Earlier in the 1930s, Goudey was famous for its trading card sets. But the company also produced some others types of collectibles in the later part of the decade. The 1937 and 1938 Goudey Baseball Movies, for example, were clever miniature booklets featuring big league stars in action.
Sold with gum for 2 cents, the “Thum-Movies” were the product of an era of simple entertainment.
The 1937 Goudey Thum Movies were small booklets of animated movies featuring various players. Each booklet was designed to show a short “movie” when a collector would flip through the pages, each of which had a sequenced photo. Only one specific player was featured in a book.
The front included a cartoon drawing of a movie theater with patrons milling around outside. On a background screen, a title of the ‘movie’ was shown, briefly explaining the animation inside. The backs provide a longer description of the movie as well as some biographical information about the player in question.
The purpose of the movies seemed to be to allow younger collectors to have a chance to see how major leaguers make plays. At the bottom, the text stated, “Study these movies and see how the big leaguers do it.” In addition, consumers were advised to collect the whole set. A total of 13 movies were printed in the 1937 edition.
The movies were apparently popular enough for the company to make the movies again the following season. While the same movies and players were used a few differences were made.
First, each movie from 1937 was split into two movies in 1938. Thus, each player had two separate movie booklets in 1938. The front of each booklet encouraged collectors to find the other half of the movie in a separate issue.
The design was also a bit different. Instead of a generic movie scene on the front, a player’s real image was used. The name was changed from ‘Thum Movies’ in 1937 to ‘Big League Movies’ in 1938, too. Finally, the text on the backs was a bit different. In addition to a different design, the writeup was basically only a biography of the player. Unlike the previous year, it wasn’t really used as a description of the movie.
Goudey Movies Prices
Originally, the movies cost collectors only two cents for each one that was packaged with gum. Today, however, the movies from either year are not that inexpensive. In decent mid-grade condition, they generally start around $50-$75 each for commons. A complete 1937 set sold earlier this year for just over $700.
The checklist of players included is the same in both sets. However, one difference is concerning the movie of Joe DiMaggio in the 1938 movie. An error was made as a picture of his brother Joe DiMaggio was shown instead. Goudey did correct the mistake so versions showing both Joe and Vince can be found in the 1938 issue.
- John Irving Burns
- Joe Vosmik
- Mel Ott
- Joe DiMaggio
- Wally Moses
- Van Lingle Mungo
- Luke Appling
- Bob Feller
- Paul Derringer
- Paul Waner
- Joe Medwick
- Jimmie Foxx
- Wally Berger
You can see a few 1937 and ’38 Goudey Baseball Movies for sale and auction here.