Plastic Galaxy: The Story of Star Wars Toys (2014) Movie Script

To an eight-year-old kid,
"star wars" was... a drug.
I wanted to be part of the...
that "star wars" universe,
and I really felt
like having the toys
was the way to do it.
If you asked me what other toys
or things I was into
in, say, first
through third grade,
I got nothin'.
past the oceans far below
through the stars
and heaven's glow
take us from this overload
on these rockets
past the oceans far below
through the stars
and heaven's glow
take us from this overload
on these rockets
ah ah ah ah
on these rockets
ah ah ah ah
90% of the toys
I had as a child
were "star wars" related.
So, right from the get-go,
it dominated my interest
more than the other, um,
cartoons and toy lines
that were sort of
vying for the attention
of your average kid
growing up in the early '80s.
These were something
that enabled you
to create a world
and play in there.
There were no toys like that.
There was no toy line
that I can remember.
The universe lent itself
to really fantastic
and interesting and...
and, you know,
kind of crazy stories
with weird characters
and new planets,
and I think that
really just grabbed on
to kids' imagination.
Having one of
the "star wars" action figures
in my... in my hand
was about as close
to having one of
the characters in my room.
You know, having 3po
on my table,
sitting there
with r2-d2 next to him.
In the late '70s
and early '80s,
you weren't gonna see
the movies over and over.
For a lot of kids,
the toys, I think,
became more important
than the movies
because they were gonna
get to play with the toys
nearly every day.
They were gonna get to talk
about the toys nearly every day.
(Booth) You know, if you were
going over to your friends house,
you almost didn't have to ask,
"do I need to bring
my 'star wars' guys?"
You know, you just
showed up with 'em.
Once parents came into a room,
"what are you doing?"
"We're playing 'star wars.'
see, hammerhead, he's from..."
"okay, we'll leave you alone."
The parents would not
bother you for two hours
'cause they knew you were
in another universe.
We were pretty rough with them.
We used to like to build
a lot of different forts
and bases out of, you know,
cardboard boxes and bricks
or whatever else we could find,
um, to play with.
They were sort of the modern,
I guess, you know, army guys.
You know, setting up
the battles.
Pew, pew, pew, pew!
My rewards tended
to be "star wars" related.
A decent report card, my dad
would take me to the store
and let me pick out
a "star wars" figure.
Christmases, birthdays,
there was always
some sort of "star wars" toy.
I think "star wars"
set new ground rules
for what was collectible
and the emergence
of popular culture
as being a major phenomenon,
certainly in the us
and then spreading elsewhere.
(Sharp) This is sort
of a funny story.
In my scrapbook,
I have, uh, this sign.
When I was a teenager,
I sometimes didn't always
lock the door to the house
and would get in trouble.
So, my parents went
on vacation one week,
and I came home,
and I saw this sign
taped to the front door
of the house.
"Dear Mr. burglar,
"the most valuable
property in the house
"is the old 'star wars'
toy collection
"on the 2nd floor.
"Help yourself.
Don't forget the lucite star!"
(Miller) So, these are my original
loose "star wars" figures.
This is most of a set
in the case here.
A lot of these are
from when I was a kid.
The same figures I played with.
Actually, I have
two loose sets.
I always had mine that I kept
and, you know, re-armed
and kind of finished out
as I got more seriously
into collecting.
And then a few years ago,
I got a box in the mail
from my brother.
He actually sent me
a darth vader case
full of his figures
from when he was a kid.
You know, I have one set
to pass down to my older son,
and one set to pass down
to my younger son.
I've since had
a daughter as well,
so now I'll have to work
on a third set.
For collectors that now
collect the stuff today
the connection they had
as a kid plays a big part
in why they collect today.
Every kid around my age
had "star wars" toys.
While there's a finite
number of people
that collect this stuff,
there's a lot of people
that know what it is.
They realize that
this stuff has played
some part in popular culture.
Whether it's just
children's toys
or that it has sort of evolved
into its own hobby,
I think more people are
generally aware of that
than we give credit for.
I don't think our connection
with vintage "star wars" toys
is much different
than if you had
gone to your dad,
you know, 25 years ago
and handed him a stack
of baseball cards
from the '50s or '60s.
The fact that these
particular toys
are tied to something bigger,
I think that's a big part
of where their
staying power comes from.
"Star wars" revolutionized
so many things.
The lived-in universe
that Lucas created,
taking the epic hero
and villain story
and placing that in the context
of another universe
changed film, it changed
the toy industry forever.
You know, if you read books
on the toy industry
they almost always
will have a chapter
that talks about "star wars."
It is a profound change
to the toy industry.
(Fawcett) To the best
of our estimates,
and there are no
solid numbers on this,
kenner sold three quarters
of a billion
action figures.
Just wrap your head
around that.
That's a lot of toys.
There had never been
a successful toy license
based on a movie.
Movies came and went.
Plus, the licensing industry
at that point was fairly new.
(Lopez) There had been some
tie-ins of movies and toys.
So there are examples
of like "planet of the apes"
years after the films came out.
Nobody had really done
a massive toy line
at the release of a film.
You know, I think
somewhere in George's mind,
the feeling of "star wars"
was on the 1930s serials.
And they had been merchandised.
For its time
it was a good success.
And I guess that somewhere
in his mind he thought,
"well, you know, maybe
there's something like that
for "star wars."
Send away for a Luke Skywalker
decoder ring.
(20th century fox theme)
So, lucasfilm and fox,
you know, the sent out
the information
and a solicitation
to all of the major
toy companies in the us.
And that included
mattel and hasbro.
They decided, ah, you know,
by the time we would
get the toys out,
nobody's even gonna
remember this movie.
And so they all passed.
But there was this
second-tier toy company
in Cincinnati
called kenner products.
They were know for making toys
that kind of mimicked
real-world experiences.
So the easy-bake oven
was like a toy oven
that girls could mimic
what their mom's did
with a real oven.
They made a toy
that was like a miniature cow
and you could milk it.
They made a goat that
you could feed things to.
They became associated
with play-doh.
Activity-type toys.
Here we are on kenner street
where the company got its name.
So 1947, when the company
originally got started out,
it was a spinoff of a soap
company, Cincinnati soap.
The soap company,
like any other company,
was looking for a way
to get people to use
more and more of their products
and to differentiate
from somebody else.
And they came up with the idea
for a gun that shot bubbles.
Procter and gamble at
that time was really wanting
to get into consumer
so they bought Cincinnati soap.
And the guys
from Cincinnati soap
called up and said, "well,
what about the bubble gun?"
Did you buy
the rights to that?"
Immediately, "no, no,
no interest in that."
And they said, "well, do you
mind if we run with it?"
And, uh, kenner toys
was on its way.
Colonel Steve Austin,
the six million dollar man,
and the new bionic
transporting repair-station.
Kenner had had a lot of success
with the six million dollar man,
and that started
to get them thinking
about doing other properties.
So I'm sure that's what kenner
saw in "star wars" partially.
And that's probably what, uh,
lucasfilm saw in kenner,
that they had
successfully done this
with the six million
dollar man.
(Boy) Bionic eye, a-okay.
Six million dollar man,
ready for action!
(Swearingen) It came into
the office as a script
and a series of
black and white photographs.
Different locales, there were
different vehicles,
there were different characters
waiting to be turned
into a toy.
Everyone, especially
in the design department
was very intrigued
and very excited
about working on "star wars"
as a property
because it was so different
and revolutionary from what
they'd worked on before.
We were foraging
into new territory,
and a lot of us didn't even know
where we were going with it.
Like, you know, what kind
of toys would we make,
what would sell,
what wouldn't sell.
(Troy) Up until that point in
time, "Star Trek" as a license,
everything was polished.
And almost all science fiction
was done that way.
When it came to "star wars,"
all of a sudden we've had
weathered effects on things.
And I thought that was neat.
And then to put
a brand-new form
under that kind of treatment
and then sell it as a product
would be really, really nice.
(Sansweet) Bernie loomis, who was
then the president of kenner
and became very well known
in the toy business,
said, "I thought it had
a 'toyetic' appeal."
It would make an interesting
line of toys."
And they literally
signed the contract
a month before
the movie came out
in April of 1977.
Bernie loomis called me
into his office,
and he said, um,
"I want you to take your staff
to a movie this weekend."
And I said,
"Bernie, it's, uh...
It's a holiday weekend."
And he says, "so what?"
"We just bought
the rights to this movie.
I want your staff to see this."
He didn't tell me
anything about the movie.
He didn't tell me what the name
of the movie was.
At least
they paid for the tickets.
They took the whole department,
all of the development
people over,
they rented a movie theatre,
and we all hauled in
cameras in there
so we could
take pictures of the screens
looking for all the elements
in that movie
that we could create into toys.
(Narrator) ...and George Lucas
bring you an adventure...
Everybody was just blown away
at the number of machines
and all the fighters
and the robots.
(R2-d2 bleeping)
Everybody that walked out
realized that we had
something here
that was incredible.
Not a product line,
it was probably a phenomenon
about to occur.
They went into it
thinking the movie
would be out there for,
you know, a decent
period of time.
And their original
product plan was,
"okay, well,
in the first year we'll have
"one or two board games,
you know, maybe some puzzles.
"In the second year
we'll have a vehicle.
And then maybe some figures."
But they weren't
("Star wars" theme)
(Lopez) "Star wars"
came out in may, 1977.
By mid-late summer, it was just
this amazing
blockbuster success.
(Sansweet) Everything
was about "star wars."
Everybody wanted
to know about "star wars."
The marketing and merchandising
plant at kenner
changed overnight.
How much can we have
and how fast can we have it?
You had to have something
by Christmas of 1977
or you're dead.
It's may, we need
product out for Christmas,
which means you have to have it
in the store by August.
I realized that there wasn't
enough time to make this work.
So, I was in a meeting,
I mentioned,
"what if we sell the right
to buy the product
when it becomes available?"
(Announcer) R2-d2, Chewbacca,
Luke, and princess Leia,
they're the "star wars"
early-bird set of figures.
These action figures
are not yet available,
but this "star wars" early-bird
certificate package
is in stores with this colorful
"star wars" picture
display stand
and certificate to send in
to get a set
of figures by mail.
They'll be sent to you at home
between February 1st
and June 1st.
The "star wars" early-bird
certificate package.
New from kenner.
So, this is what you'd see,
probably on a counter
advertising the early-bird
certificate package.
And if you were a lucky kid,
the parent would
pull out an envelope
and buy it for you
for Christmas.
This is the display
stand portion
of what would be inside
of the early-bird envelope.
It was just a cool-looking
piece of cardboard
until you got the figures
to put the on there.
And you can see
I put the figures on there.
That's how it would look once
you got them in the stores.
It sounds really lame today.
You hear it and you go,
"well, oh, my God,
you just gave these kids,
like, a slab of cardboard."
People pretty much
shook their head, going,
"how are they gonna do that?
How are you gonna
pull that off?"
Well, this was kind of
up there with the pet rock.
You know, where, what...
I'm... I'm spending
this much money
for an empty box.
This needed to sell
this to lucasfilm
and 20th century fox.
So what they did
is they created prototypes
of what the kids
would get in this package
and presented it
to George Lucas.
All the different people
who were in the meeting
filled them out
and gave them back to kenner
so they could get the toys
when they came out.
I hadn't been there that long.
And this was...
My idea.
And even though
it might have been embraced
by some of the top people,
it didn't necessarily mean
that they were going to
embrace it
if it didn't work.
It sounds like,
wow, they pulled
this amazing con game on kids
in Christmas, 1977.
But it was actually
a very successful campaign,
although a lot
of the sets went unsold.
As a kid going through it
at the time,
it was one of my favorite
"star wars" things
I ever bought.
And you had a little catalog
that came with it.
You saw the play set,
you were looking forward...
I actually loved the thing.
(Sansweet) The early fans
had that hunger for it.
And so, when that
hunger was met,
oh, the satisfaction!
The, "I've finally been fed."
And I think that still exists
in the minds of those of us
who grew up with "star wars."
It was that wonderful feeling
that that itch
had been scratched.
Once the "star wars" early-
redemption program was done,
I was walking down the hall,
and Bernie loomis
was walking down the hall
in the opposite direction.
He saw me and he looked at me
and he says, "good."
Behind me
is the kroger building.
This was the headquarters
when kenner toys
was making
the "star wars" license.
In this building, you would
have had the executive offices,
the sculpting
department was here,
and even a foundry to help
make early prototypes.
Even before the license
was signed in April,
the toy team was very busy
doing it's thing
and coming up with concepts
way beyond what could actually
come out in 1977
because of
the lengthy production time.
We had scripts and we guessed
at what we were going to be
the most visible characters
and the most visible
vehicles and sets.
(Swearingen) The first things
we worked on were the figures.
The very first figures
were all kind of carved
out of human figures
that we found.
Like the stormtrooper,
I took those figures
and used, uh, bondo
to start roughing out
the helmet.
I was kind of playing
junior sculptor.
Some of the figures
are a little funky.
Like the tusken raider's
head is all funky lookin'.
The original
death squad commander
looks more like a stormtrooper.
Dave okada, who was head
of the design team
told me, as soon as he knew
that there was really
gonna be a contract,
he and everybody else
was so excited,
he went home,
he raided his sock drawer,
got out some brown socks,
and made a plush jawa.
Here, so you can see here
that this is actually
just a brown sock.
It just shows that at that time
they were probably just doing
whatever they could
to get these products made.
(Jawa chittering)
(Announcer) It's kenner's new
"star wars" action figures.
Each sold separately.
(Boy) I gotcha now, Ben Kenobi!
(Luttrull) When you're the kid with
the box full of "star wars" toys.
You are... I think "hero" might
not be the right word,
but everyone wants
to see the figures.
Maybe not you so much, but they
want to see the figures.
What makes the movie great
is the same thing that makes
the toys great.
There's all
this imagination involved.
There's all these
varied characters.
You have really strange
alien characters,
down-home looking characters,
I mean, there's all this stuff
all built in to it.
(Salvatore) When the figures
finally hit the stores,
there was 12 available.
Luke Skywalker, princess Leia,
darth vader, obviously,
r2-d2, c-3po,
han solo, Chewbacca,
Obi-Wan Kenobi,
death squad commander,
the sand person, and the jawa.
(Jawa chittering)
(Perez) The first time I
saw "star wars" figures
or any other toys in the store,
I don't think my dad understood
exactly what I was
trying to say
because I was basically
just howling and whooping
and making all these noises,
You know, like...
(Grunting excitedly)
He probably thought
I was doing an impression
of one of the sand people.
(Tom berges) My first
figure was Obi-Wan Kenobi.
You know, he had the arm,
and the lightsaber
would pop out.
That was mind-blowing
to a seven-year-old kid.
The first one I got was a jawa
in the cloth cape.
Darth vader or Luke Skywalker?
Darth vader's cooler.
My mom bought me r2-d2,
and that was
my first figure
that I ever had.
Of course, the bullies that
lived around the corner from me
later soaked him in the creek
that was by my house
and he completely got ruined.
They didn't make them to last,
and if you broke them,
all you needed to do
was go to the store
and pick up another one.
I always kind of made Luke
much more of a hero
even than he was in the film.
He was pretty much
the invincible
"star wars" character.
He was, you know,
my favorite character.
This is my original
first-12 figure stand.
Um, not all of these
are my original figures
from my childhood,
several of them are.
I know the r2-d2 is,
which is of course
why he's so beat up.
I believe it was called
an action stand
because it has action levers.
And you can see it's cracked
and the stickers
are coming off,
but I will never
get rid of this
because this
meant so much to me.
There were 12 action figures
and I had them all.
This figure
is sort of important to me.
When I was five
or six years old,
I lost one of my teeth,
and I told my parents
that I hoped
the tooth-fairy would bring me
a "star wars" figure.
And I remember waking up
in the middle of the night
and reaching under my pillow
and sort of felling
the bubble of the carded figure,
trying to figure out which
figure I received.
I probably should
have just pulled it out
from underneath my pillow
and held it up
to the moonlight and saw,
but I was afraid at some
five-year-old level
that the thing would
disappear or turn to dust
if I got an early peek at it.
So, I laid there
all night till the morning
and then pulled it out
and got fx-7.
My most favorite thing to do
with my "star wars"
figures as a kid
was to take han solo
and put him in a cup of water
and put him
in the freezer overnight
because then, the next morning,
you would have han solo
frozen in his block of ice.
And you could play with that
for a while
the room wasn't just a room.
It became the environment
like I saw in the movie.
So I'd pretend
the top of my desk
was the floor
of the death star,
or take one of my mom's
tan blankets,
throw it on the table,
now it's the environment
of Tatooine.
That's when I realized
I need more characters here
because I can't do the rest
of this movie on my own
without more figures around.
So I need jawas,
I need sand people.
(Lopez) Kenner, even
from the very start,
they realized that even though
they may not have had
a lot of screen time,
many of the characters were not
even pivotal to the plot,
they were different,
they were unique.
They knew that kids would
still be interested in it,
and would really have
an affinity for it.
So they made, for example,
the tusken raider character.
They do get some screen time
when they attack Luke
in the film,
but really not a central
character to the story.
(Sharp) I tended to gravitate
toward some of the characters
like walrus man and hammerhead
that really had no part of
the overall story in the movies.
They're just there.
So, I could do things
with those characters
that I thought could have
actually happened
sort of off screen somewhere.
It's possible that hammerhead
could have stolen
the falcon at some point.
(Hammerhead) Yee-haw!
One of the big challenges with
the first "star wars" movie,
and working on
the very first one
was the lack of documentation
for the movie.
They had not
photographed every costume,
the models weren't shot
from every direction.
People that did
the set designs,
we would use their drawings.
We would use some photographs,
and interpolate
into our own turnarounds,
our own side and front
and back views.
The lack of reference material,
or the inadequate reference
material that kenner had
is probably responsible
for some of the...
the more famous, um...
Screw-ups known
in the "star wars" line.
For instance, the original
version of snaggletooth
which was designed for the sears
exclusive cantina play-set
was a large blue figure
with silver go-go boots.
(Dance music)
Lucasfilm decided
they didn't like that.
When the figure actually
appeared in stores,
it was a much shorter
figure in a red outfit
with hairy feet.
All you really saw
in the film was his head.
So, you know, how big he was
was kind of up to conjecture.
(Salvatore) When lucasfilm got
more in the business with kenner
and everything
became integrated,
they would actually send props
out the kenner,
and they had to be
kept in a locked cage.
So you really saw the toys
get better and better
in terms of design
as the line went on.
You can walk through
the history of an item
by looking at the pre-production
stages for that item.
It's kind of neat
to be able to go,
"look, here's
a whole progression
of how this thing was created."
Here we have several prototypes
which reveal quite a bit
of information
into how a figure
was developed at kenner.
First of all, we have
the original wax-sculpting,
and that is the actual
3d art for the figure.
The wax is specially formulated
to hold a lot of fine detail.
Next we have a hard copy,
which is made by taking molds
off the sculpt
and pouring into those molds
a two-part urethane material.
Often, some of those
hard-copy figures
will be painted so that
the designers at kenner
can use them in photography
or to test different
paint schemes
the actual production figures,
which you see an early
example of here,
are made by sending
a hard-copy figure
over to the orient
where they make a tooling master
that's used to cut
the final steel tools
that are made to make thousands
of these things.
One of the challenges
was the lightsaber.
(Lightsaber whooshes)
We were trying to figure out
how do you make
a lightsaber happen
without electronics
because we didn't have
anything that small.
I was a big proponent of a...
of the spring-loaded device
that would allow it to pop out.
Unfortunately, our friends
in the cost department
would not allow us to
spend three cents on a spring,
and it was a more difficult
product to manufacture.
I had the model shop
put a monofilament
down the arm of the figure
and it would come out
through his hand...
through the hand
and curl up
into a nice curlicue.
And ultimately, you know...
that was it.
(Boy) Now I know
the force is with us.
(Salvatore) The regular Luke
had a lightsaber in the arm
that slid out one time.
The earliest versions
had one that slid out
and then telescoped out
a second time.
So the early-bird set
is known for having that
early-bird Luke that has
the double telescoping
These are all four-inch
darth vader prototypes.
What's notable
about a lot of these
are, of course, the double
telescoping sabers.
This particular example
is a prototype stage of that
at the very tip is
what we call the mushroom tip
because it has a small disc.
And the idea was that
it would give the person
that was manipulating
the inner saber,
like, you know,
something to grab onto
to help extend it.
I think kenner really
bottled lightning
with those figure.
It's hard to explain
why these toys
became so important
to so many kids,
but they did.
(Sharp) The card-backs
to me were as neat
as the figures,
even as a child.
Not only did you get
the figure,
but you got
this big color image
of that character in the movie.
That was sort of
part of the toy.
When I was a kid, I don't think
finding a beat up card
would have been
acceptable to me
because you want to rip
through a fresh card.
You want to rip through
a fresh card.
I, nowadays, look for figures
that are in the best condition.
I wanted to be reminded of
actually seeing these figures
for the first time
at the toy store.
This is a early
conceptual sketch,
kind of the rough-out ideas
for the "star wars" packaging.
You see that the top
has the pyramidal logo
which you see in some early
"star wars" products.
It kind of looks
like it's "star wars"
fading into the background.
Some commentary
about the racetrack
piping around the figure,
which did make it's way
into the final product.
You'll see also that there's
a star behind the figure
rather than a rectangle,
a colored rectangle.
as things moved along
in the design process,
it got more
to the traditional look.
The distinctive double
is around the side.
The distinctive logo,
it's not the pyramidal
logo anymore.
Here, it looks though
like they're using
the hildebrandt Luke and Leia
rather than as
a small design element,
as the main card art.
It looks like this is,
like, an idea
for a unified card art
across the whole line.
Whereas the final
figures would have had,
if it was a darth vader
figure, you know,
has a picture of darth vader.
Kenner, unlike
any other toy line,
put at the back of the package
"collect all 77!" Or 65 or 92.
And really no other toy lines,
even though I was into
lots of other toys,
were really like that.
You know, they continued
to build
on the back of those packages
this idea that you could
get 'em all.
You could kind of see
where that would come from.
Like, hey, we have a line here
where you're not gonna want
your favorite character,
you're gonna
want every character.
It was...
It was like egging you on.
The back of the card-back says,
you know, "collect all 92."
It doesn't ask you to,
it tells you to.
You'd get,
kind of, this anxiety
if you don't have them all.
And that stayed with me
all through my childhood
collecting these things,
you know?
I can remember that's
how kids used to keep track.
You'd keep a spare card-back
around your house.
All the action figures
were pictured on the back,
and when you got one,
you'd "x" it off.
I would construct
lists of ones I wanted.
I actually constructed lists
of ones I didn't want.
So, you know, if I sent my dad
to the store for an ig-88,
he better not come home
with, you know, a bespin guard
or lobot or one of
those poor guys.
I remember, you know,
sitting in the toy aisle
with my brother, looking over
the back of the cards,
looking for figures that, um...
Did they have them yet?
"Return of the jedi," they had
a few blacked out, the ewoks.
So you wouldn't know
what they would look like.
And sitting there
and thinking, you know,
what was this about?
And who are these,
and why were they blacked out?
They must be really special.
Um... we didn't know
any better.
Really, people didn't
collect toys back then.
But they were actually
creating this whole culture
of kids trying to collect
all the toys.
The collect-all philosophy
is, I think,
a pretty important idea
behind the early success
of the toys.
Not that they wouldn't
have been successful anyway,
but I think most kids
at that time
definitely remember that whole
um... call to collect
all of these figures.
It is pretty insidious
when you think about it,
but, you know, it was fun...
it was a fun sort of insidious.
Now you can get this new
4-lom action figure free
for five proofs
of purchase from any
"star wars" action figures.
Details on specially
marked packages
at participating stores.
Offer expires...
you know, every year
they'd have a different
mail-away figure, just about.
And you'd have to collect
the proof of purchase from
the back of the blister card.
So you'd have to cut it out.
And you'd need, you know,
five proofs of purchase
or whatever it was to get
admiral akbar
or Anakin Skywalker.
When you went to the toy store,
you could look and see
all the action figures.
You could look
and see all the spaceships.
This wasn't something that
you could buy in a store,
so it was a new
"star wars" thing.
A lot of times they'd
do it as a carrot
to get you about
a new upcoming film,
a new, secret character.
They would try to kind of
keep it mysterious
and keep the mystique
of the new character there.
(Announcer) And now, boba fett,
"star wars" villain,
with his laser rifle.
Boba fett is not yet
available in stores,
but you can get him free
with four proofs
of purchase from any
"star wars" action figures.
Kenner, in late 1978,
began advertising
its first action figure
mail-away offer for boba fett.
And in those illustrations
and photography they showed
for this offer,
boba fett had
a rocket-firing backpack.
When we were kids,
we saw the rocket-firing
boba fett
on the back of the cards,
and we were totally
expecting to get this figure.
And when it came, it wasn't
what we thought it was.
(Lopez) Kenner had looked at
this rocket-firing mechanism,
and found that it was
a huge safety hazard.
They were never
shipped to kids.
But before the toy
went into production,
kenner had made
some prototypes of it.
So, the one on the left
is the...
what they call
the "I-slot version"
of rocket-firing boba fett.
There's a cavity that's
the shape of a backwards "I"
where the slider would go down
and then to the left,
lock in, and then
release a rocket.
Well, the problem
with this thing
was that because it was
this... this I-shape,
it'd be easy to
kind of knock the tab
and have the rocket
accidentally fire.
They then updated this
to the j-slot
rocket-firing boba fett.
And you can see the slot
is the shape of a "j."
And it would hook
around this "j,"
but the little
piece at the bottom
could break off very easily.
There are a few other styles
and differences
that have turned up
over the years.
Not very many, of course,
these are extremely rare,
but those are the major
design considerations they had.
Kids never got this toy.
There are countless
stories of people who remember
getting a rocket-firing
boba fett,
but that never happened.
They were never
shipped to kids.
One day, I come home
and I get off the school bus,
and my friend is waiting there,
and he's holding a landspeeder.
(Angelic choir)
And of course,
I just freak out.
"That's so cool! Wow!
Let me see it! Let me..."
he was there to play with
one of the other kids that day.
Um, up here I have the original,
vintage tie fighter
that I received
when I was six years old.
You know, it has a cockpit,
you can put the figures in.
This is my childhood
millennium falcon
which I received
for Christmas of '81, I think,
or maybe 1980.
And it's a bit worse for wear,
it's fairly beat up, but it's...
this toy, I probably
played with more than anything.
I mean, the millennium falcon's
supposed to be beat up anyway.
Uh, this...
Is my original x-wing.
It has no cockpit,
most of the wings are gone,
there's hardly any
stickers left,
but I will...
Never part with it. (Chuckles)
When you pick up
that kenner x-wing,
and you push down on the r2-d2,
and the wings pop open,
you're in that.
These were a way for me
to feel like I was flying
around in that x-wing.
(Sansweet) Clearly, they
saw this rich universe
of "star wars"
that George had created
with all these environments
and ships,
and understood
that this was a line.
It was not just a few
cloth covered dolls.
Yeah, I think it was cognizant
of the design department
to give the children
a world to play in...
With "star wars,"
as much as Lucas tried
to create one on camera.
I think, you know,
these are some of the...
some of the most playable and
best designed of the toys.
I mean, you know,
you got the rancor,
what's not to like?
A big monster you could play,
you know, on its own.
Had a lot of monster
battles in the backyard
with this particular guy.
The objective, always,
it was the word
that loomis used constantly
in his conversations
with all of us,
is show me the play-value.
What play-value are we
giving these kids?
Every product that became a toy
had to have child involvement
as part of the premise.
So, it wasn't a toy without it.
Otherwise, it was
a collectible.
It was a baseball card.
The ewok play-set was probably
the most fun play-set
that I did
while I was at kenner.
I wanted my model
to look exactly
like the movie set.
They had an artist do a picture
of what the ewok village
would look like.
And they gave that
to one of their...
their, uh, employees,
and he went and took
sticks and stones
and built a hand-made
prototype of the ewok village.
Every lunch break,
I would go out,
wander through the park.
I spent a lot of weekends
just wandering around the woods
looking for the exact,
right stick.
I'd just come
into work with a...
a bucket full of sticks
and bark,
and I just built it.
There was a passion there.
I mean, these guys weren't
just punching the clock.
They really loved
what they did,
and they loved making toys
that kids would get...
have exciting time with.
There came a day
that it was necessary
to come up with a product
that used a talking device
which was supplied
by ozen sound company.
It was used in a lot
of toys previously.
(Doll) Let's play house.
And they wanted to maintain
a relationship with this company
within the "star wars" line.
The "star wars" imperial
troop transporter.
(Laser sounds)
What's that?
It's my troop transporter!
It makes five more sounds too!
(Toy) R2-d2, where are you?
(R2-d2 bleeping)
Some of the ideas
that were bounced
are here.
This was a... sort of
like a mono-wheel.
Not very possible in a toy,
though probably great for film.
And here we have
a boba fett-ish sort of guy
riding a funny-looking
A little further along,
we got to a point where
there was a troop transport
with maybe some guards on it.
The double-pointed version
came about
because I wanted
to have a prisoner
or a droid in the center.
And in this case, we went
to making a black r2-d2
to be the bad droid
that worked
for the imperial guys.
Well, the pointy version
was problematic
for somebody,
aesthetically, at lucasfilm.
They came back with
another sketch,
and Joe johnston did that.
And it turned out to be
the blunt-nosed version
that you saw in production.
Here we are in oakley
at the kenner morgue.
80% of this massive facility
was all kenner.
This is where old kenner
ideas were kept.
This is also where they did
a lot of their photography
for catalogs and other items.
Other things that happened
here were quality control.
A lot of choke hazards
were handled here.
They also had a giant sand-box
that you could throw toys in
to see how they do in the sand.
No, I didn't feel
like I was a rock star
or anybody special
or different,
but it did seem
to go well with people
that you would meet
around town.
They say, "oh, what do you do?"
"Oh, I design 'star wars'
toys for kenner."
"Oh, that must be a cool job!"
"Yes, it is."
I believe that, at that time,
kenner was the place to be
in the toy industry,
not just for designers,
but for marketing people
and upper-management as well.
That's why we
attracted so many people
from other big toy companies
I mean, if you're going
to work on a doll line today,
where are you gonna go?
Barbie. Number one.
Go to the top.
And at that time,
if you wanted to do
really cool vehicles
and space stuff,
"star wars" was it.
I felt like I belonged there
because all of the other people
and characters there
were a little bit
eccentric and strange.
They tended to frame
that environment,
and me in it,
in a comfortable way.
It was like a fraternity
of designers
that were really
honing their skills
and really using
their skills to create
these amazingly
different things.
Kenner was
a very social company.
And a lot of different
people would throw
different social events,
parties, whatever.
This is, um, a brochure
for the after hours.
It was, uh, this one's
second annual kenner employee
art show done at a gallery
in Cincinnati.
These were actual
artists doing real work
for a toy company.
The outdoor adventurers club.
And it shows some of
these guys going out
and hunting and camping
and stuff.
There was, um...
The now infamous
Halloween toy show...
Where everybody was supposed
to come up with
some sort of something
to show as a toy for Halloween.
I had this monkey at home.
(Imitating monkey barking)
I just saw another role
for that monkey.
The flasher monkey.
It was a great toy.
Really great.
Dum-dum dum.
Well, it's a toy company.
You're supposed to have fun.
I mean, that was
pretty much my attitude.
I'm designing the coolest toys
in the universe
and my job's
the best one in the world,
so what's not to like
about that?
One of the things that
I admired about Bernie loomis
is that Bernie had, um,
an understanding that
when you have creative people,
you gotta give them
an outlet for it.
You can't just
tell 'em what to do,
and go design this.
I'm thinking about
one particular idea I had
when I got there.
It was called
an r2-d2 choo-choo.
Taking an r2-d2,
a little three-and-a-quarter
or whatever it was,
bending him over,
and having a removable
head on the next one
and shoving it into
the bottom of that one,
and on and on and on
so that you could have
a choo-choo of r2-d2.
(Train whistle blows)
It died, but nonetheless
it was worth it
for the day or half a day,
or whatever I put into it
to explore it,
because the license was there.
There was money to be made.
When we developed
these individual items,
we would do renderings
and concept images of them.
And then those items would be
taken to marketing,
and if it looked like
a item that would sell well
in the market and all that,
we would go ahead
and develop that.
Every week, there were
design review meetings.
They were very stressful
for the people
who were presenting.
There'd be Bernie loomis,
the president, and probably
four or five other people
from different
departments in marketing
that would be looking
at all the products
being presented.
And there'd be
multiple presenters.
So this is an example
of one of the ideas
that I submitted.
It's about four...
three-foot long,
and it was a blow-molded chair
that little kids could sit in.
It had a little projector box
inside of it
that could scroll through
some "star wars" images.
And then it had
a light on the front of it
so that you could project
images on the wall
and then shoot at
those images on the wall
with the little...
little led laser light.
They were close to
picking this up,
but it required a very
large tool and blow-molding.
I still think it was
a great idea,
but it didn't make it.
Bernie was a very hard critic.
He would chew you out
if he didn't like what you did
in front of everybody.
Or he would say, "I think
that's a good idea."
You know,
"carry my golf clubs."
So they were considering this
for the vehicle line,
first in '83
and then again in '85.
So, you can see it's got
a number of features.
A gun on top here that turns,
there's a... An escape pod...
That would eject,
and the canopy
that opens and closes.
Okay, so this is a folder
of some concept designs.
These are all dated 1979.
So, the interesting on here
is a little module
you'd put onto
your bike handlebars,
and another little one
that had...
go over near the handle
that you could punch a button
and make a laser sound,
or and ignition sound
of your bike, and a little
targeting computer screen
here, we've got
a darth vader pencil sharpener
where you'd put the pencil
in darth vader's nose
to sharpen your pencil.
Here's a r2-d2 telephone.
And here, finally,
is a r2-d2 gumball machine.
If it wasn't in the film...
It was not prohibited,
but it wasn't necessarily
an encouraged thing.
The droid factory came about
I think just from
sketching robots.
And then realizing
that there were no parts
to customize the robots
that were there.
You can see...
These guys.
They all had
a "star wars" aesthetic.
And everybody said, "well,
it's not in the movie."
Well, so what?
I used these sketches
basically as a starting point.
I came up with a tripod droid.
This guy was just a little idiot
walking around
looking like a mouse sort of.
This one was
a roll around quickie.
Tiny droid.
This guy was walking droid
like "silent running"
droids would be
other ones
would have maybe clamps.
Like this one, for instance.
I saw it having maybe
an over-center clamp
where it would just snap on
to whatever you put it around.
And this is another
just roll around thing.
Probably analogous to
this one with wheels.
I was just like drawing droid.
(Announcer) And when you
see the "star wars" movie
at participating theaters,
you get kenner's
cash-refund booklet,
good for refund coupons
from 50 cents
up to two dollars each
on 14 different
"star wars" toys.
Offer expires December...
"Star wars" was really
the first one
to really grasp onto
marketing pop-culture in a toy.
There had been
certainly TV ads for toys,
um, before "star wars,"
but they really took that
and ran with that.
With their television
commercials, I think kenner
was trying to put the idea
into a kid's head
of how exactly
they could play with these toys.
They put across this idea that
if you have these figures,
you can create
a miniature play environment
right in your bedroom,
and it's like the movie.
(Boy) ...he's after the boat.
All troops report to base.
Glider attack, hit the dirt!
(Luttrull) The commercials
would sometimes have scenes
that didn't happen
in the movie.
And I would think,
"hm, I don't remember
that part of the movie..."
(Boy) We'll get you to safety!
"... But, wow, I want to
recreate that part."
You're trying to teach kids
through the ads and through
the showing the playing
that you are part
of this "star wars" universe.
That was a big, big emphasis
at the time.
(Boy) Beep, beep, beep, beep!
(Second boy) It's okay, r2-d2,
I've got my laser pistol.
(Sharp) My dad took me to
see "empire strikes back"
when it hit theaters
in '80 or '81,
and I was five
or six years old.
I was pretty young.
And then immediately after
we saw the film,
he took me down to
kiddy city, the local toy store,
and he bought me my first
couple "star wars" toys.
And I remember
staring up at this wall,
this aisle full of toys.
It just looked like
a Mountain of "star wars" toys.
And my father said, "pick out
and action figure."
And I looked them over
and I picked out darth vader.
(Booth) I was a little
kid, so it just seemed
like this display
was towering over me.
Just this rack
of all the "star wars" figures
on the peg.
What a terrible choice
to have to make!
I've got 12 figures,
I can only get one.
The term that companies
generally use,
or at least kenner used
for setting up, like,
its toy aisle
in a coordinated way
was a "plan-o-gram."
Catalogs or brochures
that they sent to retailers
that told them this is they way
it's supposed to look.
Hopefully it actually looked
that way when they set it up,
but who knows if it really did?
(Cash register dings)
These shelves here
show some of the, uh,
"star wars" kenner
marketing campaigns,
stuff that they would have
sent to toy stores
to help push the line
and help decorate the aisles
that the toys were
displayed in.
That big "toy center" sign
is basically
what kenner would have used,
I believe, in about '79
to kind of brand a whole aisle.
I mean, that was kind of
their signature gondola display.
These here are shelf talkers.
And this would have just
gone over a shelf
to mask the front of the shelf
and kind of give it a different
"star wars" flavor.
Okay, what we have here is
a popai outstanding
merchandising achievement award
that kenner received in 1978
for their "star wars"
floor display.
A temporary, free-standing
display of action figures
with a bell sign
on top that said
"'star wars' action figures,"
and and had pictures of all 12.
And they kind of
did that throughout their line.
They had all kinds of different
merchandising kits
that you could buy that were
specific to "star wars,"
and made "star wars"
stand out in the toy aisle.
Roy frankenfield,
to my knowledge,
was the first
"star wars" photographer
because he'd been doing it
from the very beginning.
I took over for him
in 1981, basically doing...
Almost all of the shooting
of "star wars,"
if not all of it,
and never looked back.
How many people
get paid to go to work
and play with toys
and have fun?
(Camera shutter clicking)
I like having
the boxes with the toys
because that was what people
saw on the shelf.
I really love the way they did
the racetrack around the side
and the logo.
And then they always
used big, primary colors,
and they show the picture
of the actual toy.
(Sharp) It had, you know, started
off as a point of sale item.
It wasn't intended to be art.
I think it has become art,
the design of the box,
how each box
sort of has its own color,
how the toys are sort of
arranged on the box
I think has become,
in and of itself,
a piece of pop art.
Early stuff is attractive to me
because it more of
a retro look.
To me, these really
look '70s, you know?
You have this kid
in the bell-bottoms
and the pink shirt here...
I don't even know
if that's a girl
or a boy, but whoever it is,
the early "star wars" stuff
has a real flavor to it
that the later stuff
doesn't, packaging-wise.
I really like the early...
early photography.
It does have
a totally different feel.
And at that time,
everything was hot light,
minimal diffusion, if at all.
And I'd look at it and go,
"Couldn't we have softened
this down a little bit?
"Couldn't you have reflected
this this way?" You know.
That's why you'll see
a difference later on
when I came in.
Is an 8x10 camera.
It is a...
They called it
a century camera.
That was the name of it.
And... hi, guys.
It's been a long, long time.
I used this one
uh, many times
for doing different...
different "star wars."
If anybody knows greta garbo,
this was probably
an old camera at that time.
It's always the toy, you know,
sitting in a jungle
with four or five characters
around it that aren't
included in that toy,
but it's instantly
creating that,
"look, here's a story
you can create
when... if you buy this toy."
You're selling to kids
more than you are to adults.
The idea of showing a toy
in an action environment
appeals... it makes sense.
I think one of the things
that's really different
about "star wars"
is how international
the phenomenon was
from the beginning.
I think what the merchandising
of "star wars"
all over the world shows us
is that it was really
an international phenomena,
it caught on, and, you know,
to this day
there are collectors
who have, even recently,
started up, and try
to collect stuff
that was made
for their own countries.
There were Barbies
in other countries
there were other toys
in other countries,
but nothing captured everybody's
attentions simultaneously
the way "star wars" toys did.
The most common
foreign variance
that you're gonna see
are most likely the tri-logos.
Now, the tri-logo cards
were actually produced
by palitoy,
which is a uk provider.
You had the logo in English,
you had the French,
and then Spanish.
All of the international
products, they were either
kenner direct subsidiaries
or affiliates of kenner
or they paid a fee,
because the... the...
with the exception
of the lili ledy toys in Mexico,
which were made in Mexico,
all of the toys
were made in
the kenner factories in Asia,
and then they were packaged
in a certain way
and then shipped
to the countries.
This is actually
an Obi-Wan Kenobi
made by French company meccano.
Meccano decided
to completely abandon
the normal sizing of a card
by using a more
perfectly squared card.
For "empire strikes back,"
a Japanese company called popy
picked just 15 of the figures,
used them in kenner baggies,
and then put them
in these cool boxes
as part of
the "world heroes" line.
So it mixed "star wars"
with others.
And you can see
it's just the, you know,
kenner baggie
of the boba fett, and...
oh, wait a second, this is
a rare, missile...
oh, no, no, sorry.
This right here is an original
hand-drawn package
that Italy,
under the brand harbor
sent to kenner in order to get
lucasfilm approval
of the package design.
They wanted to make sure
that lucasfilm
was okay
with the overall design
and layout of the package.
So this is all hand-drawn
and everything.
As you start to go
around the world and see
some of these other pickups,
there are some minor
variations on some figures,
and there are actually some huge
variations on others.
This is the Mexican
lili ledy line.
The Mexican ledy line had
a couple of variations.
The jawa actually has,
instead of a one-piece cloak,
the jawa actually has a hood
that you pull off,
the figure's head sculpt.
This is a Mexican
large-size r2d2,
which is interesting
because it's basically
just kenner's small r2d2 figure
blown up to larger size.
And you can see this is the...
the kenner version
is quite a bit different.
Japan even went so far
as to, you know,
articulate the figures
and build them up
to a larger size,
and use vinyl and,
in some cases, die cast,
which were more culturally
in the mainstream
over there at the time.
So there were some products
that were made
that probably
weren't supposed to be made.
George did not want
the "star wars" label
just slapped on things,
but up in Canada, um,
they put out these
utility belts, you know.
It was like Batman.
And they had the "star wars"
label on a rubber tip dart
and a plastic belt
and a cheesy lightsaber thing.
And as soon as lucasfilm saw
the first production samples,
they said, "uh-uh,"
and they made them
take it off the market.
So, of course, these are among
the rarest Canadian toys.
Unlike movies today,
which open day and date
all around the world,
"star wars" didn't open
in any other countries,
apart from the us and Canada,
until at a minimum
six months later,
and, in the case of Japan,
a year later.
And so there was time
for people to gear up
for the toys and all
of the related phenomenon.
So, unlike the us,
there was stuff available.
Most of which people didn't
find out about until,
you know, 15 or 20 years
after they were produced.
("Star wars" theme playing)
(Announcer) "Star wars."
The impact is staggering.
Never in the history
of motion pictures
has one film been so popular,
but the craze did not
stop at the box office.
In 1977, kenner launched
the "star wars" collection,
with a massive
advertising blitz.
And, thanks to your efforts
and faith in the force,
the response has shot sales
right off the ground.
I think they were totally
unprepared for...
The magnitude of the success,
and how sudden it hit them,
and how rapidly they had to
convert from a sort of
small-time toy company
to one of the major players.
For "empire," they were
a little more prepared.
They had the figures ready
actually even before
the film was out.
But they were still
fairly conservative.
No one had bet
on a sequel before.
People were like,
"well, I'm not sure about this."
(Announcer) The force is back.
The rebels won't tire till
they see the last of the empire.
And kenner's there
with star wars
"return of the jedi"
(Lopez) Return of the
jedi, they were ready.
They had a massive lineup
of action figures.
Lots of vehicles,
lots of toys planned.
Even if it was a horrible film,
they knew it was gonna
do very well.
But, really, it took them...
it took them even
till about '83
to really get...
build up the momentum,
and no one knew
what they were doing yet.
It was the first time
this had been done.
"Star wars" unfortunately
set off
an unfortunately
chain of dominoes,
where kenner went from this
little, charming toy company
to like this big kind of
entertainment-related company
that had a corporate face to it
and was kind of less...
Fun, I guess.
It became less fun.
"Star wars" had
an enormous impact
on not just the bottom line,
but the culture, per se.
Eight to ten hours a day.
We were asked to come in on
Saturdays for a while
to work on especially
"star wars."
I really lost the first two
years of my kids' growing up,
because I literally spent
most of my time
in my office or with my staff.
I had a cot in my office.
I slept there.
People put holes in the wall.
Broke out in psoriasis.
Tore their phones
out of the wall
and threw them across the room.
I know the managers were
under a lot of pressure,
but they seemed to try to keep
some of that pressure off of us
because, as long as they
saw that we were
doing the creative process
and getting the items done
as quickly as we could,
you know, they just kind of
gave us, uh,
yeah, say, "yeah, go work
on these three fighters."
Get 'em done as quick
as you can."
"That toy's your baby.
You're responsible for it."
But, to me, I really enjoyed
the pressure of it,
just because, you know,
it was the adrenaline.
"Oh, get it done," you know.
And you know
what the schedule was,
and, yeah, of course
everything's in a hurry.
If it wasn't in a hurry,
they wouldn't have you there
to do it, so...
Trying to keep "star wars" alive
past 1985 was just...
Not happening.
Lucasfilm was smart enough
to say,
"you know, guys,
we've had a great run.
"But we think we want
to give it a breather.
We... we... we think there's
not a market out there."
After "return of the jedi,"
when there was no more
for another "star wars" movie,
it's not that I drifted away
from "star wars."
I never stopped being a fan.
But there just wasn't
that ongoing...
there wasn't ongoing things
kind of fueling that fandom.
People thought it was gonna be
three movies and out.
You just had a real feel that
that was there.
There was gonna be a break.
There was a conclusion to it.
Kenner really had
a project ahead of it,
because lucasfilm had indicated
they were not making any more
for the foreseeable future,
and how do you market and sell
a line of "star wars" stuff
without "star wars"
being in theaters?
Um, the movie line moved
from "return of the jedi"
to a line called
power of the force.
Power of the force
was their plan for 1985
to, uh, look beyond
"return of the jedi,"
knowing there were gonna be
no new "star wars" films.
They had wonderful characters
they had chosen,
like han carbonite
or Luke in stormtrooper,
the Tatooine skiff.
They bundled these things
with coins.
There's so many things
in power of the force line
that many collectors view
as kind of the pinnacle
of "star wars" collecting.
Ironically, it was also
the period
of least interest
in "star wars" toys.
Like it literally was
the biggest failure ever
in "star wars"
action figure toys.
The whole generation that
was brought up on those toys
is starting to move into
junior high and high school,
and getting out of toys.
So I just don't
think there was...
there was any...
anything to bring
the next generation
of kids into it.
By about 13, it was
a little ridiculous
for, you know, me
to go into a toy store
and buy figures.
Of course, 20 years later,
(laughing) It didn't matter
what people thought anyway.
By 1985, kenner had killed
the power of the force line.
They still had the "droids
and ewoks" cartoon series.
Those were TV shows
that were running
in a couple of countries,
the United States and Canada.
Eventually, it did
get all over the world.
I think by around early '86,
they even killed off
the "droids and ewoks" lines.
Yeah, I was aware,
after power of the force
sort of fizzled out,
I was aware that there was
no "star wars" product
being made.
I mean, walk into a toy store
in 1986,
and there's no "star wars"
stuff on the shelf.
You know, I don't think you can
sell the public anything
that it doesn't want to buy.
In 1991, hasbro
would buy kenner
and move operations
to elsinore place,
in this building behind me.
It was administrative offices,
it was boys' toys,
as well as some manufacturing
and things in the back.
They would close their
operations here
in the year 2000.
Kenner by the '90s
is the preeminent
action figure company
doing a lot of stuff
for movies,
so I think that's where
hasbro saw the value
in acquiring kenner,
because they would
bolster their gi Joe line
and kind of take over their
action figure operation.
Hasbro looked at it,
and I think...
Honestly saw an amazing
amount of talent
here in Cincinnati.
And if you wanted to get
to that next level,
come to Cincinnati
and get some people.
You know, it really
wasn't until... 1994
when the first really...
Major line of "star wars"
toys came back.
And they were those
execrable bend-ems.
(Gaule) The bend-ems
were a runaway success,
and those were terrible
action figures.
So you could imagine
people thinking like,
"man, if we made actually
good action figures,
this thing
could do really well."
By then, uh, vintage
"star wars" collecting
had come in full force.
People were digging up the old
action figures at toy shows.
Kenner was obviously
aware of this,
that there's this
huge opportunity.
"People are paying a lot
for the old ones.
Why don't we make new ones?"
Hasbro decided to release
new versions
of the classic
"star wars" characters.
The figures were based
off production figures
back in the day.
I remember in my hometown,
the toys-r-us has them
and sold out of them
within like three days.
With the success of... kind of
that "put your toe in the pool,"
uh, they decided to go
full force into the deep end
with "star wars."
These three shelves
are my power of the force ii
And power of the force ii
was the first line
that kenner,
owned by hasbro at the time,
reintroduced in '95,
to bring the figures back.
(Announcer) The power of
the force, from kenner!
The biggest, most realistic
force in the universe!
Only the power of the force
brings you the biggest
heroes and villains
straight from the movies.
Hasbro went on
to make that into
one of the big
action figure lines ever.
You know, "star wars" part two.
Well, once people got over
the excitement
that new "star wars" figures
were out,
they soon began to really, um,
have kind of
a disdain for them.
Because they were so
overly muscular
and did not really resemble
the characters from the film.
A lot of people at the time
called this han solo
"han soloflex,"
because he was...
So overly muscular.
They wanted to do
something different,
and particularly the sculptors,
some of them wanted to be...
artistically create
these different likenesses
that weren't necessarily
the screen likenesses.
They were trying to create
this kind of other look.
Well, I know
a lot of collectors
can't stand them.
I have a special, um,
appreciation for them.
Uh... I just think they're fun.
And I continue
to think they're fun.
And I will always display them.
Now, for its 20th anniversary,
the adventure of a lifetime
returns to the big screen.
The special editions
came out in '97,
which kind of amped it up
to an extra notch.
And that's when I think
it really hit the mainstream,
that "star wars" was...
Um, still a cultural force
or pop cultural force.
As much as the older generation
didn't really care for
the prequels much,
those movies brought in
a whole new generation
of collectors
coming up behind me.
As the head of one of
the smaller toy companies
once said to me,
the "star wars" generation
passed on the gene...
the "star wars" gene...
to the next generation.
And now we're seeing
three generations
of "star wars" fans,
and they all love
the "star wars" toys and stuff.
That's amazing to see.
I think it's gonna last
a long, long time.
(Berges) The compelling
thing about these toys is
the fact that
it can take you back
to that time.
I think that's
the coolest thing about it.
When you had
a "star wars" toy...
There were no limits.
And when you look at them now,
even through older
and different eyes,
it can still trigger
some of those...
those feelings
and that adrenaline.
And... that...
that kind of wonder.
(Lopez) "Star wars" was
not just another toy
you had as a kid.
It changed everything...
it changed film,
it changed toy.
It hit people on a level
that's unparalleled.
(Sharp) I still care
about these toys,
20 years after I started
collecting them,
for the same reasons
that I enjoyed them
in the first place.
I like "star wars."
The sense of nostalgia
that I get from owning these
hasn't diminished at all.
And I still get a thrill
out of them.
(Troy) You know, I knew
it was something popular
and everything else.
But I think when it
came to a point
that, 15 or 20 years later,
some kid found out
that I worked on "star wars,"
that's when it came home.
Certainly "star wars" has had,
uh, you know,
the longevity, uh, and that
it's still being enjoyed
at this point is,
you know, one of the things
that make you feel
really good about...
Your career as a toy designer.
(Beaumont) It... it is
really satisfying to me
to know that I was a part
of something
that had an impact
on a whole generation of...
of children, and they're
still enjoying it today.
My time at kenner,
those four years were
probably the most fun
I had in the toy business.
Looking back, I had such
a great time doing it that
I wouldn't change anything.
Add it all up, you say
to yourself,
"I was there.
"I was a part of that.
It was something
bigger than me."
past the oceans far below
through the stars
and heaven's glow
take control
and take us home
on these rockets
past the oceans far below
through the stars
and heaven's glow
take us from this overload
on these rockets
ah ah ah ah
on these rockets
ah ah ah ah
on these rockets
ah ah ah ah
ah ah ah ah
ah ah ah ah