Not to sound too much like an old man, but it may be hard to imagine for younger people that in the pre-Internet days, information was more than just a Google search away. There were basically three ways to get information about your favorite movies: entertainment programs on TV, fan club newsletters and/or magazines like Starlog and Famous Monsters of Filmland, and word of mouth (ie: the playground).
Back in the day (the time between the releases of Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back) there was a lot that was unknown about this new galaxy and the only EU was the Marvel Comics series. Were the Stormtroopers people or robots? What were the Clone Wars? (I always pictured a huge war with identical looking people fighting on each side.) What was the deal with Darth Vader?
All we really knew at the time was that he was trained by Ben, killed Luke's dad and despite a breathing problem, was a galactic badass. I remember reading some place that Vader and Ben had dueled near a volcano and Vader had fallen in, which horribly scarred him and necessitated the need for his armor. If you ask anyone else that grew up a this time, they will probably remember hearing this as well. It was something that would remain speculation for another 28 years.
Below is a fan letter sent into Famous Monsters of Filmland that was published in the 1978 January issue. This person is obviously a bit older than I was when Star Wars came out, but this gives you an idea of the speculation that went on before we knew anything beyond the original Star Wars.
I really enjoy seeing things like this because everything was so open to possibility then. There were barely any spin-off materials, no back stories for the minor characters (or names for that matter!), no continuity threatening to implode on itself. Ah, the good ol days!
Back in the 70s, t-shirt iron-ons were a
pretty big fad. I remember at our local mall there was a joke shop
(sort of like a prelude to Spencer Gifts except they had the "adult"
items behind the counter) which also had an iron-on counter. You'd go
and pick out your preferred color of t-shirt and bring it to the
counter. There, they had all the iron-on images up on the wall that you
could choose. They'd arrange the shirt and iron-on in an iron press and in about 30 seconds you had a brand new shirt to show off to your friends!
Gee Ralph, maybe you should get some Lysol or something to freshen up the place. Maybe if you took your job seriously, you'd have seen that thing sneaking up behind you that's casting a shadow on the wall. You're a security guard, don't lounge at the receptionist's desk! Get back to work before it's too...oh, you know what? Forget it.
These little guys were a huge part of my childhood. Hammerhead, Snaggletooth, R5-D4, Death Star Droid and Power Droid were some of my favorite ones from the original lineup. I used to bring Hammerhead with me pretty frequently. Maybe it was the soothing aqua jumpsuit, I don't know.
It wouldn't be until the 90s when these aliens got proper names and back stories courtesy of West End Games' Star Wars Role Playing Game and the anthology Tales from the Mos Eisley Cantina.
Mail Order form from Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine
You can view a larger image of each figure by clicking on them below.
The artists adhere to strict rules during the contest. Each sculptor is given 10 tons of sand and are assigned an 18’ x 18’ square exhibit area. Work by the artists is limited to 24 hours in total length, which is spread out over several days. Forms for molding components are allowed and must be removed prior to the artworks being rated by the judges.
These are amazing every year. It's mind boggling that the artists only use sand and water to build these things.
Quick note: the "sponsor castle" seen above is not part of the contest and does not adhere to the rules previously listed.
Sure, Noel, it looks like a great motel. If by motel you mean summer camp for serial killer victims. Look at the lettering on the sign, does that look like it was done by a professional or a deranged killer?
Back in 1978, we didn’t need no stinking orange painted cap and our guns were all black…ok mostly black. The inside of the barrel was yellow but the gun wasn’t all freakin neon colored!
The gun made “laser sounds” when you pulled the trigger. In the first version (seen here) it wasn’t much of a sound, it was more like a whirring/grinding noise. If you’ve ever heard a Kenner X-Wing or TIE Fighter, it’s on par with that.
This baby was loaded with 2 D batteries. When was the last time you used D batteries? After ESB, it would make more of a laser sound and have two firing modes/sounds and take a single 9-volt.
The thing I love about this classic is the 3-way stock it had. They truly don’t make em like this anymore.
Refer to the above image to see what I'm talkin' 'bout.
Left - stock is folded up and under the barrel which is usually how you see it on film
Middle - a small handgrip folds down so you can hold it like a tommy gun
Right - entire stock flips back and the handgrip flips down to become a butt so you could hold it like a true rifle