Joy is an energy field created by small plastic things. It surrounds us and penetrates us, it binds the galaxy together.

I never pass up an opportunity to quote Star Wars, or paraphrase it to my own ends. Bwahaha. So, it’s Saturday, and that means the big TOY SHOW is tomorrow! I’ll be taking a camera with me so come monday I’ll have some sweet pictures of the event for all of you. Now then, on to our Toy Show Eve issue:

Star Wars is the greatest toy Line of all time.

Star Wars changed everything“. People throw that proclamation around a lot without truly realizing that when they say “everything” they really mean “EVERYTHING“. You see, most people just assume that said proclamation is referring to movies. No no, it’s so much more far reaching that that. Star Wars changed television, radio, publishing, marketing, clothing, music, art, and attitudes.

I’d love to write a big long article about the wide ranging impact that Star Wars had, but that would lose our focus. So, back on track: Toys. Before Star Wars, licensed toy properties weren’t big business. In fact, it was common knowledge in the industry that such licenses generally weren’t worth the effort. Such being the case, 20th Century Fox was more than happy to pay George Lucas a considerably smaller fee for Star Wars in exchange for all the rights to the series. Who knew? Well… George apparently.

The popularity of Star Wars toys can be traced to a couple of key features. First there was the incredible popularity of the movie, no brainer there. Second, there was the scale. Up until this point, the majority of figural toy lines had been in “doll” format, that is to say, about 12 inches tall. This made them a little hard to handle and limited your play options. At 12 inches tall, vehicles had to be huge after all. Star Wars went with the much more kid friendly scale of 3 and 3/4″ which would become an industry standard for many years. This size not only allowed Kenner to offer these figures at a considerably cheaper price than their giant counterparts, but it meant that a whole galaxy of play sized vehicles and playsets was totally feasible.

The Star Wars toy line also had another big advantage. The depth of the Star Wars galaxy. There were so many background characters and aliens that Kenner never had to face the problems inherent to other such lines in the past. After all, there are only so many characters in, say, Planet of the Apes, and the background characters there are all identical, leaving you with very few options for expanding the line.

Star Wars is probably the single most successful toy line of all time, and that’s no fluke. Since the Big Bang back in 1977, the Star Wars universe has been expanding. Even today, some 31 years later, the saga continues to grow, spawning new toys in the process. Will it ever end? I don’t know, maybe someday… But I sure hope not.

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~ by Pagz on April 19, 2008.

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