In a drawer full of forgotten childhood items, we recently found six of Donruss’ CB Convoy Code stickers, published in 1978. (All images copyright Donruss.)
Sticker #4: Bear in the AirSticker #15: Six WheelerSticker #30: Night HawkSticker #31: Feeding the BearsSticker #38: Asphalt PilotSticker #40: BearAllen Varney, the CB Convoy Code set included 44 stickers backed by a 23-part CB dictionary. This makes the numbering a bit confusing; Feeding the Bears, for example, is Sticker #31 but is backed by dictionary card #14.
We don’t know how many cards were in a pack; if six, this may represent the only pack we ever bought as a kid. (To atone, we just ordered the entire 44-sticker series in mint condition from Gasoline Alley Antiques in Seattle, and we’ll soon pitch camp at the post office to await it.)
We also don’t know who did the artwork. While the style suggests B.K. Taylor’s Odd Rods series, also from Donruss in the 1970s, it lacks Taylor’s manic attention to grotesque detail, which is more like Will Elder, Basil Wolverton and, most obviously, “Ed “Big Daddy” Roth.
Varney knows of at least three other 1970s CB card sets: the 15-sticker CB Stickers set inserted in Tip Top Bread in 1976; the 60-card, seven-sticker CB Talk set from Fleer in 1977; and the 25-sticker CB Jeebies set inserted in Sunbeam Bread, also in 1977.
Varney also makes the connection that most folks have forgotten: C.W. McCall’s “Convoy” and the CB radio craze were direct, if trivial, outgrowths of some serious business, the truckers’ strike of 1974
Protesting new government regulations, independent truckers blockaded bridges with their huge, honking semis, while TV news cameras churned away. Viewers noted how truckers could organize spontaneously into giant convoys, and how (in the days before radar detectors) they seemed to know, magically, when police were approaching. Wising up to the truckers’ magic, hundreds of thousands of citizens bought CB radios and applied to the Federal Communications Commission for Class D licenses to use them.
It’s a sign of the times that only one of our six CB Convoy Code stickers, Asphalt Pilot, actually depicts a big rig.
Founded in 1954 by Donald and Russell Weiner, Donruss has been known throughout its history mainly for sports cards. But given the current success of its Donruss Americana line, which caters to baby-boomer nostalgia, we hope a high-end CB Convoy Code reprint is in the cards, too.