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Star Wars Vintage Toy Line

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The Star Wars Vintage Toy Line was the first Star Wars toy line. Made by Kenner, the line lasted from 1977 to 1985, and millions were sold. The line included toys from all three original trilogy movies and an additional line, The Power of the Force, was also released. The line ended around 1985.

In the Beginning… Edit

The first Star Wars action figure, Luke Skywalker
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The phenomenon began in 1977 with the release of the Early Bird Certificate Package. The story goes that no one thought the movie would do very well (including the cast!). When they were proved wrong, Kenner (who had won the rights to produce the related toys after they were passed up by a company called Mego - who incidentally filed for bankruptcy in 1982) were effectively caught with their pants down. It was the holiday season, and they weren't even close to having anything ready to ship. Their solution: an empty box. In a brilliant move, the chose to sell The Early Bird Set. It was a box containing a coupon which fans could then mail in for four action figures from the movie, due to be shipped in early 1978. Those figures were:

Yes, Christmas morning found many children opening a box that contained an IOU from Santa Claus.

The Early Bird Kit, while highly sought by Star Wars collectors today, was not a major success. It took a hit from the critics who called it an "empty box" campaign, and large numbers of the packages were returned to Kenner by merchants who couldn't sell them.

Yet the movie was a hit, and Kenner finally released it's "first wave" to stores in 1978, containing the four figures above s well as the following:

Slow start or not, Kenner made up for their earlier faux-pas and then some. In 1978 alone Kenner sold more than 42 million figures, raking in a profit of over $100 million dollars.

The next wave, released in 1979, contained:

The Empire Strikes Back Edit

In 1980, the next line of figures came out, just in time for the release of Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. The response for the figures was once again staggering. More vehicles were released for the toy line, as well as figures. Unlike the previous toy line, no 12-inch action figures were released.




Return of the Jedi Edit

The Return of the Jedi wave of the toy line was released in 1983. There was once again an amazing response to the line. However, the popularity of the line started to decline, due to the fact that interest in Star Wars had started to decline greatly in the mid to late 80's.


B-Wing Pilot (71280)
B-Wing Pilot
from Return of the Jedi
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The Power of the Force Edit

Luke Skywalker (in Battle Poncho) (93710)
Luke Skywalker
(In Battle Poncho)
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The Power of the Force line was released in 1985.

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