Often mistaken for unused backing cards or factory overstock, proof cards are in fact an important part of the process and in some ways actually represent both the last stage of pre-production and the first stage of production rolled into one.
While they were not technically used for “proofing”, proof cards are the first print run of the final incarnation of an action figures packaging. Usually, proof cards would be printed locally and then sent to Kenner for internal use and indeed all of the proof cards in existence for The Real Ghostbusters action figures originated from employees of Kenner (& their affiliated companies) or were liberated from Kenner buildings.
Although they share many similarities to production cards, the location of the punch, it’s size and sometimes even it’s shape are completely different. In the case of the Ecto-Glow series, the colour of the figure area on the proof cards is actually totally different to the production carded figures.
Here is a really great piece of 80’s product photography which Kenner’s Director of packaging had their in-house photographer shoot for him. There are three different proof cards visible at the front.
These photo shoots of the toys were set up in order to showcase his previous toy line work to possible future employers in case he was made redundant. It’s a great period photo which further proves that not only were proof cards sent to Kenner but were also available to employees for internal use too.
Below are a few examples of some action figure proof cards from my collection.
SUPER FRIGHT FEATURES