Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Early Bird Certificate Package (SW 1977-78)




One of the most brilliant things that George Lucas ever did was to waive certain director payments to him from the first Star Wars film in order to secure the licensing rights to Star Wars for himself. Whether he thought “What the hell?” or what, he is now a very, very, very rich man because of that decision. Kenner, likewise, had a decision to make when they got the toy manufacturing rights to the Star Wars films – what to make? Well, the only things they could get out in time for Christmas 1977 were some Star Wars board games and puzzles (everyone and their mother had one of those puzzles). They couldn’t get the figures out in time, but what they could get out was an empty box. Yes, an empty box.

That empty box was known as the Early Bird Certificate Package. Okay, it wasn’t really empty, but it had no figures. What it had was a certificate to send away for four figures (Luke, Leia, Chewbacca, and R2), a display stand (which you couldn’t really use until the figures came), a Star Wars Club membership card, and stickers.

The certificate insured that you would get the four figures, but they came after Christmas, in the first few months of the new year. The first sets included Luke with a double telescoping lightsaber, and Chewbacca’s bowcaster had a greenish hue. The mail-away came with all their accessories and feet pegs so they could stand on the display. There was a recent *kind of* reissue of the Early Bird package that was a Wal-Mart exclusive. The packaging was identical, but the figures are the new editions and much more detailed and realistic.

Why should you get this set? Five reasons:

1. It was the first time you could get any Star Wars figures.

2. In hindsight, this is now worth a lot of money. How much? Well, never mind – you couldn’t afford it. Check Ebay if you’re interested.

3. Stickers! Who doesn’t like stickers?

4. A membership card! Finally, you belong!

5. The ultimate Kenner Star Wars collector’s item. If you think you have everything but don’t have this, you…have…nothing!

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