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...

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Starlog #14 - June 1978

I know I've done a lot of magazines lately, but there's just so damn many of them from this era and they really give a glimpse into the times which is why I love them. Issue #14 of the cracking sci-fi magazine 'Starlog' featured another Star Wars article as its cover story; this time the work of matte painter P. S. Ellenshaw. The issue also included info on upcoming sci-fi flicks like Superman (1978) Star Trek The Motion Picture (1979) as well as TV series like Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles and 'Galactica' (Battlestar Galactica).  

Another Star Wars related article was this one calling for readers to vote which sci-fi movie soundtracks they wanted to be released. It's interesting to see how influential the 2-record release of John Williams' score was on the release of film music records. These days just about every film gets a soundtrack release but before Star Wars the availability of sci-fi movies in particular seemed very limited. 

In the days before home video, ads like this one for 'Reel Images' offered an exciting opportunity...

Star Wars items filled the pages of these Starlog magazines which makes them particularly collectible.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Star Wars Animated Awesomeness

Once in a while I like to showcase something that may not have anything to do with collecting but everything to do with why I love classic Star Wars. And fans of old school Star Wars need to see this.

This 2min animation by somebody called Otaking77077 has popped up on Youtube and AICN among other places and is utterly fantastic. I don't know if this is part of some bigger plan but the general consensus is that fans would much rather see more of this sort of thing rather than yet more seasons of Clone Wars.   

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Pizzazz #1 (October 1977)

One of my favorite things to collect is issues of Pizzazz magazine. I only have two but I love this little window into pop culture of the late 70s. Published by Marvel, the magazine was aimed at younger readers and every issue has some sort of Star Wars content, be it articles or advertisements. It also ran a monthly Star Wars comic strip wholly separate from Marvel's regular Star Wars comic books. 

Focusing on the droids of Star Wars, Pizzazz's first article hints at a sequel and the bombardment of merchandise which was only just beginning by October 1977. 

Pizzazz regularly did daft stuff like the above. Still, it reminds us which celebrities were the most talked about at the time. 

The first installment of the comic strip series is pretty ho-hum for anybody familiar with Marvel's regular Star Wars run and it could have been the beginning of just about any of the several story arcs in the comic books. But it could go anywhere and I'm intrigued to see how it will unfold as this story is totally new to me. 

This advertisement reminded me of those special edition anthologies of the comic books which I'll also need to track down at some point. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Luke Skywalker's Activity Book

Another cute little entry in this series of things to do and make. 

The model instructions are by far the most impressive things about these books. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Topps Trading Cards Pack: Series 2

I only have one more of these packs to collect (series 1) before I have a full set, so I need to get on to that pronto. Meanwhile, here is series 2 which contained cards with the red borders.

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Novelization: Book Club Edition

Nowadays, when a book is published, the hardcover edition usually comes first and then the paperback. But back in 1976, the Star Wars novelization (by Alan Dean Foster but accredited to George Lucas) first appeared in paper back. Then, came the hardback version with the gold border but before that, the Science Fiction Book Club put out a version for it's members with different artwork and, according to the excellent A Universe of Star Wars Collectables by Stuart W. Wells III, is the earliest hardback edition of the book.  

As with other editions, the book comes with plenty of full color stills from the movie. I also enjoyed the blurb from the inside flaps, especially the bit about 'Chewbacca the Pirate and his human companion Han Solo'!

Also, check out that old school 'W' in the logo on the back cover! 

Friday, July 6, 2012

Topps Trading Cards Pack: Series 4

Series 4 seems to be the only series that had borders that matched the pack colours (green). 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Star Warp Magazine - April 1978

This is issue #1 of a cheap sci-fi magazine that lasted 7 issues. The '6 Gigantic Star Wars Posters' emblazoned on the cover is a bit cheeky as the so-called posters are merely black and white full page illustrations and seem to be part of a promotion for a 'Star Wars Portfolio' by artist Clifford Bird which can be sent away for.  

The rest of the magazine is a pretty good read with info on upcoming sci-fi flicks like Superman (1979) De Palma's Carrie follow-up The Fury (1978) and the Invasion of the Body Snatchers remake (1978). In an interesting parallel to the present cries of 'Hollywood has run out of ideas!' the writer calls for more originality in sci-fi films even to the point of dismissing the inevitable Star Wars sequels as mere cash-ins. I suppose back then the idea of a sequel matching its original in terms of quality was unheard of and nobody could have predicted just how good The Empire Strikes Back was really going to be.   

Elvis Presley died less than a year before this issue's publication and pages such as the one below make greasnapshots of the time period.  

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Topps Trading Cards Pack: Series 3

Series 3 came with the yellow borders as shown below.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Happy Birthday Star Wars! + Burger King and Burger Chef Commercials

Well, it's been 35 years and we can all feel a little old today. May 25th, 1977 was the date that changed cinema. It never fails to amaze me how old my all time favorite movie really is. And it's a little frightening to be honest. To celebrate, here's a couple of fast food commercials from way back then...

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Starlog Magazine - December 1978

I've only just picked up an issue of this Sci-fi fan favorite magazine and can only say that it's brilliant! The quality is top notch in comparison with the slew of cheaper magazines put out at this time. As well as covering the upcoming Star Wars sequel, issue #18 of Starlog also has a feature on Battlestar Galactica which I also like mainly as it stylistically borrowed so much from Lucas (probably down to Dykstra's involvement). There's also an update on the Star Trek motion picture which was in development at the time and several articles on monsters and make-up that one might expect to find in Famous Monsters of Filmland.

The article on 'the continuing adventures of Luke Skywalker' is a very interesting read. I'm surprised that Empire had a name this early on (a good year and a half before the film's release), albeit a working title. Gary Kurtz is really hammering home the point that 'Star Wars II' is actually 'Episode IV' and it's interesting to see the discussions on how confusing this could get for fans in the future. We coped with it Gary! Although he keeps referring to a possible 12 installments... I'm kind of glad they left it at 6!  

 There's a few tasty advertisements in its pages too.