you know… “cherry flavored PEZ”

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Contrary to popular belief, not every blog that feeds my RSS reader is dedicated to baseball card collecting. A few discuss the actual sport of baseball, several explore the Zen of fantasy baseball and some are related to the art of baseball photography. If you must know, I also follow a handful of non-baseball blogs including those related to the Albuquerque music scene (so I’ll be sure to not miss Lou Reed’s next visit), select historical and archaeological blogs, and one maintained by a friend who runs long distances without being chased by anything.

Additionally, I subscribe to blogs I encounter while cyber surfing that I believe are well written and entertaining- regardless of the subject matter. One such blog, “WWdN: In Exile,” belongs to an author named Wil Wheaton. You may have heard of him. I’m a little slow on the uptake, so I can’t tell you how long I had been reading Wil’s writings before this post on Thanksgiving Eve made me realize he was the kid from the Star Trek: The Next Generation television series. That’s kind of neat.

When I told my wife about this revelation the following day, it took her approximately one nanosecond to “remind” me that Wil Wheaton was the kid who played Gordie in the 1986 Rob Reiner film Stand By Me. Now THAT’S kool!

stand-by-me_01-wheaton-pez

Everyone’s seen the movie, right? I mean, I don’t need to go into detail and describe that the story revolves around a gang of four twelve-year-old boys that sets out in search of the body of recently killed kid from a nearby town that they didn’t know. As often is the case with awesome road films such as Stand By Me, Easy Rider and National Lampoon’s Vacation, it isn’t really about the destination, but rather the journey. (It should be noted that neither the author of this post nor the partners of Aardvark Trading Company endorse the playing of “mailbox baseball” as depicted by the more “mature” gang in the film.)

If you haven’t watched this movie in a while, you should make an effort to do so. If nothing else, you will see some groovy baseball cards tacked to the wall of Gordie’s deceased older bother Denny’s (John Cusack) bedroom that has been left untouched by his family since his accidental death in April of 1959. These cards generated a considerable amount of controversy amongst the baseball card collecting community in the mid- to late-eighties after many began declaring “foul” for the use of the 1960 Topps Yogi Berra card (no. 480) in a movie supposedly set during the summer of 1959.

stand-by-me_02-mantle-berra-pez

Although the 1958 Topps Sport Magazine Mickey Mantle card (no. 487) fits nicely into the supposed movie timeline, I’m intrigued by the artistic concept that would portray any kid as choosing to display two of the same card in different parts of his room. There are more baseball card goodies to pick apart as you can see in this second image, but I’ll leave those for you to discover at your leisure.

stand-by-me_03-cusack-pez

While the use of these cards was certainly a mistake, at least the set designer didn’t use 1985 Topps cards. I also assume that Topps had nothing to do with this, so it falls outside the realm of their normal gimmickry. The bottom line is that this error in no way detracts from the overall appeal of this wonderful film. I wonder what ever became of those particular movie props…

I find it interesting that similar to Gordie Lachance, Wil Wheaton grew up to be an author not unlike the contemplative adult character played by Richard Dreyfuss. I particularly enjoy Wheaton’s thoughts on video games past and present, and the random silliness he shares with his readers. Wil doesn’t write about baseball often, but when he does, he provides an interesting fan’s perspective. The dude’s been blogging regularly since 2001, so I suspect that I’ve missed more than one of his baseball postings in the WIL WHEATON dot NET: 1.5 archives.

I never collected Star Trek trading cards, so I don’t have any to send to Wil in an effort to obtain his autograph through the mail. If you have any duplicate Wesley Crusher – Star Trek: The Next Generation cards you are willing to trade, you know where to find me. I’m thinking I should have one on hand in case I bump into Wil at a book signing, or in the off chance that Wil drops into Isotopes Park to check out a few Los Angeles Dodgers prospects in action next summer.

I realize that Wheaton has been involved in a ton of projects beyond Stand By Me and Star Trek (now that I’ve checked out his IMDB bio). However, Star Trek is probably the only project that resulted in the creation of his own action figure. I can tell you that Wil was not included in the PEZ Star Trek Collector’s Series gift set that consists only of characters from the original series.

– Kris

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