Cornfield Meet

Things collide here.

Plastic Galaxy: The Story of Star Wars Toys

PlasticGalaxy

I’ve said before how excited I am to have played a small part in this project, so when the finished DVD of Plastic Galaxy: The Story of Star Wars Toys landed in my mailbox last week, it was a little like the day I got my Bossk.

Here’s the elevator pitch from the DVD web site:

Like no toys before them, Star Wars toys were a phenomenon that swept the nation, transforming both the toy and movie industries, and ultimately creating a hobby that, 30 years later, still holds sway over its fans.

Plastic Galaxy is a documentary that explores the groundbreaking and breathtaking world of Star Wars toys. Through interviews with former Kenner employees, experts, authors, and collectors, it looks at the toys’ history, their influence, and the fond and fervent feelings they elicit today.

I may not be the most impartial reviewer, of course, but think the movie turned out well. It’s a nice balance of nostalgia trip, toy merchandising history lesson, eye-popping show-and-tell, and behind-the-scenes storytelling. There’s some fun animation work throughout, too.

Several nifty people I’ve met and/or know from fan circles are also in the movie, like Jim Swearingen, and a couple OSWCC and KennerCollector.com friends, and Steve Sansweet, who wrote what’s still one of my all-time favorite Star Wars books, “From Concept to Screen to Collectible.” (A book, which, it should be noted, also inspired Plastic Galaxy. It’s still a good read 20+ years after its publication. Most of what has become common knowledge about the Kenner/Star Wars backstory was unearthed by Sansweet first.)

It’s probably not too much of a stretch to say that if you remember the Kenner brand or coveted the neighbor kid’s Landspeeder or grew up in the twin-sun shadow of the original Star Wars, then Plastic Galaxy is probably in your wheelhouse. You can order it from Brian and Karl’s Futurious Industries.

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February 2, 2014 Posted by | 1970s, 1980s, eighties, Film, geek | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

When Kenner Ruled the Earth

A couple of my OSWCC friends, Dan Flarida and John Wooten, have been posting some very cool stuff on their KennerCollector website lately – and I have the feeling the nostalgia is just beginning.

Their posts inspired me to dig up some photos from the 2005 OSWCC Summer Social, when original Star Wars Kenner toy designer Jim Swearingen came to visit with a sail-barge load of late ’70s and early ’80s Kenner photos and artwork:

(Want a slightly closer look at the Boba Fett art & R2-D2 blueprints? Here.)

Jim was really patient with all the questions he fielded that day, and it was awfully fun just to sit and listen to him talk matter-of-factly about things like going to California to meet with George Lucas and see the Boba Fett costume in person in order to design the action figure. In the picture below, there’s a reference photo of that costume with George standing next to it, top center. (Here’s a little closer view of the pile of stuff, including that Lucas photo.)

Click the photo for larger versions.

The third photo I have of Jim –

Click for larger versions.

– includes one of the neatest file photos I think he brought. It’s there at the far right, in a binder, and it was a photo of some kind of mock-up, I think, to display Kenner’s first 12 Star Wars figures. Cropped and lightened and flipped, here’s the best close-up I can manage:

Man, I just think things like that are So. Freaking. Neat.

I only have the three photos, but they’re here in my Old-school Star Wars Flickr set, along with their larger original versions and the close-ups.

February 5, 2011 Posted by | 1980s, eighties, Film, geek, Ohio, science fiction | , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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