 card.  PSA, Professional Sports Authenticater is a business that ranks and seals sports memorabilia like baseball cards as well as autographs.  Getting a card graded is a way of preserving it as well as getting a professional opinion on the condition.  This particular card in ranked mint, 9 out of 10.  Getting items like this graded can be quite pricey.  I didn't pay for this grading, I bought it with other items.  Grading isn't my thing, but it's cool to have.


An absolute gem I came across in my collection is this series 1 card signed by Boss Hogg himself, Sorrell Booke.  Boss's autograph is hard to come by these days and on a collectible item such as a trading card is such a cool piece.  I honestly don't remember buying this item.  I was thrilled when I came across it organizing all these cards.  This is an item that might be worth getting graded.  Decisions, decisions.  This is the only autographed card I have, and I love it.  It 's really the perfect card to have autographed as it's such a great picture of J.D. Hogg telling you who's Boss.  


The Donruss Bubble Gum Card set is a big sub-collection within the Dukes of Hazzard collection.  They are not wildly expensive, except unopened boxes, and are fun to track down.  I would encourage any collector to go hunting for these pieces and I hope the information I provided here helps fellow collectors complete their collection.

2 comments:

  1. Enjoyed this update and see a few items to add to the wish list. I collect autographed trading cards and have several of these signed by John, Tom, Catherine Rick and Ben. Had them signed in person, through the mail -- and even had a little help from a collecting buddy on a couple!

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  2. Excellently written article, if only all blogger offered the same level of content as you, the internet would be a much better place. Please keep it up!.Great tips, I would like to join your blog anyway.Waiting for some more review.Thank you
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