Author Topic: Vintage Figure Release Dates?  (Read 1405 times)

Offline Brian

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Vintage Figure Release Dates?
« on: August 5, 2011, 01:39 PM »
I know the toy business was an entirely different world back in the vintage days, but I was curious if the "movie" lines had any sort of release timeframes like they do today.  Obviously, we all know the story about how they didn't have anything ready to go for the original Star Wars (leading to the Early Bird stuff), but I know they were more prepared for ESB and ROTJ.  I was curious if those toy lines were released prior to the movie (as they are today), or later on, or what.  I remember buying them as a kid (particularly with ROTJ), but can't remember anything about timeframe.  Was there any sort of release schedule back then when the OT was being released?

Offline Matt_Fury

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Re: Vintage Figure Release Dates?
« Reply #1 on: August 6, 2011, 01:52 AM »
Good question.  I know that some of the mail away figures (Boba Fett and Admiral Ackbar iirc) came out before the movies.  I think the named lines came out right around the time of the movie, but I'm not 100% sure on that.
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Offline CorranHorn

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Re: Vintage Figure Release Dates?
« Reply #2 on: August 7, 2011, 09:26 PM »
I can't say that this is 100% solid, but I recall getting ROTJ figures before the movie came out in 83. Now I was only 5 years old at the time and it very well could have been that I got figures before I saw the movie, but it always stuck with me that the figures came out before the film. I have a clear memory of my first time seeing ROTJ figures at TRU in a huge shelf display at the front of the store and I remember thinking at the time how cool it was to see characters before the movie was out.

Offline Pete_Fett

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Re: Vintage Figure Release Dates?
« Reply #3 on: August 8, 2011, 12:36 PM »
I have a similar memory. Down in Northern Virginia there was a chain called Memco (I believe that spelling is correct) - they got bought out by Bradlees a couple years later.

Anyway, I remember being in the store with my mother and sister and coming across an endcap of Return of the Jedi figures and being super excited since the movie wasn't out yet.

My mother let both my sister and I pick out two figures each - I don't remember what my sister got, but I distinctly remember getting the Jedi Luke and Biker Scout figures.

I would say this was at least two weeks before the movie was out.
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Offline P-Siddy

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Re: Vintage Figure Release Dates?
« Reply #4 on: August 8, 2011, 02:06 PM »
Yeah, I'm sure you could pick up figures before Jedi. I remember that they had the Ewoks blotted out, to keep them secret. Not sure if they did that with Empire. Plus, didn't they have a mail-away for a Jedi figure before it came out?

Offline Pete_Fett

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Re: Vintage Figure Release Dates?
« Reply #5 on: August 8, 2011, 02:31 PM »
Yeah, I'm sure you could pick up figures before Jedi. I remember that they had the Ewoks blotted out, to keep them secret. Not sure if they did that with Empire. Plus, didn't they have a mail-away for a Jedi figure before it came out?

Wasn't it Admiral Ackbar?
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Offline Brian

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Re: Vintage Figure Release Dates?
« Reply #6 on: August 8, 2011, 02:36 PM »
I was sort of thinking the same thing about ROTJ as well, but I was also five at the time so I can't remember for sure.  I thought that I had Jedi Luke and Trenchcoat Han prior to the movie, or possibly it was soon after - just can't remember that well now.  I do remember the "blacked out" ewoks and stuff though.  Was Empire similar?  I don't remember there being black outs then, but I was wondering if the stuff was out prior to the movie or anything.  Such a different time back then, as I'm sure there weren't people using DCPIs to get stuff from the back, or that people were even aware of a "street date".  When you found it on the shelves, it was out.  Similar to how the only way I knew what was out (or coming out) is by what was on the cardback.  Kind of miss those days, although it isn't realistic to have it that way now.

Offline P-Siddy

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Re: Vintage Figure Release Dates?
« Reply #7 on: August 8, 2011, 02:39 PM »
Yeah, I'm sure you could pick up figures before Jedi. I remember that they had the Ewoks blotted out, to keep them secret. Not sure if they did that with Empire. Plus, didn't they have a mail-away for a Jedi figure before it came out?

Wasn't it Admiral Ackbar?

That's what I was thinking but wasn't sure. And I think Jedi was the only movie where they blacked out figures after having thought more about it.

Offline Pete_Fett

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Re: Vintage Figure Release Dates?
« Reply #8 on: August 8, 2011, 04:29 PM »
I was sort of thinking the same thing about ROTJ as well, but I was also five at the time so I can't remember for sure.  I thought that I had Jedi Luke and Trenchcoat Han prior to the movie, or possibly it was soon after - just can't remember that well now.  I do remember the "blacked out" ewoks and stuff though.  Was Empire similar?  I don't remember there being black outs then, but I was wondering if the stuff was out prior to the movie or anything.  Such a different time back then, as I'm sure there weren't people using DCPIs to get stuff from the back, or that people were even aware of a "street date".  When you found it on the shelves, it was out.  Similar to how the only way I knew what was out (or coming out) is by what was on the cardback.  Kind of miss those days, although it isn't realistic to have it that way now.

On a smaller scale it looks like they're getting back to that kind of thing with how they're doing the backs of the Vintage line starting next year. That's going to be cool.

I definitely remembering those days - getting REALLY excited over the figures shown on the back of the cards and items in the catalogs that came with vehicles and playsets.
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Offline Darby

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Re: Vintage Figure Release Dates?
« Reply #9 on: August 8, 2011, 07:54 PM »
Jedi toys were available prior to the movie, at least two weeks before as I remember very clearly finding them at K-Mart with about that long to go (there was sort of a countdown printed in the local paper on the movie times page, which I clipped out every day).

Offline Jesse James

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Re: Vintage Figure Release Dates?
« Reply #10 on: August 9, 2011, 04:52 PM »
Sort of to the topic, but not I guess, but I remember GI Joes just coming out kind of at random in Summer, probably gearing up for the holidays, and then nothing till basically the following year.

I think back to those times though, and how my brother and I used to just sort of imagine what Joes could they make, and then next series they inevitably had 50% of what you were thinking, at least.  Sometimes it was even a clean sweep.  Talk about having your finger on your market's pulse.  "Wouldn't it be cool if they did a snow guy with Skis!?", and next series is Snowjob...  Friggin' cool back then when the internet wasn't there to spoil anything, and you just walked into Hills and there was the new Joe wave out, and you just went nuts.
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Offline TheSon

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Re: Vintage Figure Release Dates?
« Reply #11 on: August 9, 2011, 07:02 PM »
The only other thing that was great pre Internet was having those figures on the pegs for a whole year. After saving up money for months you had to decide what figure, or with birthday money, figures you would get next. There was no worry that they would be scooped up by scalpers never to be found again. I think that is why so many figures became absolute favorites. My son is kind of missing out on that because I am so worried we will never see a wave again, I buy what I can find and then hide it away until birthday or Christmas.
    I also miss, pre websites, the picture checklist that came with the vehicles. It was the first chance to see what you were going to want next.

Offline Matt_Fury

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Re: Vintage Figure Release Dates?
« Reply #12 on: August 9, 2011, 07:31 PM »
I still have a few of those blackout cards!  Great memories!
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Offline Master_Phruby

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Re: Vintage Figure Release Dates?
« Reply #13 on: August 9, 2011, 08:06 PM »
We though we were getting something good on those blackout cards but instead all we got was ewoks!

It was cool holding the blackout cards to the light and seeing the figure below.
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Offline Jesse James

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Re: Vintage Figure Release Dates?
« Reply #14 on: August 9, 2011, 11:09 PM »
Good times.

The GIJ cardbacks always had similar styles...  Figures blacked out that you had to guess who they were, and then all the figures you were looking at that you didn't get because they weren't there.  Always one guy out of a wave was a bitch to get.

Star Wars wasn't as high on my radar at the time...  1982 and my life changed in toy buying, but it was basically the same experience.  I loved those days though, looking at all the new stuff with my brother...  I can remember every GIJ product I ever got, and most of my SW stuff too that wasn't hand-me-down since my oldest brother was getting away from toys at the time.
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