I was going to save this blog post for the summer — I remember trading Topps’ “Return of the Jedi” cards and stickers with my best friend Shawn Degnan at the end of my driveway on hot July afternoons in 1983. (It was also where we traded baseball cards, stickers, and … even rocks, when we were both tots. We were both quite the childhood collectors.) I’m running this today, of course, following Carrie Fisher’s passing.
“Return of the Jedi” cards were huge. I was 10 when they went on sale at the local family “drugstore” — which was a couple of miles away; seriously, a lot of New York is quite rural. I seem to remember a couple of “Star Wars” cards floating around at the bottom of my childhood toybox, too — but those were released when I was a tot, and too young to collect anything in an organized fashion.
These came in bright red wrappers, with a hard, occasionally brittle stick of truly cheap pink gum. (I am a little confused by a Google image search that shows yellow packaging.) The dust from the gum would sometimes pepper the cards and make them smell like the gum. I relished that scent as a kid — it meant the cards were new. There was also one sticker per pack, but you never peeled it off, as then you could not trade it. I think I had all the cards pictured below.
The Holy Grail of these cards was one that Shawn had and I did not — it had an image of Han Solo being unfrozen from carbonite in Jabba the Hutt’s palace during his rescue by Princess Leia. (I’m confused again by the fact that I can’t seem to locate an image of that card.