Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Screaming Yellow Theater

There is a tradition in Chicago with low budget, tacky (yet funny) things. For those of you who saw the title of the post and thought it was something different, you must have grown up in or around Chicago and are probably at least forty years old.

While that Screaming Yellow Theater exists in some form today, the same cannot be said for Fleer baseball cards. Fleer has had many ups and downs since its inception. Is it our fault that it has been mostly downs? No!

When I think of Fleer, I think of poorly executed design, with a few gems scattered throughout the years. I thought that 1988's confetti motif was bad, then they topped it in 1989 with the bland pinstriped gangster suit look. 1990 got a little better, then they unleashed the unholy monster that is Screaming Yellow Theater upon the world.

It's not interesting. It's not unique. (1990 Donruss did the design much better. Thanks, Mario!) It's just yellow! I would refer to this set as Screaming Yellow Theater for many years. I still do on occasion. It's yellow. It's blinding. It features ACTION and cheesy posed portraits which cause painful memories of chain reaction vomiting during elementary school Christmas plays.

Sadly, 1991 Fleer is not one low budget thing that this Chicago born guy is ready to embrace. 1991 Fleer is like the drunk relative at a wedding. You have to put up with it because it's technically family, but given the choice, you'd rather it just went away.

I put up with 1991 Fleer because of the White Sox cards. I almost wish that the White Sox were skipped in this set. Almost. I'm glad of this sets existence. It shows the entire world what not to do with a card set.

After enduring the torture that is 1991 Fleer, I'll leave you with a picture of the host of Screaming Yellow Theater. The original Svengoolie!
Is it wrong to think that Jerry G. Bishop looks like he'd be right at home playing a fictional Rob Zombie in one of the director's movies?


night owl said...

Heh. Just came up with a name for '87 and '88 Fleer designs. I like your name for '89 Fleer. But I'm not from Chicago, so the Screaming Yellow Theater thing is lost on me.

Johngy said...

When the 91 Fleer came out, I actually liked them. I confess that I still do. I see such hatred for them from pretty much everyone else though. I question my sanity more than usual.

Steve Gierman said...

I liked 91 Fleer when it first came out, but over the years, it became an eyesore compared against other cards. Looking back, they could have done so much better with the design by simply changing the color. It does remain a unique release and instantly recognizable, with is something good.

Screaming Yellow Theater featured the first incarnation of Svengoolie, which is a grade Z horror film showcase bumpered with bad jokes and rubber chickens before and after each commercial break. Rich Koz's version of Svengoolie still airs in Chicago, Milwaukee and in parts of Indiana today.

Anonymous said...

Ugh, just got the Expos team from this set and I'm hesitating even scanning it, I hate this set so much. Why...why the yellow? I guess it could have been worse and they'd gone with colors by team, but ick. Fleer was kind of fumbling around in 91, though - look at that initial Ultra design. Yuck.

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