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Loomis had already moved on to General Mills, where he was president of Kenner Toys. He turned down the chance to license Steven Spielberg's new movie, "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," considering it not "toyetic," meaning that its characters would not make good toys.
But he spotted a small notice for a movie called "Star Wars" in a Hollywood trade magazine that sounded more likely: Its characters wore distinctive costumes.
In keeping with standard practice, the "Star Wars" toys were not supposed to appear until about a year after the movie opened. But the immediate success of the film prompted Loomis to reconsider.
Unable to speed up production, and with the all-important Christmas season nearing, Loomis ordered paper certificates sold in colorful boxes for the price of the toy. Kenner promised to deliver the toys by mail eight months later, and then a second wave of demand crested, as youngsters competed to get what their friends had.