May the 4th Be With You!

Greetings vintage mates! This is a big hello from a galaxy far, far away, as TVTA emerges from its hiatus to bring you a special Star Wars post and wish you a happy Star Wars Day and May The Fourth Be With You!

It has long been a tradition at TVTA to celebrate the 4th of May (the internationally-recognised Star Wars celebration day, and a play on the expression ‘May The Force Be With You’), and no evil Empire is going to stop me enjoying this year at TVTA, hiatus or not!

Recycling the Force

Alas, I don’t have enough space credits just yet to upgrade my plan to be able to present you with new Star Wars image delights (of which I have a-plenty), but be rest assured there is enough galactic goodness in my archives to help make this day a very special Star Wars Day indeed!

Believing the hype!

My good WP blogging mate and fellow Star Wars fan Julie over at Darkside Creative made an excellent post recently posing the question: How did you become a Star Wars fan?

For me, it all started with the toys before I even saw the first film, namely Kenner and Palitoy 3.75 inch action figures, along with the iconic Landspeeder vehicle and my prized toy back then – a Palitoy Battle-Damaged X-Wing Fighter complete with Luke X-Wing Pilot.

Later came a vintage Japanese Takara Transforming X-Wing Fighter and a 7 inch die cast Darth Vader complete with a Chewbacca bowcaster (was the Dark Lord of the Sith not content with only a lightsaber?).

Later still came an addictive collection of modern-era The Black Series 6 inch figures (of which a separate post will be demanded at some point).

So, as you may have already guessed, this year’s May The Fourth Be With You post is dedicated to Star Wars toys! No sushi. No chirashi. No comic books. Just wonderful vintage and modern toys!

Enjoy, and MTFBWY always!

Walking in a retro wonderland – Kenner toys

Kenner Products was founded in 1946 by three brothers of the Steiner family in Cincinnati, Ohio, US, who named the toy company after the street upon which their original office was located. The first Kenner toys included construction sets, projectors, the Easy-Bake Oven, and Spirograph.

Spirograph. Kenner. US. 1975.

1970s

The early 1970s saw Kenner gain the license for the already popular Play-Doh. Other toy lines such as Chip Away sets, Dusty and Skye dolls, S.S.P. (Super Sonic Power), T.T.P. (Turbo Tower of Power) and Duke the Action Dog became popular Kenner hits throughout the decade.

Kenner SSP Racers. 1971. US.

Duke the Super Action Dog. 1974. US.

Bionic power!

In 1976 Kenner held the license to produce and sell toys for the hugely popular Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman TV shows.

Continue reading

More Fun From Kenner. 1997.

Cover of the 1997 More Fun From Kenner catalogue. US.

Under the ownership of Hasbro, Kenner’s twilight years as a toy company followed its long and distinguished tradition of producing heavyweight-name toys across the spectrum of TV, film and comics: Batman, Superman, Star Wars, Jurassic Park and others. TVTA is pleased to present a selection of scans from Kenner’s 1997 mini catalogue. Click images to go bigger.

Batman

Superman

The Lost World Jurassic Park

Steel

Star Wars

Transformers Beast Wars

Starting Line Up

Tonka

SSP Super Sonic Power

Magna Crew


Thanks for looking  🙂

SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN / WOMAN

BionicManLogo

She’s breaking up! She’s breaking up!

“Steve Austin, astronaut. A man barely alive. Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the capability to make the world’s first bionic man. Steve Austin will be that man. Better than he was before. Better, stronger, faster!”

… so went the opening lines from the Six Million Dollar man TV series.

Produced by Kenner in the US in 1975, The ‘Colonel Steve Austin’ 13 inch action doll complete with bionic eye and removable bionic modules was based on the popular TV show character starring Lee Majors.

The doll became an instant toy hit around the world. Additional figures were introduced to the line including a popular Jaime Sommers doll – the Bionic Woman (for which a separate TV series was made). Other characters included Oscar Goldman, Maskatron, Fembot, and a Bionic Bigfoot figure. Clothing, accessories and playsets were also available.


French advertising. Meccano

Bionic Man / Woman. France. 1977.


Bionic Man / Woman. Maskatron. Oscar Goldman. Bionic Transport and Repair Station. France. 1977.


Bionic Man / Woman. Maskatron. Oscar Goldman. Bionic Transport and Repair Station. France. 1977.


Six Million Dollar Man. France. 1977.



US advertising. Kenner

US. Kull. 1976.

Bionic Man Mission Control Center. US. 1976.


US. The Twilight Zone. 1976.

Bionic Man vs Maskatron. US. 1976.


US. Richie Rich. 1977.

Bionic Woman Dome House. US. 1977.


Six Million Dollar Man action figure and Bionic Transport and Repair Station. 1976. US.


Comic Books

Bionic woman. Télé Junior advert. France. 1980.


Thanks for looking 🙂

Post updated Aug 2019 with new images.

New ads: X-Men, SGT Rock, Kenner, Bburago, Ponte Car, Bill and Ted, PS2 and Victor

It’s a mixed bunch of ads today from the 1970s to the 1990s spanning the US, UK, Brazil and Italy.


US. Dark Hawk. 1991.

US. Dark Hawk. 1991.


US. Legion of Superheroes. 1983.

US. Legion of Superheroes. 1983.


TTP Turbo Tower of Power. 1974. US.


Italy. Topolino. 1979.

Italy. Topolino. 1979.


Brazil. Peninha. 1987.

Brazil. Peninha. 1987.


US. Dark Hawk. 1991.

US. Dark Hawk. 1991.


US. Crimson Dawn. 1997.

US. Crimson Dawn. 1997.


UK. Victor. 1975.

UK. Victor. 1975.


 

What the heck is that? SSP: Super Sonic Power from Kenner!

Toy giant Kenner produced many great toys over the years, such as the Bionic Man and Woman, Star Wars, Duke the Super Action Dog, and the Daddy Saddle

Yet, none of these prepared me for the greatness which awaited when I finally came across these 1970s ads for Kenner’s gyro-powered Super Sonic Power (SSP) line, featuring the Rockin’ Rick Stunt Cycle Show and the Herk Action Stunt Set.

Oh boy!

“What the heck is that?”

US. The Unexpected. 1972.

US. The Unexpected. 1972.

It’s Rockin’ Rick! He’s a posable wild rider!

US. The Twilight Zone. 1976.

US. The Twilight Zone. 1976.

Vantastic Vader!

Kenner didn’t miss a trick by linking their Star Wars license with their SSP line, plus the craze for customised vans – by proudicing the fantastic SSP Star Wars Van Set…

Star Wars SSP van set. 1978. US.


SSP Racers

Kenner’s SSP as seen in the early 1970s!

Kenner SSP Racers. Weird War Tales N°1. 1971.

SSP Racers. Weird War Tales N°1. 1971. Detail.


SSP in 1997, the SSP Pro Series

SSP. More Fun From Kenner catalogue. 1997. US.


See also: Kenner’s TTP Turbo Tower of Power toyline

Thanks for looking 🙂

M.A.S.K. Illusion Is The Ultimate Weapon

M.A.S.K. is a Japanese animated TV series featuring transforming vehicles, super-powered helmets and masks. M.A.S.K. stands for “Mobile Armored Strike Command” a special task force pitted against the criminal organisation V.E.N.O.M.
The original series focused on the characters and vehicles from the popular Kenner toyline. M.A.S.K. also had many derivative products such as video games and comics.


France. Pif gadget 896. 1986.

France. Pif gadget 896. 1986.


France. Pif gadget 896. 1986.

France. Pif gadget 896. 1986.


USA. Marvel. The New Mutants. 1985.

USA. Marvel. The New Mutants. 1985.


UK. 2000 AD. 1987.


Jabba the Hutt, Luke and Han in chains and may the Ffftthhh be with you!

Look carefully at the advert below featuring the Jabba the Hutt play-set… in the absence of a slave Leia figure (often cited by collectors as a figure they would like to have seen produced back in the day) Parker decided to employ a Han Solo (small head) figure to be chained up by Jabba.

Germany. Fix Und Foxi N° 37. 1984. Kenner didn't make a 'Slave Leia' figure so Parker decided it would be fun for Jabba to chain up Han Solo!

Germany. Fix Und Foxi N° 37. 1984. Kenner didn’t make a ‘Slave Leia’ figure so Parker decided it would be fun for Jabba to chain up Han Solo! Dance, Han, dance! He doesn’t look too impressed does he?

 

The following year, no longer content with grumpy old smuggler Han, Parker designed a new advert showing Jabba with a Luke Jedi figure now in chains! Palace denizens such as Bib Fortuna and a couple of Gammy guards look on as C-3PO makes a sporting attempt of showing Luke some dance moves. Luke, like Han before him, seems most unimpressed. Jabba… well he just keeps chugging on that old hookah.

Germany. Star Wars N° 2. 1985. This time it's Luke's turn to be chained up by Jabba!

Germany. Star Wars N° 2. 1985. This time it’s Luke’s turn to be chained up by Jabba! C-3PO tells master Luke to try the mash-potato!

I’m curious to know if Parker ever set up a scene with the Leia Boushh figure in chains. That would have made a bit more sense in the grand scheme. But I quite like seeing the ‘wrongness’ of Han and Luke in chains. Obviously Parker were very keen to show off the ‘slave’ features of the excellent Jabba the Hutt play-set… little realising it would cause a bit of a giggle in later years.

Something else I like about these Parker ads is the clever use of graphics. The ‘Swaaawaa’ sound effects in the title emulates an utterance Jabba might well make. The font design aims to represent -deliciously – the ugliness and gooeyness of Jabba.

star wars Swaaawa Jabba logo

These cool design touches can be seen again in other Parker ads like the ‘Ffftthhh’ sound for the X-Wing Fighter and the ‘Ssssccch’ sound for the Speeder Bike. Note also: the figure in the cockpit is not Luke X-Wing Pilot but a B-Wing pilot! Thanks to Bonsai_Tree_Ent for pointing that out!

Germany. Star Wars N° 2. 1985. Sound effects courtesy of Parker!

Germany. Star Wars N° 2. 1985. Sound effects courtesy of Parker!

 

Germany. Star Wars N° 1. 1985. Is the 'Ssssccch' sound being made by the Speeder Bike or cleverly hidden Ewoks about to spring a surprise?

Germany. Star Wars N° 1. 1985. Is the ‘Ssssccch’ sound being made by the Speeder Bike? Or cleverly-hidden Ewoks about to spring a surprise?