Thursday, June 18, 2020

Howard Hughes PC

In these days of being extra careful not to catch a nasty disease, Howard Hughes' later antics of "meticulous hand-washing" and "social distancing" aren't looking quite so crazy in hindsight. LOL. He wouldn't have missed a beat here in 2020!

Howard Hughes is an interest of mine thanks to being a link to connect with my late grandfather, who-- as a young amateur pilot himself decades ago-- admired Hughes' aviation feats and innovation. Before succumbing to mental issues, Hughes was one of the most famous, rich people in the world, known for his fast planes and titillating films.

My grampa was born on this day 105 years ago, so I planned this post as a little birthday celebration of showing off my Howard Hughes PC.

Let's kick off with a fresh-off-the-presses custom nine-card set I just put together.

We'll take a closer look at each card in a second, but here's how the set presents in a page. I like it! As you can see, I mostly wanted an excuse to make cards out of neat old movie posters that caught my eye.

Hell's Angels was probably his biggest hit film. I haven't seen it. Actually, don't think I've seen any of the movies Howard put out.. but I'll look to rectify that soon. Regardless, pretty cool looking artwork.

Another fun, if somewhat naughty one.

I wrote the backs, mostly paraphrasing/plagiarizing Wikipedia (Man, I wish Wikipedia was a thing back when I was in school! Writing reports would have been so much easier!). If you spot any typos, please keep them to yourself because I don't want to have to re-print anything. lol

This one might be my favorite! Love that image of rocketeers shooting over the Statue of Liberty or whatever. Looks really neat.

TIME Magazine cover deserved a card. I printed 2 copies of the set, by the way, with one currently paged and the other sleeved.

Jet Pilot was a flop of a film, but I liked the John Wayne poster.

I've seen the Al Pacino Scarface, but still need to watch the original sometime.

A nice photo of the man inside the Spruce Goose and a quick bio on the back. I often forget he and I share a birthday.. another decent excuse to collect his cards.

Then the 9th card wraps up his enduring legacy.

And so there's that! For the record, my grandfather was a devout Catholic and hopelessly devoted to my grandmother all his life, in contrast to Howard Hughes who was known as a womanizer and wasn't afraid to bend the rules to get what he wanted. Not sure if Grampa was a fan of Howard's films, but he was probably really just interested in the aviation scenes, if so. I never had the chance to talk to him about Hughes, as far as I remember, but what spurred on this "player collection" of mine is when we found this among his possessions after he'd passed...

My grandfather would have been about 23 years old when he got this program signed at a Chicago appearance by Hughes and his flight crew circa 1938. Probably the crown jewel of all my collectibles, especially given the personal connection.. but even if not, a Howard Hughes autograph that's confidently legit is something special.

I talked about this item more back in a 2015 post, so I won't rehash it too much now.

I've already got an idea for a "Series 2" of my Howard Hughes Collection custom set (a second page, that is), which I envision will include a card-sized reprint of this autographed program, plus individual cards for each person who signed it. (And I guess I'll fill up the rest of the 9 slots with more movie poster art or whatever grabs me.) But that's a project for another day.

Now onto some other stuff.

Rookie card! 1936 Goudey History of Aviation (R65) #1 Howard Hughes. Might be a stretch calling this a "card" as it's bigger than a CD cover and about as thick as a magazine page. But still very cool.

He's got another card in this same set, which I also picked up not too long after the other one..

Cool piece of vintage aviation art.

Unlike his other "playing days" cards, this 1939 Churchman's Kings of Speed tobacco card is quite affordable. Ran me just $5.46 delivered in a PWE.

According to the TCDB, I'm left with just one vintage whale to track down to complete my career-era Howard Hughes card collection...

1936 Heinz Famous Aviators 1st Series #7 Howard Hughes
Really nice looking old card. I hope to track one down someday. Other highlights from this set include Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart. These 3 big names can get a bit pricey, but looks like the less familiar names in the 25-card set are readily available on eBay, so that's a good sign. I'll just have to have some patience.

The last card I've got to show off today is an ugly mother. It's a "relic" card featuring a clipping from a vintage newspaper article about Hughes. Really a poorly designed card covering up much of his face, but whatever.. wasn't too expensive. It allows me to be able to say I've got a Howard Hughes trifecta (using a loose definition).. owning his rookie card, an autograph, and a relic card. Winging Atlantic, alright.

I also have a few cards in my COMC inventory that I'll be requesting shipment on one of these days once COMC starts having more staff in the office and gets orders shipped out without the huge delays they're working with currently.

These pending PC additions include:
1985 LIFE Remembers #81
1991 Face to Face: The Famous Celebrity Guessing Game Cards #243 (gold)
1991 Face to Face: The Famous Celebrity Guessing Game Cards (purple)
1994-2001 Grolier Story of America #22-3
1995 Anngar International Who's Who? Game Cards

So eventually I'll have to do a follow-up post to this one with those cards plus the "series 2" custom set once I make that. Not sure if that'll be a year from today or sooner.. but someday!

I've also got his card in the 2002 Topps American Pie set, #106, but other than these, I'd be interested in any Howard Hughes cards/memorabilia I don't have.

Thanks for reading! Happy Birthday to my grampa up in heaven, and happy wedding anniversary to my wife and I. Six years today.. not too shabby.
See you next time.


  1. That program signed by Hughes is one of the best pieces of memorabilia I've seen on a blog. It's amazing enough to have a Hughes sig, but to have it on an item your grandfather saved (and cherished I'm sure) is just terrific.

    They could have done so much better with that relic. Why use that photo and have it obscured that way?

    Any Jane Russell movie is worth watching.

  2. Very cool. I grabbed a set of the Churchman's for like $10 (plus shipping) for the Jesse Owens and was pleasantly surprised to find the Hughes as well.

  3. great customs set. i like poster theme! Such a cool connection to your grandfather.

  4. This blog post has so much awesomeness in it I don't know where to begin. The customs, the autograph..all of it is amazing! Happy anniversary!

  5. Interesting stuff. Happy anniversary!

  6. Wow. A Hughes autograph? That's awesome. It's even cooler that it once belonged to your grandfather. Talk about a family heirloom. And I love the idea of building a collection around it. It'll give your family something to talk about for hopefully several generations.

  7. What a fantastic post! I'm a huge Hughes fan - he was such an interesting character in American history. I love your customs and the signature is unreal. I can only imagine how much fun it was to write this post knowing that you share the same passion as your grandfather. My favorite Hughes story involves him renting out the top two floors of the Desert Inn in Vegas for a two week stay around Thanksgiving in 1966. After overstaying his reservation, owner/mobster Moe Dalitz became frustrated - after all, the Christmas holiday bookings were beginning to roll in and Hughes and his crew had the top two floors occupied. Dalitz contacted Hughes to tell him the he had to go. Hughes responded by purchasing the hotel from Dalitz for around $6 million. He would soon grow frustrated there as the government was using nearby desert to test nuclear bombs. Hughes swore that he could feel the radiation seeping in through the windows. He was certifiably crazy at that point.

  8. Since the person above shared their favorite HH story, I figured I might as well too. This comes from George Knapp, who relayed it a few years ago during one of his C2C Saturdays, I won't bore anyone with all of the details, but the short version is: Howard Hughes was a big movie fan (shocking, I know), and used to watch the late night films on KLAS (Las Vegas TV station), but would often fall asleep during them, or wake up when they were halfway through -- and would subsequently call the station and ask if they could restart it. Whoever was running the board never took this "random crackpot" seriously, so HH bought the station. From there on out, folks could be halfway through a movie, and it would just all of a sudden start over, which of course meant that Howard had called in and told someone to start it over, and now that he was the owner... they did!

    Awesome collection btw, although I really dislike those "relics" from The Bar, they always look so darn amateurish.