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.
As well as providing him a new cybernetic hand after the confrontation on Bespin.
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!
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.
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!
When Rogue One: A Star Wars Story hit theaters in December of 2016. It kind of became a big deal. Like over a billion dollars worth of a big deal in fact at the box office. Of course it was easy to see why, a likeable collection of rascals. As well as being an entertaining movie that helped to give a backstory to the events of 1977’s Star Wars.
[Via] Star Wars
Now for myself I absolutely enjoyed this different, grittier look at the Star Wars universe. Having said that I would certainly not want every single new film in the franchise to echo this type of tale. I found Rogue One to be not only thrilling but a moving story of hope. I would point out that in addition to its message of hope it included the awesome new character that is Admiral Raddus. Of course as I have demonstrated in past posts – I am rather partial to the Mon Calamari.
Read: You Can’t Repel Cosplay Of That Magnitude!
Overall I felt that Rogue One managed to capture a little of the feel of the original Star Wars. That was helped and occasionally…hindered…by unexpected cameos. However with the film available right this minute on digital with DVD and Blu-Ray expected to hit shelves on April 4th. An enterprising artist, Damien Kazan, decided to put together a trailer.
A trailer I should add that looks like it was released in the early days of VHS trailers. If you have not seen the film for yourself yet, there are some things that might be considered SPOILERS!
I want to thank the one and only Daniel XIII, for the heads up on this fan trailer for Rogue One. After watching it I felt I needed to share it with you all – hopefully it will give your day a little boost.
How close was the Rogue One VHS trailer to the original Star Wars home trailer?
Thanks to Plains Video
you can see for yourself. I can recall seeing a similar running announcement at a local video store of my youth!
Ah, Betamax. There have been many times when technological formats that are sort of similiar must go head to head. Like in the case of HD DVD versus the Blu-Ray format. Of course if you go back a little further there was the competition between Video High Density video discs vs LaserDisc and VHS. And if you are of a certain age you might recall when it was the VHS format versus Betamax fighting for your hard earned money.
I wasn’t aware that Betamax actually ceased being made way back in…2016?! That is the truth though – which means it lasted for 40 years. Not to shabby a legacy for the “loser” of the videotape format war.
I was only in contact with a Betamax unit once in my youth. You have to remember this was back when both it and the VHS units were quite beautiful. In addition to being incredibly large with myriad buttons and dials as well as featuring top-loading mechanisms.
As I was saying though – I only once had any sort of experience with a Betamax. This was in 1982 and my Father rented Star Wars. I want to point out this was during the time when renting a Betamax or VCR unit was a bit of an ordeal.
First of all you needed to have the membership to the video store which required the usual identification. However you also needed to literally leave a deposit on top of the rental fee – generally a $100 dollar bill or at least a check if you were trusted by the store.
Now having said all of that, thanks to the Retroist who pointed this video out to me. We can travel back in time to 1978 to visit Ray Glasser. In the almost ten minute video he gives those of us from the future a personal tour of his Betamax collection.
The television and movies in his collection are rather staggering. Everything from Star Trek, to King Kong and the Burns and Allen show, to name a few. So without further ado let us join Ray Glasser back in 1978 and enjoy his Betamax collection tour!
[Via] Videoholic Returns
Now then. You’ve seen the tour of Glasser’s Betamax tapes. But why not watch Bill Hammack aka Engineer Guy briefly explain why the VHS format won out?
Well, friends. In all honesty Star Wars: Droids has received a fan made update to the classic 1985 intro. With Al Scott’s student work placing this during the time of 2015’s The Force Awakens. Having said that it of course means that BB-8 is now tagging along with C-3P0 and R2-D2!
I stumbled across this video the other day although in fact it was released back in May of 2016. I really like what Al was able to accomplish with his reimagining for the Droids opening. Using the legendary “Trouble Again” theme song by The Police’s Stewart Copeland works rather well with the threats to the Droids by Captain Phasma and the First Order as well as Unkar Plutt.
Moreover I truly wish that Disney might think about resurrecting the ’85 television series. I believe that with the popularity of Star Wars: The Clone Wars and of course Star Wars Rebels – it’s time for a return to Star Wars: Droids: The Adventures of R2-D2 and C-3P0…and BB-8.
From his YouTube Page, Al said of the student project:
“…this is a contemporary reimagining of the cartoon “DROIDS” from the 1980’s! This newly imagined version of “Droids!” follows the day to day adventures of C3P0, R2-D2, and BB-8 as they constantly find themselves in trouble again avoiding the First Order, Bounty Hunters, Scavengers, and helping the noble Resistance further their cause across the galaxy!
Now while it’s nice to think about what a new animated series might be like. I would be remiss to not mention how much of a fan I was of the 1985 show. Certainly that puts me in the miniority as many fans of Star Wars seem to not look at the show as fondly as I do. Then again I also am a huge fan of the Droids that populate the movies, comics, animated series, and games. Even in my youth there were cases where I cared more about R2 or even the likes of 2-1B than Chewbacca.
I hope all of this has got you thinking about the 1985 animated series now. Which has yet to receive a DVD or Blu-Ray release, by the way. Because the Retroist has you covered with episode 59 of his podcast – in which he is joined by R2!