1978 Topps Close Encounters of the Third Kind is a curious set. While it captures a lot of interesting imagery from the Sci-Fi classic, it's missing something major. Lead star Richard Dreyfuss is nowhere to be found on any of the product's cards or images.
The 1978 Topps Close Encounters of the Third Kind base set has 66 cards. While it retells the story of the film, it does so in a revisionist style where it's all about Jillian (Melinda Dillon) and her journey to find out answers to the lights in the sky. That's what happens when a movie's main character isn't in it. Sadly, it also means no mashed potato mountain sculptures.
Card fronts don't have a lot of design elements, but the black borders offer a lot of contrast. Images are held in with a rounded red frame. Virtually all of the shots come from the movie itself, however director Steven Spielberg is featured on a card with a video camera. Card bottoms have an icon of the film's mountain logo with the card number and a yellow caption.
Backs are a mix of puzzle pieces and 22 Movie Facts that offer trivia about the movie and its key figures -- at least those that are featured in the set.
1978 Topps Close Encounters of the Third Kind also has 11 stickers that were inserted one per pack. On their own, the images are interesting. However, when you bring the set together, you quickly notice that more than half of the cards are pretty much the same shot of the spaceship with only small variations in lighting. All but one of the stickers have a thick yellow border and a shot from the film. However, the first sticker in the set is a more traditional character sticker of one of the film's aliens. The die-cut shot is surrounded by a thick red border and the sticker's background has added space design elements. Sticker backs are blank.
Despite coming out so long ago, there is still no shortage of supply for 1978 Topps Close Encounters of the Third Kind trading cards. Sets, singles, stickers and even boxes can still be found without much effort. Because of this ample supply, prices haven't changed much over the years. It's still very affordable and that's not likely to change any time soon.
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1978 Topps Close Encounters of the Thirds Kind Checklist
66 cards. Shop for base sets on eBay.
1 Vanished Planes Reappear in the Desert!
2 Monitoring a UFO
3 UFO's Disrupt Telephone Service
4 Neary's truck is engulfed in eerie lights!
5 Strange disturbances caused by the UFO's
6 Ear-splitting sounds from the saucer!
7 A confused Ronnie tries to comfort her children
8 Fear of the unknown grips Ronnie!
9 Jillian Guiler searches for her little boy
10 Returning Home
11 Jillian at Devil's Tower
12 Highway encounter
13 "It's like Halloween...for grown-ups!"
14 Image of the Devil's Tower
15 Display of cosmic beauty
16 Jillian senses the approach of a UFO!
17 A frightened Jillian calls for help!
18 The aliens arrive
19 Unearthly light bathes Jillian's home
20 The aliens seek a subject!
21 Scout Ships arrive at Devil's Tower
22 Alien visitors at the door
23 Aliens in the eyes of innocence
24 Jillian's child is kidnapped by the aliens
25 Exciting new star Melinda Dillon
26 Terri Garr stars as Ronnie Neary
27 Jillian and the Devil's Tower
28 National Guard alert!
29 Closing off the area for the aliens' arrival
30 Speeding toward the Devil's Tower
31 Midnight trek
32 A contaminated area...or is it?
33 A masked Jillian pushes onward!
34 Melinda Dillon stars as Jillian Guiler
35 Climbing to the top of Devil's Tower!
36 Jillian hides from military 'copters!
37 Earth scientists await the aliens
38 "Keep watching the skies..."
39 A great event in the history of man begins
40 The giant spacecraft dwarfs the Devil's Tower!
41 The mother ship appears!
42 Awesome spectacle of the mother ship!
43 Man stares in wonder at the giant spaceship!
44 The implanted image
45 The spacecraft prepares to land
46 Scientists gather around the mother ship
47 Fantastic underside of the giant starship!
48 Jillian and her son observe the incredible event!
49 Scientists of the world stare in wonder!
50 Releasing abducted humans from the past
51 The aliens appear!
52 Earthmen watch the strange, childlike aliens!
53 Aliens walk among the humans!
54 The bizarre but benvevolent space visitors
55 The alien visitors!
56 Her son returned, Jillian watches the aliens in awe!
57 The alien leader materializes
58 Goodwill toward the people of Earth!
59 Friendship lies in the outer reaches of space!
60 Steven Spielberg, Director of Close Encounters
61 The Landing -- a moment of triumph and beauty
62 Small spaceships hail the aliens' arrival
63 The Road to tomorrow
64 The mother ship releases smaller vehicles
65 Artist's conception of the mother ship
66 "We are not alone!!!"
2 Jillian Guiler
3 Orange Lights Over Mountain
4 Orange Lights Over Mountain with People
5 Spaceship and Orange Lights Over Mountain
6 Spaceship Over Mountain
8 Spaceship with Orange Burst
9 Barry Guiler
11 Spaceship Over Troops