Collectibles > Vintage Kenner

Vintage Figure Release Dates?

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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?

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.

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.

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.

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?


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