Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Humble Origins of Kenner Star Wars Part 2

Just a  follow up to last week's post about the late start that Star Wars got toy wise. In the very same toy trade magazine that nonchalantly showcased the photo of Lucas meeting with Kenner execs had this impressive add from Ideal at the very front.

Ideal invaded alright, the company worked very fast to crank out a Star Wars inspired series of action figures using old molds and a brand name "S.T.A.R Team" they used in the late 60s.

The publication date on this magazine is late September (ironically my 7th birthday) that means Ideal got a toy line to market in 90 days. Pretty impressive stuff and don't think people didn't notice,in October a new full page ad appeared in the toy trades.

Scarier than Darth Vader and the Imperial Senate, Fox unleashed their lawyers. It's a battle many would lose but Ideal actually won, seeing as S.T.A.R Team existed prior to 1977. It didn't matter because once Kenner launched real Star Wars, everything else paled and the landscape was forever changed.

More Star Team


Seventiesfan said...

It's a shame that even back then the copyright knuckleheads were already prepared for battle. There were plenty of Star Wars imitators, and Ideal's Star Team was just one of them. I have Zem-21 and Knight of Darkness from Star Team, as well as the mini comic book, which advertises Electroman (which I also have). Like I tell my young niece and nephew, it's OK to like both Star Wars and Star Team, just like it's OK to like Superman and Spider-man. Pac-man and Donkey Kong. In my bedroom I have just as many Marvel super heroes as DC super heroes. I have two Star Trek posters right next to a shelf of Kenner Star Wars figures. There is a lot of harmony in my room.

Anonymous said...

What's interesting to me about these Star Wars knock offs now, is that a lot of the character designs in the new Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens reminds me of the knock off characters and toys from the 70s and 80s era.

BB-8 looks like Vincent from the Black Hole, Captain Phasma looks like a Cylon Centurion from Battlestar Galactica, and Kylo Ren looks a bit like this Knight of Darkness.


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