Wednesday, September 26, 2018

'Chive Cast 92 - Late Summer Fun Trips

Skye and Steve hit the road and record a show LIVE at some of the greatest vintage Star Wars collections in the world during the recent New York State Collector Event. We interview friends, family and collectors about their favorite items from the collections of Ron Salvatore, Yehuda Kleinman and Paul Chu. Plus, we take you with us as we walk, talk, travel and party together on a boat and in hotels. Steve gets initiated into the Pop-a-Jalop ritual and Skye conducts a strange interview with artist and bootlegger supreme the Sucklord. Then, Ron and Yehuda become official Guest Hosts for the second half of the show as they take you through the first ever ICCC convention in Nashville. 

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At Ron’s House:
02:49 – Kenner Plush Fat Jawa
05:15 – Kenner Golf Trophy
06:26 – Bunny Ear Trooper
08:18 – Rios Scrapbook
10:44 – Yoda Bootleg Toothbrush Holder
12:12 – Black Bespin Guard Focus: Hardcopy, Sculpt and QC Sample
18:52 – Boat

At Yehuda’s AT-Attic:
20:19 – Alex Bickmore talks Jessica Meade Head Mold
23:41 – Elaine Grief talks Stretch Pennies and her husband talks about the ceiling
26:57 – Kevin Lentz discusses Bootleg Indonesian Little Golden Non-Read-Along-Books
28:17 – Anne Jenkins discusses Power Spark
29:35 – Duncan Jenkins discusses Hebrew language books and VHS
31:26 – Jonathan McElwain discusses Yupi
36:09 – Modern Lovers: Fruit Loop Han Troopie with David Brott

34:21 – (Drunken Nonsense) Poppin’ Jalops with Yehuda, Ron, Ross and Mattias
50:28 – (Sober Nonsense) The Ronkonkoma Dunkin’ Donuts Story with Ron and Skye

At Paul Chu’s:
56:10 – Mattias describes Tusken Raider Photo Art and Negative
1:04:01 – David Gaule describes Fett Color Separations and the RECENT history of their discovery
1:08:22 – Paul Chu introduces The Carded Rocket Fett
1:10:05 – Erik Janniche explains the discovery of the Carded Rocket Fett
1:15:43 – Ron tells of matching the Toy Fair ’79 Negative to the Carded Rocket Fett
1:22:49 – Paul describes the Rocket Fett Negative
1:25:58 – Jonathan McElwain talks about a Paperweight
1:27:00 – Steve Rensi, Alex Bickmore and Derek Ho talk about Popy Inserts
1:29:51 – The UZAY run
1:31:11 – The Head Man story with Jonathan Morla and Paul Chu

In Chinatown:
1:38:14 – Skye goes to Sucklord’s Suckhole

In Nashville:
1:49:05 – Ron and Yehuda Go to ICCC
1:50:30 – Pete LeRose talks Vinyl Cape Jawa Values (MarketWatch)
1:51:56 – Yehuda unboxes his VIP package
1:53:49 – Michael Havens talks ICCC
1:57:09 – Yehuda talks about Factors Jewlery Display
1:58:40 – Duncan Jenkins discusses panels and buying Canadian Comics (Unloved Item)
2:01:53 – Ryan and Cathy Peck Discuss Cosplay (Space Freaks of the Week)
2:04:31 – Christopher and Stephanie Riehle recap the show

2:07:16 – Steve Danley Man Out

Check out the rest of the photos in this gallery HERE!

Image Sources and Show Note Links:

Monday, September 24, 2018

From The Jazz Singer to Star Wars: Collecting the "50 Years of Talking Pictures" Postage Stamp

Ron writes:

 Back in the day, stamp collecting was all the rage among the sorts of grown men who now collect action figures and stuff related to Dale Earnhardt. These days, however, it's rare for people to use stamps, let alone collect them. Fortunately for the nostalgic among us, there are at least a few Star Wars items that tie into the weird old world of stamp collecting. Here's guest blogger Jonathan McElwain to discuss a few of them.

Jonathan writes:

On October 6, 1977, the United States Postal Service (USPS), in conjunction with the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) marked the 50th Anniversary of Talking Pictures with a 13-cent commemorative postage stamp. The Jazz Singer, starring Al Jolson, premiered on October 6, 1927 and ushered in the era of feature length “Talkies.”

The First Day of Issue Ceremony was held on KTLA Stage 6, the site where The Jazz Singer was filmed. The stamp was designed by Walter Einsel. This is the Program from the Ceremony, autographed by Einsel, Ernest Borgnine, and others.

You may be wondering, what does any of this have to do with Star Wars? Well, I managed to pick up the program while at a recent gathering of Star Wars collectors in the NYC area. Does that count?

Eager to cash in on the popularity of Star Wars, a number of cachets and other postal commemoratives were produced to mark the first day of issue of the Talking Pictures stamp featuring imagery from Star Wars.

This album insert page was produced by H.E. Harris, a General Mills subsidiary, who would go on to produce the Star Wars Postage Stamp Collecting Kit in early 1978:

This cachet features imagery of Jolson in blackface, as well as two X-Wings and a TIE Fighter:

This cachet, produced by Western Heritage Association has a design which complements the stamp image, extending the projector lines toward a similar image of Jolson, with the vanishing point logo with inset Jung image of Luke & Leia below:

The MPAA released this official cachet, featuring images from six films recognized for significant advancement in sound technology. This includes an early Disney connection, with Fantasia featured for Optical Stereo Sound and Star Wars featured for Stereo Sound with Noise Reduction:

Last but not least, the Collectors Book Store from Hollywood, California produced a set of eight cachets in a matching numbered edition of 3,000. The set was divided into two subsets, with each subset of four accompanied by a black-and-white photo booklet:

The Science Fiction Series subset of four cachets features images selected by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Films. A color image from Star Wars is at the center of the group:

The Fantasy Series subset of four cachets features images selected by The Count Dracula Society.  The third envelope in this series features a young Christopher Lee in 1958’s Horror of Dracula:

It’s quite possible that there are more Talking Pictures cachets waiting to be found in this unloved early corner of collecting.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Did Kenner's 1990s Star Wars Renaissance Begin with the Destruction of Vintage Collectibles?

Ron writes:

 Remember when everything vintage was new again, and copies of classic Star Wars toys graced store shelves from Chicago to Sheboygan? (Only about 150 miles separate Chicago and Sheboygan, but, trust me, those 150 miles contain a multitude of shelves.) Here's guest blogger Ben Sheehan to share some of the history behind that '90s Star Wars renaissance. Happily, he's included several photos, all of which are new to my eyes.

Don't like the idea of opening sealed vintage Kenner vehicles, action figures and playsets? You may want to stop reading now.

Ben writes:

A lot has been written about Kenner’s notorious Morgue -- allegedly the resting place of everything sacred to vintage Star Wars collecting. Popular myth says that all unseen vehicle, playset and action figure prototypes were removed from the location in 1999/2000, when Hasbro uprooted its Boys Toys division from the rusty Ohio valley to the sparkling shores of Pawtucket, Rhode Island.

Precious little though, has ever been said about the Kenner Museum.

The Museum sat adjacent to the Morgue in the same building (according to insiders), and housed all of Kenner’s manufactured toys -- or at least all those deemed important enough to keep. This included sealed cases and boxes of vintage Star Wars product -- pristine time capsules of everything the company had sold at retail between 1977-86.

When Hasbro launched its fiscally catastrophic post-license-expiration pitch to Lucasfilm, (as Kenner lawyer Jim Kipling explained to me in 2015 during book research, Hasbro had failed to pay Lucas’ coffers a measly $10,000 in royalties, which voided one of the most lucrative licensing contracts the toy industry had ever seen) one of the first steps the company took was to raid the Kenner Museum in Cincinnati, tear open sealed boxes of vintage Star Wars toys, and then slice and dice the pristine, mint vintage product, for its sales pitch.

C-3PO goes for a ride on an action-feature for the never-made POTF2 Ewok Village.

While it’s true that the company could have scoured eBay for mint loose examples of these exact same toys that were brutalised, the direct route was seen as the best -- and importantly, it ensured the quality and legitimacy of the product.

Leopards don't change their spots, but Kenner added zebra stripes to an AT-AT.

Toys such as the Millennium Falcon, Landspeeder, AT-ST, TIE Fighter, A-Wing and even the lowly Ewok Village, were unceremoniously torn from boxes, cut with saws, modified with styrene and glue, had their insides torn out, and electronics added along with new air brushing or paint in order to create updated designs more reflective of the look and play value children wanted in the mid 1990s.

The resulting kit-bashed concept toys were highly detailed hybrids of old-world Star Wars, analogue-based action figure nostalgia, and new world digital design. The new mechanisms, lights, and electronics were cut, glued, and stuck into them with varying levels of precision.

New paint applications were mostly stunning -- far above the standard of regular toys and something not entirely surprising given the cache that Hasbro saw in regaining the Star Wars brand for their subsidiary, Kenner.

So how do we know all this?

Savvy former Kenner employees saved many items from this pitch to Lucasfilm, and many of these turned up in a closet at the Cincinnati R&D offices on Elsinore Place when the company was selling through its office fixtures and the detritus of operations in 2000.

The designs of many of these toys altered little before their release over subsequent years under the POTF 2 banner. The pieces are undeniably modern, yet retained much of their vintage soul -- principally because many of the same hands that had worked on the original toys had contributed the handcrafted additions to the kit-bashed models. 

More remarkably perhaps, some of the models included hand-written notations indicating that parts be braced, altered, or re-tooled for the POTF 2 release.

These pieces also highlight just how blurry the line between vintage product and modern toys can be -- a concept that extends right through to the 1995 era first shots and other prototypes from around this time (the vintage molds were dusted off and put back into service before being altered for the new designs that would follow). These pseudo vintage pieces -- most particularly the '70s- and '80s-dated, creamy, clear, or plain white injection molded examples -- are often passed off by unscrupulous types as vintage, purely because they have vintage dates, and are sometimes shot in unusual color combinations.

Friday, August 17, 2018

The Great Grading Debate: The History of Grading Collectibles

Pete writes:

 On a plane heading back from the Columbus Toy Show I found myself working on the post I’m presenting to you today. Queensr├┐che's "Operation: Mindcrime" was playing on my iPhone -- a great album and appropriate for what we’re discussing as the album, like our topic, is multi-layered. 

Grading. It’s probably the most discussed/debated topic in the hobby over the past 20 years. It’s been the center of casual conversations, debates, and even protests. Thus, the big question is what’s the big deal with grading action figures and why does the topic elicit emotional responses ranging from joy to rage and happiness to sorrow in the collecting community? As a long time collector, this has been a question that has perplexed me for years, and so I thought it was time to dig in and really get to the root of what grading is, why it’s controversial, and ultimately, why it’s so topical among collectors.

Without calling a lot of us whining entitled fanboys and girls, I would have to say that the concept of community and the culture within our hobby is an underlying factor as to the range of reactions this topic brings up. Call it the "sandbox mentality," call it standoffishness, or just call it pathetic. However you want to classify it, at the end of the day everyone has opinions on this subject. Even before the age of modern day Social Media we found ways to make the world smaller and to present these opinions. Through forums we formulated and expressed these opinions and ultimately tried to shape what others thought about grading. We debate the topic to no end and classify casual relationships, friendships, and other social biases around the topic.  

Now, this article isn’t really about the social implications of grading. But before I dive into the topic itself, I find it important to call a spade a spade, as one of the first steps of understanding something is being able to remove your own biases about it and look at it subjectively, and ultimately that’s what is at the core the great grading debate: subjectivity.    

In the spirit of this and full disclosure, I’m a big fan of grading...

Over the years I’ve probably fed over 1,000 pieces into toy grading companies spanning almost my entire Star Wars collection. I have no affiliation with any of these companies. I have no ownership interests in any of these organizations (complete or partial), and I never intend to. I am the end user and an end user for over a decade. Therefore my approach here in discussing the topic or the companies involved is neutral, but educated. I take a personal approach of pro-grading which I will explain, however my purpose here is not to make you send in all of your toys to get encased in acrylic, but rather to be honest and direct about something that I personally do.   

If you’re reading this to debate facts, or if you’re reading this because you have a  predisposed position on grading and want to tear this article apart with your own opinions, then you’re probably wasting your own time. That said, if you are reading this article to gain insights, understanding, or a broader perspective on the grading phenomenon, then please read on.  

The History of Grading Collectibles

As a species, we are prone towards items of value. It’s an inherent part of our nature. We hear the comment “it’s not about the money,” and truly that isn’t the point of collecting, at least for most of us. For many it’s about the enjoyment of the hobby, the thrill of the hunt, the time spent on Facebook telling others how to live their lives; you know, the fun stuff. The point of this is there is an inherent value in the things we collect in the Vintage Star Wars community, and that’s where grading first started. No, not with toys, but rather with items of value.

Historically we’ve gone through an evolution of how we exchange goods: barter and trade, cash, and today's digital assets. For centuries gold, silver, and jewels were coveted as the most valuable items on the planet, precious in nature, and used in the production of several items into the modern age. These were the equivalent of walking around with a roll of hundred dollar bills in your pocket today. It’s no surprise that these items were also some of the first items to be evaluated by a third party and still are today. This is really the genesis of the appraisal of valuables by another party and that’s the basis of modern day grading.

The modern era of grading collectibles started in the last half of the 20th Century and was first introduced in the stamp collecting category. At the time, stamp collecting was a fairly sizable hobby among the populous, and forgeries were starting to become more common. Through the years a few companies were founded focusing on the stamp collecting hobby, and eventually moving into the next big grading category: currency. Although evaluation and preservation were the key concepts of these early companies, they would start trends that are used by all grading companies to this date. One of which was the method of using serial numbers on their items. Though a simple concept by today’s standards, at the time the use of serial numbers was quite effective for its main purpose of preventing fraud. In the modern era, serial numbers serve multiple purposes: fraud prevention, tracking, but more importantly a digital ID, as they serve as the foundation for accessing information on an item through digital interfaces. This is just one example of how an early idea morphed into a necessity for all modern era grading companies.

As the hobbies grew so did the companies as well as the base of collectors as a whole. In many ways grading led to a renaissance in many hobbies at the time, as it added an element of confidence that fostered renewed interest and ultimately growth in these collecting areas. It was during this era that a new concept was introduced, and one that is so synonymous with grading today that’s it’s hard to imagine one without the other -- that being the idea of encapsulation.      

Encapsulation is an important practice to understand in the world of collectible grading. While serial numbers and COAs led to improved confidence in the authenticity of items, they didn’t create an impenetrable fortress for them.  Encapsulation benefited the hobbyist in several ways.

1.       Confidence (reduce the risk of buying a forged/fake item)
2.       Protection (from breaks, drops, sunlight and other risks)
3.       Presentation (easier to display, better aesthetics)
4.       Preservation (increase the longevity of the condition)

Needless to say encapsulation is a crucial aspect of modern day grading, and with the collectible toy hobby it saw a second evolution driven by variation which led to customization (shape, size, compartments etc.) to support the category. Here we saw the first divergence from the “slabs” that were used in almost every other hobby up until that point.

Speaking about other hobbies, the practice of grading as it exists today was really brought to life by another semi-paper based and highly forged collectible: currency. Collectible currency and coins were one of the first types of collectibles to be graded by a third party and put into slabs, so at the end of the day it was really a continuation of what had been done before them, or in unison with them, depending on which side of the fence you fall on. During this era we saw the last key (but often forgotten) aspect of modern day grading: the use of a hologram. 

By the 1990s, slabs, serial numbers, and holograms were mainstays for third party graders -- all of which are present with the major toy grading companies today. Since these pieces of the grading puzzle were put together, the trend of grading collectibles has become even more expansive. One of the first of these new generations of companies was PSA (Professional Sports Authenticator). Many people know PSA as the authority when it comes to autographs and really all things pop culture, but the company started off on a smaller scale in 1991 focusing on sports cards. They are one of the few multi-category grading companies out there touching dozens of categories including covering autographs, cards, and posters today, and maybe toys tomorrow...

Following the success in the sports card category we saw yet another expansion as the 1990s came to a close, and one that is near and dear to many of our fellow Star Wars hobbyists: comic books. Certified Guaranty Company (CGC) was founded in early 2000 and is one of the premier graders of comic books. I say "one of" as the comic book grading market has been flooded by several companies, each with their own standards and style. This segment has been one of the most successful and expansive in the world of grading, with graded comics present at every major and minor comic con out there.

Before the turn of the century we saw yet another categorical expansion, this time into our own backyard.  Taking the ideas we've covered thus far but with a higher level of customization, the company was Collectible Grading Authority and the category of course was collectible toys. CGA has been the originator in the concept of incorporating grading into action figures and other popular toy lines. Although CGA employed a multi-category strategy like PSA, they kept their focus on all things toy related, breaking their categories into four separate but connected divisions: video games (VGA), action figure (AFA), dolls (CDA), and die cast (DCA).    

The idea of customizing the process is a tricky riddle to solve. You have to be able to grade everything from small items like loose figures to large boxed items such as the Imperial Shuttle. Both take a unique touch when it comes to the design of cases themselves.   Additionally, the category as a whole is much broader and less centralized than the others we've covered thus far.   

With over 400,000 pieces graded by CGA alone over the years, it’s easy to see that the world of grading toys is a healthy industry and one that like coins, cards and comics has now spawned several organizations participating in the practice, including Collector Archive Services (CAS) and UK Graders (UKG). With the complexion of this industry changing regularly, it's easy to surmise that the practice will be around for quite a while.

In summary, the practice of third party valuations has been around for centuries, the practice of encasing items in plastic with a numerical grades has been around for decades, and grading action figures just became old enough to vote. It’s an old practice but a popular one. But still not sure why?   Well, keep an eye on the SWCA Blog and our Facebook page for the next chapter in the topic: The Action Figure Grading Phenomenon: What, How and Why.

Until then... Wampa, Wampa,
"Fratastic" Pete

Saturday, August 11, 2018

'Chive Cast Blog Log Pod Episode 8 - Puzzles and Gobblers

This episode features Kenner Puzzles in the US and Canada from 1977 to 1979. Ron Salvatore joins to discuss his article and Canada’s Greatest Know-it-All Scott! Bradley Bradley jumps in to talk about the Canadian versions. We learn about the mysterious disappearing rebels from the medal ceremony, the meaning of “electric mauve” and a Canadian food promotion featuring monstrous gobblers. All this plus a little discussion of the Archive Party at the end of the show on the eighth “Blog Log Pod.”

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06:31 – Common Misconceptions about Kenner in 1977
09:40 – Irwin toys selection process
10:17 – Why no Indiana Jones in Canada
11:45 – Kenner Board Games (and why Ron hates them)
13:41 – Skye’s Gazebo Story
16:10 – Electric Mauve! (Puzzle talk begins in earnest)
18:10 – Second Series Puzzle
21:42 – Kenner Sucked at non-Toy products
25:26 – Kenner needed more photos!
27:14 – The Problematic Space Battle Puzzle
28:50 – The Victory Celebration.  Disappearing rebels.
38:43 – Where were these things made?
42:23 – Which Star Wars Scene represents Online Dating?
45:55 – Hard to Collect?
46:26 – Luke and Leia Weird Image
47:30 – Banta! Banta!
47:58 – Corridor of Lights (A new focus is born!)
51:47 – Canadian Puzzles Discussion begins
52:58 – Irwin Sucked at non-Toy products
53:50 – Canadian exclusive puzzles (Stormtroppers)
55:03 – Boring Canadian Exclusive Puzzle
55:43 – Death Star Exclusive Puzzle
57:26 – 1995 Han Penis-finger Puzzle
58:07 – Skye’s inevitable language segment
1:00:28 – Irwin Breaks the Language Law!
1:02:28 – Alpha-Getti Gobbler and Promotion
1:09:05 – Schneider’s Bacon and Wieners Promotion in Canada
1:17:00 – Archive Party IV Details


Monday, July 30, 2018

Canadian Headaches: Parker's Star Wars Puzzles

Ron writes:

 A few weeks ago I published a post on Kenner's line of jigsaw puzzles of 1977 through 1979.

Canadian collectors of the late '70s also had the opportunity to purchase Star Wars puzzles. In Canada, however, puzzles weren't marketed by Kenner Canada; rather, they bore the logo of the company's affiliate, Parker.

Their boxes also bore the French term for "jigsaw puzzle," "casse-tete," which I believe means something like "headache" if translated literally.

Is this the only Star Wars toy named after an actual ailment? Does Prune Face count?

You might recall that Kenner's initial assortment of puzzles came in boxes that were uncharacteristically colored. Some were blue and some were a shade that I dubbed "electric mauve."

One of the fun aspects of the Parker puzzles is that they all came in fruity-looking boxes; none sported the familiar black-and-silver deco scheme that we now associate with vintage Star Wars products of the 1970s. This makes them worth seeking out, especially if, like me, you enjoy the funky head shop quality of those blue and mauve boxes.

I'm not going to devote much space to discussing each puzzle. For the most part the photos speak for themselves. And, generally speaking, the Canadian puzzles repeated the American ones in terms of design.

You may, however, notice a few slight discrepancies. For instance, note that the puzzle depicting the Sand Person features a picture that has been flipped through the vertical axis. On the U.S. puzzle the business end of that gaffi stick was on the left rather than the right side of the image.

The image showing Luke leaning in to make out with R5-D4 was similarly flipped on the Canadian version.

Although, like their American counterparts, the Canadian puzzles came in 140- and 500-piece types, the 140-piecers came in blue boxes that were vertically oriented while the 500-piecers came in electric mauve boxes that were horizontally oriented. The American line wasn't nearly so regimented.

Curiously, the electric mauve puzzle boxes featured the Parker logo on their fronts while the blue ones did not.

Note that the Canadian puzzle depicting the medal ceremony is once again flipped relative to its American counterpart.

Incidentally, no "extended box photo" variation of this puzzle was released in Canada, meaning that none of the Parker boxes depicted those two stick-in-the-mud-looking guys whom my co-blogger Yehuda Kleinman calls Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.

Another flipped image relative to the U.S. was in evidence on the box of the puzzle depicting the Rebels' spacecraft inside their secret base.

In my post covering the American products, I noted that the Sand Person puzzle was the only one to use an image featured on Kenner's action figure blister cards.

The Canadian line adds one more: the Canuck Stormtroopers puzzle employed a photo that will be familiar to toy collectors who've pursued the carded figures. The photo on the puzzle, however, retained the original background, airbrushed out on the action figure packaging, and was flipped through the vertical axis.

If you look closely you'll see that the title of the puzzle was misspelled on the box.

Yes, you've been introduced to the Stoom Trooper. Now meet the Stormtroppers.

Oh, I've gone and buried the lede. The Stormtroppers puzzle is of interest in large part because it was not released in the States. It was a Parker exclusive.

Here's another Canadian exclusive.

Do you think this is the least exciting photo used on a Star Wars puzzle? I do. Maybe that's why Kenner didn't release a puzzle featuring this image?

I thought this was the only puzzle released by Kenner or Parker to lack a title printed on the front of the box, but Scott Bradley has pointed out that the box does have "Luke - C-3PO" printed in black text at the bottom left of the image.

The third and final Canadian exclusive was this puzzle, titled "Death Star." It featured a pretty unusual composite image of X-Wings and Darth Vader's TIE Fighter zooming around in space.

Did this image appear anywhere else? It strikes my eye as pretty unique. Shoot me a message or post in comments if you've seen it on another product or in a publication.

What about variations?

Well, I'm glad you asked.

The only one I'm aware of concerns the trademark notice, which on at least some puzzles appears stamped onto the reverse of the box rather than printed within the graphical overlay on the side.

Which puzzles exhibit this variation? Was the error corrected? I'm not sure. But these are questions to keep in mind while pursuing these items. This particular instance occurs on the Space Battle puzzle, which was one of the earliest designs released by Kenner in the States. It's possible that this issue affected only the earliest of Parker's puzzles.

As mentioned above, Canada saw the release of three unique puzzles.

But that's not all the puzzle uniqueness bestowed upon our excessively polite friends to the north. They also benefited from a promotion that allowed the consumers of Alpha-Getti to mail away for two different puzzles.

Marketed by Libby's, Alpha-Getti was a pasta product that was shaped like letters. Presumably, this allowed children to spell out a ketchupy "help me" should they be forced to eat it by the giant sea anemone that served as Libby's mascot.

In case you're wondering, Alpha-Getti has no connection to Ceti Alpha V, where Khan was banished to live out his final years with no one to keep him company but some gross ear worms and those sidekicks who looked like extras from a post-apocalyptic aerobics video.

According to our friend Scott Bradley, the man responsible for the essential Canadian Star Wars Gallery:
Libby's Canada sponsored a mail-in offer in 1978 for two of the Canadian Parker Star Wars puzzles - R2-D2 & C-3PO as well as Han & Chewbacca. Consumers would send in $1.25 (plus provincial sales tax where applicable) as well as two labels from any size can of Libby's Alpha-Getti for each puzzle requested. The offer came on cans of three different sizes - 8 oz fl/227 ml, 14 oz fl/398 ml and 19 oz fl/540 ml. Oddly enough, this promotion almost never took place. From the book: "Star Wars: From Concept to Screen to Collectible" pages 114 and 116 (Stephen J. Sansweet, 1992, Chronicle Books): 
Lucasfilm's interest in promoting only healthful foods also led to an initial turndown in 1977 of a Canadian promotion featuring an offer for a Star Wars puzzle on labels for Libby's Alpha-Getti, a canned spaghetti product. Libby's appealed, noting that its product was "a regular menu item for patients at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto." A compromise was struck. The promotion could proceed if Libby's also ran it on labels of an even more nutritious vegetable or tomato juice product.
Maybe those kids were sick because they were eating Alpha-Getti?

By the way, I'd love to acquire one of these Libby's cans. So if you have one that you don't need, please let me know!

And if you get a chance, head over to Scott's website, where he has lots of information on Canadian products, including the puzzles discussed here. Scott helped me out on this post by providing photos of the Libby's can and the Canadian puzzles that I don't have in my collection. Thanks, Scott!

Here's a chart I put together showing all of the Canadian puzzles. The years are approximations.

That's all I have on puzzles. Does your head ache yet?

Update 7/30/2018

Food collector Jonathan McElwain was kind enough to send me the below scans of several Alpha-Getti labels: specifically the 8 oz, 14 oz, and 19 oz examples, as well as a close-up of the puzzle offer.

Enjoy. And thanks, Jonathan!

Update: 8/1/2018

Pete Vilmur figured out the source of the odd composite image used on the Parker "Death Star" puzzle: Kenner's Destroy Death Star Game!

And Steve Danley noticed that the same image is present on one of Kenner's in-pack catalogs from the late '70s.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Archive Party IV Sponsorship Opportunity!

With the fourth episode of the Archive Party Saga coming opening night of Celebration Chicago 2019 (Thursday April 11th at ROW 24 Chicago), the time has come to recruit sponsors! This is the official call to the collecting community to be a major part of something fun that will support a very good cause. All proceeds beyond the cost of the event will be donated to a Chicago-area animal shelter/adoption organization (TBA).

48 Sponsorship spots (once again in honor of Skye’s favorite 48Bs) will be open. A very limited number of tickets will be available for this year's event, so don't miss out on your chance to guarantee yourself entry and the opportunity to significantly contribute to one of Celebration's can't-miss events.

All Archive Party IV Sponsors... 

Hereby promise to donate a sum of $425.00 to the "Archive Party Fund," with the understanding that none of the money will be returned, but that sponsors are allowed one additional guest and will receive all sponsor/standard attendee exclusive give-away items created from the Fund.*  

The first 48 sponsors that submit donations will secure their sponsorship and we want to have the deposit for the venue paid ASAP, so the sooner the better! 

Send an email to for instructions and additional details if interested.    

*Sponsors were allowed to split the cost of sponsorship for previous parties. This option will be available again, with the understanding that joint sponsorships can be split by a maximum of two entrees to the event. Any co-sponsors beyond that will be required to purchase an additional entry ticket due to very limited space. Joint sponsors will forgo their guest spots and determine among themselves how the exclusives will be distributed.

Thanks so much for your support,
Steve & Skye

Special thanks to Jarrod Clark for creating this year's sponsorship graphic!