TIMELINE: 1978, 1979, 1980, 1982, 1985. TOYS: DC Superhero cars, Golden Girl action figures, Karl May action figures, MOTU merchandise, Die Cast cars, Playmobil figures. MANUFACTURERS: Corgi, Mattel, Siso-Trend, Bburago, Inventive Concepts. COUNTRIES: US, Germany, Netherlands.
My favourite toy line is Star Wars, particularly the vintage era from the late 70s to the early 80s. Back then there was a real buzz for the toys and almost anything else Star Wars-related. This was evident in shops everywhere with their abundantly-packed shelves and wonderful displays. Added to this were exciting TV commercials and a huge range of paper advertisements found in comics, magazines and catalogues. I was lucky enough to have a small collection of toys that included a Landspeeder and most of the first twelve figures. I always thought the Sand Person was the most scary-looking figure – no doubt aided by my childhood memories of that howling Tusken Raider attacking Luke in the first Star Wars film.
My collection grew steadily throughout The Empire Strikes Back series and ended at the beginning of the Return Of The Jed line when by this time I’d outgrown ‘toys’ and had more pressing things on my radar like buying records and going to watch bands – a familiar story to many who grew up with the first wave of Star Wars toys and who became teenagers around 1983.
Looking back, it wasn’t just the toys that made such a big impression on me but all the other merchandise that accompanied them: Star Wars bed-clothes, bubble bath, toothbrushes, tee-shirts, posters, comics, badges, annuals and countless food and drink promotions – enough to keep any kid happy and their parents’ pockets empty.
Some of my favourite adverts can be found in publications like Pif Gadget and Journal de Mickey. Meccano / Miro-Meccano produced some of the most innovative, stylish and irreverant ads, although I’ll always have a special love for Palitoy as this is the license I grew up with. I’m also a fan of the Heroes World adverts that can be found in many US comics.
The following examples are just a small selection from my large collection of international Star Wars ads. Featuring toys, clothing, masks, watches, video games, and a number of food and drink promotions, these ads show us exactly how the Star Wars brand was sold around the world.
Panini (origianlly ‘Figurine Panini’) is famous for producing collectable stickers and trading cards, most notably football stickers from tournaments and leagues around the world. Panini also produce books, comics and magazines. The company was founded in 1961 in Modena, Italy, by brothers Benito and Giuseppe Panini. In 1963 two other Panini brothers, Franco and Umberto, joined the company. As well as football and sports themes, Panini have produced albums, stickers, cards and books for Star Wars, Smurfs, The Black Hole, Disney, Pink Panther, Thunder Cats, Barbie, Masters of the Universe, and many, many others. The company continues to produce to date.
Official website: Panini
Non-football Panini advertising
Thanks for looking 🙂
Stretch Armstrong was a toy figure made of plastic, rubber and gel and was designed to expand from its ‘prone’ pose of around fifteen inches up to a full-stretch of around four or five feet. This popular toy and its derivatives was first released by Kenner in 1976 and licensed around the world by many companies such as Tsukuda (Japan), Lili Ledy (Mexico), Harbert (Italy) and Meccano (France) to name a few. The advert below shows the French Meccano version from 1978 (Elastic Man) and also features Stretch Monster (Elastic Monstre) – one of the many Stretch Armstrong alternative figures.
The next advert is from 1979 and features Elastic Hulk and Spider-Man – two of the ‘Mego Elastic 8’ which also comprised Batman, Superman, Plasticman, Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse and Casper.
For further reading check out this awesome site: Stretch Armstrong World