Friday, May 6, 2022

Star Wars (1977) - 45th Anniversary Mega Post!

Forty-five years ago this month, a little film called Star Wars was released.  The film became a pop cultural phenomenon and spawned two sequels, a prequel trilogy, a sequel trilogy, two anthology films, a holiday television special, an animated series, and a whole lot more.

If we tried to list all of the Star Wars-related merchandise that has been produced over the years, it would be almost impossible. I was a pretty big fan of Star Wars when it first came out, and I did collect quite a few items related to that very first film. Today, I am going to share some of those items with you.

First up, we have a couple of pinback buttons:

Next, we have two MPC models, their original boxes, and their assembly instructions.
Model of R2-D2:


Model of C-3PO:


I used to collect Topps brand trading cards (and their "Wacky Packages" stickers, as well).  In 1977, Topps released a series of Star Wars trading cards.

Series I:

I saved the wax paper wrapper from one of the "packs" of cards.

Here is the complete set of cards, for Series I:

I asked the clerk at my local "Stop-N-Go" convenience mart, if I could have the empty display box that the individual packets of cards had come in.  I would later do the same thing, with the "Disney's Black Hole" series of trading cards.

Series II:

The wax paper wrapper:

Series II - the complete set of cards:

In January of 1978, both MAD and Cracked magazines, featured parodies of Star Wars:

Cracked included an "extended" poster version of the cover artwork, inside the magazine:

This next item is the Spring 1978 issue of FOOM, which was a "fanzine" published by Marvel Comics, and was the brainchild of Stan Lee. The name "FOOM" stands for "Fans Of Ol' Marvel."

The artwork on the front cover, continued around to the back cover:

The reason that the film was being featured in a Marvel magazine, was because the company was currently publishing a series of Star Wars comic books.

I missed the first two issues of the Marvel comic book.  I guess a lot of people did, because it wasn't too long before they published "reprints" of the earlier issues.  These first two covers have "Reprint" printed near the upper left hand corner.

Here's a sampling of a couple pages, inside:

The original story of "Star Wars" (Episode IV) was spread out over six separate issues.

Issue #3 is the first issue I purchased, which was not a reprint.

Again, the retelling of the original 1977 film ended with issue #6.  Marvel continued to publish the Star Wars series of comics, but the issues that followed included new storylines, and introduced new characters.  I continued collecting the series through issue #23, and will include those covers in a future post.

I saved this Star Wars advertisement, from the "Calendar" section of The Los Angeles Times.  It's dated December 25, 1977:

The reverse side of the Star Wars ad shows other films which were released that year, including Walt Disney Production's Pete's Dragon:

While going through my vintage TV Guide collection recently, I came across this advertisement in an issue from September 1977.  R2-D2 was making a "guest appearance" on Dinah!:

And just for kicks, I'm including this previously posted TV Guide advertisement for the Star Wars Holiday Special, which aired in November of 1978:

Princess Leia made her singing debut, in the holiday television special.

And speaking of "music," the film's soundtrack was released in a double album set, in 1977:


Back cover:


 The record sleeves:


 One of the two records:

 This T-shirt order form was included inside the album:
This "Story of Star Wars" album featured audio taken directly from the film:
 Back cover:

  The story book inside:

I have more Star Wars merchandise from 1977, but I will save it for a future post.


DrGoat said...

Kudos for a great collection! With more to come. Interesting to see what other movies were showing at that time. Close Encounters caught my eye. Science Fiction and Science Fiction Fantasy. Can't beat that.
I remember seeing Star Wars when it came out at the fancy indoor theater in Tucson. Giant red curtain slowly pulled back to reveal that first scene. And it blew us away blew us away, just like it was supposed to do.
Love the models of R2 and 3-CPO. Nice job! And Mad magazine to boot. I've got a Hallmark Darth Vader and Millennium Falcon Christmas ornament somewhere in the Christmas bins and I think one or two of the first plastic light sabers with the light saber noise somewhere in the shed. I'll look this weekend and if I can find them, you're welcome to 'em. Not too optimistic, but I'm in the purging phase of getting old, and getting this stuff to someone who appreciates it is top priority. Might still have some Jedi hair braids in the closet too. I haven't seen them recently or I gave them away already, but I'll give a look see and see what I come up with. A good weekend project for me besides trying to catch that pesky roundtail ground squirrel that's eating our plants and relocate him.
Thanks TM, great collection.

TokyoMagic! said...

DrGoat, I also thought that was interesting to see what other films were out around the same time as Star Wars. I still remember the first time I saw it....and the second time, too. I think it was the first movie that I ever went back to the theater to see a second time, while it was still in it's initial release. I went with my brother and some friends the first time. Then, after some months passed, my mom came to me and said that with all the hype and talk surrounding the film, she felt like she should see it. So, she asked if I would go with her to see it. She loved it.

I forgot to mention that at some point, the model of C-3PO had his eyes "fall back" into his head, while in storage. I think they were just "snapped" into the holes, rather than glued, but the two halves of his head are glued together, so I can't really get to the eyes to fix the problem. I saw a couple just like that on ebay, so it must have been a common problem.

Jedi hair braids? Wow, I don't remember seeing those. But again, there was/is a LOT of S.W. merchandise out there!

Thank you, DrGoat! And I hope you catch that pesky squirrel. I'm glad to hear that you plan to relocate him!

Chuck said...

Oh, wow! This is fabulous! I still have some of my Star Wars stuff from back in the day, but my surviving collection is not this extensive. I was only eight when it came out and we moved four more times before I graduated from high school, so I am amazed that I still have as much as I have.

I still have my Topps cards, but never had a complete set of any series. Some of my Series 1 cards have very visible “invisible” tape on them, although I didn’t put them there - they were given to my by an older kid who hung out at the playground and had a complete set of everything, plus extras. The tape on those extras was from when he had put them together to make the puzzle picture that was on the back.

Didn’t Series 3 have green borders, Series 4 orange, and wasn’t there a a series with a black border as well? I always liked the Series 1 border best because there were white stars superimposed on the blue background. And maybe a little of that preference had to do with them being the first, and what looked “right” to me.

I preferred the cards with production or character information on the back (oddly, there were no player stats). I’m pretty sure that’s where I learned that George Lucas’ original intent with Han Solo’s boast about the Millennium Falcon being “the ship that made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs” was to show that he was a braggart who didn’t always know what he was talking about. That was before the silliness about the Kessel Run being some sort of set course of 12 parsecs that worked its way into some of the books and Solo.

I had the MPC X-Wing model. I never got past gluing together the two halves of R2D2. I think I still have it in a box somewhere, although I’m not sure how complete it is.

I always thought it was odd that the soundtrack album didn’t have all of the music in story order. It plays well as a collection of music, but it jumbles up the storyline when you are thinking through the movie while listening to it. The 1990s CD version fixed that.

I didn’t haveThe Story of Star Wars album, but I had two friends who did, and they would always bring it over to my house to listen to it on my parents’ stereo system; I guess they weren’t allowed to do that at home and got tired of listening to it on their toy record players.

It’s hard to remember now, but things like books and comics and cards and records were the only way we could experience Star Wars outside the theater back then. Well, I did know a kid up the street who had this “video tape player” thing attached to his TV, and his parents had forked out $100 ($474.43 in 2022 dollars) for a legal copy of the movie, but his mom wouldn’t let him watch it with any of us because she was afraid we’d only hang out with him to watch the movie. That policy actually cost him some pre-existing friendships when his mom would shoo kids out of the house when they even mentioned it. Grown-ups can be so dumb sometimes. I’m glad I’m never growing up!

DrGoat, please don’t relocate him up here. I’d love to meet you someday, but we have enough squirrels and chipmunks already. You can drop him off at Sue’s place about five hours up the road from me.

DrGoat said...

It was a successful trapping. Delivered the ground squirrel to his new home. Nice desert with lots of greenery and access to water. Nowhere near Sue, unfortunately, Chuck. I wished him well.
I found the lightsabers and Jedi hair braid. I'll send you some pics. My email is if you are interested. I'm serious about sending them to a better place than a shed where they are languishing away. I've send David a few things already that were part of my so called collection of stuff. It's honestly a pleasure to send them off to a new life. You're contact info will be strictly confidential.
PS Very groovy collection. and I haven't used that word out loud for 45 years.

TokyoMagic! said...

Chuck, I had to get my cards out, because I couldn't remember the exact order of the border colors. So, Series #3 is yellow, Series #4 is green, Series #5 is orange. I'm not sure if there was a series after that. There was a "The Empire Strikes Back" series, and a "Return of the Jedi" series, but I stopped collecting "Star Wars" merchandise, before any of the sequels came out.....with the exception of one single pack of "The Empire Strikes Back" trading cards.

I think it's interesting to see how many of the unassembled Star Wars models are out there. I guess you aren't the only one who got the model, but then did not put it together.

I never really thought about how the music is out of order on the soundtrack album. I don't have the CD, but it's nice to know that they did correct that.

Gee, what kind of parent is that? She wouldn't let her son and his friends watch the movie together? You'd think that would be something that they would want to share with others, since it was such a rare thing at that time. I've heard stories about how when TV was brand new, neighbors would gather at the house of the only family on the street, who had a television. I guess times had changed by the 1970s/80s. Sad.

TokyoMagic! said...

DrGoat, thank you! I'm sending you an email!

Chuck said...

Oh - forgot about the yellow series! I guess I should have looked at them before commenting. Of course, that would have involved actually looking for the cards and pulling them out of their shoebox. Not even sure if they are jumbled up with my baseball cards or not. And there was a yard to mow and apple turnovers to eat.

I was recently at Walmart, and they had a big, cardboard aisle display of plastic model kits from MPC, Polar Lights, and AMT (which I guess are all the same company now). The kits were all reissues and included some pretty cool stuff, including several kits from the Wacky Races, which I am just a couple of years too young to have seen for sale in stores (I was born late in the year the series came out). The kits had been pretty well picked over by the time I saw it, but there were a whole bunch of MPC B-wings form Return of the Jedi all lined up that nobody had touched. Not only are there MPC Star Wars kits people are buying and not putting together, there are MPC Star Wars kits that people just aren’t buying, period. But seriously - who but a few die-hard fans even remembers what a B-wing is, much less wants to put together a plastic model of that silly-looking thing?

TokyoMagic! said...

Chuck, that's interesting that Walmart is carrying the reissues of older models. I think Polar Lights was the company putting out the Pirates of the Caribbean models, or the Haunted Mansion models....or maybe they were doing both re-releases.

I remember watching the Wacky Races. I don't remember the models or any other merchandise, but I seem to remember that there was a Dick Dastardly breakfast cereal, for kids.

Count me as one of the people that doesn't remember what a B-wing is. I had to look it up to see an image of one. It still doesn't ring a bell! No wonder they aren't selling the models of them!

K. Martinez said...

I'm surprised you didn't post this on May the 4th (be with you).

Anyway, when I first saw "Star Wars" in 1977, I thought it was hokey and I didn't care for it. I thought the dialog was cringy. Three years later in 1980 I saw "The Empire Strikes Back" and fell in love with Star Wars. Now that was a great movie.

I didn't get into the Star Wars merchandise until later much later. I'm super familiar with the Marvel Comics Star Wars images as I have the complete series in "omnibus" form from Marvel. It's a fun series.

FOOM not only stands for "Fans Of Ol' Marvel" but was part of the name of a Marvel creation, the extraterrestrial dragon creature named Fin Fang FOOM" who was a character from Marvel's early days.

If I had to pick a favorite image today, it would be the "Have A Merry Christmas and a great Holiday Season of Film Entertainment at MANN THEATERS". I love that ad.

Anyway, your collection of 1970's memorabilia never ceases to amaze me. You have so much great stuff and such a variety. Your memorabilia transports me back to a wonderful time. Thanks, TokyoMagic!

P.S. Love the Cracked magazine "Star Wars" foldout!

TokyoMagic! said...

Ken, ha, ha! It did cross my mind to post this on that day, but since I don't celebrate "May 4th," I decided just to post it on my usual "first Friday of the month."

How many issues of the Marvel Star Wars comics were there? I only have up until #23, but I don't remember if they stopped there, or if I just stopped buying them at that point.

I did not know about the FOOM dragon character....thanks for that info!

I'm glad that you enjoyed seeing all of these items. Like I said at the end of the post, I do have more! It's just that the post was getting too long, even for a "mega post." :-)

Anonymous said...

Wow, Tokyo, this is amazing. You have such a great collection of stuff!

I had that record album for a while. I'm not sure if I still do or not.

I did get the original Hildebrand Bros. poster with the Luke and Leia figures drawn before the roles were cast. I may have even bought that before the movie came out. I shuffled it from one apartment or dorm to another until finally it ended it in a tube in the garage until I found and framed it, and gave it to my son.

A genuine pop culture "antique", I guess. I had an old Pauline Baines poster of the Lord of the Rings Map from the 70's that I gave to my daughter, so all my old stuff that survived found good homes.

I was "too old" to be interested in the SW cards and toys etc. in the first pass, but I kept some of that my kids played with that are twenty-plus years newer than the things you have here.

Truly a unique phenomenon. Even Star Trek didn't create the same rush of toys when it was new. It's a shame that the craving for merch dollars affected the storylines of the later movies. Should always be the other way around and I don't think Star Trek did that, or at least not as obviously.

Thank you for sharing these things.


TokyoMagic! said...

JG, thank you! I also have that early SW poster. I always liked that artwork. I haven't gotten it out and photographed it yet, but maybe I will do that in the future.

I didn't realize that the storylines of the later SW movies, were driven by the merchandise. It makes sense, since something obviously went wrong with the storytelling of those "prequels." I hope they were at least able to sell a lot of Jar Jar Binks plush dolls and action figures! ;-)

I was a little too old for the SW toys, myself (7th grade). But I did pick up a few of the small "action figures" at the time, even though I never played with them. I also have the SW board game, which was intended for ages "7 and up." They have actually reissued that game now.

K. Martinez said...


I think the original Marvel "Star Wars" run went to issue# 107, but Marvel continues to publish multiple Star Wars titles to this day.

Anonymous said...

TM, I read somewhere that the merch income had become such a driver by the 3rd film that the Ewoks were written into the script as an excuse to have plush toys, etc.

Knowing what we know now, I believe this story. Also, in one of the extended "How We Did It" segments on one of the prequels DVD's, Lucas casually mentioned that some scenes and places were conceived for their potential as toys and figures.

Thanks again for these memories.


TokyoMagic! said...

Ken, I had no idea that the original comic book series went past issue #100. I guess I just gave up on it after issue #23. Thanks for answering my question!

TokyoMagic! said...

JG, now that you mention it, I think that I have heard that about the addition of the Ewoks. I believe it. It's all about the money, unfortunately, even if the characters and the plot suffer. Now I am seriously wondering if they had hoped to sell millions of Jar Jar Binks plush toys and action figures. What other reason would there have been for including him in the film? ;-)

Major Pepperidge said...

Wow, I love seeing all of your Star Wars stuff! And so much of it! The trading cards are awesome, and you were so smart to ask for the empty boxes, I’ll bet those things would fetch some surprising bucks on the market.

Cracked magazine, what a blast from the past. I bought it sometimes, but I was a “Mad kid” in my heart. I thought I read something about the Star Wars comics featuring some sort of rabbit character? Not kidding! Maybe I am confusing it with something else. I hope R2-D2 wasn’t drunk during his appearance on Dinah!, he would get all flirty.

I have to admit that I kind of thought that you didn’t like Star Wars, but I was clearly mistaken! I loved the original movies, and for the most part is has been a case of diminishing returns for me ever since (though I have generally liked “The Mandalorian”).

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, I guess even at a young age, I was thinking about ephemera like the box that the packs of cards were displayed in, or even the wax paper that they were wrapped in.

I bought "Mad" magazine on occasion. My brother was into the magazine much more than I was. I guess I would buy it when they were parodying something that I was a big fan of. And I think that might be the only issue that I ever bought of "Cracked" magazine. And you are right about the rabbit character in the Star Wars comic books. He appears shortly after the end of the "original story" and is featured on the covers of issues #8 and #9. He also happens to be green!

If R2-D2 started flirting with Dinah, I'm sure Burt Reynolds would have intervened and kicked him in the "can." Or maybe Burt had moved on to Sally Field, by 1977?

I have to admit that I loved the original Star Wars film. I liked the next two films, but I had stopped buying SW items by the time they came out. My main issue with Star Wars is, that I felt....and still feel, that it has no business being in Disneyland. It has always felt "foreign" there, to me. It's the same way with the Muppets and Indiana Jones, even though I like both of those franchises. None of those characters were created by the Disney company, so it was weird to see them shoehorned into Disneyland. And as you know, I hate how Star Wars Land ruined Frontierland, by causing the truncating of the Rivers of America and Tom Sawyer Island, as well as the destruction of the berm and it's 50-60 year old trees. I still wish they had found a way to add Star Wars Land to DCA, or to a "third gate" in Anaheim.

Stefano said...

TokyoMagic!, your collection is spectacular--Disney needs you as their archivist, in the Dave Smith tradition as someone who cares.

I didn't heed "Star Wars" when it opened that May 25th, it was the Space Mountain premiere at Disneyland two days later that grabbed my attention, and now film and ride are linked in the imagination. By the next week the buzz for both entertainments had started at my Jr. High, and that was before the internet and cell phones, kids! Incidentally, in 2022 we are sharing the same calendar as 1977, the days and dates coincide. Ditto for 1983, when "Return of the Jedi" and the New Fantasyland both debuted on Wednesday May 25th.

I saw "Star Wars" that summer at the now demolished Plitt Theatre in Century City; though that venue is missed, "SW" will play this May 31st at the new 1,000 seat theatre of the Academy Museum on Wilshire, a spherical structure some have likened to the Death Star.

Love those TV Guide listings; detailed descriptions of series decades old by then, as in I Love Lucy: "The girls are going to appear on tv--but in the same dress".

I wonder if today's kids think "Star Wars" is old, the way movies from 1932 would have seemed old to most kids in 1977 (though not this kid). Smasheroo that it was, I'll bet that not even George Lucas could have conceived of its wide-ranging impact. He thought the film would earn some 14 million worldwide, about the usual Disney film gross, and that profits would ensue only from merchandising. For all the excitement of that summer, we probably wish that Wookie World had not set down in Disneyland, where it is simply out of scale with the rest of the park, and thematically intrusive too... a whole land devoted to war.

Looking forward to more of your collection, and think I'll mark May 25th by watching that 2 on the Town segment of the New Fantasyland opening, which you got to enjoy in person.

TokyoMagic! said...

Stefano, thanks! I think I would have enjoyed being an archivist. I probably should have looked into that as a potential major, in college.

I didn't see Star Wars on the day it opened, but I know I saw it sometime before riding Space Mountain for the first time, which was in July of '77. I saw Star Wars at the Mann's Twin Theater, in the parking lot of Los Cerritos Center (mall), in Cerritos, CA. Those theaters have since been torn down, but the mall is still standing. I saw Star Wars for the second time, at the La Mirada Mall, in La Mirada, CA. Those theaters have also been torn down, along with the mall itself. I guess that's what they call progress.

I haven't been to the new Academy Museum, but I watched the "Opening Special" that was shown on TV. The theater does look a little "Death Star-ish." I think it's nice that a museum like this finally exists.

That is a good question, about how the kids of today view the original "Star Wars." When I was a kid, I was aware of certain movies being "older," but it wasn't going to affect whether or not I watched them.

I'm glad that you mentioned that "2 On The Town" episode. I have to go back and do some tweaking to the settings on that video. I've noticed that it, and some other videos I have linked to in the past, are showing up as "Unavailable Video," and "Private Video." YouTube did send me an email about why that was going to happen to some of my videos and what I needed to do to change them back, but I still haven't done it yet. You've just reminded me that I still need to do that....thanks!