Friday, January 30, 2015

Kenner Kids Vol. I: Primary Objective = Primary Colors

Steve writes:

Dorky looking kids will always and forever be associated with the marketing of Vintage Star Wars toys. From their unforgettable (and usually awkward) performances in television commercials to their engaged (and at times slightly unsettling) poses in photography utilized in merchandise packaging and catalogs, these endearing little goobers were an integral component of Kenner's visual language for the product line's promotion, particularly during the first few years. This was with good reason -- they were the public representation of the franchise's key audience and consumer.

While the toys themselves are often the primary focus for collectors, this blog series -- which we'll call Kenner Kids -- will put the spotlight on the youths behind the toys. While there will be some fun being poked, it will be with harmless intent and completely celebratory in nature. Lastly, I hereby promise to dig up and post at least one equally embarrassing photograph of yours truly at about this age to even the score a bit at some point.
DIP DOTS PAINTING SET (1977) - They provide the color and STAR WARS the action.

When scouring the Archive for images to curate for these posts, a pattern that I had always sort of noticed became all the more clear: red, yellow,, yellow, blue. Almost every marketing image from the original Star Wars product line (and especially those featured in retailer catalogs) predominantly featured primary colors -- not only with backgrounds, but with the clothing of the kids depicted. They too were incorporated into the simple yet eye-catching color scheme that just isn't found in toy aisles anymore.

ESCAPE FROM THE DEATH STAR GAME (1977) - "has all the appeal of the movie." Well...

With the ESCAPE FROM THE DEATH STAR GAME released in 1977, even the backgrounds of the game pieces were primary color coordinated. Whether or not it had "all of the appeal of the movie" I couldn't tell you, as I've never played it. Regardless, this trio of yellow-clad youngsters seem to be enjoying it quite a bit. With the action figure line yet to reach their hands, they probably just didn't know any better. Ignorance is bliss.


The level of excitement in these kids' expressions wanes appropriately with each of these diecast vehicles released in 1978. Perhaps an omen for the failure of the Micro Collection four years later?

3 POSITION LASER RIFLE - Image courtesy of Ron Salvatore

This child marksman has mastered all three positions of the 3 Position Laser Rifle: "STANDING GUARD" (top), "SNEAK ATTACK" (lower left), and..."LASER BATTLE" (lower right). Configurations for comfort are of the utmost importance when it comes to firearms.

The first three images were derived from the Fall 1977 Products supplement and 1978 Kenner Retail Catalog. There are quite a few scanned pages from early catalogs still up and running in the Toy Fair and Dealer Catalogs section maintained by Chris Georgoulias.


  1. Steve, this is awesome! some for the pod, would you?

  2. We have all gotten so used to the benefits of technology that we sometimes forget how many precious objects - documents, photos, film - that we have hiding in the attics, basements, and closets of our homes. There will come a time when we want to hand these down to future generations, or it will be necessary to consult their importance once again.
    go to this site