Saturday, September 3, 2011

A&G Mini Portraits in Penultimacy Set

I am a bit late to the game but I have finally picked up some rack packs of 2011 Allen & Ginters. Like many people I get wrapped up in the minis and like to see what Topps comes up.

This year the Portraits in Penultimacy set draws my interest, I love this set even though Topps made a stretch on the word “Penultimate” to make it work. See “Penultimacy” is not a word, the word “Penultimate” means “next to last” and Topps has altered the word to define the 8 people and two animals that were “seconds”, assistants or helpers of sorts. Some of the selections bother me because they are not solid selections based upon the definition.

The 10-card set consist of

Antonio Meucci (Real) - Meucci submitted a patent caveat for a telephone device 5 years before Alexander Graham Bell’s submission but never followed up on the application so Bell was eventually issued the patent for the telephone. If you take things in to consideration he did create a telephone-like invention before Bell did so the dude gets props for that.

Mike Gellner (Real) - Yea, I don’t care about the “Crack the Code” BS that Topps includes every year so…

Dr. John Watson (Fictional) - He is the narrator of the Sherlock Holmes novels, he is also Holmes friend, sounding board and partner so I can see how he could be considered a side kick.

Igor (Fictional) - The typical hunchbacked assistant to every mad scientist, an obvious choice and about as solid an example that can be used here. I wish Topps would have used a more villainous or gruesome image of Igor.

The Hare (Fictional) - Ok, I get it… Topps like including the Tortoise and the Hare in their card sets please get over the damn gimmicks and move on.

Tonto (Fictional) - The Lone Ranger’s trusted friend. I grew up on very old reruns of The Lone Ranger so I was excited to pull this card. I think I would have preferred to see an image of Jay Silverheels on the card, the image used is a generic image and honestly makes me think of the Trail of Tears not The Lone Ranger.

On a side note, Kemo Sabe does not mean anything; it does not come from any specific indigenous language and has been used in various ways on the show and radio program. There are a number of suggestions as to how it came about, including a mashing of different dialects or variations of a real word but nothing has been accurately determined to the origin of the word. My wife is Native American (Tongva Tribe) and while she has no problem with the Lone Ranger my mother-in-law will spend hours dissecting the way that Native Americans were portrayed in early 20th Century movies and television.

Antonio Salieri (Real) - An Italian composer, the man was an absolute genius. He spoke Italian, Latin, French and German; he played multiple instruments and wrote operas. He was quite successful and traveled around Europe and at times was a personal musician for the Emperor Joseph II.

Sadly Topps got this one very wrong. Salieri is not “next to last” to anyone and was actually more successful than Mozart during the late 1700s; as a matter of fact Mozart often blamed Salieri for his inability to establish himself in Vienna. To add to it, they did regarded each other with respect and Mozart, while jealous, often spoke of his affinity for Salieri and even went out of his way to acknowledge Salieri when he showed up for the opening of one of Mozart’s operas.

Topps seems to have based their selection for this card on the movie “Amadeus” which has been proven to be more fictional then true story.

Sancho Panza (Fictional) – Panza was a neighbor and friend of Don Quixote before he went mad, eventually Don Quixote asks Panza to become his squire which Panza accepts. Like Igor he is the ideal sidekick and a decent selection for this set.

Oddly, though probably without thought on Topps end, Salieri and Panza are connected together. In 1770 Salieri wrote two operas, one of which was Don Chisciotte alle nozze di Gamace which translates to Don Quixote at the Marriage of Camacho. It is based on the Don Quixote novel by Miguel de Cervantes.

Thomas Dewey (Real) – OK, so he lost to Truman so what? I get the comedy here because of the Chicago Tribune flub and yes Dewey was “next to last” in the election but really? What’s next Topps a card based on a side kick dog? Oh wait…

Toto (Fictional) – Dorothy’s dog Toto, follow the Yellow Brick Road. Is anyone else singing the song Rosanna or Africa in their head right now?

I pulled the Antonio Salieri and Tonto cards; I still am looking to find the Dr. Watson, Igor and Sancho Panza cards. There are quite a few cards from the set up for auction including a couple of complete sets available for less than $5 shipped so unless anyone has some cards they are interested in sending my way (begging) I will probably pick up a complete set when I finally get around to putting some extra cash in to my PayPal account.

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