Plastic Galaxy: The Story of Star Wars Toys

Synopsis: When Star Wars landed in the theaters, it introduced audiences to a galaxy filled with heroes and villains, robots and space ships, and a dizzying variety of alien life. But when the lights came up, they all disappeared... Unless you had all the toys. In which case, the adventure never had to end. In backyards, playgrounds, basements, and bedrooms, Star Wars toys helped kids re-enact scenes from their favorite movies, and create entirely new dangers for Luke Skywalker and his friends to face. They were lusted after on holidays and birthdays, swapped with great cunning out on the school yard, and carefully collected like fine treasures. Like no toys before them, the action figures, space ships, play sets, and props were a phenomenon that swept the nation with as much force as the film that inspired them. Along the way they transformed both the toy and movie industries, earned those behind them vast amounts of wealth, and ultimately created a hobby that, 30 years later, still holds sway
Director(s): Brian Stillman
Production: X-Ray Films
70 min



To an eight-year-old kid,

"star wars" was... a drug.

I wanted to be part of the...

that "star wars" universe,

and I really felt

like having the toys

was the way to do it.

If you asked me what other toys

or things I was into

in, say, first

through third grade,

I got nothin'.

past the oceans far below

through the stars

and heaven's glow

take us from this overload

on these rockets

past the oceans far below

through the stars

and heaven's glow

take us from this overload

on these rockets

ah ah ah ah

on these rockets

ah ah ah ah

90% of the toys

I had as a child

were "star wars" related.

So, right from the get-go,

it dominated my interest

more than the other, um,

cartoons and toy lines

that were sort of

vying for the attention

of your average kid

growing up in the early '80s.

These were something

that enabled you

to create a world

and play in there.

There were no toys like that.

There was no toy line

that I can remember.

The universe lent itself

to really fantastic

and interesting and...

and, you know,

kind of crazy stories

with weird characters

and new planets,

and I think that

really just grabbed on

to kids' imagination.

Having one of

the "star wars" action figures

in my... in my hand

was about as close

to having one of

the characters in my room.

You know, having 3po

on my table,

sitting there

with r2-d2 next to him.

In the late '70s

and early '80s,

you weren't gonna see

the movies over and over.

For a lot of kids,

the toys, I think,

became more important

than the movies

because they were gonna

get to play with the toys

nearly every day.

They were gonna get to talk

about the toys nearly every day.

(Booth) You know, if you were

going over to your friends house,

you almost didn't have to ask,

"do I need to bring

my 'star wars' guys?"

You know, you just

showed up with 'em.

Once parents came into a room,

"what are you doing?"

"We're playing 'star wars.'

see, hammerhead, he's from..."

"okay, we'll leave you alone."

The parents would not

bother you for two hours

'cause they knew you were

in another universe.

We were pretty rough with them.

We used to like to build

a lot of different forts

and bases out of, you know,

cardboard boxes and bricks

or whatever else we could find,

um, to play with.

They were sort of the modern,

I guess, you know, army guys.

You know, setting up

the battles.

Pew, pew, pew, pew!

My rewards tended

to be "star wars" related.

A decent report card, my dad

would take me to the store

and let me pick out

a "star wars" figure.

Christmases, birthdays,

there was always

some sort of "star wars" toy.

I think "star wars"

set new ground rules

for what was collectible

and the emergence

of popular culture

as being a major phenomenon,

certainly in the us

and then spreading elsewhere.

(Sharp) This is sort

of a funny story.

In my scrapbook,

I have, uh, this sign.

When I was a teenager,

I sometimes didn't always

lock the door to the house

and would get in trouble.

So, my parents went

on vacation one week,

and I came home,

and I saw this sign

taped to the front door

of the house.

"Dear Mr. burglar,

"the most valuable

property in the house

"is the old 'star wars'

toy collection

"on the 2nd floor.

"Help yourself.

Don't forget the lucite star!"

(Miller) So, these are my original

loose "star wars" figures.

This is most of a set

in the case here.

A lot of these are

from when I was a kid.

The same figures I played with.

Actually, I have

two loose sets.

I always had mine that I kept

and, you know, re-armed

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