Friday, September 30, 2011

SIGnificant Cards - Inkworks Family Guy Erik Estrada

As a child of the 70s I was exposed to some of the best and worst television had to offer. I was there for the beginning of many explosive starts to what have become mainstream pop culture phenomenons. Big budget movies, video games, etc, etc. were all in their infancy stages when I was a kid, yes I am old. Not that old, but old enough. TV in the 70s was the very best IMO. Sitcoms ruled like All in the Family, MASH, Good Times, Different Strokes. Family shows like the Brady Bunch, Partridge Family, Courtship of Eddie's Father were also pretty strong. But I liked action the best. I was glued to the TV set on Saturday mornings for the Shazam/Isis power hour and I wouldn't dare miss an episode of CHiPs.

I used to draw superheroes and cars and I loved a good chase. CHiPs had some of the best on TV. They were always the same too. Someone would have a hit and run accident or they'd commit a robbery with a hot getaway car but Jon and Ponch always got the bad guy in the end. After an hour, all was good with the world. I also thought actress Randi Oakes (Bonnie) was pretty hot.

The one thing that stuck with me though over the years was that while Erik Estrada never really kept a big profile in America, he was huge in Mexican soap operas and the guy doesn't even speak Spanish! His lines were fed to him. That's simply classic. Also, he was never afraid to poke fun at himself making many appearances over they years as a "Ponch-like" character in sticoms, and cartoons.

When I really gained some respect for him was when he was a member of the cast on season two of the Surreal Life. Surreal Life was one of my all-time favorite shows (you can watch many of them on Hulu). This poor guy was a saint and he had to live with Tammy Faye Baker, Ron Jeremy and Vanilla Ice. It was truly must see TV.

Anyhow, I was already a fan, but for all of the reasons above, I remained a fan. Then Erik played the Friendly Officer (again a Ponch-like character) on Family Guy and he cemented his greatness.

In 2005 Inkworks put out Family Guy Premium Trading Cards and the only autograph I cared about was Erik's. Unbelievably, I pulled it from the only box I ever opened of the product. It's an awesome card and an excellent conversation piece. The set was also very good and I am happy that Leaf is bringing us more Family Guy cards, the autograph potential from the iconic prime-time cartoon is endless.

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