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.
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.
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!
You might imagine that The Empire Strikes Back was kind of a big deal when it was released in 1980. You know what was also incredibly popular at that time? Fruit of the Loom’s Underoos of course!
It is rather a simple thing to see why those of us growing up in the 80s loved these. While the original idea for Underoos came about in 1977 thanks to Larry Weiss. The concept was sold to Fruit of the Loom – in fact they were the company Weiss hired to provide the shirts and underwear that characters would be printed on. Furthermore the company that was originally interested in the children’s line of clothing was Hanes.
Equally important are the popular properties that Fruit of the Loom went after for their Underoos. It is a rather astounding number of cartoons, toy lines, comic books, and films. The A-Team, Gremlins, Transformers, and Star Wars of course to name a few.
This 1980’s commercial only showcases four sets of Underoos. In addition to Boba Fett, Darth Vader, R2-D2, and C-3PO. They also offered Luke Skywalker in his X-Wing pilot outfit. Princess Leia in Hoth attire, and two different colored versions of Yoda.
It bears mentioning that Underoos didn’t offer anything for 1977’s Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back marked the first offerings. Although they continued with Return of the Jedi as well as The Ewoks animated series in 1985.
What was the first set of Underoos that I received?
Why none other than DC Comics’ Scarlet Speedster. The Flash!
Now I hope you will forgive me but I have to leave The Retroist Vault. I have tickets to go see Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. I will let you know however if while standing in line I happen to spy any fellow Star Wars fans wearing some Underoos!
IGrewUpStarWars.com is a website run by Tom Berges dedicated to those of us who grew up playing with some of the greatest toys of all time. Tom has spent a lot of time and energy collecting vintage photos and videos from the late 70s and early 80s, back when we were younger and these toys were new.
(Yes, that’s me.)
Like lots of kids who “grew up Star Wars,” my friends and I would routinely recreate the battles that we saw in the movies. In my bedroom I had a 4×8 sheet of wood covered with a white sheet that became Hoth, and when my friends would visit we would often set up battles between “the good guys” and “the bad guys” and just play.
My family owned a VHS VCR in 1978; for $1,000, we got both the VCR and a black and white video camera. The camera was connected to the VCR by a cable which was long enough for me to drag around the house and occasionally make my own movies without having to relocate the VCR itself. I filmed a lot of silly things, one of which was (occasionally) our Star Wars battles. While browsing through some of my old VHS tapes I found one of those battles. I sent the footage to Tom, who did a short interview with me (with some help from Yoda) and put the footage online.
If you also “grew up Star Wars,” check out this interview Tom put together for his website. Be sure to stick around to the end to see the “special edition” version.
Several years ago my mom ran across a big box full of random UFO magazines at a garage sale. She picked up roughly 30 issues of various UFO magazines from the late 70s and early 80s for $5 — and believe me it was $5 well spent, I assure you. One of my favorite magazines was this issue of True UFOs and Outer Space Quarterly which has a nice feature article on The Empire Strikes Back. Whoever the previous owner of these magazines must have loved this issue too because there are two copies of it in the box.