Star Wars Is 40 Years Old Today…I Think I’m Old Now

Friends, it’s hard to believe Star Wars is 40 years old. I will to admit to having a rather difficult time wrapping my head around that fact. As well as finding that I’m suddenly feeling my age. I also find myself flooded with many Star Wars memories. Having said that I felt I should focus on my first viewing of that groundbreaking film.

After all as Star Wars.Com reminds us. Star Wars is 40 years old today.

Star Wars is 40 years old - Star Wars.Com

Image courtesy of Star Wars.Com

I want to talk about Darth Vader’s appearance in the 1977 film. Moreover how I almost missed it thanks to my Father’s well-intentioned desire to protect his 5-year-old Son.
Star Wars is 40 years old

Of course when Star Wars was released back on May 25th, 1977 we didn’t know what to expect. In fact I don’t believe my Father or myself ever saw a trailer for the film until well after it had exploded in popularity. Moreover when we first saw Star Wars it wasn’t busy, if memory serves me correctly it was barely half-full. I can assure you however that the next week when we went to see the movie it was a whole other story. Lines around the movie theater!
Star Wars is 40 years old - Lines around theaters

Anyway, I am getting off subject. I was already put in a state of total awe with the appearance of the Star Destroyer. But as the rebel soldiers nervously awaited whatever was cutting through doors, a hand rose up and blocked my view. I yanked my Father’s hand down in time to see the Stormtroopers enter the Tantive IV, blasters firing away.
Star Wars is 40 years old - Stormtroopers

When Darth Vader stepped out of the smoke to survey the work of his Stormtroopers. My Father’s hand shot up again in front of my eyes. With all of my five-year-old might I began to slap at his arm, ducking so I could get my first look at Vader. Was I scared? Not in the least but I was definitely in a state of rapture as Vader proved he was dangerous as he was menacing.
Star Wars is 40 years old - Captain Antilles

As we were driving home I couldn’t contain my excitement over Star Wars. I was literally in sensory overload. While I had seen plenty of movies – great ones in fact, nothing had affected me like Star Wars. On the drive home I yammered away on everything about I loved about the movie. Of course I had to ask my Father why he had attempted to cover my eyes. The answer was…interesting.

“I don’t know. I was worried a monster lizard was going to come running out at the screen.”

While I could go on and on about what the film series means to me. As Star Wars is 40 years old today, I can’t think of a better memory to share with you all. Furthermore it is my hope that someday soon the Retroist might present a Star Wars podcast.

Until that day you can certainly enjoy the Star Wars: Droids episode of the podcast!
Retroist Star Wars Droids Podcast

For more fun featuring Darth Vader: It Only Took 37 Years To Put This Darth Vader Model Together!

While Star Wars is 40 years old today, this is a perfect time to remind you about the original Kenner lightsabers.

[Via] Ultimate Toy Collector

Give-A-Show - Boba Fett

1980’s Give-A-Show Featuring The Empire Strikes Back!

May the 4th Be With You, Friends. What better way to celebrate than watching 1980’s The Empire Strikes Back in Give-A-Show form? An abbreviated version of course of the events of the second and darker film of the original trilogy. Kenner’s Give-A-Show projector is something that I’ve longed for in fact for quite a while.

[Via] Toy Tales

Kenner began the Give-A-Show toy line back around 1960. And while it certainly amounts to a flashlight when all is said and done. I would however counter and remind you that it lasted until 1980. As I have been fond of pointing out before on The Retroist I was always interested in film. Or anything as a matter of fact that could simulate the act of presenting a movie or cartoon. Case in point the desire to get my hands on the first Star Wars Give-A-Show projector from 1977.

Read:36 Years Later…I Still Want The Star Wars Projector!

Although with this in mind, I do have to admit to not knowing about the 1980 version. By and large Kenner must have found success with their 1977 fare. As once again they licensed the rights to the 1980 sequel. With this in mind I am saddened to say that there wasn’t a set for 1983’s Return of the Jedi.

While I did mention that the Give-A-Show offering for The Empire Strikes Back was abbreviated. It certainly manages to share some of the more exciting moments of the film as well as fan favorite characters. Case in point 2-1B, the surgical droid who helps heal Luke from his ordeals on the icy planet of Hoth.
Give-A-Show - 2-1B

As well as providing him a new cybernetic hand after the confrontation on Bespin.
Give-A-Show - Darth Vader

Surely you do not think that Kenner would miss showcasing the Imperial All Terrain Armored Transports? Or as I’ve always called them, AT-AT’s, obviously.

Moreover as you have already seen at the top of this post. Boba Fett makes an appearance in the film strips as well. While I may not have known about this set much less owned it. I think we should thank Vintage Sentimental Enthusiast on YouTube for taking the time to upload it for our viewing pleasure. To say nothing of adding the soundtrack cues from the film itself.

All things considered I think Kenner did a pretty good job of briefly telling the story of The Empire Strikes Back. But for those of you that just can’t take the slideshow projector approach, there is always the Super 8 home movie version!

Now that you’ve seen the wonder of the Give-A-Show slide projector. Check out the Easy Show projector with real film!

[Via] RPF16MM

Alien Game

Happy Alien Day! Let’s Play The 1979 Alien Game!

You might remember earlier this year when I shared my discovery of the 1979 Alien Game by Kenner. I was quite surprised to learn of course that a board game had been published for Ridley Scott’s cinematic masterpiece. I would remind you that Alien is certainly a horror movie after all. In addition to the hard R rating the film received and for good reason!

Having said that I will point out that the late seventies and early eighties were a different era. Naturally. So I’m guessing that Kenner was attempting to reach out to those very kids that couldn’t see the movie. They did produce more than a few pieces of merchandising after all, right?

Check out the 1979 “Alien Attack” movie viewer!

Besides a terrifying 18-inch Xenomorph figure and the film viewer, it was the 1979 Alien game that most interested me. As I have written about on more than a few occasions I consider myself a pretty big fan of board games. It so happened that my co-worker at the Arkadia Retrocade saw my post and found a very affordable copy online. She surprised me with it at the arcade one evening and some of us stayed after work to play the Alien Game.

Furthermore I was delighted to learn that the game hadn’t been used before. Chiefly the player pieces for the Xenomorph and Nostromo crew hadn’t even been punched out.
Alien Game

I will admit to a small feeling of regret at having to alter what was pristine for 38 years. On the other hand the Alien Game was naturally meant to be played and enjoyed. At the very least it is now in the hands of those who will appreciate it the most.

As for the rules of the Alien Game, players attempt to get a single member of their crew from the Nostromo to the escape shuttle. All the while attempting to thwart their fellow players with their personal Xenomorph.
Alien Game

After choosing a colored starting area that matches the color of your playing pieces, you must travel clockwise around the board. I chose LV-426 or Acheron as my starting location, which is of course how April 26th was chosen as the date for Alien Day!

The Xenomorph also travels through the corridors of the doomed Nostromo. In addition to being able to pop up across the board by way of using the air shafts dotted across the board. Which I will point out that I used to great effect on one of my co-worker’s astronauts!

Consequently in the next turn she turned around and used it to greater effect on two of my three crew members. I know that Alien famously said that “In space no one can hear you scream“. I can you assure however that everyone could hear my screams of despair at the arcade.

There are a few safe spots for players to park their astronauts where the Xenomorph cannot reach you. Bear in mind that you can do nothing against the Alien itself besides running and hiding. From our few rounds of the Alien Game we found that it is one of the most tense board games we can remember playing.

In any event there can be only one winner in the game. While all of us playing managed to get within reach of the escape shuttle, it was the owner of the game that won. She even added the mental image of waving to us as she blasted off to safety.

I supposed I can take some small amount of comfort with this thought. Perhaps those of us left behind were spared the deadly kiss of the Xenomorph…when the Nostromo exploded. So if you get the opportunity I highly recommend you track down a copy of the Alien Game for yourself. I truly found this to be one of the best designed board games I’ve played in quite some time.

So if you cannot get your hands on the Alien Game why not celebrate Alien Day a simpler way?


Obviously I would suggest you spend it watching Alien or perhaps Aliens? In fact, why not take a moment and listen to Ridley Scott talking about directing the 1979 movie?

[Via] Film4

Bantha Tracks-Sprocket Systems: Distinctive by Design

Back in the 80s, the official Star Wars fan club sent out a quarterly newsletter called Bantha Tracks. This one was unique in the sense that it was a playable record. (Yes, a paper-thin record located inside the magazine.) Sprocket Systems was the Lucasfilm sound department, headed by the famous Ben Burtt, and what we now know as Skywalker Sound. The name was officially changed when their office of operations moved from San Anselmo, Ca. to Skywalker Ranch in Marin County, Ca. in 1987.

This 34th issue is known as the special Soundsheet Edition, and is a very rare and unique look into the sound design dept. of Lucasfilm at the time. This was released in the Autumn of 1986, during a time when Star Wars had already (essentially) fallen off the map. The Kenner toys had since been discontinued, as with the Droids and Ewoks cartoon TV series, and even the Marvel comic run. There were no immediate plans for another film, and the interest of the general public had waned. Star Wars had entered what I like to call its “Dark Times”, where the only time you’d really hear mention of it (outside of geek circles) was in reference to the home video releases. So it’s probably safe to assume that the official fan club didn’t have as many members on their mailing list by the time this was released. However, this issue wasn’t JUST about Star Wars. This company had already worked on MANY other films, and has since achieved iconic status within the film industry. This was the only issue to feature such a clever gimmick, but maybe they had plans to releases more soundsheets had the interest been there. Who knows, but this is a really fun look back at what was going on at post-Star Wars Lucasfilm in 1986.

I uploaded this directly from the issue from my personal collection, and it is complete with all those wonderful “pops” and “clicks” that only those of us old enough to remember records can appreciate. (Oh, the irony of a record album about sound design that doesn’t have “perfect” sound quality!) I also took the liberty of uploading scans of the actual magazine pages so you can read about it while listening. (Albeit much more condensed than the usual Bantha Tracks issue.) Now, grab yourself a glass of blue milk, sit back and enjoy this 6 minutes of nostalgic bliss.

Worth noting is the fact that this was the second to last issue of Bantha Tracks. The Fan Club later reappeared in magazine form as the Lucasfilm Fan Club in the Autumn of 1987. If you already didn’t feel old yet, here’s a link to a scanned, downloadable version of that first issue.
Bantha Tracks

Oh…and since i’m sharing links to scanned, vintage magazine issues, here’s one that features EVERY issue of Bantha Tracks for your viewing pleasure. You’re welcome!

Alien Terror

Take A Look At The 1979 “Alien Terror” Movie Viewer!

I think it is more than fair to say that Kenner went all in with Alien in 1979. For example last month I shared the stunning revelation they had produced a board game based on the film. While Ridley Scott’s sci-/horror movie is a masterpiece it was an R rated feature as well. So you might be able to picture my confusion when I learned Kenner had in addition released the “Alien Terror” movie viewer.

In this case “Alien Terror” is an abridged version of the 1979 movie. In fact it is so short that in all honesty if you hadn’t seen the movie it wouldn’t make any sense. Of course there is only so much that Kenner could share from Alien with kids, right?
Alien Terror

By all means, try to convince me this movie cartridge didn’t cause a few nightmares in 1979.

[Via] Mazinz2

With this in mind – try to remember that Kenner had certainly found success with their line of movie viewers. Beginning in 1975 when they released film catridges and viewers for Snoopy, The Six Million Dollar Man, and The Bionic Woman.

Especially successful for Kenner was the Star Wars movie viewer and cartridges set in 1977. On the other hand there were only four film cartridges produced for that series, plus a fifth that was included with the set.

Many fans have wondered why Kenner didn’t continue with the line. Because of this mystery some people feel that perhaps 20th Century Fox stepped in and asked Kenner to cease production. For fear of cutting into the profits of repeat viewings in the theater.

Now that we’ve taken a look at 1979’s “Alien Terror” why not check out Snoopy Meets the Red Baron?


This film cartridge comes from the Fisher Price Movie Viewer line. It did better than Kenner, lasting until the middle of the 1980s. Thanks to the many licensing agreements with the likes of Walt Disney, Marvel, Hasbro and many more.

[Via] Snoopsbme