Topps 1964 The Outer Limits Gum Card Set Checklist & Values

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The Topps 1964 The Outer Limits gum card set is based on the classic 1963-65 science fiction TV series of the same name. One PSA graded The Outer Limits 50-card set sold at auction for $11,750.

The Topps 1964 The Outer Limits is one of the wildest gum card sets of the 1960s. Released under the auspices of Topps' famous dummy subsidiary Bubbles Inc., The Outer Limits is a huge favorite today, commanding big bucks from non-sports card collectors.

Len Brown and Woody Gelman Create The Outer Limits Gum Card Set

The driving force behind The Outer Limits gum card set were Topps creative men Len Brown and Woody Gelman. At the time of development, ABC-TV's The Outer Limits (1963-65) was not on the air yet, but Al Schmittman, one of the partners handling the licensing for the soon-to-be legendary science fiction anthology series, informed Len Brown of the upcoming show. According to Schmittman, there was to be some kind of monster in every episode, an idea which Brown immediately recognized as a good visual concept for a gum card set.

While in California, Brown acquired a limited number of color and black and white production stills that were on hand at the time. Most of the stills were black and white, but the decision was launched to have them colorized for the card set. Topps art director Ben Solomon had the photos retouched, with artist Ray Hammond doing the honors.

The initial idea was to use the actual storylines from The Outer Limits TV episodes. But when informed that the writers of the teleplays would have to be compensated as well, that idea was canned by the Brooklyn-based Topps Chewing Gum Co., resulting in what Len Brown later called "those ludicrous stories to describe the front of the cards." And Brown would certainly know, as he wrote almost the entire copy for the set.

"Of course, we had to send the copy to California for approval, and since they wouldn’t let us use the stuff from the TV series in story form, they just quickly approved the silly stuff I wrote, without any changes," Len Brown told Gary Gerani in a March 15, 2011, interview at We Are Controlling Transmission.

Topps 1964 The Outer Limits cards - Heritage Auction Galleries

Bubbles Inc.'s The Outer Limits Debuts in 1964

The first episode of Leslie Stevens' The Outer Limits, "The Galaxy Being," starring Lee Philips, Jacqueline Scott and Cliff Robertson, debuted on September 16, 1963. In all, The Outer Limits would produce 49 classic episodes until its demise on January 16, 1965. The Outer Limits was later reincarnated with new episodes in 1995, running on the small screen until its departure in 2002.

Topps, using the name Bubbles Inc., released The Outer Limits gum card set in 1964. The set's actual title was Monsters from Outer Limits – an apt moniker given the cards' "monstrous" nature. The Outer Limits cards were sold in five cent wax packs encased in a wild illustrated wrapper. For one fat nickel (or five pennies), youngsters of the era could acquire five fabulous The Outer Limits cards per pack. Drawing customers in, no doubt, was the set's store display box, which featured a hideous being named "Chill Charlie" and the enticing blurb "Could It Happen?"

When initially tested in stores, sales for The Outer Limits were only fair. However, things did pick up, with The Outer Limits eventually eclipsing the 13,000 case mark. "Anything over 10,000 in the early ‘60s was considered a nice hit. So we never regretted having issued Outer Limits cards," Len Brown later recalled.

Topps 1964 The Outer Limits card backs - Heritage Auction Galleries

Topps 1964 The Outer Limits Gum Card Set Values

Although some have rightfully labeled Topps' 1964 The Outer Limits an insult to the original television series, this gum card set still retains quite a following today. Rendered in full color with stark black borders, there's no mistaking The Outer Limits at card shows, flea markets or online.

Values for The Outer Limits can vary widely, with condition playing a major factor. One 50-card set in very good to very good/excellent condition sold at Heritage Auction Galleries for $227.05. Another set in excellent to excellent/mint condition brought $388.38 at another Heritage auction. A collection of 272 The Outer Limits cards, comprising two complete sets, two near complete sets and 83 assorted cards in overall excellent condition, sold at Robert Edward Auctions, LLC for $2,223. A PSA-graded set comprised of the following grades: (11) mint 9 condition, (34) near mint-mint 8 condition, (5) near mint 7 condition brought an astounding $11,750 at Robert Edward Auctions.

The Outer Limits PSA graded cards - Robert Edward Auctions, LLC

Topps 1964 The Outer Limits Card Checklist

1. The Television Terror

2. The Radio-Active Man

3. Transparent Creature 

4. Terror From Space 

5. Man From Galaxy "X"

6. The Jelly Creature 

7. The Unstoppable One 

8. Jelly Man Attacks 

9. Fangs of Death 

10. Visit From The Future 

11. Man From Tomorrow

12. Monster From Venus 

13. Horror In The Woods 

14. Hunting New Victims 

15. The Brainless Glob 

16. Man With Super Sight 

17. Not Of This World 

18. Invasion Of The Sea Beast 

19. The Sea Beast Strikes 

20. Fury Of The Sea Beast 

21. Prize Catch 

22. The Captive Beast 

23. Human Insects

24. “Invade Earth”

25. Thing From Mercury

26. The Death Ray 

27. The Doom Machine 

28. Twin Space Terrors 

29. Night Of Terror 

30. The Invader

31. The Mind Stealer 

32. “You Are In My Power"

33. Incredible Ice Man

34. Frozen Terror 

35. Plotting Destruction 

36. Bring In The Earthmen 

37. “You Can't Stop Me”

38. The Brain Destroyer

39. Martian Torture 

40. The Touch Of Death 

41. Fearful Foe 

42. Captive Scientist

43. Living Nightmare 

44. The Subterraneans

45. The Clay Man

46. Clay Man's Revenge

47. The Clay Man's Next Victim

48. Uninvited Guest

49. The Escape

50. Destruction Of The Clay Man

The Outer Limits Credits & Top Image

  • Auction results and images courtesy Heritage Auction Galleries, Dallas, Texas, and Robert Edward Auctions, LLC, Watchung, New Jersey
  • A trio of classic Topps 1964 The Outer Limits cards, l-r: #16 Man With Super Sight, #26 The Death Ray, #10 Visit From The Future - Robert Edward Auctions, LLC 

Copyright © 2012 William J. Felchner. All rights reserved. 

2 comments

Jerry Walch
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Posted on Apr 18, 2011
James R. Coffey
0
Posted on Apr 17, 2011