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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

2015 Panini Americana Box Break: The First

I entered a contest over at Panini's blog and ended up winning a box of Americana. Or two. I received two boxes in the end, so this ended up being twice as fun!

A little bit about the set:
  • 73 base cards, with various parallels, plus signatures with multiple parallels
  • Big Screen Signature (32 cards) and Combo Signatures (18 cards)
  • Certified Albums (6 cards) and Singles (7 cards) with various parallels
  • Materials (54 cards), Double Materials (37 cards with parallels)
  • Co-Stars Materials (9 cards)
  • Freeze Frame (55 cards)
  • On The Tube Modern (46 cards) and Vintage (10 cards) with various parallels
  • Screen Legends (16 cards) and Co-Stars (17 cards) with parallels
  • Winner's Circle (10 cards) and Combos (10 cards) with parallels

The first box is below. Each pack has 5 cards, with 10 packs per box. That's 50 cards, y'all.

Pack One

 Here is the first base card. There are only 2-3 base cards per pack, meaning it could take up to four boxes with really good collation to build the base set alone. But then, I guess most purchasers aren't after the base cards. They're pretty uninspired but the inserts look pretty good to make up for it. I'd rather the text be at the bottom of the card, or at least in smaller print, so it doesn't cover the subject's face.
 This is the On the Tube Vintage version. I like the inserts, and I'd like to eventually build a mini-master set from Americana. Despite using a retro TV screen design, the stars in the vintage version aren't really TV stars, more known for movies.
 Blue parallels are the most common, and I could do without any of them. I ended up using the parallels to help build my set.
 The Certified Singles set has some big names, but I really don't know this particular song - or anything MC Lyte has done.
At least I remember Thiessen from that show in the '90s. You know the one, with the big hair and loud clothes?

Pack 2

 Who? Looking over his filmography, I have seen some movies he's been in, but he must have had minor parts.
 Japan has this thing called talentos, who are D-list actors and otherwise unimportant celebrities who show up on variety  and game shows for a living.
 Horse racing doesn't really go with the general Americana set. But I get that they can't stand alone in their own set - there's just not that much interest. This is where I mention that Panini should have a multi-sport product similar to Goodwin Champions or A&G.
 I'm not familiar with Alan Ladd. I know the name, but let's face it: I don't watch a lot of 1940s films.
Martin Short I know. I remember watching some of his absurd characters on various shows and actually liking them. I don't know why.

Pack 3

 Another actor in stuff I've had no interest in. I haven't seen Sharknado.
 Ahh, an autograph! Laura Prepon was on That '70s Show, which makes this a good pull in my book. Though a Mila Kunis autograph would have been so much better.
 Another one of those irritating blue parallels. I haven't really seen much of Joan Collins' work. I'd prefer Joan Rivers, honestly, but then again I'm a comedy fan.
 I remember when Jordana Brewster had her breakthrough role (The Faculty, not Fast and the Furious where everyone knows her from now).
Here's a baseball connection for you folks: D.B. Sweeney played Shoeless Joe Jackson in Eight Men Out. He's had a lot of TV work, too.

Pack 4

 I never watched Charles in Charge. Perhaps I should? And Emily Meade is mostly known (if at all) for an HBO series.
 Argh! Blue! Another baseball connection, though - Bernsen played Roger Dorn in the Major League series. No wonder I don't like him.
 Certified Albums is the same as Certified Singles, except that it lists an album instead of a single. Coolio is one of my favorite rappers, too.
I don't care for wrestling.

Pack 5

 A couple more talentos here. Given Jenkins' line of work, I'm not sure "actor" is an appropriate label. Is Larry King an actor?
 Another horse rider. This is the solo version.
 Another Screen Legends card, this time with Marilyn Monroe's sidekick.
I had a friend who hated Eliza Dushku. Probably because she was really hot and a baddie on Buffy The Vampire Slayer. I like her, though, so this was a good finish for the first half of the box.

Pack 6

 This pack is actually pretty good. We start off with a cult legend, Molly Ringwald.
Great film.
 Did you know that Steve Schirripa was in Joe Dirt? Did you even know there was a movie called Joe Dirt? One of my favorite movies.
 In my mind, Gabrielle Reece will always be a volleyball player, not an entertainer.
 That's a good pair of Screen Legends. And brings me to this clip:
Great film.
What's your favorite James Earl Jones movie? I have seen him in what must be dozens of films, but by far my favorite is Field of Dreams.

The monologue at the end of the film is great, but the end of the scene below (and what happens right after) might be my favorite part. I quote it frequently.
Unfortunately, it's missing the part where Jones' character asks Costner's character if he wants some coffee.. and cookies.

Pack 7

 Bradley Cooper has been in a lot of movies I've seen.
 Taryn Manning hasn't. But she was in a now-forgotten Kirsten Dunst film (Crazy/Beautiful), the forgettable Britney Spears film Crossroads, and 8 Mile. And she's in Orange is the New Black. I like one of her songs which ended up on the Crazy/Beautiful soundtrack.
 Blue-plicate. That's a blue parallel duplicate. Boo!
 This may seem like a duplicate, but this is the Certified Singles card - the other Coolio card above is from the Album. And let's face it. Gangsta's Paradise was huge. I need to watch that movie this song was in.
While Kelly Rowland has managed to be successful as a solo artist and actor, she's always just going to be a part of Destiny's Child to me.

Pack 8

 Regular or blue, I don't really know anything about these two. Gary Owen has been in one movie I might have seen, and Lakshmi is another one of those "talento" people who aren't really celebrities in America.
 This is my second Lillian Gish card, but this time she's paired with the scary-looking Bette Davis. The song may make a big deal about Bette Davis' eyes, but with a scowl like that I wouldn't want to cross her path.
The Freeze Frame inserts are a little thicker and have a "film cell" embedded in them. I'll talk about McGinley later.
And here's a regular version of the Gabrielle Reece card.

Pack 9

 Mastrantonio is mostly a Broadway actor, but she's had several film and TV roles.
 Here's a blue-plicate of Martin Short.
 Hmm. Patti Stanger. This is a "regular" autograph that parallels the base set. And I'd gather that Stanger is the worst autograph to pull in the entire set. Seriously, I'd be happier with a horse racing autograph. But then, beggars (or contest winners) can't be choosers.
 Here's Terrence Jenkins again, this time in the modern version of the On the Tube insert set. I wonder if everyone appears in at least one insert set. I would guess so.
Why couldn't Danica McKellar be my autograph? I loved The Wonder Years.

Pack 10

We've reached the last pack. What was in it?
 It took me a while to get into Scrubs, but it grew on me and I ended up watching the entire series from start to finish. McGinley's character was a jerk, but they made sure to show us that he had a heart, too. He's had a few memorable film roles, too.
 I remember when Vanilla Ice was the coolest. And then he wasn't. And then he made a cameo in The New Guy. Great movie.
 Blue-plicate, again! I really could do without these.
 This pack had a double scoop of Vanilla Ice - To The Extreme was the album to have when it came out. While wasn't exactly original, that album had some awesome songs on it.
Most will probably know Katrina Bowden from 30 Rock, but I remember her mostly in Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil, and partly as Ms. Tasty in a horrible movie called Sex Drive.

The Relics

I opened this box about three months ago. I can't remember which packs had the relics, but I do know that they are "extra" cards in packs - if there's no relic there's a dummy card in its place. Because relics are thicker than base cards, I couldn't scan them with the packs, so I don't know where they fit in. Here are my two relics:
Ugh. Horse racing relics. Of jockeys and owners.

The Box

One awful autograph and two disappointing relics, plus Laura Prepon and a bunch of great inserts.

So that finishes the box. I'm not going to lie: opening this box was a lot of fun. Part of the fun was trying to figure out what many of these "celebrities" were famous for.

There are a lot of interesting names in here. It would really help if Panini would get real A-list actors and actresses in these sets, though I'm guessing licensing fees are quite high. Looking at the checklist, though, there are at least 15 autographs or relics I would like to have.

And while this box was pretty disappointing on the "hits" the second box turned out a bit better. Stay tuned.


  1. Yeah, but Danica McKellar made it all worthwhile...

  2. If I had paid full price, I'd disagree. But free, I certainly have no problem!