Hardly any American child could avoid George Lucas's Star Wars trilogy begun with the release of the first movie, known simply as "Star Wars" in 1977. The success of the Star Wars franchise changed forever the way Hollywood promoted and marketed its movies, and it changed the way toy manufacturers acquired licensed properties and manufactured toys of the heroes and villains of movies, TV shows, comic books, and other mass media. As movies, Lucas's first two films were hugely successful. They had raked in $870 million by the time Lucas released "Return of the Jedi" in 1983. The licensed products--96 action figures and 60 different accessories produced exclusively by Kenner among them--however, brought in an additional $2 billion. Other toy manufacturers altered their toys to be more like Star Wars action figures. Hasbro, Inc., for example, shrunk its 11 ¾-inch G.I. Joe to 3 ¾ inches and added stock, heroic pals for Joe as well as stock villains from some manifest evil called COBRA. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, toy manufacturers produced one new series of action figures after another, hoping that each would be as successful as the Star Wars line.
|Manufacturer||Kenner Products Co.|
|Credit Line||Gift of Ann Lindner in memory of Kenny Lindner|
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