Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Kenner Star Wars Action Figures (Wave 2)

Twenty-one figures comprised the entire line of Star Wars action figures before the first series for Empire Strike Back started hitting toy shelves in 1980...and that seemed like plenty. At that point, we didn't know we needed 100 different types of Stormtroopers...based solely on the troopers' individual shoe sizes...or that we needed 5 different Lukes to reflect the 5 different ways his hair was blowing on the set that day. We had a Luke...we had a Stormtrooper, and we were happy. Let's just say that it hadn't occurred to us or Kenner yet that we needed every costume and iteration of a character...or even every character, including those with even a mili-second of screen time.  In a way, though, I think this wave was the beginning of this trend with Kenner to look to background characters for toy fodder.

In 1978, I had completed my collection of Kenner's first 12 action figures. As far as I was concerned, there was nothing left to do in life. I had accomplished my life's goal and I could now rest on my laurels. So, you can imagine my surprise and dismay when the Sears catalog advertised two new Star Wars figures not yet available in stores: An odd character named Snaggletooth and the unlucky bounty hunter, Greedo. I ordered the two new Star Wars figures and felt a bit perplexed by them when they arrived in clear baggies rather than on the standard picture cards we were accustomed to. ( I know these were supposed to have come with 2 other figures and a cardboard Cantina playset. I SWEAR, I never had the playset and remember very well being able to order just the two figures.) There was a part of me, due to their oddness, that actually wondered if these two were "official" Star Wars figures at all. Not much later, Kenner started advertising that EIGHT more figures were coming...including both Snaggletooth and Greedo. This, in a way, was bad news because it meant that I no longer had a COMPLETE set of Star Wars figures. I would have to do more working, begging, and pleading to stay current. However, the odd thing was, the Snaggletooth being advertised no longer looked like the one I had received from Sears! He was short and was wearing red rather than blue! Aaagh! Not Good!! Instead of being only 6 figures away from a complete set, I was back at 7 again since my crappy blue Snaggletooth no longer counted. Dang!! ...and so, once I got a red Snaggletooth, blue Snaggletooth became the pariah of my Star Wars figure collection...regarded as second rate...an embarrassment. At that point, I could have easily buried him in the back yard and never looked back.

The second release of Star Wars figures included Power Droid, Death Star Droid, Walrus Man, Hammerhead, Luke Skywalker: X-wing Pilot, R5D4, Greedo, Snaggletooth, and Boba Fett. Although, Boba Fett was first offered as a mail-away and then later carded on store shelves. It's apparent when looking at the line-up of wave 2 figures in comparison with the first 12, that someone at Kenner decided that the figure line needed more color. The drab browns and grays of the first set were now replaced with bright oranges, blues, reds, and greens. Odd...and there was only ONE main character, Luke (Boba was anything but a main character at the time).

Blue and Red Snaggletooths (Pariah and Golden Child)
...and for you sticklers...Yes, I realize I gave ol' Red the wrong weapon. Ooops.

Years later, it was discovered that Blue Snaggletooth (the hated pariah) was actually quite a rare and desirable figure. He was asked back into the figure fold but there was still a lot of bad blood between us. He may never forgive me. I've even caught him trying to list himself on Ebay more than a couple of times over that past few years. Sigh.



How can you not love this face?

12 comments:

  1. Wow! You have a blue Snaggletooth?!?! I've never even seen one of those in person but I always loved my short red one - nice!

    (Don't ever let him list himself on eBay again - however, if he feels the inclination to post himself to my house, you should definitely let him do so! ;)

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  2. I'll keep that in mind. However, this post hasn't helped the situation. Now, he's talking about running off with some gypsy Thundercats. So, unfortunately I've had to put him into carbon freeze...for his own good.

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  3. Tell him I have some hot sexy Thundercats waiting here for his arrival.

    It's a lie, I only have Panthro, but once he's in my grip it won't matter anyways!

    Mwahahhahahhahhaaaa!

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  4. P.S. your pictures are top notch!

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  5. I'd sell my parents to own those! :D

    - Zac

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  6. Haha nice post! I loved Hammerhead as a kid.

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  7. I used Blue Snaggie's picture to go on my debit card! What a conversation starter!

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  8. I have the Pilot figure, but mine is pretty scratched after years of use and abuse :(

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  9. Nice post Brian! Thanks for linking me to it.

    I love Bubbashelby's original comment from almost 3 years ago. Between then and now, he went from wanting one, to owning one, to giving one away (to me!).

    It's funny how much things can change, eh?

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  10. Reis, Yeah... I was thinking the same thing about Bubbashelby's comments. It is pretty funny how things change. I know my changing tastes drive me crazy, sometimes. I don't waiver on vintage stuff all that much, though.

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