Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Burgled Baseball Cards

After carrying it around for two weeks, and laying around my house with a stomach flu for 4 days, I finally pulled this out of my backpack tonight to watch with the boys!

Some of my favorite books from childhood, combined with an obsession that has lasted 30 years and counting, this is going to be the best thing ever! My sons know Encyclopedia Brown, I dressed up like him a few weeks ago for “Favorite Book Character Day” at school and they occasionally indulge me and let me read the books to them while they look at other books before bed. This is going to be great!

As the title screen peels, we see part of Encyclopedia’s desk, and on it is a Cubs hat. I am also currently wearing a Cubs hat exactly like the one on the television. Therefore, my middle son deduces that I am Encyclopedia Brown.

The show opens at the Idaville Baseball Card Bash, and we talk about how they’re at the card show like ours. There’s a silly, nerdy “Greatest Collector in the World” guy being obnoxious about breathing near his cards, so the setting is really like being there, even 30 years later. Of course, there is also Ms. Valentine, who is stupendously rich and wants to buy all the baseball cards, which is nothing like real life now (darn it all), but not too outrageous in 1989. No, she’s over the top. Too over the top. And keep in mind, I’ve spent the preceding hour watching Power Rangers Jungle Fury. It’s for another post, no, another blog altogether, but they have 8 Rangers on that show? Sheesh! For fans of 30-Year Old Cardboard, check out the Hawk poster behind Ms. Valentine!

photo photo(2)

Encyclopedia sees his bodyguard, good ol’ Sally Kimball, at a booth, and correctly guesses she is holding a ’59 Ernie Banks, his favorite card. Oldest son notes that I keep a ’59 Banks on my desk and nods knowingly at me and middle son. He too is convinced, I am Encyclopedia Brown.


Meanwhile, I note that Encyclopedia guesses the card correctly because, he says, that’s the year they used the TV frame. I say, “That’s ’55 Bowman, you fraud,” and start playing karate with youngest son. Maybe I am Encyclopedia Brown.

Anyway, I’ll wrap up my review so I don’t accidentally throw out any spoilers. Some hijinks follow and then the burglary, which my oldest son solves approximately 18 seconds after the crime, earning this an A+ for staying true to the spirit of the books. It was a good way to spend 20-something minutes with the lads without having to endure another episode of Ben 10 with them. I did get a kick out of the props – a lot of familiar posters and oddball common cards. Below are a few more relevant pictures of my TV screen.

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Back to health, so back to work tomorrow, and eventually back to actual baseball card collecting business! There is the unexpected Heritage set to finish before I initially resist and then cave in to Bowman in May! For the curious, you can get the video for a few bucks on Amazon or probably for free from the library like I did!


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