Day 9: Millennium Falcon

falcon-catalog

Catalog Description:
(15) Star Wars Millennium Falcon Spaceship. Use with mini-figures (not incl.). Battle alert sound, landing gear folds up. Cockpit canopy opens. Entrance ramp folds down. Radar dish swivels 360 degrees. Rear deck area lifts off to expose laser gun with seat that swivels 360 degrees and “clicks.” Game table. Secret floor panel. Remote force ball for Light Saber practice. 17x6x23 in. Plastic. Ages 5 yrs and up.
ORDER INFO: Unassembled. Uses 2 “C” batteries, order pkg. below.
79C59472C–Shipping weight 3 lbs. 12 oz…$24.77

In 1978 and 1979 the Sears Xmas Catalogs changed markedly from the previous years for two reasons that I can tell: consumer ready video game units like Atari 2600 and Kenner’s Star Wars line. With the explosion of these two realities in the toy market, from 1978 until 1984 most toy catalogs would pretty much be a Star Wars/Atari 2600 vehicle for consumption. And given those were my formative years of childhood in regards to toys, in should come as no surprise that my top ten would reflect that reality. But not entirely, because the other development in this moment that wasn’t considered a toy, but may have been the greatest toy of all, is the VCR, which represents the third element of this holy trinity of the late 70s and early 80s.

With that being said, I guess it was just a matter of time before this series got to the Kenner’s Millennium Falcon, it was without question one of the most awe-inspiring toys of the day, with removable hatches, entrance ramps, landing gear, 360 degree gun cockpits, remote force ball, the whole nine yards. This was absolutely a toy to be reckoned with.  And one of the few issues I had with it, is that I never seemed to have enough Storm Trooper figures to reproduce the amazing feeling of the first run box for this toy. And in many ways, as is often the case with the bigger Star Wars toys, the box was a huge part of the toy.  I loved the way they made the color picture on the front a kind of black and white cartoon on the back—what a wild aesthetic I never really thought about until now.

falcon-sw

falcon-esb-back

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And here’s the original commercial:

And here’s a commercial that frames the whole early line of toys from Kenner, my guess s that this commercial was released in early 1979:

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6 Responses to Day 9: Millennium Falcon

  1. Jim Doran says:

    I have to admit it, Jim. No one blogs like the Bava – I’ve enjoyed these toy posts immensely – it’s brought back some great memoiries, because, well, we are old.

    Merry Christmas!

  2. Chris Bell says:

    This series of posts have been such a trip down memory lane. I distinctly remember lusting after many of these toys in the Sears catalog each year and was fortunate to have owned many of the Star Wars series. Good stuff 🙂

  3. Cole says:

    Another one of my favorite toys of all time! I remember playing with this thing for hours and hours! And, Jim, you are correct … who had multiple Storm Troopers back in the day? I was lucky to have one. I went hunting for this the last time I was at my parents house b/c my three year old son is into Star Wars in a way that I would describe as well beyond my own obsession. I couldn’t find it anywhere and have you seen the cost on the new ones? Crazy town! Great posts and have a very Merry Christmas!

  4. Reverend says:

    @Jim,
    We are, indeed, old, which makes it all the more fun. Merry Xmas to you and yours as well. Hope you have a good one.

    @Chris,
    Glad you enjoyed it, I have to say it has been fun to do, even though it as always late, and was like an albatross around my neck when falling behind.

    Like you, the Star Wars stuff was the manna of my childhood toys, and represents a ton of pretty amazing memories. Hope you have a very Merry Xmas, and that Santa is good to you 🙂

    @Cole,
    You’ve been my rock through the Star Wars stuff, and you and I have a lot in common in this regard. The Millennium Falcon was a wild toy, and a couple of others you mentioned in a previous comment, like the Land Speeder, are still to come. In fact, the Land Speeder and the Cantina were my first Star Wars set pieces, and will forever be my favorites, but more about them soon 🙂

    Hope you and yours have a very merry Xmas.

  5. Grant says:

    My son has this very item in his room – all pieces intact and operational – even the glitched out laser sounds – and yes, it can still make the kessel run in less than 12 parsecs …

  6. Jared Stein says:

    Two words: smuggling compartment.

    OK, maybe some more words: My brother and I slavered over the Sears catalog during these golden years of Star Wars toydom. Thanks for reviving the joyful longing of those times! I was lucky enough to get the Falcon playset for Christmas sometime after Return of the Jedi came out, and it was for many years the center of my Star Wars playing.

    As for multiple Stormtroopers, I had 3. It took great will power to use my precious allowances for a figure I already had, and my brother didn’t understand, but it paid off gloriously in the end. If positioned right, 3 could look something like a troop…

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