My Star Wars Childhood
Conicidental with the 30th anniversary of Star Wars, I recently scanned in photos from my childhood.  An interesting thing jumped out at me: Just how much Star Wars permeated my life.  It's no wonder I got to be who I am.  This gallery is a roadmap showing a lot of the points along the way.  All you need to do is connect the dots.



October 1977
My fourth birthday, less than five months after the original movie opened.  This was the shirt I said wanted, so my parents went out at 8:00pm that night before the store closed and found one with me.

I have no idea why we waited that late (Did I not tell them what I wanted until then?  Could we not find a shirt before then?), but the story goes that I was so happy when we found one that I cried. Well, I was four.

My mom still has this shirt in her attic, and she will kill you if you ever try to get rid of it.


Xmas 1977
Since the movie was an unexpected hit and movie merchandising was an as-yet undiscovered concept, there were literally no Star Wars toys on the shelves yet.  Rabid fans like myself had to make do with knock-off products hastily marketed by enterprising toy makers.

For starters, there's the "Glow in the Dark" laser sword that stood in for a light saber. 

Just next to the sword was a Micronaut (anyone remember those?) that my mom apologetically explained she bought me because she couldn't find a real C-3PO, but that the yellow figure was a close approximation.

Also pictured: A Batman figure with a parachute (still in package; left) and a Weeble Circus (behind me).


Halloween 1978
I'm Darth Vader.  Superman at the left was the kid across the street who now works in a tattoo parlor.  True story.

Xmas 1978
Phones didn't have buttons yet, but I had the Death Star playset, so all was right with the universe.

January 1978
Apparently this kid was so excited about having a Han Solo blaster, he peed his pants.

Actually, I don't know who he was.  This was at my friend Chip(not his real name)'s house for his birthday party.  He's the third one from the left.

I'm on the right with the black eyes.  No, I wasn't working on my rap sheet; I fell flat on my face onto concrete.  More than a decade later I finally had a nose job to undo the damage.


October 1979
For my birthday party we had a cake with Star Wars decorations (which you'll see again a little later) and Star Wars table cloths. 

I have never known the meaning of the word overkill.


More of October 1979
I have no idea what else I received that year, but there's something in the foreground that I believe was Han Solo's blaster pistol like the one the kid a couple pictures up was holding... which obviously turned me into a full-on gangster.

Xmas 1979
Ah, the Land of the Jawas playset.  And a train set.  I think this was the last electric train sold in this half of the 20th century.  I hardly ever played with it, though my mom had fun decorating a little town for it sometime later.  You can tell how excited I was about it by the fact it's still in the box while I happily play with the droids' escape pod.

More of Xmas 1979
More figures, of course.  What do we have here?  The 12" Boba Fett, then the 3 3/4" Boba, Snaggletooth, and X-Wing Luke.  Just out of the frame is the box for another 12" figure. 

The budget of the first Star Wars movie wasn't much more than these toys would collectively be worth today in their original packaging.


Still more of Xmas 1979
Then there are a couple of metal vehicles: Darth Vader's TIE Fighter and the Millenium Falcon.

I would be interested to know how many head injuries in the '70s were the result of these toys being "flown" (read: hurled) through the air at siblings and other playmates.


And still more of Xmas 1979
Battlestar Galactica was methadone to the heroin that was Star Wars.  I had more figures than just these four though.  I don't know if they were xmas presents or from other occassions.

My dad bought me the golden Cylon (i.e., the Cylon Commander) when I was in the hospital and told him that's what I wanted.  Then he drove around town asking every retailer if they had any idea what a "golden Cylon" was until he brought one back.

If I didn't say it at the time, then Thanks, Dad.



Easter 1980
I don't think I got these figures at the time, but it's a testament to who I am that I brought Star Wars figures to church on Easter Sunday.

October 1980
Forget my birthday.  The fact that The Empire Strikes Back came out this year was the real reason to celebrate!

Those cake decorations are back again.  Plus a new round of Star Wars cups and plates and table cloths.


Halloween 1980
Judge me by my size, do you?

This was an incredibly lame costume, but it was Star Wars, and that's all that seemed to matter.  My partner Dani's Yoda costume twenty-five years later was much cooler.


Xmas 1980
Yoda pajamas.  How appropriate.

Yes, I had the 12" Princess Leia with real (okay, plastic) hair.  We messed up her hair, and my mom eventually made underwear for her that couldn't be removed because my friends and/or I kept taking off her dress. 

I'm not making this up.


Xmas 1980
And look!  More figures plus a Darth Vader case in which to carry them.  To where?  I have no idea.

Xmas 1981
Yes, I got an Atari 2600 for xmas, but the fun stuff was putting the decals on Boba Fett's Slave I and playing with the Dagobah playset of Yoda's house.  It had a swamp that you could sink R2 into and you could make Luke's crates float using the Force.  (Actually, you just pushed down on a tree stump that pushed the crates up.)

October 1982
What kid didn't want a Scout Walker for his ninth birthday in 1982?

Xmas 1982
Although I was happy to get the Team America stunt chopper, I played with the Star Wars Mini Rigs under the tree a lot more.

Xmas 1983
Return of the Jedi had come out, so that meant a new round of toys: Jabba the Hutt and the Y-Wing Fighter.

I was also moving on to Fisher Price's Aventure People by this time.  Those were pretty cool as well.  I'm putting the decals on an F-15 from that line.


Easter 1984
I was never much for candy back then, so my folks used to get me toys on top of everything else.  I think that's an Ewok or Han Solo to the left.


Copyright 1977-2007 Ale[X]-wing fighter.
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