Wednesday, October 14, 2015
Expanding my non-sports custom card repertoire with a Hit Stars Johnny Cash
As a card-collecting kid in the 1950s I only recall having a single card from Topps' 1957 Hit Stars set, Nat "King" Cole.
I have a distinct memory of playing with that card one Sunday night when Cole was on the Ed Sullivan TV show. Cole appeared on the Sullivan program 14 times between 1949-61. My recollection probably dates to his penultimate guest shot in 1958, after he had become the first black entertainer to have his own television variety series in 1957, the year Topps Hit Stars were released.
My latest custom card project is in the format of that 88-card Topps set. I've created a Johnny Cash Hit Stars card.
I've always been a big fan of The Man in Black; something I "inherited" from my older brother, who in the late 1960s and early 1970s bought more than half a dozen Cash albums. They were passed down to me (I still have them) when my brother died in 1976. Since then, I've added a handful of CDs, and they remain in my music rotation while driving.
Cash was one of only two live concerts I attended in my college days. The other was Don McLean.
Making a Johnny Cash Hit Stars custom wasn't too tough. Topps didn't use a lot of fancy graphics on front and its choice of typefaces was fairly basic, with each remaining readily available to today's card creator.
There is, of course, no shortage of great Johnny Cash portrait photos available, though color pictures from his early years are scarce. I opted to colorize a black-and-white photo that I thought fit the "look" of the original Hit Stars cards, which mostly relied upon publicity shots from the record labels.
The biggest challenge came in trying to summarize Cash's musical biography through 1957 in about 80 words. I like to think I captured the style of the Topps writers.
I don't currently have plans to create any more Hit Stars customs, but as always, my custom card making plans are subject to change.