Friday, May 6, 2016

Sets in my collection #16: 1938 Frank Buck Bring 'Em Back Alive

This set is on the fringes of the sort of set I usually collect, but I do collect animal cards, and this does count.

Frank Buck was a celebrity in the 1930s-40s, kind of like Steve Irwin would become in the 1990s, but different in that they had totally different goals; (and would likely have been at odds if they lived in the same time, I suspect) both became celebrities due to their involvement with animals.

Buck became famous in 1930 when he published a book, also called "Bring 'Em Back Alive", which recounted his exploits in capturing animals alive to stock zoos and circuses and apparently as a hobby.  The book's success launched a radio show, a movie career (Including one with Laurel & Hardy), multiple future books, and,  8 years later, this trading card set. Several decades after his death (in 1950) there was also a TV show about him.

While I have only this one card, of 48 in the set, it seems like it may be more fictionalized as his movie career was, than as documenting his efforts to capture animals. That is a shame in my opinion as the real stories were probably much more interesting than staged animal fights, a staple of his movies and the subject of this card.

I have to be honest, I had never heard of him before getting this card, but he certainly had an interesting life. Pretty much all this information came from Wikipedia, by the way.

Interestingly enough, Topps reissued the set in 1950, expanding it to 100 cards. They then issued a totally different set in 1951, which continued the same numbering system. This set is in my collection and will be covered at a future date.


  1. I used to watch Laurel and Hardy and I don't remember this guy at all. Not sure I would have liked watching him; but I DID like Steve Irwin.

  2. I got seven cards from this set about ten years ago with the greatest intentions of working on it, but I haven't gotten any more since. And about five years ago, my mom got me a first edition of the book at an estate sale for $1. I couldn't believe nobody else at the sale had any interest in it at that price, especially considering that the overall condition (including the dust jacket) is in pretty darn good shape.

    It was really nice to see someone do a post about this set!

    1. Wow...any time you can find a book from the 1930s for a dollar is a great deal?