Monday, November 2, 2009

TZ Spotlight: Hallmark Greeting Card (with sound!)

Back in 1984, I stumbled upon a very cool Twilight Zone greeting card from Hallmark. Glossy full-color front, blank inside, highly cool. I made a point of keeping it with my other Twilight Zone stuff throughout the years, but (wouldn’t you know it) I can’t find it now. Twilight Zone Magazine had a blurb about it in the August 1984 issue, which I’ve scanned for your perusal:

I’d love to get my hands on this card. I wonder where greeting cards go to die…?

Flash forward 25 years. The big thing in greeting cards nowadays is sound. Micro-electronics have advanced to the point where a small computer chip and a miniature flat speaker can be hidden inside a greeting card, with only a tiny lump to give them away. Short samples of songs are typically what one finds in these cards, but there are sometimes voice recordings too (the prolific and hysterical Hoops and YoYo offerings are one example), plus some cards even allow you to record your own message. It’s neat technology, I must admit.

Your attention is directed to one such sound card from Hallmark (who else?), which I received two years from my kids, on my 38th birthday:

It’s black and white on matte paper (no fingerprints!). It plays the standard Marius Constant theme used for seasons 2-5 in its entirety. In fact, it’s the exact same recording used in Hallmark’s holiday ornament (minus the static effect), released last month and detailed here. The sound chip in the card, however, is significantly louder than the one in the ornament (unless the ornament’s plastic housing is muffling it). Trust me, it is LOUD. You’ve been warned. My card is two years old, and it still works (I wonder how long the battery will last, and if its possible to replace it).

I’m not sure when the card was first released, but the copyright date on the back is 2005. It’s still available, too: I picked up a spare a couple of weeks ago at my local Hallmark store, so I could have a “clean” specimen for my TZ collection. Cooler yet, you can customize the TZ card on the Hallmark website:

Twilight Zone customizable card

You can change the text on the front and inside, plus you can add a photo (!) and additional text on the back. I did one recently for my good friend Bill Huelbig (he turns 55 tomorrow!), and it turned out great (damn, I should’ve scanned it before I mailed it to him). I’m, um, kinda hoping somebody out there customizes one for MY birthday (November 27, hint hint)…..

Anyway ---- it’s a neat card, worthy of your TZ collection. Putting a Rod Serling stamp on the envelope will complete the effect.

No comments: