Posted by D_Martin on December 25, 2010 at 01:08 AM CST
I was sitting down for a couple of Holiday drinks with Adam from JediNews last night, and as you can imagine, a decent amount of our conversations focused on A Galaxy Far, Far Away. Since both of us are from the original Star Wars Generation we were able to discuss the dark ages (1985-1991), and what it was like to live in a world that had forgotten the hokey religion we all had so much faith in.

While we, all of us, are equally passionate in our love of Star Wars, the original Star Wars Generation has a special report with one another because we all lived in a world where Star Wars didn't exist, we all rode the wave of the first three films, and we all suffered like Anakin pining for another kiss when the Force faded away. Luckily this is a feeling that all successive Star Wars Generations will never have to experience. As promised to us in 2005 (originally in a free pin that Philip Wise created & funded 100% independently and was available for free from everyone on the Rebelscum team during Celelbration III) Star Wars is forever. And through all the efforts of Lucasfilm, popular media, Internet media, fan sites, and message boards, no fan will ever be left behind ever again.

All of this is important when looking back to Christmas morning 1977, since it was a much simpler time. It was the first Star Wars Christmas. Even though by today's standards it was lame, to the original Star Wars Generation it was AWESOME! And it got nothing but better over the next eight years. For the record, Christmas morning 1986 suck most heinously... and the next five Christmases were just as dismal.

In 1977, there were no action figures under the tree (or in replacement for the traditional gelt given to children under the Menorah's shamash light). It was an age where movie licenses weren't sold to toy manufactures a year before a film came out. Star Wars was the first of its kind, and even though Kenner didn't let us down in the fourth quarter of 1977 with their offerings, we all had to except that there was no way they could have produced a line of toys that was as spectacular as what they gave us in 1978 by rushing it. It's simple logistics. It takes a long time to produce good toys. To prove the point, look at any wave of toys that hit the shelves these days that coincides with a theatrical release. One out of twenty movie action figure collections is actually good; and I'm sure I'm being kind with that estimation.

Knowing they couldn't deliver toys for Christmas 1977 didn't stop Kenner from producing cool Star Wars stuff, even if by today's standards the offerings were weak. Remember, it was a simpler time and we had no frame of reference. Here's a list of what was available:

- Six Jigsaw Puzzles
- "Luke Skywalker meets R2-D2" 140 piece set
- "Trapped In The Trash Compactor!" 140 piece set
- "Darth Vader And Ben Kenobi Duel With Lightsabers!" 500 piece set
- "Luke Skywalker And Princess Leia Leap For Their Lives!" 500 piece set
- "Aboard The Millennium Falcon" 1,000 piece set
- "Star Wars Adventure" 1,000 piece set

- The "Escape From The Death Star" board game

- Dip Dot posters with felt pens

- Dip Dot posters with water colour paints

- The Early Bird Certificate Set

The now legendary Early Bird Certificate was nothing more than a card stock envelope, a card stock display backdrop, a sticker sheet, a club membership card, and a send away form promising the owner the home delivery of the first four figures in the line: Luke Skywalker, Chewbacca, Artoo-Detoo (R2-D2), and Princess Leia Organa along with twelve little with plastic fool pegs that allowed the owner to turn their card stock backdrop into a legitimate display stand that could stand up against all but the most destructive earthquakes (or light bumping... what ever was more likely). for the most part, all four figures were identical to the ones that were shipping to stores in the spring of 1978, save the accessories on Luke and Chewie.

Even though there are limited carded examples of both, all known examples of the Early Bird Luke and Chewbacca figures had unique accessories. Not graced with much fanfare, the Early Bird Chewbacca figure was packed with a green bowcaster. In the case of Luke however, the variation has a bit more notoriety, as the lightsaber that was included was actually two pieces, and when fully extended was almost 2 inches long. This version of the accessory is known as the Double Telescoping Lightsaber (or the DT Lightsaber)*.

Finding carded examples of either is very tough, and unfortunately, due to far too many counterfeits out there these days, collectors looking at obtaining a real DT Luke will either have to find a trusted seller that has one, or limit their searches to AFA graded pieces.

Chewbacca with Green Bowcaster


* Even more sought after than the DT Luke are the DT Darth Vader and DT Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi figures. Since these figures were not a part of the Early Bird set there are even less DT variations produced.

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