We’ll begin with the first line of toys from Kenner. This was their big break when they received the contract to produce action figures, instead of MEGO, which was the big toy maker in the 1970’s. MEGO refused the offer of a toy contract in 1976 before Star Wars (A New Hope) was released. If only MEGO could see into the future, they would change their mind pretty darn quickly because Star Wars was a massive hit.
Traditionally, a Star Wars figure is 3 3/4 inches, but there are no arm or leg joints to bend…There is no hip swivel either.
Still, these action figures sold like hot cakes. Kid’s wanted to re-create the scenes in the movies, and the toy makers knew they had to come out with vehicles too. Because it was so close to Christmas in 1976, and Kenner didn’t have any toys produced and ready yet, they decided to release this mail order, Early Bird Certificate Package, which was basically a pre-paid purchase for these toys when they were ready to be released to the public.
Here is a photo of the early bird package:
As you can see, these are 12 drawings, not showing an accurate plastic-looking representation of the action figures. This also came with stickers, and a Star Wars fan club membership card.
Here is a one of the action figures of which sold for around $4.00 U.S. at the time, and now is worth a few thousand dollars inside it’s original package: The card back showed the original “12 figures” plus newest vehicles.
Even J.C. Penney, and Sears were getting into their own licensing and product releases. The Cantina Playset, has a cool cardboard backdrop, and adds an extra 4 figures to the original 12 figure line.
Here is a photo of my very own remote controlled R2-D2, which I still have at home as a Christmas present. The battery operated devices were released to the public in 1977. Of course, I had to compete with my father for playtime with this cool toy. (We still do this today with much bigger toys.)
The sad thing is, I no longer have his remote control. So there is no way I’ll know if he can still move around, swivel, light up, and make sounds.
By 1979, there were up to 21 action figures produced. The card back changed to show 20, or 21 figures in total. Sometimes you could find a Luke Skywalker figure with a different color variation in hair. A Jawa with a vinyl cape, instead of a cloth one may be worth a lot more, because of production shortages.
There were some cool containers for storing action figures, such as the Chewbacca Bandolier Strap. Each container can hold an action figure.
There was the earlier, Darth Vader action figure case, another friend of mine had. I was envious that he had something to hold most of his action figures.
Eventually the Action Figure List got really huge by 1985…
I’m a bit saddened that I didn’t spend more of my paper route money on some of these toys and hide them in a closet for 25 years, but that’s behind me now. Just think… a 1979 Boba Fett in it’s package was actually sold for $27,000!
You can read the article here! Boba Fett Auction
If you want to to go on a treasure hunt for old Palitoy Star Wars action figures, then read this article…
Last, but not Least, the Giant Sized Figures!
Once again, I saw 2 of these giant figures hogging the space of on top of his dresser. These are now, very hard to get collectible figures.
Here is one more poster, which shows the front and back of the Star Wars action figures. Very cool.
The Kenner toy company produced a line of Star Wars action figures based on characters in the original Star Wars movie trilogy. Over 100 unique action figures were produced and sold from 1978 to 1985, during which time over 300 million Star Wars action figures were sold.