I love mornings, which is a good thing since the Today Show starts early. Those first hours set the tone for the day ahead. We're here to give you the best start. You get the news, learn something new, and even get a little boost. You start the day off with a clean slate and we hope you'll start it with us. We begin our day so you can take on yours because every day meets today.
Watch the Today Show weekday mornings at seven on NBC. Get ready. Xfinity Flex has unlocked shows and movies from all over the globe and you can watch for free right from your couch. Journey to Japan with shows from Anime Network. Go back to the Wild West with Billy the Kid and other MGM Plus picks. Celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month with hits from Kokawa and Haya.
And break out your dance moves with I Heart Radio's K-Pop Hits playlist. Find new entertainment on Xfinity Flex. All for free, no strings attached. Say free this week into your Xfinity Voice Remote.
I'm Malcolm Gladwell. I live way out in the country. I drive everywhere and you know what scares me? That feeling of finding myself stuck on the side of the road. But now all of us can avoid that pain by getting our vehicle the part it needs before that breakdown oh no moment. With eBay Guaranteed Fit and over 122 million parts and accessories, you can make sure your ride stays running smoothly. For the parts and accessories that fit your vehicle, just look for the green check. Get the right parts, the right fit, and the right prices.
EbayMotors.com. Let's ride. Eligible items only.
Exclusions apply. This is Lee Habib and this is our American Stories and we tell stories about everything here on the show, including your stories. Send them to Our American Stories.com. They're some of our favorites and on this show, America is the star.
The American people are the star. Speaking of which, The Nostalgia Awakens is an exhibit featuring every action figure toy made by Kenner from 1978 to 1985 based on the original three Star Wars movies. The Star Wars toys on display are from Jared Roll, enthusiast and museum curator from Wisconsin. He and his brother Kevin owned many of the toys when they were children. As an adult, Jared collected the rest of the original toys and we're telling this story because on this day in 1977 and 1983, Star Wars and Return of the Jedi premiered. Here's Jared Roll to share the story of how Star Wars toys revolutionized movie merchandising, licensing, and even how kids play.
Well, I guess we will go back to you know to the beginning and that was in 1977. At that time, I was four years old and my mother is a fan of sci-fi. She watched syndicated Star Trek episodes and she had learned of this movie called Star Wars that was coming out and by the time we saw it, it already had gained a lot of interest, a lot of hype. Star Wars was released in May of 1977 to only thirty-two theaters in the United States. Just to put that in perspective, so thirty-two theaters. It's when The Force Awakens was released. It was it debuted in over 4000 theaters. So again, there are people who have documented the story of Star Wars, you know, the little movie that could and how it just changed everything.
When that movie came out, there was nothing like it. It changed everything. It changed how we think about the relationship of toys and movies, merchandising, licensing, how kids play. I mean, it really solidified action figure toys. I mean, up to that point, toys were not licensed for movies like they are now. They just movies weren't around long enough to justify the cost for toy companies to invest in a toy line.
So with the exception of some evergreen licenses like Disney, Looney Tunes, you know because they were around for decades and they had other ways of appearing. Unless it was a TV show, action figure and toy lines, they weren't made for movies and so that's why when the Kenner Toy Company signed on to be the sole producer of toys for the Star Wars movies, they were taking a risk. If you would go to Walmart today or Target or any place where toys are sold, you will see toys in the aisle for blockbuster movies before the movie even comes out.
That's a given. You want to just get the most out of it, help even create excitement for that property. But when Star Wars came out in 1977, kids like me who left the theater, we wanted toys for that movie, but there are no toys to be had. When George Lucas was in the process of creating Star Wars, he knew he had a story that would appeal to kids. So George Lucas shopped around the Star Wars license to the big toy companies first, saying, you know, I've got a movie coming out. I can't tell you a lot about it. I can't show you much about it because I'm keeping it a secret, but you know it's going to be science fiction and it's going to involve characters that I think will translate well into a toy line and the bigger toy companies like Mattel and Mego, you know they said it will pass.
You know there's too much risk involved. Quite frankly, you know, science fiction just really doesn't appeal to kids right now and so it's not worth our risk to do that. That's where the Kenner Toy Company enters the scene. Kenner at this point, they were a small toy manufacturer in Cincinnati, Ohio.
They were a subsidiary of General Mills Foods, so if you've ever eaten Count Chocula cereal, that's the company we're talking about. They were just the small toy arm of General Mills and so they were willing to take a look at it and it was just one of those stories where you just had the right people working for Kenner at the time that saw the potential of this movie and being a smaller company, they have slightly less risk and they can be a little more nimble than versus a giant toy company. And so Kenner Toys said we will do this.
We can do this. They shared some product samples with Lucasfilm and Lucasfilm said, yeah, you know we're we're on the same page when it comes to this and so they signed an agreement with Lucasfilm and they were the ones to make these toys. You know, people will tell the story about Bernie Loomis being asked the question, you know, he was the president of Kenner at the time. What size should we make these action figures?
And Bernie Loomis will, you know, stretched out his finger and his thumb and said, Luke should be this tall and that size was three and three quarter inch. The decision that Kenner made was based on the idea that they knew to make this toy line really, really catch on with kids. They needed to have a world for kids to play in.
They needed to have environments, you know, what we call play sets. They need to have vehicles for the figures to go in and to do that, you can't do that inexpensively with a 12 inch toy line. Up to that point, up to 1977, 12 inch was a very common action figure or doll size for boys dolls or action figures. GI Joe really started that, certainly solidified it in the 60s and early 70s, but they knew to have a Millennium Falcon that you can't make a Millennium Falcon for a 12 inch Han Solo. It would be so expensive and retailers wouldn't want it for their shelves because it would dominate an entire shelf for itself. And so the three and three quarter inch line, you know that that made sense and Bernie Loomis made that choice to to keep the figures to that smaller size for that reason, but it would take a full year before action figure toys were even available for that property. So when Christmas of 77 rolls around kids like me, we want we want Star Wars toys for Christmas that Christmas is the time that we get our toys and unfortunately Kenner, you know even though they're all working nonstop weekends around the clock to try to get toys out as fast as they can.
There's no way they can get them into the shelves in time for the holiday 77 season. When we come back more of this remarkable story about Star Wars and the remarkable commercial franchise on Our American Stories. Folks, if you love the great American stories we tell and love America like we do, we're asking you to become a part of the Our American Stories family. If you agree that America is a good and great country, please make a donation. A monthly gift of $17.76 is fast becoming a favorite option for supporters. Go to our American stories.com now and go to the donate button and help us keep the great American stories coming.
That's our American stories.com. Get ready Xfinity Flex has unlocked shows and movies from all over the globe and you can watch for free right from your couch journey to Japan with shows from Anime Network. Go back to the Wild West with Billy the Kid and other MGM Plus picks.
Celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month with hits from Kokawa and Haya and break out your dance moves with I Heart Radio's Kpop Hits playlist. Find new entertainment on Xfinity Flex all for free. No strings attached.
Say free this week into your Xfinity voice remote. Feeling comfortable starts with the right bra and Lovelit's got you covered. Literally the Dream Curve Bubble Full Coverage Push Up Bra provides unparalleled support and comfort from day to night. Making it the ultimate bra for anyone leading a busy lifestyle. Designed in up to an H cup with lightweight foam cups and memory foam straps.
It's so comfortable you'll probably even forget you're wearing it. We're giving you 15% off your Dream Curve Bra at Lovelit.com with discount code Love15. That's LUV15 at Lovelit.com. Lovelit.
Lift with love. War, inflation, and over $31 trillion in debt. It's looking like 2008 all over again. Millions of Americans watch their retirement savings disappear while those who invested in physical gold and silver were protected. And if you have $50,000 or more in your IRA, 401k, or savings, you could be at risk again. Visit Goldco.com slash I Heart to get a free gold IRA kit and learn how thousands are diversifying their retirement savings with gold and silver. I Heart listeners could get up to $10,000 in free silver with a qualified account. Goldco is the number one rated precious metals company recommended by Sean Hannity. With over $1 billion in gold and silver placed, an A plus rating from the Better Business Bureau, thousands of five-star customer reviews, and seven-time Inc. 5000 winner, you'll be in good company. Visit Goldco.com slash I Heart to get up to $10,000 in free silver.
That's Goldco.com slash I Heart. And we continue with our American stories and the story from museum curator Jared Roll. And we're telling this story because on this day in 1977 and 1983, Star Wars and Return of the Jedi premiered. Let's pick up where Jared left off telling the story of how the small toy company Kenner took the offer from George Lucas to manufacture Star Wars toys after all the big toy companies passed on what seemed to be too much of a gamble. Kenner began production immediately, but wouldn't have a single action figure on the shelves until a year after the first Star Wars movie premiered, but they had a plan kind of.
Here again is Jared Roll. So rather than miss out on all the excitement about Star Wars that Christmas, Kenner Toys, this is Bernie Loomis as the president at the time. He and his team come up with an idea and it was a very risky idea and that was the sell an empty package to kids so that at least there's something to go under the tree that year and what that was. It was called the early bird kit and it was approximately you know 16 inch by 9 inch cardboard envelope very colorful and in the inside, all you had was a cardboard display arena with pictures of of what the action figures will eventually look like. They're artists representations of the characters translated in the action figures, so it's a little display arena and then there's some stickers and and then a slip that you filled out and put in the in the mail and then it says when these figures are available, you know, which is between February and June of 1978, you're going to get them.
You'll get Luke. You'll get Leah R2 and Chewbacca the first four and so it was a real risk and and some people scoffed at the idea. It's like where do you come up with the idea of selling an empty package for kids for Christmas? That seems like a non gift, but yet at the same time for the people that did receive those for those kids that did receive those early bird kits under the Christmas tree right. It wasn't the figures, but it was the next best thing. It was a promise for the figures and at least it was something and by all accounts, the people that I spoke to personally who did receive one at Christmas time or the accounts I've read they were excited to get them and and many of them thousands were sold and it's one of those just wonderful toy stories that has gone down in history about when Kenner sold an empty package to kids when inside all you had was a promise and that is kid you're going to be the first to get them when they're available.
They're just not ready right now for you. Merry Christmas. So the early bird kit if you can find one sealed like unopened, we're talking five figures. You know, I honestly they don't come up very often, you know, but if you have one like I have one as part of the Nostalgia Awakens exhibit and I have the you know it's the original envelope and thankfully the kid who opened it did a really nice job opening it just on the side just to kind of slip the side open just so carefully had pulled the contents out and so it has all the contents yet and you know that thing costs a few thousand dollars to to buy at least it did when I had bought it because again it's cardboard is what you call ephemeral.
It's it's not meant to last forever. Now I did not get the early bird kit as a kid at the time. I wasn't even aware of it as a kid where when I first started getting toys was when everybody else pretty much did and that was going to be in spring of 1978. So I remember the day actually so I would have been 5 years old just about five.
I yeah cuz I turned five in April and it was springtime cuz it was warm out and my my my mom and my brother and I were over at her friend's house visiting and my mother's friend's son Jamie who is my age. He shows me a little Darth Vader action figure and I bugged my mom said mom they have toys of Star Wars now. Can you take me to go get one and you know after enough haranguing we eventually went to what we used to call the the the the five and dime stores and I still remember the creaky wood floors and walking in there and that kind of smell of a small town five dime store and walking in and seeing the display for Star Wars and walking really quickly up to it and just looking and scanning with my eyes just to see what they made and they're in this end cap is a selection of of of action figures you know on blister cards and then we're just standing there and I would take one off. I'd look at the back and then I'd set it in and just have to make a choice and my mom's like okay make a choice. I'm ready to go ready to check out and I didn't know which one and I could only pick one, which is really hard cuz I don't know what you do with just one of them, but at the time I remember C-3PO was there and and R2D2 was there and a SAM person was there, but but Luke wasn't there. Otherwise, I would have got him right away. I'm sure, but Chewbacca was there and so he was the one I picked and I took him home and he was my first Star Wars action figure and he's the one that that has started it all and then from that point on getting Star Wars toys was such an important part of my childhood.
You know it was always on my radar. You know if I could save any little bit of money, you know and we would stop at a small, you know at a store or whatever grocery store sometimes carried them and they weren't very expensive. They were originally they were under two bucks apiece. So they're you know they're within purchasing power of a kid, but the real big you know big opportunity to start a collection would have been at Christmas of that year, Christmas of 78. My grandparents, they were the ones that really gave us the toys or grandparents and they would also get the Sears and JC Penny Christmas catalogs in October and I remember that you're getting you know laying down on the floor, their carpeted floor in their living room and turning page by page and just seeing those toys in there and just circling and circling and circling and of course you circle them all cuz you want them all.
That year that Christmas was wonderful cuz we received a lot of a lot of Star Wars product under the tree and that was amazing. Star Wars had such staying power in the late 1970s. I mean we have to remember that it didn't just influence kids, you know kids toys and kids imagination. It influenced everything when we go back and look and see the influence on entertainment. For example, Star Wars was parodied on Saturday Night Live. It was there were there were so many knockoff movies that were produced during that time and you know adults too and adults love Star Wars as well. It wasn't just kids it people back then of all ages really fell in love with that story and those characters. Everybody tried to cash in on the excitement surrounding Star Wars, so it was always there.
It was always in front of us. You know trading cards and comic books. It lived on so even if that if Star Wars left your local theater, it lived on. I remember getting bubblegum cards of Star Wars and those were very important because that helped me as a kid remember the movie and also learn more about the lore of the movie and these cards would tell you who the you know the names of the characters and it'll tell you like what was going on in that scene because it happens so fast when you're sitting in the theater and I only saw it twice as a kid and so these cards helped fill in those gaps and really expand that story for me and it was all canon. It was all Star Wars.
It wasn't like somebody was making stuff up. It was all there and so that that helped Star Wars stay in my mind all throughout that time period. 77, 78, 79 and then the excitement of Empire coming out, so it never it never waned. It was always there and part of it too. I wonder is that because we were never fully satisfied. My kids today when we go to the theater and see a movie, you know it's on DVD 6 months later and they'll watch it over and over and over and over again because it's a great movie and then you know the next great blockbuster comes along. I mean we live in a time period now where we have so much so many wonderful stories being told of properties that we're excited about superheroes and space and things that you know that as a kid this weren't there and so it it has such staying power that and the anticipation of the sequel. We had to find out what happened next and when we saw what happened next and we find out that you know the good guys really lose in this movie. Hansel is frozen. Luke loses his hand and Darth Vader is his father. Whoa.
What's going to happen next? We have to wait another 3 years like what it was like a lifetime of waiting for that to happen, but it was always there and people making products made sure we were always reminded of Star Wars. You know they they they knew it too and so there's always something there to remind us. Oh books on tape so we had as a kid. I had a little story book with a little cassette tape and I listened to that thing over and over and over again. You know and so I knew the movies well, not because I saw the movies a lot, but because of all this other stuff that went along with it and great job as always to Greg Hengler and a special thanks to Jared Rol.
Star Wars and Return of the Jedi were released on this day in 1977 and 1983 here on our American stories. I'm Malcolm Gladwell. I live way out in the country. I drive everywhere and you know what scares me that feeling of finding myself stuck on the side of the road, but now all of us can avoid that pain by getting our vehicle the part it needs before that breakdown. Oh no moment with eBay guaranteed fit and over 122 million parts and accessories. You can make sure your ride stays running smoothly for the parts and accessories that fit your vehicle. Just look for the green check. Get the right parts the right fit and the right prices.
eBay Motors.com. Let's ride eligible items only exclusions apply. Get ready. Xfinity Flex has unlocked shows and movies from all over the globe and you can watch for free right from your couch. Journey to Japan with shows from Anime Network. Go back to the Wild West with Billy the Kid and other MGM Plus picks.
Celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month with hits from Kukawa and Hiya and break out your dance moves with I Heart Radio's Kpop Hits playlist. Find new entertainment on Xfinity Flex all for free. No strings attached. Say free this week into your Xfinity voice remote. What if you could choose a medical provider who makes you the priority a provider who truly listens to your concerns answers your questions and explains your treatment a provider who sees you as more than just their next patient for more than 50 years. Physician associates have been going beyond for patients providing high quality care that's as personal as it is comprehensive, giving you the confidence that when you see a PA, their only priority is you. Learn more at PAsGoBeyond.com.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-26 04:13:37 / 2023-05-26 04:22:54 / 9