"What a piece of junk!"
September 28, 2010 6:36 PM   Subscribe

Star Wars - '77 - '80 Collector's Blog. "I have a passion for collecting vintage Star Wars merchandise from the late 70's. Action figures, comics, trading cards etc - anything related to the first Star Wars movie. But why only until 1980? It's not that I don't love The Empire Strikes Back and beyond (I really do), but there is something about that first wave of Star Wars mania that really grips me, back when it was all fresh and exciting..."
posted by Fizz (44 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
I totally relate to this. I was 13 when Star Wars came out, and it was unlike anything else at the time. I saw it 7 times that summer. Even my mom went to see it, and she didn't go to the movies much at all. That's how new and different and wonderful it was.
posted by JanetLand at 6:43 PM on September 28, 2010


You know who else wore Spot-bilt?
posted by gman at 6:44 PM on September 28, 2010


I had R2-D2 socks made of some shitty material with no stretch but I wore them anyway. Just felt like throwing that out there.
posted by MikeMc at 7:05 PM on September 28, 2010


Make sure to keep the page open for a while this time, everyone.
posted by BeerFilter at 7:18 PM on September 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


I was 8 when it came out. I remember the first wave figures, the iron-ons, the trading cards, the multi-level Death Star (FAVORITE). Saw it 9 times in the theater.

Yeah, there was something special about that sense "WOW" that the original release brought out in people like me.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 7:19 PM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh yeah. Totally. Nothing has ever gripped me like the total obsession that held me between 1977 and 1980. I don't think any of us were prepared for what happened. How could we be? I don't know whether to envy younger fans who have grown up with all the movies and tons of merchandise and never had to know the delicious agony of waiting for a new Star Wars film, or to feel sorry for kids who'll never know what Star Wars mania felt like when it was completely fresh.

Also, just me or did anyone else get a funny feeling in their swimsuit area when reading "Splinter of the Mind's Eye," the scene where Luke is totally lusting over a sleeping Leia? I guess '77-'80 was also the magical season where you could non-creepily fantasize about Luke and Leia getting it on!
posted by Pants McCracky at 7:22 PM on September 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


I love it when stuff gets ever so slightly off brand like that.
posted by Artw at 7:26 PM on September 28, 2010


I was a wee lad when the first gen toys came out, and was mighty disappointed then that I couldn't make the figures exactly mimic the movements their characters made because their joints lacked articulation.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:30 PM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I remember the first wave figures, the iron-ons, the trading cards, the multi-level Death Star (FAVORITE).

That was cool indeed, but be prepared now to gnash your teeth and rend your garments with envy: little kids in the UK had a totally different one. And in Canada, we had both.

I had one of each and an unfulfilled childhood dream of gathering together maybe eight friends who had the slice-of-cake sectional version so we could assemble them into a great big honking Death Star.

Okay, I have to go lie down now.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:39 PM on September 28, 2010 [6 favorites]


I was a wee lad when the first gen toys came out, and was mighty disappointed then that I couldn't make the figures exactly mimic the movements their characters made because their joints lacked articulation.

This is exactly why GI Joe toys where my passion. Star wars figures looked and felt clunky and cheap in comparison.
posted by nomadicink at 7:43 PM on September 28, 2010


The first Star Wars movie was really a Totally New Thing. Before it space movies had tended to be stately or creepy -- Forbidden Planet, 2001 of course, Silent Running. But Star Wars created a whole new look and feel, as if the pulps had burst forth onto the big screen. It's now cliche but nobody had ever seen such a thing before, and in those few years before Empire even the knockoffs looked lame.
posted by localroger at 7:46 PM on September 28, 2010


I've just realized that I have only the vaguest memory of seeing ANH in theaters--I would have been about six--and none at all of ESB, although I know that my family went right after it came out. ROTJ, though, we saw the day it premiered, and I remember the huge lines, all the excitement, etc.

Oddly enough, even though I live in a college town (college village, actually), the movie theater wasn't packed for any of the prequels.
posted by thomas j wise at 7:47 PM on September 28, 2010


> This is exactly why GI Joe toys where my passion.

Oh, man. Remember when the series two figures had SWIVEL ARM BATTLE GRIP? That was just freakin' rad. Destro could cap a Joe on his side all casual. Screws and rubber bands in the torso was how you did all that. None of this solid pegged together plastic.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:47 PM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Okay, were you a purist or did you mix-n-match? Because I totally had my Micronauts teaming up with Luke & Han & Chewie to take on the 24" Shogun Warriors my uncle brought back from Japan (well before they hit the US markets).
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 7:55 PM on September 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


I mixed figures when I was feeling kinky. But, if I was playing with other kids, we would be careful about letting a GI Joe guy use a Star Wars gun unless we already knew each other well.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:57 PM on September 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


Working trash compactor is the best.
posted by Artw at 8:00 PM on September 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


Oh, man. Remember when the series two figures had SWIVEL ARM BATTLE GRIP?

changed my life,CHANGED IT. GI Joe was flying X-wings while Luke sat at the bottom of the toy truck.
posted by nomadicink at 8:06 PM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Jeez, I had one of these and I'd totally forgotten about it. And I don't think I read very many comic books from that era, but I remember every one of those comic book ads.
posted by Songdog at 8:13 PM on September 28, 2010


vaguest memory of seeing ANH in theaters
Sorry, but that is so wrong.
posted by bitslayer at 8:13 PM on September 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


First movie I ever saw in the theater (second was the Blues Brothers). I had pretty much every toy and book collected on the blog (and most of the movie collector cards) and remember most of the comic books.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:17 PM on September 28, 2010


My biggest trigger on this site is seeing the cover of the novelisation. I was 7 when the movie came out and I just realized that this book must have been the first "real" book I read. When I brought the book to school, my nasty second grade teacher accused me of faking comprehension of what I was reading. Apparently she thought I was trying to impress my classmates. It may have taken me weeks but I was reading that shit because I wanted to.

Anyway it's fascinating to think that the first book I read happened to be the first Star Wars book ever. How many people can say that!
posted by jeremias at 8:43 PM on September 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


See also: Star Wars Collector's Archive (formerly toysrgus). I am bizarrely fascinated with the foreign, fake, and bootleg toys. Scary Polish Ewoks! Hungarian Pig-Nosed Yoda!
posted by Violet Hour at 9:22 PM on September 28, 2010


The landspeeder! Oh wow, I completely forgot I had that. Loved it, with its little spring-wheel-floaty goodness.

Man, I lusted after the large Millenium Falcon, but it was all good.

Repressed memory: My mom worked in a store with a ton of promotional materials for Star Wars, and when much of that was over she brought it home and it adorned my walls for a long time. It undoubtedly all ended up in the trash. *sob*
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:29 PM on September 28, 2010


the multi-level Death Star (FAVORITE).

Two things:

I.
I had this as a lad. Christmas 1978 was probably the greatest one since the birth of Jesus (or since) <--------science FACT, hoochie!

II.
I bought one off eBay a few years ago. It's on my entertainment center. I am a 36 year old man.

In summation: how ya like me now?
posted by Senor Cardgage at 9:44 PM on September 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


did anyone else get a funny feeling in their swimsuit area when reading "Splinter of the Mind's Eye," the scene where Luke is totally lusting over a sleeping Leia?

I don't remember that. But I do have a memory of C3PO inadvertently seeing her naked while she changed clothes in a forest or something.

Please tell me I didn't invent that.

If he's a truly serious collector, he'll need this.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:45 PM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I still have my original Falcon and Cantina Bar playset. (I'm 37.)
posted by GatorDavid at 10:14 PM on September 28, 2010


In other news: Your childhood is about to be raped.
posted by bionic.junkie at 10:35 PM on September 28, 2010


I remember my mom coming back from the toy store in Brooklyn with horror stories of near-fistfights between mothers reaching for the last Han Solo or whatever on the shelf.

C-3P0 and R2D2 were easy to come by. They didn't have guns = less in demand by 8-12 year old boys, or their desperate-to-please-their-kid-@-Christmas mothers.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 10:46 PM on September 28, 2010


Slight derail (but from the same blog) : I remember in 1979 when Red Barn restaurants had these as premium giveaways.

I very specifically remember getting one at dinner there after seeing Alien in the theater.

Man I loved Red Barn. Make yer own sundae, foooooooooool.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 10:56 PM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh lookie. The big meanie, uncanny, has had his temporary banhammer removed. I'll try and be good from now on, Mods. Won't be poking any sticks into the hive that is the metafilter hivemind. ;)

I totally relate to this. I was 13 when Star Wars came out, and it was unlike anything else at the time. I saw it 7 times that summer. Even my mom went to see it, and she didn't go to the movies much at all. That's how new and different and wonderful it was.

Y'know, I never went out of my way to be a "bah humbug" type kid, but looking back on my childhood I did some strange things. Not wanting to see Star Wars was one of them. There was a bit of a competition at my school to as to who had seen Star Wars the most times. Seven... Eight... Twelve...

I got dragged along for the first time by a friend [probably his seventh viewing] when it was advertised "LAST DAYS!" in the newspapers. And even then - with an open mind "you are just being stupid not seeing this when every other 9 year old on the planet has" - it didn't really float my boat at all. Yet I had plenty of intense childhood movie experiences. eg. The Wizard of Oz and Battlestar Galactica completely blew my mind.

Anyone else reminded of the scene from The Simpsons? Ralph apologetically presents his science diorama which only contains boxed originals of Star Wars action figures. And Principal Skinner just about creams his dacks?!
posted by uncanny hengeman at 12:28 AM on September 29, 2010


The build-your-own droid factory was fucking awesome.
posted by Evilspork at 1:40 AM on September 29, 2010


Everybody I know modded their Star Wars playsets into Warhammer 40K setpieces. Nothing like hunting the Eldar inside an Ewok Playset.
posted by Sukiari at 1:47 AM on September 29, 2010


I remember the first wave figures, the iron-ons, the trading cards, the multi-level Death Star (FAVORITE).

There's a store I pass by every day that has an original Sandcrawler in the window. I think about it often.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:46 AM on September 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Man, I lusted after the large Millenium Falcon, but it was all good.

The large plastic Space:1999 Eagle was better.

Come to think of it, the little die-cast Eagles were pretty mackin' too.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:42 AM on September 29, 2010


I still have a handful of the first-run action figures, an incomplete Millenium Falcon, and most of the Droid Factory that Evilspork linked to.

In what proved to be one of the most regrettable decisions of my life, I sold the rest of my collection (which was pretty good, though far from complete) to John Kelsey in 1985 for the princely sum of $11.00. He later told me that he blew it all up with firecrackers in his back yard. I didn't cry at the time, but I have since. Mostly because it would be really cool to have a bunch of that stuff to pass on to my boys, who are nuts about Star Wars.
posted by Shohn at 5:52 AM on September 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I had a rancor figure with matching Return of the Jedi Luke Skywalker figurine which my mom gave away to a charity. A part of my childhood I wanted to keep, very upset at my mom.
posted by Fizz at 6:45 AM on September 29, 2010


Yeah, I grew up Star Wars.
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:50 AM on September 29, 2010


Anybody else try & rip Boba Fett's rocket out of his backpack?
posted by stinkycheese at 8:14 AM on September 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


But does he have the rare Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru figurines?
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 8:32 AM on September 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Star Wars (the 1st movie in '77) was to the '70's what the Beatles were to the '60's.
posted by yoga at 9:50 AM on September 29, 2010


While we're talking about what horrible things happened to our star wars toys... I had quite a collection, all the way from originals to ewoks cartoons crap. They had long been in the attic of my parents' Grand Forks, North Dakota home. At some point around April of 1997, my mom insisted that I move all of the toys to the basement. I don't remember quite why, but I now think it was actually something sweet like she wanted them displayed in the relatively newly finished area of the basement.

Regardless of intention... the flood of 1997 came. It left our house shockingly unscathed given its proximity to the river, but for the basement.

Doh. The toys mostly survived of course, but none of the decals did, and it was a hell of a cleaning effort just to recover from that.

She felt really bad for ages, and now that I realize I'm pretty sure she just wanted my once-prized possessions on display shelves, I feel bad about her feeling bad. Damn you, childhood!
posted by flaterik at 2:25 PM on September 29, 2010


Does anyone remember the Boba Fett figure that you could only get through some kind of mail-in deal? I only dimly remember this -- I think the rocket on the backpack would actually shoot. Which I'm sure didn't last long. Anyway, what I do remember perfectly is the number of years I've been kicking myself for giving it away to my cousin when I was 12.
posted by Pants McCracky at 3:06 PM on September 29, 2010


Does anyone remember the Boba Fett figure that you could only get through some kind of mail-in deal?

That'd be the Boba Fett mail-away. It was a promo figure from Kenner before the "regular" Boba Fett figurine was out on the shelves. You had to mail in four proofs-of-purchase to get him—five for the Return of the Jedi Emperor mail-away.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:01 PM on September 29, 2010


Awesome...thank you for digging that up!
posted by Pants McCracky at 5:54 PM on September 29, 2010


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