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Volume 4997

Swedish Filmisar Trading Cards

Featuring Tarzan Film Actors
By Ken Manson
With added cards from the Lee Barrie and Fredrik Ekman Collections
 I was introduced to Swedish "filmstjärnebilder" (movie star pictures) trading cards through my friend Fredrik Ekman, a member of ERBapa, whom I have been exchanging ERB-related gifts with for several years partially due to my interest in my Swedish heritage.

One package included four small, 2-3/4 by 1-3/4 inch cards, that I had never seen before. Fredrik explained they were filmisar cards, for short, (one card is a filmis) that had been manufactured in Sweden from the 1950s to '80s. They are mostly numbered and the backs are mostly blank. Variants also were printed for Holland, Germany, Denmark and Finland.

"There were over 100 series from the '50s through the early '80s; each series typically consisting of anything from a few dozen to several hundred cards," he wrote. “They were collected by more or less every teenager (both boys and girls) during some periods.”

"As the name implies, most cards depicted movie stars, but other celebrities, such as pop stars or comic characters, also existed. Most were photos, but some were drawn or painted."

The Tarzan movies and actors, I have found, are featured on more than 150 of these cards.

These include Tarzan actors Johnny Weissmuller; Buster Crabbe, Lex Barker; Gordon Scott, Jock Mahoney; Denny Miller; and Ron Ely. Also featured were his mates, Maureen O’Sullivan, Eve Brent and Brenda Joyce, child actors Johnny Sheffield, Tommy Carlton and Ricky Sorensen and, of course, Cheeta.

Also in the cards are Dorothy Dandridge  (Melmendi) of  "Tarzan’s Peril;" Tony Curtis (Archimedes Porter) of "Tarzan in Manhattan"; Vera Miles (Jill Hardy) of "Tarzan’s Hidden Jungle;" Doug McClure (Bowen Tyler) of "The Land That Time Forgot" and "The People That Time Forgot" and (David Innes) of "At the Earth’s Core."

Tarzan and Tarzan’s Son also are themes. As Fredrik mentioned, most of these are photos of actors, such as Gordon Scott or Lex Barker, but some are cartoons and what look like comic book reprints.

Fredrik said the cards he remembers from the 1970s were sold in packs of tens but he does not remember what they cost. The ones he has been buying for me apparently cost the equivalent of 25 to 50 cents each.

He said, "Due to their popularity and longevity, filmisar are easy to find, and even though specific cards may be rare, they are more or less worthless as collectors' items."

A Swedish website,, for Leopolds used book store in Stockholm, lists thousands of cards, many for 20 kronor, or $3.07. Some are twice or three times that amount depending on the star, like Marilyn Monroe or Elvis Presley.

On the cards are rock stars like the Beatles, Kiss and Abba; TV shows like “Bonanza,””The Flintstones,” “The Muppet Show”  and “The Jetsons”; comic characters like Dennis the Menace and The Smurfs; and movies such as “Star Wars.”

The Star Wars cards were made by a card company called Nellba AB (AB is Swedish for 'company' and similar to Ltd. or Inc.), according to one website. The company was founded in 1960 and went bankrupt in 1985. It was reportedly the largest trading card manufacturer in Sweden during this time. Fredrik says he does not know whether Nellba made all the filmisar cards, but imagines several different companies were involved. He does not know for certain.

I checked  Leopolds’ website and they list 87 series of filmisar and more than 12,000 different cards.  Leopolds lists many of the cards in the series, but only what it has for sale. I counted 154 Swedish-made cards and 24 variants from other countries related to Tarzan, of which I have 47 of the 178 cards. There may be many more Tarzan cards that are not listed.

Fredrik said, “Leopolds intentionally leaves blanks for cards that are not in their stock because they are a site for selling, not for cataloging. They used to offer a collector's guide, but it is out of print. So without that collector's guide there is no way you or I can tell how many Tarzan-related cards there were.”  He said he does not have the collectors’ guide and he found the book is not at the library in nearby Uppsala University or apparently any library in Sweden. “The printer is required to send a book to seven selected Swedish libraries, including Uppsala,”  he said.

Leopolds also lists 28 cards with Marion Michael. Although she did not appear in any Tarzan movies, she did star in "Liane, Jungle Goddess" with Hardy Kruger. Plus she is very attractive and Fredrik sent some cards with her image.

The following are the Tarzan-related cards I found listed on Leopolds’ website, with the name of the series; letter, if any, of subcategories; and the number of the card.

Some of the series translated are: “TEVE:- television; “Lilla”-little, such as little A; “nyapopbilder”- new pop cards; “Svarta popnummer serien” – black pop number series; “Kalendarium bilder” – calendar series; “Gamla Lang Nummerserien”- old, lengthy numbered series; “seriefigurer barnbilder”- cartoon character, children pictures; “kolorerade bilder”- colored photos; “nummer till vanster”- number to the left; “stora nummer,” large numbers; mycket sma nr till vanster- very small number to the left; and illustra serie- illustrative series.

I abbreviated the series name on second reference. At the end, I list the number of cards I found for each actor.

  • Tarzan- TEVE-15; TEVE-95; Star-D-96; Star-D-124; CA-74; CA-85; CA-126; CA-107; Svarta popnummer serien- 30, 69, 76; SPS-37; P-247; P-289; Seriefigurer Barnbilder-Type 2-148, 149,150,151, 152, 154; SB-Type 3- 2, 52, 66, 98, 108, 117 (26)
  • Johnny Weissmuller-  H-113; H-190; N-27; TEVE-145; Gamla Lang Nummerserien- 840; GLN 859; GLN-903; GLN-948; Kalendarium ’59 bilder-series A-88; P-11; P-160; P-180; P-247; PA-195; P-293; S-type- 1-156; S-type-2-156; S-type-1 -176; S-type-2-176; S-type-1-228; S-type 2-228; S-type-1-237; S-type-2-237; A-281 (24)
  • Weissmuller and Maureen O’Sullivan- H-23;  GLN 788; GLN 794: GLN 865: GLN-884 (5)
  • Weissmuller and Johnny Sheffield - S type 1-196  and S-type 2-196; H-44 (3)
  • O’Sullivan and Sheffield- H-44; P-27 (2)
  • Johnny Sheffield -GLN-934: P-163  (2)
  • Johnny Weissmuller, Maureen O’Sullivan, Johnny Sheffield and Cheeta -Stora nummer-36 (1)
  • Cheeta - Seriefigurer Barnbilder- Type 1-57; SB –Type 5-31 (2)
  • Johnny Weissmuller and Brenda Joyce -Gamla Langa Nummerserien 635  (1)
  • Buster Crabbe - P-79 (1)
  • Jock Mahoney - TV-135A; TV-135B; A-27; B-132 (4)
  • Ron Ely - Nya popbilder-1-531 (1)
  • Tarzan’s Son – A-261; H-101; H-120; H-237; P-55; P-101; P-120; P-237;TEVE-5; TEVE-25; TEVE-45; TEVE-65; StarD-85; StarD-105; StarD-95; StarD-115; T-46; SB-Type 2-141, 142  (19)
  • Lex Barker – StarD-5; LillaA-97; D-58; D-88; D-97; D-149; P-36; X-Nr-110; X-Nr-235;   P-36; P-136; PA-46; PA -104; S-type 1-243; S-type  2-243; A-144; A-262; H-252; Film and popbilder-no number (19)
  • Lex Barker and Tommy Carlton - B-36; GLN-942; GLN-983 (3)
  • Lex Barker and Joan Taylor - STAR-D-56; D-48  (2)
  • Lex Barker and Dorothy Hart- Mycket sma nr till vanster- 510 (1)
  • Lex Barker and J. Kenzie- GLN-717 (1)
  • Gordon Scott-N-167; N-172; N-193: N-202; N-212; N-226; P-6; Kalendarium ‘61 Bilder 135; Kalendariumbilder ’61 A-139; KAB’61-B-139; B-135; KAB ’61-131; KAB-‘61-134; KAB-’61-135: KAB-‘61-138; KAB-’61-139; T-28; PA-6;  Series S Type 1-211; S-Type 2-211; A-201; A-217; A-247  (23)
  • Gordon Scott, Eve Brent and Ricky Sorensen - KAB2A-’61-133; KAB2A-’61-270 (2)
  • Eve Brent - KAB-’61-132  (1)
  • Ricky Sorensen - KAB-’61-136  (1)
  • Gordon Scott and Ricky Sorensen -KB-140; B-140; KAB-‘61-137; KAB-’61-140 (4)
  • Denny Miller -“Tarzan” –Nummer till vanster- 195 (1)
  • Dorothy Dandridge-  X-Nr-237; KAB-‘61- 150; A-14; A-198; StarC--141 (5)
  • I also found 39 Marion Michael cards, including Dutch variants:
  • Marion Michael – Serie A-18; SA-39; SA-36; SA-59; SA-69; SA-81; SA-65; SA-119; SA-121; SA-147; SA-151; SA-158: SA-190; SA-218; SA-249; B-110; N-25; N-155; Star-A-25; X-5; Lilla-D—-86A; CA-9; Nummer 74; X-Nr-53; X-Nr-63: X-Nr-73; X-Nr-83; X-Nr-93; X-Nr-157; X-Nr-177; X-Nr-187; lX-Nr-200; X-Nr-208; X-Nr-217; Nummer till vanster-74; TV-64  (36)
  • Marion Michael and Hardy Kruger- SA-78 and H-169 (2)
  • Marion Michael and Adrian Hoven- SA-165 (1)
  • The same images also are on more than  one series, such as Tarzan (Gordon Scott) on TEVE 15 and SB-Type 3-2; Gordon Scott, PA-6 and A-201; Johnny Weissmuller (and Maureen O’Sullivan), H-113 and Nr-865; and Tarzan’s son (O’Sullivan and Johnny Sheffield), A-261 and StarD-115.

    Other European Variants

    Besides filmisar from Sweden, variants were made for Holland, Germany, Denmark and Finland, according to Fredrik.

    On the Leopolds website, I found variations from Holland and Denmark, and Fredrik says some were made for Germany.

    I asked Fredrik about the difference between series marked “Holland” and “Printed in Holland” He said. “Some series were printed there and distributed both here (Sweden) and there (Holland); these may or may not include Swedish/Dutch variants; I do not know. Other series were printed there but not distributed here. I have no idea if any Swedish cards were ever distributed in Holland.”

    He later added, “As far as I know, all the Dutch series listed at Leopolds were distributed in Sweden. Other Dutch cards show up from time to time. That Marion Michael/Hardy Kruger card may be a variant that was also printed in Swedish or it may be all-Dutch.”

    The Dutch cards I have found, by series, are: Illustra Serie A: (Holland, 1950) No. 50-Johnny Weissmuller; Kolorerade Bilder (Holland, 1951): 97:1 and 97:2-Johnny Weissmuller, and  192- Lex Barker; Serie T (Printed in Holland,  1976):  33- Lex Barker; Serie B (Holland, 1952): 139-Johnny Weissmuller; Serie H (Holland, 1957): 23 and 28-Johnny Weissmuller;

    Also, Serie S (Holland, 1957): 24:1 and 24:2-Lex Barker and Tommy Carlton, 51- Gordon Scott, 52-Johnny Sheffield,  63:1 and 63:2-Johnny Weissmuller, and 78:1 and 78:2-Lex Barker and Tommy Carlton; Lilla K (Holland, 1957); 40-Lex Barker, 48-Johnny Weissmuller, 52- Johnny Sheffield and 97-Gordon Scott; and Serie T typ 1 och typ 2 (Holland, 1958):   Type 1-28- Gordon Scott and 46-Tarzan’s son, and Type 2- 28- Gordon Scott and 46-Tarzan’s son.

    Six other series printed in Holland and 14 other series marked “Holland`’ are listed on Leopolds’ website, but none contain Tarzan-related cards.

    Danish series listed are Stort K and Helgonet Bilder, but again contain no Tarzan cards.

    Fredrik said there is another site - http// - in Norwegian, with some information  about filmisar, he said. “Apparently there were no domestic Norwegian cards, since these are all Swedish ones. It only covers the 70s and 80s.”

    On the front page of this site is a card "563. Trazan o Banarne" from a Swedish children's TV show (extremely popular), “partly a parody of Tarzan, but mostly doing their own thing.”

    Thanks to Fredrik Ekman for the information, proofreading my article and sending me the cards in the first place.

    click for larger images
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    In Tarzan and the Leopard Woman
    and Tarzan and the Slave Girl

    click for large images



      Banner Cards Mosaic I
     Banner Cards Mosaic II
    Banner Cards Mini-Novels I
    Banner Cards Mini-Novels II
    Banner Cards Mini-Novels III
    Banner Cards Mini-Novels IV
    Banner Cards Mini-Novels V
    Banner Cards Mini-Novels VI
    Banner Cards Mini-Novels VII
    Tarzan's Savage Fury I: 3D Cards
    Tarzan's Savage Fury II: 3D cards
    Tarzan's Savage Fury III: 3D cards
    Tarzan's Savage Fury IV - 3D cards
    Chinese Trading Cards
    Tarzan Banner Card Set II: 1-22
    Tarzan Banner Card Set II: 25-44
    Tarzan Banner Card Set II: 45-66 
    The Crystal Vault of Isis I
    The Crystal Vault of Isis II
    The Crystal Vault of Isis  III
    Tarzan and the She Devil
    3D Cards
    Swedish Filmisar
    Tarzan Actors
    Colour Adaptations of the MGM Tarzan Films
    COOP Chocolate Cards Published in Belgium
    1373: Tarzan
    The Ape Man
    1374: Tarzan 
    And His Mate
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    1376: Tarzan 
    Finds A Son!
    1377: Tarzan's
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    1378: Tarzan's 
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    1380: Tarzan's
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    1381: Tarzan
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    1382: Tarzan and the
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    3142 Tarzan and
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    3143 Tarzan and 
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