Sometimes a large head is just a large head

Fleming Mackell - 1952-53 Parkhurst

Many a post has been devoted to the joy of badly-airbrushed cards.  Somewhat fewer have been devoted to the not-uncommon hockey practice of cutting the head off one picture in order to mount it on another.  This was really common in Topps/OPC around 1968-70 and led to much hilarity.

Parkhurst wasn’t completely immune to this temptation, but it was a lot more rare.  The only case I could think of offhand was from their 1963-64 set (I note that the lead image on that post is dead, but it doesn’t matter as the two cards are side-by-side later on).

My mind was thus somewhat blown when Dave at Wax Stain Rookie found that Cal Gardner’s head was resting comfortably on Milt Schmidt’s body all the way back in 1953.  I’d seen that card many times online and remember thinking, “Wow, Gardner was a Bruin captain?  Never knew that.”  (I never claimed to be overly bright. I do, however, recognize the head as coming from Gardner’s 1952-53 card, so that’s a start.)

What made this discovery particularly cool was that I’d never seen anyone ambitious enough to try a head swap on an action photo.  I would never have even thought to look for it.  Pulling it off as well as they did took some doing.

Anyhow, Dave’s discovery must have been in my mind when I got my hands on Fleming Mackell here.  There’s nothing obviously wrong until one looks at the back:

Fleming Mackell - 1952-53 Parkhurst back

The card claims Mackell shoots right.  The picture is clearly of a person who shoots left.  Note, too, the positioning of the head.  It’s pretty low on the shoulders and there’s a rather noticeable lack of neck.  This is Mackell’s first Bruin card.  Was it another swap?

Finding the answer wasn’t as easy as I hoped.  I have half a dozen other Bruins from this set that have similar images, but none lined up directly with the body on the Mackell card.  I went looking for Bruins promotional stills and Bee Hive/Quaker Oats photos – often the source of Parkhurst images.

Nada. (Though I did find the source image for Mackell’s ’54-55 Topps card, which was cool.)

Eventually, though, I did happen to notice this:

Now tha’s a big head

Mackell is a left-hand shot. He just played his off wing.  The picture is most likely of him after all and – if one chooses to go looking, it does appear that he possesses a non-inconsequential head.  It’s not Domi-eqsue, and perhaps it’s just square-jawed, but it is kind of notable.

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2 Responses to Sometimes a large head is just a large head

  1. commishbob says:

    Great stuff. I have been scanning a 1959 Sports Illustrated issue for a post and found an example of a shirt company ad with a well known actor’s head placed on a model’s torso. It’s just ‘off’ enough to look odd.

  2. Dave H says:

    Wow, I love how you brought this idea to the next level! Great post as always :)

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